Slade’s goons are here to kill us: Goon Reviews Arrow “Unthinkable”

Okay everyone, try to look badass.

Okay everyone, try to look badass.

Seriously, how freaking long are the writers going to tease the Oliver/Felicity pairing?   Those rat bastards.

With flashback Oliver, we pick up with him and Sara being held by Slade on the boat.  They watch helplessly as Slade injects prisoners with the Mirakuru, which kills them all.  Oliver tries, and fails, to talk sense into Slade, who is getting some really bad advice from his crazed delusions of Shado, when the two hour limit he gave Anatoly expires and the plucky Russian launches the last torpedo.  The ship goes boom and Oliver and Sara try to escape.  Doesn’t work.  A fight breaks out with Slade that ends with Sara getting swept out of the boat, to her “death.”  Oliver and Slade fight, the juiced up mercenary having the clear advantage, but before Slade can kill him, an explosion rocks the ship and bits of metal fall onto Slade, pinning him to the ground.  Oliver is left with a choice; cure Slade, or kill him.  Oliver chooses the renegade option by shoving an arrow through Slade’s eye.  Before Oliver can escape the sinking ship, he is knocked unconscious.   When he wakes, he is an an unknown room and two Asian guys with guns come in to usher him out.  He then meets Amanda Waller and is welcomed to the city of Hong Kong.

In Starling, everything is coming to a head. Slade’s soldiers are ransacking the city, there is a nuke loaded drone heading for the city, and very little hope left.  Oliver and Co. have retreated to the clock tower to plan their next move when Roy awakens, no longer super powered or crazy.  The news that the cure work fills them with hope, but it’s short lived as Slade’s goons (again, no relation) attack the tower.  The team escapes through the window via an ever so handy zip line arrow, and before the baddies can follow, Lilah shows up in a chopper with a rocket launcher (aka, the I win button) and blows them away.  Oliver then dispatches Diggle and Lilah  back to A.R.G.U.S. to buy him time to save the city.  He then returns to the foundry base with Felicity and Roy to gather weapons and plan the next move.  Realizing they are vastly outnumbered, Sara has returned with Nyssa and the League of Assassins to help.  Oliver, begrudgingly, accepts their help and they launch their attack on Slade’s army.  At the same time, the newly promoted Lt. Lance is rallying the troops to defend the city when one of the Slade Soldiers bursts in, throws him around the room, and stomps off with Laurel.  While all of this is going on Thea is having a heart to heart with dear old dad, who is proud of her for trying to kill him. (that is totally a healthy outlook to have)  Thea runs off to meet up with Roy and tells him she wants to leave the city with him.  Roy agrees but receives a call from Felicity, calling him to action.  He tells Thea he was one thing to finish up and asks her to pack.  While she is packing, she finds his the training equipment Oliver gave him, left him a Dear John letter, and disappeared.  Our last shot of her is get getting into a limo with Merlyn, saying she will never return to Starling.   To keep Felicity safe, Oliver leaves her at Queen Mansion, telling her that he loves her and she has to stay safe.  Through the combined efforts of Team Arrow, fighting on multiple fronts, Slade’s army is injected with the cure, save for Isabel who is killed by Nyssa (poor poor Summer) and the day is saved!  Before the luau can begin, Oliver receives word from Slade that its time to end the game.  Oliver shows up at Creepy Villain Layer #3 and finds that Slade has nabbed Felicity as well as Laurel.  Slade launches into his villainous monologue, the trap is sprung.  Oliver and Felicity set it up for Slade to nab her so she could close enough to stick him with the cure.  The two fight then fight in their final battle, and of course,  the hero wins.  Slade is  locked away in an underground prison on the island and instead of the super awesome hook up between Felicity and Oliver that we have been waiting for, they talk about how they were able to pull one over on Slade.  (grrrr)

