Listen as Snooty and Goon bumble their way through history!
Don Hemingway (Red Band Trailer)
I love Thea, she is just amazing. Best character on the show. Okay, just wanted to get that out of the way, onto the review.
Okay, this episode gave me all sorts of chills. If you could see me, where would be goosebumps on my arm, Helena being back, Laurel’s falling to darkness, Sara pulling herself out of it! To much amazing for one hour. Lets get into it.
On the island we see Sara and the others that escaped from the boat arriving at the plane, she then receives a call from Slade, telling her that he still has Oliver and offers her a trade, Oliver for the Henrdicks. Slade needs Hendricks to repair the boat so that he can leave, and tortures Oliver until Sara agrees to turn him over. Hendricks, of course, is not in favor of this plan but in the end ends up being part of the trade, negotiations via pipe induced bludgeoning may or may not have been a factor. Before Slade releases Oliver, he gives him the same tattoo that Shado had on her back, a constant reminder that Oliver failed to save her.
Really the island scenes were pretty boring this week, we got conversations and torture. The only really interesting part was seeing how Oliver got that tattoo on his back, this didn’t even really do much to act as set up for the future. They could have just cut these scenes and nothing would have been lost from the episode, in fact I think spending more time focusing on Helena would have just made it that much better.
In the present, we open with a police raid, Oliver and Sara hiding in the shadows to keep an eye on Lance. When Lance takes a bullet in the vest, Sara looses it and tosses a guy out the window while Oliver chases down a fleeing bad guy who turns out to be Frank Bertinelli. His capture is made a public, and Oliver worries that Helena will return to Starling to finally kill her father. At the same time Laurel is offered her job back at the District Attorney’s office by her old boss, he wants her to act as the prosecutor in Bertinelli’s trial. This worries Sara and Oliver, the former is unable to talk her out of proceeding with the trial, the latter shows up at the courthouse to keep an eye on her. Things take a turn when Helena, aka Huntress, shows up and takes hostages. Turns out the entire thing was a set up to capture Helena, but like the Boy Scouts of America, she came prepared. A fire fight breaks out, hostages are taken, and Laurel is able to slip away. At the same time Sara gets in, intent on getting Laurel to safety. Laurel refuses, not wanting to leave without helping the other hostages, and in a surprising show of strength is able to convince Sara to help. Sara and Helena duke it out, and Sara gets defenestrated (I love that word) and Laurel joins the hostages. After Helena and Laurel share a brief conversation about falling to the dark side, Helena gets a call from Oliver and says that she will release Laurel if Oliver hands over her dad. With help from Sara and Lance they get Frank to the meeting, Helena able to sneak out of the courthouse dressed as a cop. Oliver tries to talk her down, but before anything can happen the moment is broken up when SWAT member that followed Helena shoots up the scene, killing Frank Bertinelli in the process. Helena breaks down, gets arrested, and close out with a rather touching scene between her and Oliver, Oliver apologizing for not being able to help her, before Helena is led away in chains.
This was an amazing story to watch, I have been waiting for Helena’s return since she last left the show, I loved her character and the impact she had on Oliver. She could be seen as his first failure as hero. Oliver tried his hardest to save her, to stop her from becoming a killer, but his efforts ultimately proved pointless, he was a killer at the time himself after all. Helena’s return acted as a way of throwing that failure back into his face, making him even more determined to save her, only to once again fail. Helena’s scene at the end, her breakdown at the death of her father was handled beautifully. She was not mourning his death, but rather devastated that she hadn’t been the one to do it. Her with Oliver at the end was amazing as well, it gives me hope for the future of her character, that she could still become the hero that Huntress is in the comics. Her scenes with her father were great as well, him mourning the loss of his little girl, broken hearted at what she had become. Overall, everything with Helena was fantastic to watch, she acted as the worst case scenario, what Oliver, Sara, and even Roy could become if they weren’t careful, didn’t closely guard themselves. She also served to act as a reflection of both Sara and Laurel, showing them their darkest aspects, the parts of themselves they were fighting against. I could go on and on for the entire review about Helena, but I’ll end it with saying that every part of her being back was fantastic, and this had better not be the last we see of her.
