The Arrow season 3 finale finally gets us out of the Ra’s al Ghul arc that has been killing the shows cred with fans. Now that we’re moving on, hopefully season 4 will be better. That said, this episode splinters our main characters that could lead to interesting places come season 4. I’m also proud of an Aladdin joke and a Captain Planet joke that you should click-through to enjoy in its full glory.
Well. That happened. This week’s Arrow threatens to turn the show in a whole new direction. I can’t even begin to guess where they take things next.
Getting to the episode itself, after watching it, I (and trusty Flarrow sidekick Christelle) went back to see a Facebook post Stephen Amell put up earlier in the week to describe the episode.
Check out this week’s Arrow review! It’s long but I just have so many feelings about Oliver and Thea!
What was immediately fascinating about this episode is how the flashbacks were in Starling City and the present time was on Lian Yu, a cool contrast from seasons 1-2 where it was the reverse. Especially while in the direct middle of the five-year journey. I also noticed that the present and past were a bit more even this episode, as opposed to majority present, minimal past. The focus of both sides of this episode is Oliver’s relationship with his sister. I am so glad that Oliver told Thea the truth once again. As she said, now they truly have no secrets from each other (well, Oliver always has a few up his sleeve).
I wrote a piece defending the writing of Arrow’s Felicity Smoak this season, because I think her storyline this season has been oversimplified by viewers who think that all of her actions have had to do with Oliver’s waffling over their relationship.
Badass Digest recently wrote a piece explaining how Arrow has “failed” Felicity Smoak in its third season. It brings up a lot of great points about the ways in which her character has changed, but I think it unfairly places the blame on the Oliver/Felicity relationship, when I think things are a bit more complicated than that. Sara’s death, pieces of Felicity’s (of the admittedly little) backstory that we know, and the overall darkness of the season all help push Felicity to a darker place this season. And I think that’s okay for the show overall.
The end of this week’s Arrow gutted me (and Oliver) more than the literally torso-piercing mid-season finale did. As I write this I am still in shock and can’t really move. We’ll get to that later though.
With regard to the title and the Malcolm-ness of the episode: I mostly just liked the alliteration of the recap subtitle, but both epithets were used for Malcolm in the episode and I think it represents the two parts of him. The Magician is the man he was before the League. He was flawed and scared but he cared about his family and still chose to show Nyssa his trick even when he saw that she was a tweenage bad-ass. The Monster is who he became. The League didn’t erase his anger or despair, it suppressed it until it drove him insane. Insane enough to think that destroying the Glades was helping the city (I am still thrown by all of the logic-adjacent support he got from Thea and Roy in this episode).
Malcolm has to rectify both sides of himself, as does Team Arrow. I agree with Felicity that he is a monster, but in contrast, he listened to Oliver and didn’t kill Brick. Hedoesseem to care about Thea (well, to a certain extent; he did still put her inthe crosshairs of Ra’s al Ghul). And if redemption and changing your ways is a theme of the series (which is what Oliver’s character development has been about so far), then Oliver is the person who can best help Malcolm redeem himself. Just like Canary was the name for Sara that she felt was beautiful but didn’t really represent who the League turned her into, Malcolm struggles with the same with his own name. Maseo also became someone else when he joined the League. This season is about identity and all of these characters must reconcile the different parts of themselves, including the different names they go by. Malcolm must stop being the Monster and return to being the Magician.
Check out the rest for my Olicity thoughts, because of course I have some.
Then I wrote about the exciting news that Jimmy Olsen is now black! This gives the upcoming Supergirl series some serious blerd cred. I’m so glad they “thought outside the box” as the actor, Mehcad Brooks, stated on Twitter.
Finally, I did this week’s Arrow recap as well, where the remains of Team Flash act more like teenagers whose parents went out of town and had a big party where everything gets broken rather than adults who know when to quit. Thankfully, Mama Felicity saves the day. But she can’t save Laurel from the creepiest Weekend at Bernie’s stunt she’s pulled on Captain Lance since Sara died. Sara MUST be coming back since they’ve refused to tell him this long.
Thanks for playing!
My NOC recaps are back! Arrow was my favorite show to binge this summer, so recapping it for The Nerds of Color has been awesome. I can write and write and write about this show for pages. It’s also fun teaming up with fellow NOC writer Christelle, who writes the Flash recaps.
Arrow returns with a resurrection, and while the episode featured a lot of the appropriate resurrection keywords and images: a “three days” mention, Oliver lying stretched out kinda Christ-like as Maseo brought him down the mountain, I guess Tatsu is kinda Mary Magdalene? Not really, that’s a stretch, but the point was to say that Oliver’s story is a bit more The Lion King than anything else. Click through to get a bit more context on that…
Where do I even begin? There’s the remains of Team Arrow (or whatever it may become without the Arrow to guide them — oh, haha, get it?); the future of both the A.T.O.M and the Canary; Malcolm, Thea, and everyone’s inability to disclose important deaths; the whitewashing of Brick; and of course: the revival! I think I’ll just go in that approximate order, and throw some flashback plot in there too (sorry, for now, they’re not my favorite thing).
We start with a car chase. Read the rest here:NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulled Apart, Brick by Brick | thenerdsofcolor.