Alot happened in this episode, and all of it was amazing.  It was almost non stop action from start to finish, and this worked.  All of last weeks episode was set up for this, the final battle, and that is exactly what we got.  This episode gave us some of the best action scenes of the series to date, the tunnel battle between Oliver’s group and Slade’s army was a fantastically done scene.  It was fast, frantic, but clear.  This show, thankfully, does not use the shaky cam style of action.  We can clearly see the the work put into the fight scenes, and it is amazing.  Oliver and the ninjas using the arrows to inject the cure, all of them almost dancing around Slade’s more powerful soldiers is a visual treat.  This goes one step further in the final fight between Slade and Oliver.  The fight for them cuts between their battle in Starling, and their fight on the boat in the past.  The editing for this scene was amazing, the different fights blending together perfectly and acting as perfect mirrors of each other, with one notable different.  At the end of the boat fight, Oliver believes he kills Slade, thinking it is the only option he has available to him but in the present he does the opposite.  Oliver chooses to spare Slade.

Amell deliverers the best speech of the series to date, saying how everything he has become was because Slade.  Slade made Oliver into what he needed to be when he needed to be it.  At first, a killer to survive the island, in the end, a hero to save the city.  This concept of everything Oliver is is because of Slade is an intriguing concept, because everything that Slade has done and become is because of Oliver’s actions.  The two have formed an almost symbiotic relationship, both of them needing the other to evolve into what they need to be.   Slade the villain, Oliver the hero.

This was also the first time that Oliver has called himself a hero, and introduces a whole new dynamic for the series from here on out.  Throughout season two he was taking a new approach to his vigilante acts, not killing, and at times he has failed in this, but he has always tried.  Now at the end game, he is told by several people that his only option is killing, and that his lack of killing has what led them to this moment.  It is only Felicity that tells him otherwise, who truly believes he can be a hero, and she’s right.  Oliver stands tall, he doesn’t kill because its not who he is anymore, and he doesn’t need too.  He has realized that he doesn’t need to kill anymore to save the city.  I commented on an episode earlier this season, about how I was upset that everything Oliver does was for someone else, his father or Tommy, and that I wanted to see him set his own path, not try to be the person someone else wanted him to be.  It looks like that has happened now.  Oliver has realized who he is, what is role is, and what he now must do.  This season was a game changer for the series, Oliver is now broke, without his family, and only Felicity and Diggle to rely upon.  It will be fantastic to see what happens from here on out.

In terms of characters, we had some fantastic moments for them this episode, even if some were brief.  I already commented upon Oliver, his character moments tie strongly into the plot for the episode, his most prominent being his moment with Felicity in his home.  When he confesses his love to her it is one of the most emotionally heavy scenes of the series, Amell and Rickards have fantastic chemistry, and their has been a lot of build up to this one moment.  In a great, if annoying, twist we discover this was a set up to get Felicity into position to help take down Slade.  I would be more annoyed at this if it wasn’t for the final moment of them on the beach, the small smiles they have for each other while they talk about how well they sold it, it all but says that there is truly more to them than friendship, just that maybe their not ready to explore it yet.  It is a promise for things to come.

For other characters, we got to see Diggle being his badass self, breaking to A.R.G.U.S. and calling up Deadshot and the Suicide Squad to help stop Waller.  The reveal that Lilah is pregnant with their child was a fantastic twist that will be a great subplot to watch play out next season.  Sara’s return to Starling, with the ninjas in tow was fun.  Not great, but it worked.  I was pretty meh towards it until her statement that for the first time in her life she chose her own path, this I liked.  Her character was very much adrift throughout this season, her finally having a path of her own is fantastic, even if we don’t see her again.  Her final moment of handing the coat of too Laurel, nice foreshadowing for the future.  Thea, what can I say about Thea apart from that we may be witnessing the birth of a villain here.  I hope that isn’t the case.  Throughout the last two seasons, Thea has undergone the most development as a character, and it was amazing to watch.  I can understand her whole thing about not wanting to be weak, but I am honestly worried that she is going to return to Starling as villain.  With Merlyn for a father, its only a matter of time before he reveals to Thea what Oliver does in his spare time, and with how hurt she is over the constant lies in her life, I can easily see him twisting that hurt into hatred.  We may honestly see a brother/sister showdown next season.  Which I admit, could be pretty freaking cool to watch.  Maybe this could lead into some sort of redemption storyline, Thea going dark before becoming a hero and fighting side by side with Oliver.  Yeah, that’d be pretty sweet.  Do that writers, make that happen!

