It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had our Arrow fix, but I’m happy to say that the gang is back and everything’s running like clockwork (see what I did there?). Tonight’s episode featured one of my favorite villains from DC’s rogues gallery (one version of him anyway), who was used in such a way as to quite possibly make him my favorite baddie to appear on the show so far. Bold words, I know. Hit the jump for my recap and review.
So where the heck were we before the Olympics? Oliver and his mother Moira are on the outs, Laurel is picking fights with just about everyone, and Sara has officially joined the team, which makes for some tricky chemistry between group members. More on that in a moment. Let’s start tonight’s recap off with some Island Time!
While Oliver, Slade and Sara are reconning Ivo’s freighter (and considering building a raft), a small prop plane goes zooming overhead. The trio attempts to flag it down, but it’s blown out of the sky, rendering all of its radio equipment useless and leaving its pilot nearly dead. Before he eventually succumbs to his injuries, he makes Sara promise to look after his daughter, who – surprise! – turns out to be none other than Sin (what a coincidence that they’re all from Starling City!). Oliver then liberates a parachute from the wreckage and concocts a mad plan to board the freighter.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about tonight’s cold open and the introduction of one William Tockman, aka the Clock King. Played by Robert Knepper, Tockman is one of DC’s brainier villains, using his intellect, keen sense of timing, and rigorous schedule-keeping abilities to pull off heists. This version of the Clock King employs thugs to do the heavy lifting while Tockman stays safely tucked away behind the scenes. There’s also the inclusion of his own terminal illness and his ailing sister to take care of, which is lifted directly from the comics.
The cool thing about the Clock King is that he’s no match for Arrow, Black Canary or even Diggle physically, but he spends much of this episode trumping all of them through extensive planning, trickery, and infiltration of their security and communications system. This is a great villain to act as a foil against resident hacker and computer whiz, Felicity, who’s feeling a bit put out by Sara’s All-Star abilities. (How about that bo staff training scene? Right?) Fittingly, in the end, it’s Felicity who triumphs over the challenge, managing to not only use Tockman’s own technology to take him out, but also to save Sara, take a bullet for her trouble, and get a scar in the process. Great episode for her! Not so great for Laurel.
The elder Lance sister is all over the place, as is her usual status of late. Perhaps a nice family dinner will set things right, yeah? While Laurel’s mood swings have been wild this season, I don’t know if it’s more of an intentional direction the writers are trying to take, or that they just don’t know what the hell to do with her. She goes from offering to host the family dinner and resisting the temptation to take her pills, to flipping out on the entire family and Oliver, to delivering what appeared to be a heartfelt apology to Sara at episode’s end. While Laurel’s still clearly crazypants, her behavior does give the other actors opportunities to showcase some real emotion, especially Amell who is usually locked into playing the suave exterior of Oliver Queen CEO, or the ruthless vigilante, Arrow.
Now I mentioned this on a previous recap, the fact that the episodes are starting to show signs of a template in their construction. Believe me, it’s a great template to build from (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but that kind of regularity leads to predictability (and drinking games). It goes something like this: Introduce main villain, fail to capture main villain after action sequence, gather intel on the villain, engage in chase sequence but lose the villain, lay a trap for the villain, defeat the villain, surprise twisty cliffhanger endings. It’s all good, but it’s getting to the point where you can see the turns in the road ahead even if you don’t know who’ll be around the next curve. I will say that Arrow putting himself between the bus and the speeding train tonight was a pretty cool way to change up a chase scene, but there should be a Tumblr account dedicated to this show’s villains standing in a smoke-filled industrial setting holding a gun. That’s my only knock on the show, and the handling of an otherwise intellectually superior villain in Tockman, so that ain’t bad at all!
Tockman: “Remember what I told you: Timing is everything.”
Another staple of the show has become “shirtless workout sessions”, as if a writer stumbled onto it and said, “Here’s something everyone can enjoy!”
Diggle: “All those scars and you’ve never been hit by a grenade?” Oliver: “Arrow. Knife. Knife. Lotta bullets. No grenades.”
Tockman: “The dead are owed nothing.”
Sara: “Guess it’s not real til the media comes up with a nickname.”
I missed that bit about Dinah Lance’s curriculum over at the Central City college. Something about Greek history? Do we think that’s a nod to anything in particular?
Oliver to Laurel: “I have loved you for half my life, but I’m done running after you.”
Nice emotion from Amell in this scene, especially since he gets some pretty wooden dialogue on the regular.
Tockman: “Tempus fugit.”
Oliver: “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?” Felicity: “You guys never go to the hospital. Besides, Dig gave me one of those aspirin. Are you spinning?”
And now for the episode’s (second, but best) surprise twist: Ollie meets Slade!
Moira: “Oliver, I’d like you to meet Slade Wilson.” Slade: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Queen.”
And if you’d to see how that meeting goes, take a look at this promo for next week’s episode, “The Promise”: