ARROW Mid Season Finale: Far From The Target
The success of The CW’s ‘Arrow’ helped launch 4 other TV Series in the fall of 2014 that are based on characters from DC Comics, with more reportedly on the way. The show has been the foundation with which DC is creating its shared TV Universe, starting with ‘The Flash’ which directly spins off of ‘Arrow’, and not closing the door on possibilities for more crossovers in the future with shows on others networks like ‘Gotham’ on Fox & ‘Constantine’ on NBC.
Last week was the mid Season finale of ‘Arrow’s 3rd Season, and it was stunning to say the least. It’s undeniable that this show is steeped in Comic book lore, even the stuff that doesn’t matter, therefore it’s pretty redundant point out all the things that were awesome and why. So let’s focus on what hasn’t worked in the first half of Season 3 of ‘Arrow’.
SPOILERS. ALL THE TIME SPOILERS.
Since their meeting, Oliver and Felicity have always given off a brother-sister vibe to me; her being intimidated by his intensity, and him always being irritated by her cute ditziness. The characters have zero chemistry that doesn’t fall under the annoying tech sidekick archetype like a hot version of Cisco from ‘The Flash’. Yet somewhere in Season 2, out of nowhere, a relationship angle was squeezed in invoking ‘WTF’ reactions by members of the audience that are fans of the show due to its comic book roots, despite the network that it airs on. And even if the makers felt the need to introduce a love story angle between the two, a one sided love would’ve been more in keeping with the show’s dark and lonely tone, similar to the way Allison Mack’s Chloe was portrayed in ‘Smallville’.
The Intolerables: Laurel & Thea
Laurel, initially introduced as Oliver’s bitter former lover in Season 1, has been put through the return of Oliver and her sister return from their presumed deaths, her boyfriend’s death, alcoholism and now her sister’s death for real this time… yet there is no change or redemption for the character in sight. She is still a whiny, complaining and teary-eyed distraction, even when training to avenge her sister’s death; a sub plot that by the way has been ignored for the last 3 episodes. The character has had no appealing moments on screen, given that she’s been portrayed as the victim consistently for almost 3 Seasons now. The second half Season 3 apparently sees her take up the mantle of Black Canary, as the character originally is in the comics, but unless major changes to her character happen when she’s not wearing a mask, she’ll still be the worst part of this show.
The beginning of Season 3 saw Thea transform herself into an an ass kicking machine thanks to Daddy Merlyn’s League of Assassin’s training regiment. Expectations were high of her character finally stepping over from the ‘emotional’ side of the story where Laurel lives, to becoming a participant in the more action orientated side shit gets done! But all she’s done since her return to Starling City thus far has been decorating her apartment, re-opening her nightclub, and heart felt conversations with Oliver about Malcolm being her father.
Oscar for ‘Best Sidekick in a Cameo Role’ goes to…
Speaking of characters being underutilized: Roy Harper had an amazing story arc the entire 2nd Season. But Season 3, despite debuting him as a full fledged costumed sidekick to Oliver, relegates him to a few lines of dialogue per episode. Not to mention basically being a stand in beside Oliver in nicely framed action shots. While ‘The Flash’ & ‘Arrow’ crossover featured the first ever ‘team up’ of comic book heroes on TV, ‘Arrow’ already did it weeks before with Season 3, having the first ever superhero/sidekick dynamic on television for the first time since 1960’s Batman Series. Yet it seems to have been squandered in terms of significance within the show itself.
Given how the mid season Finale ‘The Climb’ ended last week, it’s being said that Stephen Amell’s Oliver may not return until 2-3 episodes into the 2nd half of the Season. Given that, I’m hoping that the underplaying of the supporting cast in the first half of Season 3 was intentional in hopes of having them step up and carry the show during Oliver’s temporary absence in the second half.
The Mid Season Finale of ‘Arrow’ saw yet another shocking twist this season, with Oliver getting skewered in this fight against R’as Al Ghul and kicked off a, presumably, very high mountain. Since the mention of R’as Al Ghul in Season 1, audiences have wondered if the immortal elements of the character’s comic book origins will be kept in the otherwise grounded show. The mid Season Finale seems to have hinted if not revealed it altogether.
R’as Al Ghul’s statement of not having been challenged in 67 years, while he looks at his best, in his early 40’s, is very telling that we’ll get to see this age rejuvenating fountain of youth. This and the fact that Oliver was seemingly killed in the end of the shocking episode, is leading everyone to believe that he will be revived using the Pit. While I find that a little unlikely, it is interesting to think of other ways it could happen.
I find it unlikely that someone R’as killed off would be brought into what must be his most prized and well-guarded secret without his knowledge. The popular theory suggests that Maseo will take pity on Oliver and revive him, but again, a regular henchman or even trusted advisor would not find it that easy to sneak an enemy into the Demon Head’s fountain of youth.
The only way Oliver’s revival by Lazarus Pit seems plausible is if R’as discovers the truth about Thea murdering Canary, and orders Oliver revived through the use of his Lazarus Pit, out of a sense of righteous justice.
The rest of the Season could then further continue with Oliver returning from the dead, altered due to the effects of the Pit, as it’s known to do in the comic books. This could allow the makers to maybe even do a modified Jason Todd story where Oliver is on a Lazarus Pit induced self justified rampage of cleansing the world of evil. This could also be the catalyst that unites the rest of the supporting cast (including Laurel & Thea’s newfound fighting abilities) by having to save Oliver, by being forced to bring him down. The arc could then culminate in Thea finally finding out Oliver’s secret about being the Arrow.
All will be revealed when ‘Arrow’ returns to continue Season 3 on January 21, 2014 on The CW.