Overall, this was a fantastic season finale, one of the best I have seen.  The ending of the Slade story was amazing to see as we watched Oliver take his final steps in becoming a hero.  All the characters played they roles perfectly, and there was amazing set up for the next season.  Oliver being poor and having to reclaim his family’s business.  This will introduce a whole new dynamic to the show as Oliver continues his crime fighting with out the resources he is accustomed to.  Personally,  I can’t wait for the next season to premier, I want to know what happens.

Goon out.

 

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Why does every secret formula have to be a color: Goon reviews Arrow “Streets of Fire”

arrow_streets_of_fire_willa_holland_john_barrowman_a_l

 

Fuck, yes, Felicity.

Okay, had to get that out of the way first.  On to the review.

When we left Oliver on the island, he and his new Russian BFF had broken the sub loose from the rocks but before they could cast off Sara was nabbed by Slade.  Determined to rescue her, Oliver and Anatoly bring the sub up next to the ship.  Oliver plans to swim over, save the girl, grab the cure, use it on Slade, and make his escape.  Before leaving we get a solid friendship moment between him and Anatoly and Oliver tells him to blow the boat. (which is called the Amazo, nice little nod to comic version of Ivo’s super powered robot)  Oliver is able to find Sara and the two make for Ivo’s office to find the cure they need for Slade.  However the cure is not there, and Slade and his goons burst into the room, revealing the Slade has the cure in his possession.

Island time this week didn’t do much, the story itself proceeds along, but the shots are so brief that there isn’t really much to talk about here.  It the best part of these scenes being the brief friendship moment between Oliver and Anatoly, it helps to really explain these Russian mob connections that Oliver has used in the past and was a solid moment for the two characters.

Now, to the real good part of the episode.  Slade’s attack has been launched on the city, and Oliver and Laurel are trapped underground.  Using one of Oliver’s exploding arrows, Laurel is able to get them out and they go to meet up with the rest of Team Arrow.  Diggle has his  hands full dealing with a powered up Isabel, who is sporting a look very similar to the character Rose from DC Comics, the daughter of Slade.  Isabel has the upper hand and talks about how she is looking forward to killing Felicity, apparently they don’t like each other very much.  Felicity hits her with the van, and it was amazing.  Felicity tells the team that S.T.A.R. Labs has finished the cure and they race to the courier to retrieve it, only to be beaten there by Slade’s goons.  While this is happen, Officer Lance takes out the baddie that was tear apart the station and tells his boss the only way they will win is with The Arrow’s help.  His boss agrees and gives Lance back his Detective Shield.  While Laurel tries to make her way to her dad, Sara shows up to help her.  They have a heart to heart, with Laurel telling Sara that she is indeed a hero, despite anything in her past.   At this point, with the loss of the cure, Oliver has given up hope, thinking that nothing can be done, and in one of her greatest moments to date, it is Felicity that snaps him out of it.  I am not even gonna try and summerize this for you, I am just gonna post her awesome speech right here:

Oliver: I have failed this city.  Yao Fei. Shado. Tommy. My father, my mother.  All that I have ever wanted to is honor those people.
Felicity: You honor the dead by fighting. And you are not done fighting! Malcolm Merlyn, The Count, the Clock King, the Triad–everyone who is trying to hurt this city, you stopped them.  And you will stop Slade.
Oliver: I don’t know how.
Felicity: Neither do I. But I do know two things.  You are not alone. And I believe in you.

Tingles, right, right?  C’mon, I can’t be the only guy who got tingles at this moment.

While watching the news, Lance sees military personnel taking up positions at the entrances to the city, at first thinking the cavalry has arrived.  As it turns out its Argus troops sent by Waller to stop anyone from leaving the city, she plans to stop Slade’s army by reducing Starling City to rubble.  Oliver, who has regained the cure, care of Sebastion Blood, who does not like what Slade is doing to the city, and honestly wishes to do nothing more than save Starling,  he is killed for his trouble by Isabel, tries to talk Amanda into holding off the attack.  She refuses and gives him until dawn to stop Slade.    At the train station, Thea is running from the bad guy there and is saved by none other than Malcolm Merlyn, who came back to save his daughter.  Naturally, she isn’t too happy to see dear old dad.  The two talk, Thea spends most of the time yelling at him before Hockey Mask Goon #3 shows up again.  Malcolm puts him down for  good, and Thea grabs a gun.  Our final shot of her is pulling the trigger before cutting to black.

Plot wise, this episode primarily acted as a stake raiser and set up for the finale.  Sara and Malcolm have returned, the city is in chaos, Waller plans to bomb the heck out of it, and Oliver only has a limited amount of time to save the day.  Not to sound like a trailer, but the stakes have never been higher for our bow brandishing badass.  Basically, while the plot for the episode wasn’t much, it wasn’t bad and did exactly what it should have done, get us pumped up for the finale.  Boy howdy did it work.

The strength of this episode was the character moments.  Between bits of finale set up we had some of the best character moments of the season, possible even the series.  Laurel helping Sara realize who she really is, Lance rallying the troops, pretty much every second of Felicity, Malcolm and Thea.  I don’t think I have enough words to describe just how much I loved every moment of this.  But let’s try.  Laurel has come along way since the beginning of the season, and these developments happened really fast.  Not a bad thing though as it is finally giving her character something to do.  Who else but her sister, who loves her unconditionally, could help Sara realize she is indeed a hero, help her find her path, and best of all, finally giving Sara her hero name, The Canary. (does this show have something against adding colors into the hero names?  I think they do)  Seeing John Barrowmen back as Malcolm was a real treat, and made perfect sense.  For a man that has lost everything in his life, I can clearly see why he would return to Starling to protect the only thing he has left, his daughter.  Thea denying that Malcolm was her dad, showing nothing but fear, rage, and hatred towards him, was perfect as well.  While I doubt that Thea actually shot him in the closing scene, she is certainly not out of line pulling a gun on him.  I hope that we can see more Malcolm next season, he could make for the interesting subject of a redemption story-arc.

But the best of all, the greatest character moment of this episode?  Take a guess.  That’s right! It was Felicity!

I have made no secret about how much I love this character, and moments like this are the reason why.  I honestly don’t think anyone but Felicity could have gotten through to Oliver the way she did, restore his faith in himself.  She started as girl who was terrified of Oliver and what he did, only agreeing to help him long enough to save Walter, and now she is his closest confidant, the one who helps him on his path, has only the utmost faith in him, and his mission, unable to walk away even if she wanted to.  Felicity is by far the stand out character of this show, and continues to be amazing.  Her running Isabel down with the van to save Diggle, another amazing moment, and shows just how much helping Oliver has helped her.  Early season one Felicity would never have been able to do that, she was just a timid computer nerd.  But now, she has grown into a strong, ass kicking, hero.  Sure, she is still far more at home behind a computer screen then in the battlefield, but the fact that she can step up and throw herself into the fight is nothing short of amazing.  I use that word a lot for her don’t I?  Okay, from now one the word amazing is now synonymous with the name Felicity.  There, that should make things easier.