Sara and Laurel had some solid moments this week as well. We get to see Sara struggling with line between being a hero and being a killer, brought on by her family being put in danger. I was bit hesitant about this at first because Sara being a killer vs being a hero hasn’t really been to big a thing recently, but given her training as an assassin, and the lengths she will go to to save her family. In the end Oliver, with some help from Laurel is able to get through to her in a way that he wasn’t with Helena, and stop her from going to far down the dark path. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Laurel, who actually proved to be interesting this week. They are finally doing something with her character and we see some solid groundwork set up for her. She shows that strength and determination that we saw from her in season one, her not backing down from taking the case, trying to save the hostages, and in the end blackmailing her boss to get her job back. This was the biggest part for her this episode, she parrots back the words that Helena said about letting the darkness in, and that evil looking smirk on her face at the end, partly responsible for the aforementioned chills. It will be interesting to see where they run with this, hopefully they don’t fumble the ball.
In one other brief, but important, plot, we see Oliver telling Roy that he needs to stay away from Thea. Oliver is worried about Roy and what happens to him when he loses his temper. Roy refuses to at first, but after an incident in the club is able to see that Oliver has a point. He tries to break up with Thea, who flat out refuses to allow that to happen, forcing him to up the ante. He arranges for Thea to catch him making out with some girl, which gets Thea to dump him. In a surprising twist, Thea is well aware that Roy just did to drive her away, and is more hurt that Roy won’t open up to her and let her help. This is why I love Thea, instead of being the idiot teenager we saw in season one, she is constantly proving to be an insightful and smart young woman. We need more of this, we need more of Thea, she is definitely one of the strongest parts of this show. It has honestly heartbreaking at the end when she tells Oliver that he is the only one who doesn’t lie to her, and how hurt she is from all the lies in her life. You just want to give her a hug and tell her everything is going to be okay! Which it won’t she did get into a car with Slade at the end.
Overall, this was an amazing episode, and is in the running for best of the season. The island bits were boring and did break up the tension from the main plot, in a bad way, but the good parts far out weighed the bad. We got the return of an amazing character and a resolution to her story, I only hope that its not her only story on the show. If the Flash shows does well, I would love to see them try and use Arrow to launch a new Birds of Prey series, lord knows we need something to wash the taste of the last one they made out of our mouths.
Man, a roller coaster wedding, how much fun would that be?
We open up with Castle and Beckett discussing wedding venues and after some fun suggestions, and a nice rhyme from Beckett, the two depart to solve a crime. Our CoW revolves centers on a Wall Street trader found dead in his home. A picture of a suspect is found from a nearby security camera and things seem to progress as normal, for a while. A wrench is thrown into the works when it is discovered that the victim is working with the U.S. Attorneys office, acting as an informant gathering information on his boss. Another fun twist that comes along with this new information is that Captain Gate’s sister is the lead agent from Attorney’s office, and there is obviously some rough history between them. With this new information on hand, Team Castle sets to work finding a killer. As they dig deeper into the case more information comes to light that raises more questions. We learn that a suspect in the case, a gang member, turned out to be the victim’s best friend who gave him a gun to our victim that just happened to be the same kind that was used to kill him, and that our victim applied for a Venezuelan passport under a different name, and that he got a cool $25 million from his boss after telling him that the U.S. Attorney’s office was building a case against him. In the end, it was discovered that the drug charge that got our victim working for the Attorney’s was faked and the drugs were planted on him. His fake passport and money were for him to leave the country and start a new life in his home country of Venezuela, the officer from the Attorney’s office he was dealing with discovered this and, knowing that it would destroy the case they were building, killed him.
As far as CoW, this was a good one. There was some interesting twists in it, and the inclusion of another law enforcement agency always works to spice things up. While they the U.S. Attorney’s didn’t do much, their primary role here seemed to introduce a new part of Captain Gates back story, which was great. Since she took over in season five, we have seen a lot of who Gates is, but never much of her history. The inclusion of a sister, played by the amazing Salli Richardson-Whitfield, she’s on the rocks with was great, what was best is that they didn’t put to much focus on it, just a few scenes that established their relationship, their history, and the resolution of the conflict. Their moment at the end, with Elizabeth saying that she needed a drink and her sister was fantastic. The subplot was a nice addition to the story, gave an interesting twist to the CoW, and really helped to provide a broader view of a character we know and love.
