Tag Archives: Television

TV Review: Arrow S6E4 Reversal

arrowJust as Oliver starts getting things in order, Black Siren launches another attack on Star City.

Arrow has a rather bizarre plot of taking down the internet which is clearly a feint but generally it’s an episode that feels like it needs to get us somewhere, but isn’t sure how to do it.

The episode revolves around Felicity and her attempt to have a renewed relationship with Oliver while superheroing gets in the way. That’s the best aspect of the episode. We get to see Oliver deal with what he’s pulled so many times on so many others. There’s something solid about seeing a woman doing this to a man. Yay progress?

But, the bad is that what’s distracting her is her past dealings with Helix and her hacker friends. I wasn’t a big fan of that storyline and it seems like for at least the short term that’s going to be the focus of a big bad. We get a plot about taking down the internet and of course it’s a small piece of the big picture but there’s just such a suspension of disbelief of “this is how the internet works” that took me out of the episode. The “action” aspect of the episode lacked. It lacked a lot. So, it’s best to try to focus on the positive, Felicity and Oliver’s relationship, but that has issues too.

Oliver has a son… remember? This episode feels like it forgets that as the kid feels like he’s nowhere to be seen as Oliver bounces around being Mayor and also having time to meet with his former team. When’s he taking care of the kid? For a person who wants to focus on raising his son this episode feels like he’s not really doing that.

A low point in an otherwise improved season, the episode just had too many frustrating aspects that take you out of what is clearly an episode getting things focused on where the season is going.

 

 

Overall rating: 6.75

TV Review: Arrow S6E3 Next of Kin

arrowA rogue team led by Onyx breaks into Kord Industries and steals something lethal; Oliver struggles to connect with William, so he reaches out a surprising source for help.

Arrow has Diggle taking the reigns in his first outing as group leader and as the Green Arrow. Things don’t go all that well though. The episode has a rather boring villain, instead focusing on the team and their interaction with this new dynamic.

To see Diggle not be perfect is actually interesting and to see him doubt himself does quite a lot to really get you think about Oliver’s leadership. The episode’s strength is really focused on that and by the end of the episode things look in a better place, a good thing because playing this out too long and it’d all get rather dull and down.

But, there’s not just Diggle’s leadership but also how everyone reacts to that. Not everyone is on board and folks are noticing that it’s not a smooth transition. Where that dissatisfaction will lead to the future will be intriguing and it sets up a good dynamic between everyone.

What’s also good about the episode is that it allows Oliver to spend time with his son and attempt to bond with him. This is not his father’s son and the episode focuses on his son being a kid and having issues at school. It takes a series that has had issues with the fantastical these last few seasons and grounds things making them relatable. It also forces Oliver to rethink priorities and his relationships with some major movement in his love life by the end of the episode.

With a downplayed villain “Next of Kin” focuses more on the character than the actions creating an episode that’s much stronger for it.

Overall rating: 8.05

TV Review: Arrow S6E1 Fallout

arrowOliver must deal with the fallout of the explosion on the island.

Arrow kicks off the sixth season diving right into the ramifications of the previous season finale and setting up what’s to come this season.

For the most part, this episode is vastly improved over all of last season. The first part I like is that the episode deals with the last season in flashbacks teasing out what happened with each and we’re presented one character at a time and how they’ve been impacted. The bad is, we know how everyone is, something that could easily have been played out longer to create more tension. I can’t help but think this way of plotting out the story could have been stretched out a few more episodes for a reveal one or two more episodes down the line. Instead, we’re caught up and while seeing how everyone is going forward it feels like an opportunity has been missed.

The good about the episode is that things are rather grounded in a way and it’s all presented so that it’s more “street level” than the previous few episodes which went off the rails as far as that. Black Siren is back and we’re told why she’s out for revenge in flashbacks so we get a few head fakes.

The episode also has a twist at the end which unfortunately feels like something we’ve seen multiple times and is the “go to” plotline that’s been tread too many times in the television series and I’ve lost caught in the comics. Crossing my fingers that it plays out better than past stories.

The season has started stronger than the last few and it’s one of the stronger episodes of the series and the strongest in quite some time. A good start so we’ll see where it goes.

Overall rating: 8.45

TV Review: Arrow S5E23 Lian Yu

arrowOliver assembles a group of unlikely allies – Slade, Nyssa, Merlyn, and Digger Harkness – to engage in an epic battle against Chase and his army.

Arrow wraps up its fifth season with an episode that’s generally good though feels like it’s both stretched out and compacted at the same time.

The good is the episode wraps up Oliver’s Russian adventures and we get to see glimpses of his heading home, which is a new revelation and answers some questions. That all feels a bit packed in and could be an entire episode on its own.

Most of the episode is focused on taking on Chase and action scene moves to fight scene moves to action scene with fights that feel like they’re choreographed well or not at all. It’s an odd experience as things look tight are a bit sloppy. That’s apparent early on when Oliver takes a swing in a badly delivered punch.

In the few moments where there’s not fighting or running for safety, there’s reflections on what it means to be a father with Deathstroke and Merlyn sounding somewhat reasonable. The moments are a bit bizarre as they’re in danger, but there’s enough time to talk about fatherhood? The scenes are good, but the situation they’re in between they feel odd.

Then there’s the ending which I’m not about to ruin, but it doesn’t feel like an ending at all instead it’s an unresolved aspect of the episode. Yes, it’s a cliffhanger, but in this case it doesn’t feel like it’s a good payoff it feels like something that should be resolved within the season. It’s hard to describe, but something didn’t sit right.

It’s not a bad episode, but as a season finale, something feels like it’s missing.

Overall rating: 7.45

TV Review: Arrow S5E22 Missing

arrowBlack Siren returns to help Chase; Felicity organizes a birthday party for Oliver; Lance is furious when Rene misses the custody hearing for his daughter.

Arrow deals with Chase in jail, who still has some tricks up his sleeve in the end game that feels like it’s adding about 3 more episodes than needed on to the season.

The episode mainly deals with Chase who has a contingency plan that we saw begin to play out in the last episode. Oliver’s son is kidnapped and then hits go out on the rest of his team. It all feels a bit needlessly complicated in that Chase could easily reveal Oliver and his past crimes which would land him in jail where he could be tortured. Wouldn’t a smarter play be to prosecute him instead?

Instead, we get a season that’s played out a bit too long and the return of Black Siren among other characters.

That puts Oliver in a corner and he has to team up with individuals who used to be adversaries. We once again have a story asking how far Oliver will go. We know he’ll go far, this has come up over the last five seasons multiple times. It’s a plotline that’s played out. Here though, we’re given a twist at the end that’s supposed to shock viewers as a familiar bad guy returns. Sadly this was already spoiled online so the impact wasn’t quite as much as it’d have been otherwise. But, there’s some potential to see Oliver team up with the likes of Merlyn and Nyssa. That interaction is keeping me going (along with having to review the episodes).

It’s not this is bad at all, it just feels stretched out and as I said before a theme we’ve seen too many times. For a season that attempted to get away from an over the top bad guy, it still is giving us situations that are eye rolling in how needlessly complicated they are.

Overall rating: 7.0

TV Review: Arrow S5E21 Honor Thy Fathers

arrowOliver faces the forced release of dozens of violent criminals prosecuted by Adrian Chase; a crate arrives at Oliver’s office containing a mysterious corpse encased in concrete.

Arrow begins to wind down the season as Team Arrow really takes it to Chase as the fallout for the reveal of Chase is a villain is explored and a revelation about Oliver’s father happens too.

It’s an episode that packs a lot in and at the same time doesn’t feel like it explores enough of any of it. There’s action, there’s lots of discussion, and then there’s an odd resolution to Chase that has the season feel a bit anticlimactic. Add in Rene dealing with his family situation and you have an episode that really attempts to do too much and with only two more episodes left a lot to still go over you can understand why to some extent.

The eventual showdown between Oliver and Adrian I know I was hoping for something more. A well-choreographed fight, lots of action, maybe some threatening moments, but what’s presented doesn’t feel like much of that at all. It feels sad in many ways. How Oliver handles it is decent, but something feels rather empty about it.

The last two episodes have done so much more exploring characters and adding depth to them all. This episode really shifts that and what little it does in that department falls short, especially since what’s come before so recently has been so good. The episode to has little that stands out as memorable.

This season has been a bit up and down and I have no idea what to expect as this season wraps up in the final two episodes. There’s clearly more to be explored when it comes to Chase and when all said is done, those last two episodes will probably be what this season is measured by. This episode wasn’t necessarily bad and as part of the whole is fine, but we’ve seen so much better and seen it so recently.

Overall rating: 7.0

TV Review: Arrow S5E20 Underneath

arrowThe situation gets intense when Oliver and Felicity are trapped in the bunker together; Lyla and Diggle deal with their marital issues.

Arrow gives us a trope of an episode that feels like the “disaster” episode that plagues doctor shows. Oliver and Felicity are trapped after an EMP goes off and have to figure a way out to escape (Escape Room tie-in, hello!? Feels like someone dropped the ball with cross marketing).

But, while the episode traps them, it’s really about the relationship between Oliver and Felicity and later it’s about Lyla and Diggle. The theme is clearly relationships.

The episode bounces between the present and the past as we see Oliver and Felicity’s romance kindle and get hot and that is then compared to now, where things don’t hold up so well. It’s interesting going back and seeing their earlier years when things were a bit happier and reminds us of a time when the series wasn’t quite as sour. And it’s something the series needed to explore at some point. It’s been building and we see it here laid out and discussed. The situation has been building and here it is.

Diggle and Lyla discuss Lyla’s new position and Diggle having issues with it, while he himself has done morally questionable things. Where’s their kid!? Why isn’t the discussion of having parents who aren’t murderers come up? It’s odd, but Lyla pointing out the hypocrisy is good to see.

