Monday, March 14, 2016

Arrow S04 E12: Unchained

The Calculator is one of my favorite DC Comics super-villains, mostly because his existence runs between the utterly silly to the downright sinister. In any incarnation however, the Calculator is fun. And on television, he may yet be...

In his first appearances in the back-up stories of late 1970s Detective Comics, he wore a costume resembling a calculator and had the uncanny ability to only be beaten by a specific hero once. He fought and was defeated by Green Arrow, the Atom, Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and Hawkman. Once encountered, said heroes could never win again against him. When the storyline moved to the front of the comic, Batman finally found a way to take the Calculator down with those heroes' help.

The Calculator was around for a while after that, eventually fading into obscurity. When he reemerged, he was more in the shadows, and inspired by an urban legend that the super-villain underground had only begun to become aware of - Oracle. The heroes had some off-site source feeding them info and coordinating them. The Calculator became just that for the forces of evil, Oracle's opposite number.

We open this episode at Nanda Parbat, the citadel built into the side of a cliff in Pakistan that serves as the headquarters of the League of Assassins and the current R'as al Ghul, Malcolm Merlin. Don't think for a second I wasn't amused that our break from the-storyline-that-wouldn't-end this season (Damien Darhk) is provided by the-storyline-that-wouldn't-end last season (R'as al Ghul). Note to showrunners, the story arcs on "Arrow" need to be shorter.

I suppose I should have some reaction that Nyssa has escaped and taken over the citadel, but I'll be honest, I've already checked out. And I'm just as uninterested in the Thea subplot. And if John Constantine was able to fix the bloodlust in Sara, why not contact him again regarding Thea? Seriously, if aspirin works on a headache, why would you have to find another solution when a second headache comes along? Call John!

Then there's Roy Harper who's returned to Star City as a tech thief. The two companies he initially steals from have history in the DC Comics Universe, but not from the usual corners that "Arrow" borrows from. AmerTek hounded Steel for years and released the lethal Toastmaster guns on Metropolis. Cadmus is also based in Metropolis, specializing in alien DNA among other things. Roy had been hiding out in Hub City, home of the Question, when the Calculator blackmailed him into committing these thefts.

The Calculator's plan, surprisingly assisted by H.I.V.E., is to use a 'web nuke' to crash Star City, killing thousands. I think that's rather pedestrian and anarchist for a villain with so much potential, despite the lame codename. He is, in the end, more a foe of Felicity than anyone else, which makes the reveal at the end that he's Felicity's dad all the more shocking. So is computer hacking genetic?

Seeing Katana, if only momentarily, was a nice surprise. I hope we get more than that though. And it's always nice to see John Barrowman even if he always seems out of place when he appears. And I can't express how much I hated the dream within a flashback. Darhk's wife running for mayor seems a bit ridiculous to me however. Wasn't her husband outted as a super-villain a few episodes back?

For my other reviews of the entire "Arrow" series, click here. And if you'd like to discuss this episode and anything else in the Arrowverse, please join the Arrow Discussion Group on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment