The Neurotic Nerd Reviews: Arrow- Midnight City.

I am so sorry I was late posting this, folks. You see, my car broke down and I had to have it towed and I’m…I’m just torn up with grief over it. I loved that car and I’m really gonna miss it while it’s being repaired. But that’s no excuse for not posting my reviews as expected. Who said “The line between grief and guilt is a thin one”? Oh yeah-Tatsu! And, thankfully in this weeks episode, her and Maseo get explored big time, but not as much as our heroes back in Starling City. (Just get used to the bad puns here, folks. They’re here to stay.

I'm seriously not even a fan, but they have MLP pictures for EVERYTHING
I’m seriously not even a fan, but they have MLP pictures for EVERYTHING
I mean, lets face it, she looks good in that outfit!
I mean, lets face it, she looks good in that outfit!

So, I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge fan of The CW’s “Arrow”. And while “Midnight City” is certainly better than a hell of a lot of other television out there, it did leave a little bit (and I mean a very little bit) to be desired, and that’s mostly because I’m nit picky. But overall, “Midnight City” was yet another solid entry into this seasons second half, a writers dream scape as it were. The main character, Oliver Queen a.k.a. The Arrow, is out of commission, licking his wounds from a duel with Ra’s Al Gul in the mountain shed of the wife of his former colleague, Maseo. Meanwhile, back in good ole Starling City, Team Arrow is feeling around in the dark without the wise mentor-ship of their leader. At the start of the episode, darling Felicity has all but quit the team (and refused to help Proto-Super Hero Ray Palmer in his quest to become The Atom); Roy (played with an uncanny pose in this episode by Colton Haynes) is trying to fill some very large shoes without nearly the training or team needed to do so;  and Diggle is still fighting the good fight, but a lot more reservedly so these days. The major revelation in the last episode came Assistant District Attorney Laurel Lance, who for the first time donned the Black Canary outfit she was destined for.

“Midnight City” continues a run in the series showing the effect of a loss leader (read: father/older brother figure). Despite the fact that Roy is a formidable fighter and Laurel has spunk and pizzazz, they are no match for a villain that Oliver could easily handle. The villain (played with a masterful old-town London twist by Vinnie Jones) is Danny Brickwell- or as Green Arrow fans know him- Brick. This episode sees him storming right into the Mayor’s office and taking 3 city Aldermen hostage in a scene that can be described as “Holy shit, that guy has brass balls.” Roy, Diggle and Laurel do their best to take him down, but without their usual allies that’s a bit hard. Making it even harder is the fact that Officer Quentin Lance- father to Laurel and her slain sister- is not aware of Sara Lance’s demise. Instead of utterly ruining him by telling him that she is dead, Laurel enacts an elaborate ruse to keep his hopes up a little longer.

The interesting thing about this story is how well it ties together a loosely defined premise. Laurel has to lie to her father to protect his well being. Malcolm Merlyn, meanwhile, lies to his daughter Thea Queen about their needing to leave Starling City. In the flashbacks scenes, Maseo lies to a young Ollie in order to get his wife back from the Triad. It is an underhanded question and one that the series toys with in several different ways: is lying on a large scale ever justified? Maseo freely admits in the flashback scenes that there is no price he is not willing to pay to protect his family- even if it means the death of hundreds or thousands. Though Malcolm is out to save his own skin, he also truly does care for Thea, and wants to flee to protect both of them. Laurel’s lie is a bit more of a conundrum. Some would say its better to pull the band-aid off in one fell swoop- why not just tell her father and spare him the crashing despair of finding out later? I guess we’ll find out later.

But after two seasons of putting up with this shit, I'm ready for an ass kicking Laurel Lance
But after two seasons of putting up with this shit, I’m ready for an ass kicking Laurel Lance

I would like to take a moment and applaud Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Ray Palmer. His very Meta-Nerdy sense of humor works well, somehow, in the context of the series, and I believe he is making a strong case for a possible future series of his own. Last weeks line “You make it sound like using an enhanced exo-skeleton to fight crime and save the city is a crazy idea” and this weeks “They aren’t lasers. That’d be ridiculous. They’re compressed hard light beams” seem like their ripped straight from the pages of a comic book. I mean, you can almost see the word bubble above his head as he says it. Stylistic idea for a show about The Atom? Television people, take note.

I mean, you've already got a great title sequence scene right here
I mean, you’ve already got a great title sequence scene right here

But back to my nit-picky-ness. First off, the flashback scenes come off a bit heavy handed. It’s almost Inception like in its execution and a little dizzying. But it does serve well to establish the weight of Maseo’s and Tatsu’s characters in the present day storyline. And to balance the scales, the cottage scenes with Ollie, Tatsu and Maseo are done with a very nice finesse. The other thing I have to nit-pick is Black Canary’s and Arsenal’s saving of the Alderman. Without any explanation that Laurel knows where the Diggle-Copter (dibs) is, her jumping out of the window after hitting Brick a few times comes across as a bit Deus Ex Machina. I mean, I know she calls for his help, but one or two lines in response from the Diggster (also Dibs) would have helped me suspend my disbelief just a little bit more.

Taking all of that into due consideration, this episode is a solid A-. It helps show how much of a mess the city without Oliver, how much he team needs him and where the series seems to be headed. Despite a few minor hang-ups, I’d call it a success.

                                                                                             The Good

colton haynes

Colton Haynes is really stepping into the role well, playing the kid forced into his big brothers

shoes and legacy just a bit too soon.

Once again, Emily Rickards is pretty much my ideal woman. I MEAN- Felicity Smoak is p

retty much my ideal woman…damn, sort of hope she doesn’t read that.

A very nice plot twist at the end involving a certain annoying DJ.

I’m really loving the sudden evolution of Maseo and Tatsu’s characters and their relationship with each other. Also, where is their son?………..

                                                                                     The Bad

better danny brickwell

Deus Ex Machina ending seemed underhanded and a bit lazy. I personally would have liked to see Canary and Arsenal fail again in some way- maybe grab one of the Aldermen, but the other one dies?

The flashback scenes come on a little strong, especially the over-saturated color of the club scen

es.

Laurels not quite this cool yet.
Laurels not quite this cool yet.

The Neurotic

Really, Brick? The best you could come up with was “Brick City”? Bricktown! It’s so much easier on the tongue AND the ears!

Ha! Laurel biffed it.

I really don’t know why Felicity is so depressed: she’s had three super-heroes fall for her (The Arrow, The Flash and the soon-to-be Atom, for those not keeping track)

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