Tag Archives: Television

TV Review: Arrow S5E13 Spectre of the Gun

arrowAn attack on City Hall brings back painful memories for Rene; flashbacks reveals Rene’s transformation from family man to a hero named Wild Dog; Oliver realizes the best way to find the attacker is to do so as Mayor Queen.

Arrow goes “very special episode” with this entry that focuses on gun violence and the debate over gun registration. The topic feels about a year too late to be relevant and the actual politics of the show is muddled and summed up with “it’s a complicated issue” and “we need to do something.” About the one thing that the show does get right is the need to enlist gun supporters to figure out what an actual solution might be and make it happen.

At its core, the episode is about Rene and why he became Watch Dog. He represents the pro-gun side of the argument, but the story presented is a pretty tragic one. We learn about his wife, his kid, and his origin in many ways. It’s a pretty average origin, but as presented it adds some depth to a character that was lacking one.

Most of the other characters are in the anti-gun crowd or are used to give information about weapons and throw out stats about the increased likelihood they get shot, the police perspective, the military information, or more. It touches on “Blue Lives Matter” as well as “Black Lives Matter” without really saying much. It’s all pretty by the numbers.

And that by the numbers makes the episode both a success and a failure. It presents the difficulties of the situation. The shooters in the episode are white men. Some of the dialogue though is stilted and feels like stats just being thrown out, exactly like an Afterschool Special. The fact this episode airs today as opposed to a year or two ago is puzzling.

I went in hoping the series would take an interesting stand, but by the time it was through, it really said very little. Even issues like “Black Lives Matter,” though touched upon, isn’t given much play. There’s a lack of depth and emotion that fits such an issue.

The episode goes through the motions but in the end says very little.

Overall rating: 7.05

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TV Review: Arrow S5E12 Bratva

arrowA mission takes Oliver, Felicity and the team to Russia, where they meet up with Anatoly, Oliver’s old friend; fresh out of rehab, Lance returns to the mayor’s office ready to get back to work.

Arrow gets further into the Russians as the enemy theme that’s going on with comic television shows in this episode that ties together the present storyline with flashbacks of the season.

At the center of the story is the General who framed Diggle who may or may not be selling a nuclear weapon to Russian bad guys. If the idea of a nuclear weapon sounds familiar, it is because it returns things to Felicity and her decision that led to the death and destruction of an entire town.

The episode is definitely a return to “street” bad guys. There’s no metas or folks to fight with special powers, this is about as basic as it comes and that’s something that was teased after last season. This one would be a bit more focused at “realistic” enemies in a way. The idea of loose nukes is still rather over the top and doesn’t quite feel like the Green Arrow to me, a character that I associate more with taking on corrupt cops and trying to help his own town. This is a step too much for me when it comes to that.

The good for the episode is that it has Felicity dealing with her decision and it also puts Diggle and Walker on a crash course ending that story in some ways. The trio gets a bit more like a trio again.

The episode also sets the team upon some further task with this one complete. The season has jumped around in focus in this way with the flashbacks really driving the big picture story unlike some previous seasons where they were used to fill in the gaps of Oliver’s past.

The episode also has the return of Lance, back from rehab and having to answer some tough questions as to where he’s been and what he did. It brings a more human touch to things and returns him to the fold, but not enough is given to the plotline to really feel like it is a plotline as opposed to a strange way to announce he needs to grow some more as a character. There’s opportunity here, but it feels like it’s just not being used.

The episode opens up some further stories. One we’ve seen before, Oliver’s identity, and a new thing dealing with Ragman. Hopefully, these are better than what we’ve seen, but this episode itself is only so-so.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E11 Second Chances

arrowOliver gets help from a surprising source in his quest to take down Kovar; Felicity tries to hack the NSA to help free Diggle; Curtis informs the team about a female vigilante.

Arrow returned last week with a good episode and this episode continues that with another episode that’s entertaining and good, but not great.

Most of the episode is focused on a female vigilante who might be a good new Black Canary, so a chunk of the team heads out to find more about her and introduce themselves. This gets them into a battle with new metahumans, which is a solid expansion of the DC Flash universe by using this television series.

The rest of the episode focuses on Diggle and getting evidence to prove his innocence. That really moves along, and quickly, and with some small details it feels like it’s setting up a collision for later in the season.

Bigger in the episode is the flashback parts of the episode where we see some of the real origin of the Arrow. That’s actually a fascinating bit that fills in some gaps.

The episode is pretty decent, though again doesn’t blow me away. There’s some action, some movement in the plotlines, and some new additions to the series as a whole which is good. What I really like is how this episode adds to other series and uses some of what’s been established there. It’s a great way to create a more cohesive and entertaining universe. It’s the small details that really add up.

The episode is good, but cool in finale which gives some winks and nods and sets up what could be something interesting. It doesn’t give us anything definitive, but continues to lay the ground for the rest of the season.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E10 Who Are You?

arrowOliver worries that Prometheus is right and really is a killer at heartl Felicity is bent on revenge after Detective Malone’s murder; Diggle fights for his life in prison.

