In The CW’s Arrow, the world of Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell) is starting to get a little more crowded with characters from the DC universe. While the arrival of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) from Central City to Starling City was not exactly unexpected (quite the opposite, rather, as it was much anticipated), some other more obscure characters continue to pop up in ways that should please hardcore comics fans. Tonight’s episode – the first part of the two-part mid-season finale – left us with some pretty heavy cliffhangers that will make the week-long wait for their conclusions nigh unbearable. Hit the jump for my review of tonight’s episode, “The Scientist”.
Let’s talk island time, kids. Oliver and Shado (Celina Jade) help a badly injured Slade (Manu Bennett) as they search for the military sub, with Sara (Caity Lotz) in tow. They find it in a secluded cove and quickly get on board to search for the “Miracle” serum to save Slade’s life. One problem: the treatment requires a pretty substantial sedative or the patient will likely die, but there’s none on board. Slade’s about to die anyway, so after confessing his love to Shado (awkward), Oliver injects him. Slade’s bloody-eyed reaction doesn’t bode too well (although comics fans may know differently). We leave the island with Slade having apparently died as a result of the injection and Dr. Ivo’s (Dylan Neal) men rounding up the remaining trio.
The time spent on the island was pretty important to the plot of the contemporary timeline, as the serum’s effects popped up again and landed on Oliver’s radar. Oliver repeatedly said, “I’ve beaten someone like this before,” but it looks like he’s a bit rusty when he takes on the enhanced individual, Cyrus Gold (Graham Shiels), aka The Acolyte (and double aka for comic fans, Solomon Grundy). The war-time experiments sought to heighten a soldier’s endurance, reflexes and strength, and Cyrus has each of those in spades as he not only takes out armed guards and single-handedly hefts a massive centrifuge from Queen Consolidated’s Applied Sciences division, but gets the upper hand in fights with Arrow on two occasions. Seems like Arrow could use a little help.
Enter Barry Allen, Crime Scene Investigator from Central City. Well, not exactly. It seems that Barry fudged his credentials a bit and is actually just an assistant to Central City C.S.I. and has no authority to be snooping around Starling City’s crime scenes. What he does have is a compelling story about the death of his mother and wrongful imprisonment of his father as a result. The real culprit? Well Barry says that something came into their house “like a tornado” when he was only 11, but what that could mean for The Flash spin-off is a little spoilery: It sounds like we might get a storyline from “The Flash: Rebirth” comic series (written by Geoff Johns) in which Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash was the one responsible. That would mean some mind-bendy time-traveling elements to the series’ plot, which would be a welcome addition to network television.
Regardless of Barry’s cover story, he does prove to be rather useful in tracking down Cyrus, and in providing Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) a love interest that is not the brooding and secretive Oliver Queen. While there’s been talk of character crossovers between Arrow and The Flash, it remains to be seen how Barry’s heroic transformation from hyperactive and laughably late nerd to the world’s fastest speedster might complicate a romantic relationship between him and Felicity. And speaking of heroic transformations, the episode closes with Oliver practically dead at the hands of Cyrus, but also having been injected with what appeared to be samples of the serum. Is Arrow going to get the much-needed bump in super-powers that he would need to take down the likes of Cyrus and keep pace with heroes like The Flash? Time will tell!
While the main plot this week was a great step forward for both Arrow and DC’s expanding TV universe, there were also some side plots going on that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. Moira (Susanna Thompson) is back at Queen Consolidated after her recent acquittal, but is already butting heads with Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau). Moira’s got bigger fish to fry as Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) keeps popping out of the shadows and attempting to take Thea, his daughter, away with him. Moira puts a temporary stop to these shenanigans by a simple name drop: Ra’s al Ghul. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes), Thea (Willa Holland) and Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) get up to their own adventure and go looking for a friend of Sin’s, who turns up dead at the hands of Brother Blood’s (Kevin Alejandro) people. Roy and Oliver have a bit of a strange falling out which results in Arrow shooting the young man through the leg, with the camera lingering a moment on the blood-red arrowhead.
It’s great to see that almost everyone got a piece of the pie this week – Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was a no-show, Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) only had a couple of lines and Diggle (David Ramsey) basically just ran around after people – but it definitely felt like the first half of a longer piece. No surprise, that’s exactly what it was! The only downside to that is having to wait another week for the conclusion!
Quips & Quivers:
Quentin to Barry: “Who the hell are you?” Oliver to Barry: “And do your parents know that you’re here?”
Barry: “I’m guessing you don’t know how hard it is to break someone’s neck?” Oliver: “Huh? No, no I don’t.”
Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is a bit hyperactive, neurotic and somewhat socially awkward.
Barry: “Police reports show that he uses carbon arrows, but if he switched to an aluminum-carbon composite, he would have far better penetration.” Felicity: “Maybe he thinks he penetrates just fine.”
Diggle: “Human weapons? My God, what’s next? Aliens?” – Diggle really had some odd dialogue this time around, didn’t he?
Felicity: “Why couldn’t you have been marooned on Aruba?”
Slade: “I could do with a better looking crutch.”
A lightning storm brews outside while Felicity and Barry are in the chem lab (a recipe for disaster). In a related story, the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator is about to be turned on.
Barry: “There’s not going to be dancing, is there? I’m not too good on my feet.”
Oliver: “He did lie about who he really was.” Felicity: “And what do we do every day?”
Was it just me, or did Felicity look Smoakin’ at that party? (I had to.)
Oliver to Felicity, about Barry: “FYI, they will card him at the bar.”
Moira: “And I thought it couldn’t hurt to add extra security guards.” Malcolm: “It hurt them. Badly.”
Check out the promo for the Arrow mid-season finale below: