Thursday, April 17, 2014

Arrow S02 E19: "The Man Under the Hood"

There was a hell of a list of cliffhangers last time, a couple involving secrets. Thanks to Slade, now Thea knows that Malcolm Merlin is her father and both her mom and her brother knew and didn't tell her. And the biggie, Slade also told Laurel that Oliver is the Arrow. Oliver drove Roy away, Quentin is in jail for helping the Arrow, Isabel has taken over Queen Consolidated, and oh yeah, and Slade is also giving Brother Blood a super-powered army to take over Starling City with.

Caught up? Good, here we go. We open on Team Arrow breaking in and blowing up Queen's applied sciences division in hopes it will prevent Slade from creating superhuman soldiers, then play catch up with the various plot threads. Despite Slade's revelation, Laurel doesn't seem completely convinced of the Arrow's identity but is trying to figure it out on her own, and unfortunately many things are falling right into place.

Meanwhile Team Arrow returns to the Arrowcave to find Deathstroke lying in wait. I know this big bad is a serious big bad, but this fight is far too quick to be believable. Although he wasn't in the Arrowcave to fight or to ambush anyone. He was there to steal the Clock King's skeleton key. Now he has access to anywhere in Starling City.

When Deathstroke decides to take the soon-to-be-abandoned S.T.A.R. Labs facility, closing because of the bad publicity from the particle accelerator accident in Central City (second reference as Felicity name dropped Barry Allen earlier in the episode), that's when the awesome starts. There are two scientists there, Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, talking about a Dr. Wells. My mind immediately went to Kristin Wells, AKA Superwoman. Probably not, but it gets better.

Cisco Ramon is played by Carlos Valdes, who will be appearing as the character in the CW's "Flash" series. Comics readers might know him better as Vibe, sadly stereotyped, much hated, and doomed member of Justice League Detroit. The New 52 version of Vibe has dimensional travel powers similar to those of the Flash. Formerly a breakdancing gangbanger, the new Vibe is a scientist.

Seeking to save their lives here, Cisco uses a weapon that formerly belonged to Arthur Light, someone Wells fired two years ago because he was a psycho. This is a clear reference to Doctor Light, one of the Justice League's most dangerous and sociopathic foes, who used Thanagarian light technology to terrorize his enemies. He is a major league psycho, but his gun knocks Deathstroke on his butt. Go, Cisco!

Bad news, Slade gets what he's looking for and leaves - a centrifuge to put his blood into the inmates he released, making his army. In other news, as it turns out, Felicity knows Cisco and Caitlin from visiting Barry. His condition has deteriorated and he was moved to S.T.A.R. Labs, where he's visited often by a woman named Iris, his 'something.' Iris West was hinted at before, but this is the first time she's been named. Felicity is clearly heartbroken, despite the vagueness of Iris' description.

We also find out a little of Isabel's background. She was an intern having an affair with Oliver's father, but he chose his family over her. Sad to find she's just about petty revenge. It seems that Slade is playing the long game, and trained her just to hurt the Queen family. She is just a jilted lover blindly following a man sworn to hurt those she wants to hurt too. Pathetic. She deserves what she gets, at first at least. Could she be on her way to becoming Ravager? Either way, nice to see Diggle do something for once.

The best scene has to be Quentin being confronted by Laurel. She's going to tell him who the Arrow is, but he doesn't want to know, giving meaning to the episode's title. It's his anonymity that makes him useful to Quentin. If he knew he had family, friends, people who cared about him, Quentin couldn't use him as a weapon to point at people. Nice.

And I should say that's the best scene, because Slade deflecting arrows with a sword is pretty cool too. Oliver goes to confront him when he finds out where the centrifuge is, and finds Roy hooked up to it, giving his blood to the inmates. The fight between Arrow, Isabel, and Slade is intense, but still quick due to the big bad's ridiculous superiority. On the good side, Roy saved, army stopped short of superhuman, and Isabel out of the picture.

On Flashback Island, Ivo is spouting some nonsense about a cure for Mirakuru. Why hasn't Oliver mentioned this before? Probably the writers didn't think of it. He says he was ashamed, I call shenanigans. Either way, Felicity gives a sample of Mirakuru to Cisco and Kaitlin to work on. All of the Island stuff this episode rings wrong.

This was a good episode, chockful of comics references, performances, and action. Looking forward to Roy's journey back next week, but hope the fight against Slade doesn't drag on too long - because it's starting to.

1 comment:

  1. When they mention "Dr. Wells", my first thought was of Rudy (admittedly, a different universe):