Arrow ended it’s winter break with what appeared to be the return of Laurel Lance. This return from a bit of a break dives right into that shocking revelation with a story of time travel… but is it true? We get the full reveal in this episode which is full of twists and turns as we get the full story. I’m not going to spoil things though.

Laurel’s return is in stark contrast to the team losing a friend in that previous episode too. The two diametric experiences are played off each other quite well to create emotional ups and downs and keep viewers on their toes as to what to think and expect.

Diggle’s story continues as well. I’m not quite sure where this storyline is going, but it feels a little played out and doesn’t fit the rest of the season’s greater story. It’s like they needed something for Diggle to do, so they went with this. It hasn’t been working for me, so the sooner this is over, the better. It’s a distraction for what’s been an improved season.

The episode is a good return giving us answers about the previous episode’s shocking return and shaking things up a bit. Along with action there’s a lot of emotion to fit in what is an entertaining episode.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E9 What We Leave Behind

arrowAfter the attack on Curtis, Oliver realizes Prometheus is planning to make a deadly move on all of Team Arrow; Felicity and Malone find a clue that ties Prometheus to Oliver’s past.

Arrow takes its mid-season break with Oliver figuring more of Prometheus’ plan and somewhat of how it ties into Oliver’s past. The episode is an interesting one that does a solid job of balancing the action with the schmaltz.

Curtis gets a big part of the spotlight in this episode which has him not fighting crime as much as fighting with his husband. The two have been seen a bit throughout the series, but we really haven’t gotten to know them other than some cute moments here and there. This episode really dives into their relationship with the fact Curtis has been moonlighting being brought up. It’s interesting in that it addresses a question I have, but there’s also some issues in that it seems like no one who’s a superhero can have a decent relationship on this show! It’s all really touching and heartbreaking and as much as I wanted to see this tackled, I also didn’t want it to go like this.

The rest of the episode dives into Oliver’s past and that’s the thing that’s really solid about this story arc. The episode weaves this new story effortlessly into the past and it works really well! It makes me want to go back and check out the series’ first two seasons. It also does a good job of returning to some of the plot threads from those seasons that seems to have just… gone away.

There’s some fun too with the episode. The team celebrates the holidays a bit which gives the rest of the team moments of their own to shine. They’re all finally getting some depth which is adding to the show’s enjoyment.

The episode is a really good one… and that’s not even going into that ending. What the hell!? We’ll have to wait and see what it all means, but I know I did a double take.

From the touching moments to the action, this was the strongest episode of the season and hopefully we get more like it when the show returns.

Overall rating: 8.65

TV Review: Arrow S5E8 Invasion!

arrowOliver wakes up to a life in which his parents are still alive and he is about to marry Laurel; Felicity faces a new threat with the help of The Flash and Supergirl.

Arrow celebrates its 100th episode as part of the 4 night crossover “Invasion” event. The result is a bit mixed overall, but it’s entertaining. For those that missed last night’s The Flash, there’s aliens who are up to… something, and at the end of the episode they abducted some of the heroes.

This episode is interesting in that it uses the bigger picture story, but doesn’t get to caught up in it. Instead it celebrates the history of the series taking us through the years in its own version of “Flashpoint.”

In this shared dream world Oliver and crew live different lives where Ollie is marrying Laurel, Diggle is the Arrow, and everything is kind of… normal. The different take on folks is kind of cool and it’s a nice “what if” riff on everything about the series. Seeing each character awaken is entertaining as well, especially what triggers them.

But, what’s really special is all of the guests that show up in the episode. Villains from the past as well as friends and family are all on board in a celebration of the last five seasons. They kept it all under wraps which is even more impressive and for folks who have watched the series, they should be happy with the touch of nostalgia.

There’s some things that don’t quite work as everyone wakes up and the story takes a hard sci-fi spin. I don’t want to ruin it, but the special fx work against the episode at this point and it just doesn’t feel like Arrow. But, the point is to bridge to the next chapter which is on the next day.

This episode works some and fails in some ways, and it’s not as strong as The Flash‘s entry, but better than Supergirl’s. With one more to go in this event, it feels like there’s a lot still to wrap up, but so far, it’s been a fun ride.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: Arrow S5E7 Vigilante

arrowOliver learns about a new vigilante in Star City after the bodies of two criminals show up at SCPD; Diggle feels annoyed about his new situation; Lance confesses a shocking secret to Thea; in flashbacks, Oliver speak with Konstantin Kovar.

Arrow has a new hero in Star City as the Vigilante shows up in an episode that’s full of action, but holy crap is it boring. The episode adds something new with the Vigilante, as if the season didn’t need yet another person in a mask running around. The character is interesting in that he can take on Oliver and his team and his methods are pretty rough. It’s a nice dichotomy, but it just feels like it’s too much added to the season.

The character design is pretty cool though, and it looks great on the screen.