For Castle and Beckett, we got the subplot of the invite list, which led to some fun jokes about who to invite and who not too. Both wanted to keep the wedding small, and yet Beckett came with list of one hundred, and Castle with over four. The two arguing about who to invite and not invite, their seeking advice from Ryan, was fun to watch. These little bits of Castle and Beckett hitting the road bumps as they plan their wedding are honestly fun to watch. They give us great relationship moments between the two, but are kept short and sweet so that they don’t overpower the episodes. Best part of this was them turning to Martha for advice, who in turn only brought her own list to the proceedings. In the end they give each other a minute to compose a list of only the most important people they need there, and of course, they both write “you.” While pretty cheesy, it was sweet and fit in well with their characters. It was a touching close out, even though they immediatly got to work on another invite list again.
Downside, no Alexis. I was sad she wasn’t there this week, I think throwing her into the list thing would have been fun to watch. She is caring and insightful character, and I think it would have been fun to see her bring that into the discussion of who should be invited to the wedding, or have her in the opening scene, chime in on the wedding venue discussion, but alas it was not to be.
Overall, this was a good episode, the case was interesting with some fun twists and turns and the brief glimpse into Gate’s history was nice. Castle and Beckett continue to have a fun relationship to watch progress, and I so cannot wait for their wedding.
And sadly, this will be the last Castle, review you get for awhile, seems the next new episode won’t be until April 21. This should hopefully give me a chance to get caught up on OUaT in Wonderland, lord knows I have been straggling in my reviews of that. I’m pulling a Snooty, and that just ain’t cool.
Until next time,
Well, Charming certainly found himself in a hairy situation this week, didn’t he? (Okay, I hate myself a little bit for saying that)
We open with David wandering around the castle, and finding himself in Emma’s old nursery. He is of course confused, but before things can be figured out Emma shows up in a rather fancy dress, apparently hiding from her first ball. They dance, David still very confused, but obviously enjoying spending time with his daughter and teaching her to dance. That is until she starts talking about how he failed her. Things take a turn for the even worse when the magic wardrobe bursts open and begins to pull Emma in. Her parting words are not to fail the next one like he failed her. He awakens in bed, clearly shaken by what happened, to some good news from Snow, she is knocked up!
After some words of advice from Robin about overcoming ones fears, David departs for Sherwood, trying to find a magic root Robin told him about that will drive away his fear. He finds it, and a tower, and a princess inside the tower. That’s right, Rapunzel has finally made an appearance. As it turns out, she used some of the magic root to drive away her fear of being a leader. David tries to rescue her, but the evil witch that imprisoned Rapunzel makes an appearance and after tossing David around like a rag doll, is revealed to be a manifestation of Rapunzel’s fears, spawned when she ate the root. She overcomes her fear, banishes the fear demon, and is reunited with her family. In the process, David puts his own fear behind him as well, ready to be a father.
In Storybrooke, we see a similar plot develop. Emma and gang are working hard to track down the Wicked Witch before she has a chance to enact any evil plots. Regina keeps Henry safe and busy, which gives a short but nice bit between the two, while Emma, Hook, and David try to track down Mean and Green. David splits off, having to meet up with Snow and their new (wicked) midwife, who slips him the fear root in his tea. This leads to a confrontation with fear demon version of himself, who he is able to defeat, in turn empower his broken sword as a totem of his courage, which is then stolen by the Wicked Witch in a puff of green smoke. While David deals with his split personality, Emma and Hook have a moment in the woods and are able to track the Wicked Witch back to a farm house in the woods. Busting open the cellar they find an empty cage with a spinning wheel and straw strewn about the floor. They have discovered that Rumpel is still alive and being held by the witch.
So, I must make a confession, I am actually enjoying the Enchanted Forest flashbacks in this new batch of episodes. Instead of random backstory that didn’t do much for the story, we are seeing what actually happened to the characters in their lost year, and are getting some interesting parallels between the flashback plots and the Storybrooke plots. However, I will say that I think it would be more interesting if they forgo those, left the viewers wondering what happened in that lost year, maybe drop the occasional hint in the form of a random memory or comment from the Wicked Witch. It would serves as a great way to amp up the tension and the mystery of the show. But they there is no way they are going to just ditch the fantasy scenes, after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I must admit, I really loved the David story we got this week. His fears and bit of self loathing over his perceived failure as a father in regards to Emma is not something that would just go away, but would definitely fester over the years. Now the whole facing a manifestation of his fears to overcome them wasn’t exactly original but it fit in well with show, and even if it is a bit cliched, it is always fun to see someone fight their evil double. Also, we have had a shocking lack of sword fights as of late, and I just won’t stand for that, Goon likes sword fights.