Sadly, Diggle didn’t get much in this episode.  He was around, part of the fight and helping Oliver in anyway he could, but didn’t have any real stand out character moments.  I was upset by this.  I love Diggle, I love his role on the team and his friendship with Oliver.  There was plenty of opportunities for the writers to give him the same treatment as everyone else, but we got nothing.  Its disappointing.  Even the Blood, the bad guy, had a great character moment, showing he isn’t completely evil and his intentions, though horrible and misguided, were for the betterment of the city, at least in his own mind.

Overall, despite the plot being thin, this was a fantastic episode.  The characters were all in top form, we got see the return of Caity Lotz and John Barrowman, who play some fantastic characters, and we have a perfect set up for the season finale.  I eagerly await next week’s episode.

Goon out.

Quite the explosive plan: Goon Reviews Arrow “The Man Under the Hood”

The Man Under the Hood

That’s gonna take forever to buff out

After a brief hiatus we rejoin the Emerald Archer in his mission to stop Slade from making an army of super powered criminals.

How do they do this, you ask?  Well its simple, they just blow up Queen Consolidated’s fancy technology division, care of a plan from Felicity.  Not one to be deterred by something as trivial as an explosion, Slade breaks into a S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse and swipes a fancy transfusion device to accomplish this goal.  This treats us to another reference to the upcoming Flash series thanks to two guest characters that Felicity has met through visiting Barry in the hospital.  We also get a reference to famous DC Villain Dr. Light, hopefully this is some foreshadowing and he’ll be showing up in the future.  Knowing that the stolen device takes a massive amount of power, Felicity sets to monitoring the city’s power grid.  While she is doing this, Oliver is trying to repair the damage from Isabel taking control of his company, and learning of her past affair with his dad, and trying to patch things up with Thea, who is still quite shaken from the reveal of Merlin being her father.  While this is going on, Officer Lance has been locked up for helping The Arrow, which leads us with a conflicted Laurel.  She is struggling with the new found information that Oliver is The Arrow, she tails after him and Sara when they go out to try and stop Slade, confirming what Slade has told her.  She goes to her father and tells him that she knows who the The Arrow is and will tell the authorities, leading to one of Lance’s best scenes to date.  He tells Laurel to keep the secret, knowing that the The Arrow is needed and that he keeps his identity secret to protect those close to him.  With her father’s words ringing in her mind, she keeps the secret and uses her juicy blackmail material to get her dad out of jail and back on the force.   When Felicity gets a ping on the machine, Oliver goes off to stop Slade, knowing that using the machine will leave Slade drained and weakened, giving him a chance to kill him.  The plan goes South when Oliver finds the missing Roy strapped into the machine.  With some help from Diggle, who guns down Isabel, Oliver disables the machine and gets out with Roy.  We are treated with the closing scene of Slade standing over Isabel’s body, blood coming from her eyes in the trade mark Mirakuru, as a crowd gathers around him.

There was a lot happening in this episode, and nothing was overly impressive in it.  While not bad in any way, nothing was great.  This was very much a filler episode, very little was done to advance the plot, instead we had some wrap up of some plot points, fleshing out of a back story, and set up for the future.  I would say the biggest thing in this episode was the reveal of Isabel’s backstory.  She was an intern at Queen Consolidated and had a fling with Oliver’s dad.  She makes the completely ridiculous claim that the two of them were “soul mates” and he was going to run off with her, only to blow her off at the last minute.  I am gonna admit, I was upset with this.  I was really like Isabel’s character, and Summer Glau was playing this villainous role  perfectly, but this all came crashing down when they revealed her entire motivated was that she was a jilted former lover of Oliver’s dad.  It was just a stupid.  They did so much to set up her as this conniving, deceitful, and intelligent woman who worked her way into the company and gained Oliver’s trust only to betray him.  I am all for the revenge angle, but they chose the worst possible way to go about doing it.  They pretty much ruined an otherwise amazing villain.

The other stand out part of this episode was Thea, who is always amazing.  She is still devastated over the news of her parentage and hates Oliver and Moira for keeping this from her.  What made her great was that she was willing to reach out to Oliver when he tried to talk to her, but when his hero life calls him away, she walks away feeling more betrayed than before, that her own brother doesn’t  have the time for her, even when he is the one asking to meet.  Add in her past crush on Tommy, and Roy dumping her, and you have a young woman who’s entire world has been shattered and is mildly disgusted with herself over her past actions.  Thea is continuing to be one of the best characters in this show, and the writers are handling her perfectly.  While I am enjoying seeing her in this more drama heavy frame of mind, giving us a chance to see just what Willa Holland is capable of, I am hoping we can get a resolution between her and her family soon, I loved her and Oliver’s relationship and hope to see them patch things up soon.

Apart from that, the only other thing that happened was our brief time back on the island, the only significant even is the revelation from Ivo that there is a way to reverse the effects of the Mirakuru, and his death.  Admittedly Ivo did stand out in his brief appearances here, Dylan Neal played the broken man very well and we got a brief glimpse into Ivo’s past, his statement that he was once a good man and husband really drove home just how dangerous and destructive an obsession can be.

Overall, this was a lackluster episode, but filler is needed from time to time to wrap up minor plots, introduce new ones, or progress main ones.  There is a lot of potential for a pretty epic close out to this season, and if takes a filler or two in order to set that up,  I can live with that.

Goon out.

Congratulations, we’re not dead: Goon Reviews Arrow “Deathstroke”

Deathstroke

So, this episode certainly ramped the drama up to 11!  Holy crap, I am still shaking from the awesomeness!

Lets get right into this, on the island Sara is still desperate to rescue Oliver from Slade, but things start going awry when objections are raised to handing Hendrik over to die.  Sara doesn’t care, her only desire is to rescue Oliver, but she is being smart about it.  With help from Anatoly they harvest the explosives from land mines around the island and rig up a bomb to Hendrik that will take out Slade as well.  Of course this doesn’t work, Slade revealing that among his various super powers is enhanced senses.  He is able to smell TNT and disarm the bomb.  We then see just how crazy he has gotten since getting the wonder drug, an image of Shado appears, telling him to leave Oliver and the others on the island as their punishment.

Like usual, the island scenes act as a lot of build up and as a break in the action from the Starling City scenes.  They were interesting  to watch and it did a good job of showing just how far off the deep end Slade currently is and some solid character moments for Sara.  Apart from that, not much else to mention here.

Now, on to the good stuff.  Last week we closed out with Slade pickup up Thea while she is walking home.  We pick up right where we left off, Slade play’s the nice guy at first, but quickly drops the act and kidnaps Thea, with the help of Brother Blood.   A ransom video is made and Oliver scrambles into action, assembling his team and launching a mission to save his sister.  He drug Slade, courtesy of a handy tranq that Sara whips up, and hand him off Officer Lance.  Slade gets off, showing proof he was out of the country, Lance ends up in hot water, and Slade puts on the act of the concerned citizen.  At the same time Oliver’s business is in crisis so he hands off temporary control to Isabel so that he can focus on saving Thea.  This turns out to be a mistake as she uses the opportunity to take control the business, and when Oliver confronts her, we discover that she is working with Slade (this Goon is theorizing that she is actually Slade’s daughter, Rose) and reveals where he is hiding.  To make matters worse, we begin to see dissension in the ranks, Roy is upset and is blaming everything on Oliver.  Felicity, Diggle, and Sara try to talk him down but fail to do so.  He storms off with a parting shot at Oliver about how he used to believe him, leaving our favorite green glad hero shaken to his core.  After storming Slade’s base, giving us another solid action scene, Oliver discovers that Thea is not there.  He gets a call from Felicity, saying that Thea is safe and just walked into the police station.  Oliver and Moira go to her immediately, only for Thea to turn on them, Slade having revealed to her the truth that Malcolm Merlin is her father and that Oliver and Moira have kept the truth from her.   Everything that happened leaves Oliver in a state of depression, blaming himself for what has happened and not having any idea what do.  In true friend and teammate fashion, Diggle and Felicity step up.  With their help and support, Oliver has shored up his resolve and is ready to take the fight to Slade.  The final shot shows Slade paying a visit to Laurel revealing to her that Oliver is the Arrow, fading to black on Laurel’s shocked face.

As I stated above, this episode took the building tension of the season and ramped it up even higher.  We see just how dangerous of a villain that Slade is, not only is he strong, crazy, and dedicated to destroying Oliver, he is smart.  He planted Isabel in Oliver’s company to gain his trust, allowing her to gain control of his company.  This was done so that they could use it to mass produce more super drug from Slade’s blood, his plan is to build an army and take the city.  Add in his reveals to Thea and Laurel, and we see Slade being set up as an amazing villain.  He is attacking Oliver on multiple fronts and is able to keep several steps ahead oh him.  We still don’t know the full details of his end game, but I can’t wait to see how his plot plays out.

This week we also see the ever so welcome return of Summer Glau as Isabel, and boy was it great to see her back.  Now I have never trusted her character, I called it awhile back that she was in cahoots with Oliver, but seeing that finally revealed was a joy to watch.  Glau played the villain perfectly, even getting a brief fight scene in against Oliver.  I can’t help but feel that we’re gonna see her squaring off against Sara in the not to distant future, the Cat Fight seems like a card that Arrow would be more than happy to play.

Seeing everything come to head with Roy was also great.  In his time working with Oliver we have seen him getting annoyed and impatient with Oliver’s teaching methods, all the while struggling to keep his anger and strength in check.  With his recent separation from Thea, the one thing that helps him to keep level headed, he is quick to anger and is more than happy to turn that anger on Oliver, seeing him as the reason that Thea is in trouble.  Roy’s anger and accusations against Oliver further serve to upset the hero, Oliver quickly believing that its his fault.  Roy’s break from the team is an interesting twist and I look forward to seeing how that plays out.  I do believe I remember reading that he is slated to become Arsenal before to long, so that will be most interesting to see.

I’m gonna say it, the stand out character this week was Felicity, hands down.   She had some great one liners, such has her reference to Barry and what happened to him she told him about Oliver.  Her best moment came later though, when everyone was telling Oliver to stand down, to not play Slade’s game, she is the one that told him to end it.  To ignore everything else and confront Slade to protect his family and friends.  I don’t have the words to describe how much I loved Felicity here, Emily Rickards sold the scene perfectly.  Add in her final scene where she and Diggle offer Oliver their support, and I can’t see how anyone could deny just how amazing she was.  Honestly I am still strongly pulling for a Oliver/Felicity pairing, I really want that to happen.  But until then, guess we will have to settle with her just being awesome.

As far as the other characters go, not much else stood out.  Diggle and Sara were solid in their support roles, as they usually are, but didn’t do much to really stand out.  Same goes for Brother Blood on the villains side, he started off as a pretty impressive villain but over time he has just become annoying, now he is more of a whiner that can’t do anything without Slade and less of an actual villain.

Overall, this was a really solid episode, not the best as of late though.  Last weeks “Birds of Prey” and the previous weeks “Suicide Squad” were definitely better, but this week delivered on solid action scenes, great character moments, and solid set up for the future, which is important since we are coming up on the end game.  They could have done more to make the island scenes a bit more interesting, but I’m not holding that against the show as the island scenes stay pretty true to form week after week.

Goon out

For the record, don’t call me Speedy: Goon Reviews Arrow “Birds of Prey”

Birds of Prey

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.

Goon out.

I detest swimming: Goon reviews Arrow “Suicide Squad”

Suicide Squad

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!

Goon out.

Nobody’s done this before: Goon Reviews Arrow “The Promise”

The Promise

 

Wow, lots of awesome packed into one short episode.  Let’s dive in.

