Friday, February 28, 2014

Arrow S02 E14 "Time of Death"

In the Silver Age of comics, before Green Arrow grew a beard, changed his costume, and became the voice of the left, he was a more traditional superhero. Perhaps too traditional, he was basically a blank slate whose major gimmick he was Batman with a bow. And like Batman, he had a large, if derivative and unimpressive, rogues gallery.

The foremost of these baddies, in the Silver Age 1960s, was the Clock King. Like most Batman villains, the Clock King's crimes and gimmicks were themed, in his case, clocks and time. Though he wore a rather simple costume and cape, William Tockman's full face mask was a clock, both simplistic and disturbing. In my first encounter with the villain he had imprisoned Green Arrow and Speedy in a gigantic hourglass deathtrap.

Later, when Green Arrow grew a beard and became a liberal, and comics became most 'realistic,' the Clock King was unfortunately treated as almost a joke before fading into obscurity. He was a member of the laughable Injustice League in Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' comedy Justice League comics, before being murdered as a member of the Suicide Squad. Notably he has reappeared in the New 52.

Ironically the villain's two previous television incarnations were as a Batman foe. Walter Slezak portrayed the Clock King on the 1966 "Batman" TV series, trapping Batman and Robin in the very same hourglass that held Green Arrow and Speedy in the comics. A slicker, cooler, differently powered Clock King menaced the caped crusader in the 1990s animated series.

Here in "Arrow," William Tockman, played by Robert Knepper, who has a villain pedigree from "Heroes," is a bit different. He's a criminal mastermind whose crimes are timed to the exact second. A tech genius, in the opening, he successfully engineers a robbery at Kord Enterprises by remote, guiding his henchmen as smoothly as Oracle used to do with the good guys in the comics.

Like his comics counterpart, he's obsessed with time and clock gadgetry, and unlike him, he's a killer. Happily, he's called the Clock King on the show, unlike many villains who know that's who they are but are never referenced as such aloud. He's also very resourceful and prepared, hacking Felicity's communication in his first encounter with our heroes.

With Sara revealed to be alive, we have a bit of a Lance family reunion this episode. It doesn't go well, as expected. Laurel is the obvious pooper, what with Sara ruining her life and all, but Dad wants it to work, especially between him and Dinah, so an attempt is made. Too bad Oliver is there too. Well, I guess someone has to play a-hole.

Quite honestly I wish they'd give Alex Riversong Kingston something more to do, much like I feel about David Ramsey's Diggle. But the latter may be changing, more on that later. I know Felicity wishes she had more to do, other than feel insignificant next to Sara. Seems Sara makes a lot of our female leads feel that way.

I am loving seeing (Green) Arrow and (Black) Canary as a team. We're finally getting some superhero action in this superhero show. For all those folks who gave up on this show early last season, come back, it's gotten sooo much better. That said, we need more of this and less of the soap opera.

On Flashback Island we learn what the real connection between Canary and Sin is, and it's just too convenient, much like most of the wrap up for this episode. Sara and Laurel make up. Oliver and Felicity make up. Clock King beaten, and Team Arrow repaired. All too convenient. Maybe sticking with the superhero action would be keeping in what the show does right, as opposed to the soap opera which is, like here, sometimes awkward.

Further comics shouts include Central City, the Flash's hometown, Kord Enterprises, owned by Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, Blue Devil movie ad on the side of the bus? Coming 'this summer' too, maybe we'll see more? And there's also the fictional MacGregor's Syndrome that almost took out Alfred in Batman Forever, and similarly affects Tockman's sister, as it also did Mister Freeze's wife.
and of course, Quentin Lance's callback code - delta charlie fifty-two. Yeah, I winced at that one too - DC 52. But who else saw the

Now while we've been away, and just today as well, there's been lots of "Arrow" news, mostly in the way of two photos on the internet. The first is of the television version of the Suicide Squad, set to appear in the March 19th episode, imaginatively titled "Suicide Squad."

They've been building to this for a while, and now we're there. It looks from the photo that our Suicide Squad roster will include the scary thin Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel, possibly Lyla Michaels (who we know in the comics as Harbinger from Crisis on Infinite Earths), and Diggle. One has to wonder if this isn't a switching sides for Diggle as he's had very little to do on Team Arrow of late.

The other pic burning up the internet all day is that of Grant Gustin, whose Barry Allen was terrific, but this time he's in costume as we finally get a peek at him as The Flash. A tad dark, I'd rather have wings than lightning bolts, but I like it. Can't wait, bring it on!

Next week: finally, Deathstroke!

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