Not much more has been revealed of Zalena’s plot thus far, we learned that she has Rumpel’s dagger which is how she is keeping him locked up, and we were treated to a rather creepy scene of her giving him a shave with said dagger. I am not sure what her plans for Rumpel are, but I am not sure I want to know.
Overall, while not an amazing episode, it was solid one. We got some nice character moments with David as he dealt with his fears and put old demons to rest, and a brief but touching scene with Regina and Henry. I hope we can get more of those, could be a great lead in to Henry getting his memories back. I would say the worst part of the episode would be Rapunzel, while I was happy to see her finally make an appearance on the show, she was not an overly impressive character. Cutting her hair to overcome her fear? It was not impressive. Something better they could have done with her would be through helping her, David was able to overcome his fears, or have her impart some sort of wisdom on him that could help. But no, she showed up, acted scared, and gave herself an impromptu haircut, nothing all that great. Here’s hoping they do something better next week.
*rolls a d20*
Okay, add that to my Profession (reviewer) skill, that is a…31, which means I succeed! I successfully write a review!
Now that that is taken care of, lets go slay that Necromancer.
We open with another meeting of the Save Greendale Committee, doing whatever it is they do, when Hickey seems distraught. Turns out he wasn’t invited to his grandson’s birthday because he doesn’t get along with his son. In an effort to get Hickey to reconnect with this son the gang decides that the only logical solution to this problem is a rousing game of Dungeons and Dragons. (I like the way they think) Of course this doesn’t go as planned as Hickey’s son is smart enough to figure out what is going on, and thus mixes up the characters that Abed handed out and throwing a wrench into the plan. Hickey’s son grows upset with the game and causes a bridge to collapse, thus bringing about the worst possible thing in an RPG, he split the party!
Hickey and son argue and make a deal, if Hickey kills the necromancer he can come to the grandson’s party, if his son takes him out, Hickey stops going to family holidays. The deal is struck, the party is split, and the adventure continues. We jump between the two groups and treated to some incredibly fun role playing scenes as they progress through the adventures. After some fights, torture sessions, and spider riding *shudder* the group is reunited and a battle ensues. Swords are swung, arrows fly, dice are rolled, and heroes fall. In the end, only Hickey and his son are left standing, and the necromancer gets away, which leads two patching up, more or less, and they continue to try and kill the necromancer.
I’m just gonna say it, this was the second best episode of the season, and one of the best of the series to date. We got a little bit of set up at the beginning and then a head on dive into pure fun. We got to see all the characters really getting into the game at an even greater level than the first Dungeons and Dragons episode back in season 2. What was best was seeing Hickey get so into the game so very quickly, sure it may have been to beat his son, but doesn’t change the fact that he fully embraced the game, and obviously was having some fun. The scene of the epic clash between the two groups was hilarious to watch, Abed rolling the dice while desperately trying to keep up with the different attacks being called out had me laughing hysterically.
One of the best parts of the episode thought was the whole father and son trying to connect. We got see Hickey step outside his comfort zone into something new, all to try and patch things up with this son. Jeff trying to help it along, comparing the situation to his own estranged relationship with his father was a brilliant move on the writers part, especially because we really haven’t had much with that since the Thanksgiving episode last season. What was best was that we didn’t get some great resolution to their conflict, the two didn’t make up and be a happy family. Instead it ends with them bickering while playing the game, with Jeff coming to the realization that while they couldn’t stand to really be around each other, they couldn’t stand to be apart as well. It was a very nice, and very realistic way to wrap things up.
Other great moments from the episode that must be mentioned:
– Annie once again rocking Hector the Well Endowed
– How the Dean played the relationship between his character’s and Jeff’s
– Neal’s brief background appearance
– Abed’s strict adherence to the role of the GM
– Abed running a game for Annie’s stuffed animals, and killing them off with goblins
Overall, this was an amazing episode and did a fantastic job of showing that while the show did hurt from the loss of Troy, it can still be great.