Unlike previous episodes, this one spent a lot time on the island, which was nice.  We see Oliver, Slade, and Sara finalizing their plan of attack on Ivo’s boat, which includes a pretty nice training scene of Oliver running through the woods and shooting targets.  While not amazing, it was nice to see him still learning the ropes of archery.  The trio puts their plan into action, Oliver allowing himself to get captured and with the help of a handy drug, lies to Ivo about Slade and Sara being on the ship, providing the distraction they need to parachute their way on to the deck.  What follows is a fast paced, and very well done action scene.  We got to see Slade kicking some ass with his new super powers, and drifting further and further into insanity.  While Slade is cutting a bloody path through Ivo’s men, Sara is scrambling to free the prisoners and Oliver is hunting down Ivo.  Oliver corner’s Ivo in the bridge, and Slade comes in just in time to learn the truth of Shado’s death.  He attacks Oliver, damaging the ship in the process.  Oliver slips away and meets up with Sara and some of the escaped prisoners, including the Russian guy we met earlier this season.  They plan to jump ship and swim for the island, Sara and the prisoners make it, but Slade grabs Oliver and locks him.  We close out with Slade taking control of the ship and hacking off Ivo’s hand before promising to inflict horrible vengeance on Oliver.

The island sequences this week were amazing from start to finish.  After several weeks of only seeing bits and pieces of the island, all of them pretty much serving as build up to this episode, and the pay off was great.  The entire thing was paced well, it never felt rushed or dragging in places, the action scenes were well done, even if they weren’t the most impressive ones we have seen.  The entire boat sequence really sold the chaos that was caused by Oliver’s attack, the prisoners running rampant, stealing weapons while the guards tried to maintain control, fireballs and explosions, it all served to amp up the tension, finally coming to a climax when Slade learns of Oliver’s lie.

Seeing him toss Oliver around the ship was honestly a little heartbreaking.  We have seen these two build up a friendship over the last season and half, driven home by Slade referring to Oliver as his brother, and in an instant it all came crashing down.  We saw the death of a friendship and the birth of a villain.  I have to say that Manu Bennett, who plays Slade, was fantastic here.  The look on his face after learning the truth, half heartbreak half crazed was perfect.  He sold the it perfectly.  If I hadn’t already been loving this character since his first appearance last season, this episode would have done it.

With the attack on the boat, we have wrapped up this particular island plot, the fight against Ivo, and have some solid set up for the next one; the fight against Slade.  I eagerly await seeing where this goes.

In the present, we didn’t get much.  If anything it seems the island scenes and Starling scenes seem to have swapped roles.  The island carrying a bulk of the plot and the present day scenes serving to act as set up for the future.  We see Slade insinuate himself into the Queen family through Moira’s bid for mayor, seeing a whole new side to Slade, that of the conniving charmer, expertly playing Moira and Thea all to get at Oliver.  Seeing his arrogance at Oliver’s barely controlled rage was amazing, Bennett and Amell played off each other perfectly here.

While limited, we got see the rest of team Arrow spring into action.  Oliver gets a call out to them, and after recognizing Slade’s voice, Sara scrambles the troops to save Oliver and take down Slade.  This doesn’t amount to much, but was fun to see Sara dish out the orders and everyone falling into their assigned roles.  For a second I was afraid we were going to see Roy do something stupid, but I’m glad we didn’t, shows how well he is developing as a character.  Slade’s parting shot at Oliver, the promise of future violence against him and his family, set the mood perfectly for what is to come next in the show, Oliver desperately trying to stop Slade and protect the people he loves, or so I assume at least.  Either way, the tension has been dialed up and I can only assume this will lead to an amazing showdown between the Arrow and Deathstroke.

Overall, this was a fantastic episode, the spin of more time devoted to the island scenes was a nice break from the normal formula for the show, perfect closing of one  plot line, and oh so much promise for the future.  I can’t wait to see the Suicide Squad take the stage in two weeks.

Goon out.