There’s the plot with Lance passing out which is interesting. I’m sure this will get explained in some simple way, but it’s being teased out well and does throw a wrench into everything that’s going on. There’s a bit of a vibe to the first season with it. It may seem a bit silly, but it’s working so far.

But, the episode for me was really about Diggle who is on the run and thus can’t spend the day with his son who is having his second birthday. It’s touching and how that’s wrapped up is really good. It gives an episode full of action some feels and Diggle is more than a soldier. The second thing that’s solid is the twist at the end. This one I’m not giving up and folks should be intrigued to see what happens.

The episode is decent, but I was rather bored through it all. There’s lots of action, but it all feels like been there, done that. The episode isn’t bad, it just doesn’t stand out for me at all.

Overall rating: 7.45

TV Review: Arrow S5E6 So It Begins

arrowFelicity and Curtis learn that Prometheus’ victims have a mysterious link to Oliver’s past that could upend his new team.

Arrow goes back to the beginning in some ways as the clues are put together as to why Prometheus is killing individuals and it goes back to something from the first season that the series has gotten away from. That’s a good thing as the series has definitely slipped a bit in its focus and what this episode does is get back to basics in some ways.

But, what I think is really solid about this episode is the reaction of Team Arrow’s new recruits when they learn what the possible truth is. There’s a mix of horror and some real solid debate as to the truth of it all.

Lets face it, Oliver is a killer, and though the kills were righteous, he also has never really stood up for those acts, just by Diggle, Felicity, and Speedy. Here we get an outside jury in a way now stands up to him and puts him on trial. It’s a solid twist it detail that adds a lot to the episode which feels like it’s the real beginning of the season. That restart within a restart is good as the season has been rather iffy so far.

There’s some decent action as members of Team Arrow come into contact with Prometheus. There’s some odd choices since I don’t remember their saying the train was clear. It might be a detail I missed, but it felt like they possibly let a bunch of people die.

The episode is a focus on Oliver and how he has changed over the seasons. He’s grown as a character and person and gone further than just being a vigilante killer. He feels closer to the actual comic character he’s based off of due to that.

Overall, a much better episode for the season and heading in a good direction. How things come together and what the big reveal to come is will hopefully pay off. That teaser at the end though…. that’s where things get really interesting and I want to know where it’s all going.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: Arrow S5E5 Human Target

arrowOliver must turn to an old friend when Tobias Church captures one of his new recruits; Felicity’s worlds collide when Detective Malone joins the anti-crime unit.

Arrow improves with this latest episode that has Oliver having to fake his own death to take on Church. It’s a plot twist that we’ve seen numerous times before and there’s nothing new when it comes to that.

To pull off that twist Oliver brings in the Human Target, another DC Comic character who actually had his own show at one point. There’s actually a good twist when it comes to that part that’s not revealed until the end of the episode.

But this episode is that false ending. They deal with Church but that only leads to something even bigger looming, which is a good thing because Church as a villain felt a bit too low level to sustain a season. The name Prometheus is mentioned which is a pretty big character in the DC Universe, so here’s hoping it’s a reference to that.

The bigger part of the episode is Diggle getting back into the groove of things but personal lives is a focus as Felicity’s relationship moves forward and Oliver has to deal with it. There’s a lot of will they, won’t they, but it’s cute and I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of them as a couple.

The end of the episode is where it’s at though. There’s an actual decent tie-in to Oliver’s five missing years and the mysterious archer that’s not the Green Arrow shows up with a pretty big act. We’ll see where it all goes as this is a big improvement from last week.

Overall rating: 7.65

TV Review: Arrow S5E4 Penance

arrowOliver joins Lyla on a secret mission for Diggle while Felicity opts to stay behind; Tobias Church launches a deadly assault against the city.

Arrow falls flat in this episode which sees Church making his move and Oliver and Lyla doing something about Diggle, which was hinted at in the last episode.

There’s just a lot of bad in this episode with Oliver not trusting his team and pushing them away. That’s after last episode which was all supposed to be about trusting his team and their working together. So, the lesson seems to be a short one and already out the other ear of Oliver.

There’s also the plan of breaking out Diggle. Hasn’t Lyla taken over for the deceased Waller? Can’t she use her power there to just get Diggle out of prison and conscript him? Instead there’s this convoluted plan to free him that seems like it just opens more doors than anything else.

There’s also the fact this story is likely going to connect with the Church plotline and by stopping Church they’ll wind up exonerating Diggle. Though, he has now broken out of jail, so there’s that charge lingering over him. Again, not a good plan!

Then there’s Church’s assault which just seems to come out of nowhere. We haven’t seen him much for a few episodes and then there’s this attack. It’s a bit out of place and it’s still not clear how this all fits into the bigger picture of the season. It’s another plot that we’ll find out down the road and due to that, I just don’t care. Plus Church is actually a bit too much of a lower rung villain right now compared to what Ollie has dealt with in the past.

It’s a weak episode for a season that’s trying to redefine itself from previous ones. Maybe as part of the bigger story it’ll be better, but right now it falls short.

Overall rating: 6.95

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