Breaking from tradition, we find ourselves skipping out in the island flashbacks this week, instead we get some Diggle backstory, which was a honestly a refreshing change. In our flashbacks we see Diggle, still in the army, escorting a group of civilians to safety, only for Lyla Michaels (his future wife/girlfriend) discovers that one of the civilians is actually a terrorist in disguise. Diggle and his teammate and friend, Ted Gaynor (last seen as a bad guy in season one, and stilled played by the amazing Ben Browder) restrain the bad guy and continue on. Before long they are ambushed by other bad guys and Diggle saves the terrorists life, which acts as our set up for the main plot of the episode.
In the present, we see the plot split in two, Diggle working with the Suicide Squad to recover a nerve agent held by the terrorist he saved, one Gholem Qadir. While Diggle is off playing with his new friends, Oliver is working to track down Slade before he can hurt anyone he cares about. Lets start with Oliver’s story this week. Not much happened. We see Oliver taking a bit of a dive off the deep end, his worry and concern over his friends getting hurt is driving him to push them away, something which Sara will have none of. We see Oliver calling on his old Russian Mob contacts to find info, and burning that bridge in the process. Slade is basically leading Oliver on a wild goose chase, always stay at least one step ahead of the hero. Not much really happened here, I was honestly kinda bored. Oliver’s freak out over Slade is understandable, but I don’t think it was played very well here. He worked to just push Sara away for about half the episode, only to come to his senses and stop. While I am glad that didn’t try to play this up for to long, as it would have gotten really old really fast, they could have at least made it a bit more interesting. I would say the best part of this was Laurel, and believe me I am as shocked as you are that I just said that, but she actually brought a bit of intelligence and mature thinking to the situation, showing that she is actually have some progression with her character. The very fact that she is trying to patch things up between Oliver and Sara is a huge step forward for her from just a few weeks ago. If they keep this up, she may actually be a worthwhile character soon.
Now, to the fun part of the episode, Diggle teaming up with the Suicide Squad. I am just gonna say it, I loved it. It was nice seeing old villains actually working as good guys. While most of the emphasis was placed on Deadshot, Shrapnel being killed off within his first few minutes and Bronze Tiger more or less being a support character, this still worked. With only an hour to deal with, spending to much time on these characters would have derailed from the actually story and given that history between Diggle and Deadshot, putting the focus on them was the smart move. Deadshot actually proved to be an interesting character and I was glad that they brought in his daughter, it provided a motivation for his character and a chance to see him as more than just a gun for hire. Most importantly, it allowed Diggle to see him as more than just the man that killed his brother. We actually see the characters begin to form some sort of a bond, which was honestly just amazing to watch. The main theme of this episode revolved around the idea of morality, what is right and wrong. Diggle was confronted with this through Deadshot, finding out his motivations for doing what he did, what was important to him, and what he thought was worth dying for. I freely admit, my favorite part of this episode was seeing Diggle rush to save Deadshot at the end, talking him out of letting himself die. I honestly hope we see the Suicide Squad again soon, I totally want more Deadshot moments, and more of the crazy lady in the cell.
That was the part that upset me, that we only got to hear what was obviously supposed to be Harley Quinn and not actually see her. Now, this could be because of licensing issues surrounding the character, so they did a clever work around, but I honestly wanted to see her on screen, mostly because of who played her. The voice of the crazy lady we heard was none other than the ever so beautiful, continually amazing, Tara Strong. For those of you who may not know, Tara Strong is primarily a voice actor, known for characters such as Twilight Sparkle, Timmy Turner, Ben 10, Batgirl, and many many others. She also voiced Harley Quinn a number of times, so that was probably why they brought her in to voice the character.
The other big part of Diggle’s story, was seeing him work through some things with Lyla. While limited, it was nice to see them work through their relationship issues, Lyla is serving to be an interesting character and seres to gives us a window into Diggle’s past, which is still largely unknown, so I am hoping that more of her will be seen. I will say there is one thing that I was upset with about this episode, which is a carry over from previous episodes, and that was Amanda Waller. Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays Waller, is far from a bad actress, but I just don’t buy her as a convincing Amanda Waller. She is far better than the Waller portrayed in the Green Lantern movie, but far from what I was expecting or hoping from the character.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode. Even though only a limited time was spent on Oliver, I was okay with this. The Suicide Squad made for fantastic watching, and shows a lot of promise for the future. They need to show up again, this not me saying I want them to appear, no, they need to appear. There still a lot of potential for stories with those characters, and gorram it I want to see Tara Strong on screen, in full blown Harley Quinn make up!