The episode is a trope and plot we’ve seen so many times before, but it focuses on the relationships of the characters, something thats been needed to be discussed and addressed. It’s not bad at all, it’s a bridge to what comes next and that ending definitely ups the game as the series rockets towards its season finale in a few more episodes.

Overall rating: 7.65

TV Review: Arrow S5E19 Dangerous Liaisons

arrowOliver, Team Arrow, ARGUS, and the SCPD kick off a citywide manhunt for Adrian Chase; Felicity needs to deliver something illegal that will entice Helix to go after Chase.

Arrow is an interesting one as it focuses on the chase for Chase and Felicity makes a choice to go her route to find the wanted individual. That involves working with Helix to free one of their comrades in exchange for some help to find Chase.

While the plot is ok, the episode is much better than it seems at first glance and that’s primarily due to the points made by Felicity when confronted by Oliver concerning what she’s about to do. Her actions put her on the opposite side of Team Arrow and as she points out, why is it ok for only Oliver to do everything necessary to win the day? Why can’t other members? It’s a solid defense and points out Oliver is often a hypocrite in his battle and takes a do as I say, not as I do attitude. It’s solid for someone to call him on his shit.

The other part of the episode that makes this a solid one involves Rene and Quentin calling him out for not seeing his kid. There’s some solid back and forth and real heart in their discussions. It also answers some questions about Rene that have been lingering and also shows off how solid of a character he is. This bit of the episode grounds it a lot and also is some of the most solid writing of the season. It’s simple, but the focus on the characters is something we don’t see enough of.

I’ve been up and down as far as this season, but this episode is easily one of the strongest. Through the there’s a real focus on the characters adding depth to each in their own way and there’s lots I’m leaving out so I don’t spoil anything. A solid hour that gave us action and heart.

Overall rating: 8.15

TV Review: Arrow S5E18 Disbanded

arrowOliver’s decision to call the Bratva for help taking down Prometheus surprises Diggle and Felicity; Felicity makes a shocking discovery at Helix.

Arrow has been a bit mixed the last few episodes but this one really rights the ship as Oliver calls in reinforcements in the Bratva to take on Chase while his teammates both question his decision to do so and also figure out a way to deal with Chase.

There’s a lot here and the episode packs in so much, I’d usually expect this amount to be spread out into multiple episodes. Diggle dealing with Oliver and confronting him might be an episode or in tow. Team Arrow dealing with the Bravta might be one. Team Arrow dealing with Chase might be one. The Bravta dealing with Chase might be one. There’s just a lot going on for the episode and for that, it’s one of the better ones this season. No time is wasted and by doing so the pacing really picks up, an issue for some of the episodes this season where things feel like they’ve been decompressed.

What’s also solid is how it deals with Chase with an ending that feels like it almost doesn’t belong on this series and shows off some potential that doesn’t feel like it’s normally tapped. I think that five minutes or so is some of the best of the entire series. How it’s directed and shot really breaks from the normal visuals of the series. I couldn’t say what was different, but it felt like it was.

The episode also really brings in the Bravta plot into the main story and does so pretty well with future repercussions that I can see driving the next season. It’s some good plotting when it comes to the past and present story threads that feels like it sometimes is lacking in previous seasons.

This is a solid episode that brings a lot of pieces of the puzzle together and sets the rest of the season off into a good direction, but what’s interesting to me is that Chase scene which shows off the potential of the series.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E17 Kapiushon

arrowPrometheus attempts to break Oliver; Anatoly worries about Oliver’s increasingly violent tendencies, which come to a head in a brutal confrontation.

Arrow has had lots of ups and downs this season and at this point things have felt like they’ve dragged on a bit too long, especially when it comes to the Russia storyline that’s a major focus of this season.

This episode is no exception and feels like it splits itself in two as Oliver goes on the offensive in Russia with bodies piling up and then there’s his being held prisoner by Prometheus/Chase.

There’s some really solid stuff here. For those who watched the first two seasons of Arrow, you’ll remember that Oliver was full of bloodlust and had no problem killing those he saw as villains. There was a lot of time devoted to that and he eventually changed his ways.

This seasons dives into that bloodlust building with each episode. It’s a prequel in many ways and directly dives into a subject that was debated a lot in the series. Again, that’s really good and cool. But, with the back and forth with the various Russian mobsters, things have kind of blended together. It’s not too exciting when some of what happens feels like we’ve seen it before and it’s all repeating itself. I’m literally zoning out at it all. And what’s weird is, out of all of the seasons, this prequel story is the most important and tied into the modern day story. It’s an actual important one.

The torture aspect with Prometheus is the villain’s attempt to get back at Oliver for killing his father but in the end he just wants a confession in a way. That leads to Oliver coming to an internal conclusion about his nature and the killing. It’s interesting and catharsis in some ways, but also feels anti-climactic. Oliver’s realization leads to a conclusion at the end of the episode that’ll drive the rest of the season in an interesting direction, one we’ll have to wait and see.

The episode is decent, it’s just dragging it feels like. The departure from previous seasons seems to have caused another problem, a series that’s dragging.

Overall rating: 7.65

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