Is it appropriate to have an all out brawl as a homecoming parade? I mean, I think it’d be kinda cool! I’m talkin’ about an old school, dirty, sloppy street slushing. Well in any case, that’s what Oliver gets in this weeks “Arrow” episode, and we get a glimpse into the past of Malcolm Merlyn, for a change.
So, Ollie’s taking his little vacation in the Himalayan Alps (or whatever, Geography’s not a strong point for me) while Roy, Diggle and crew do all of his work for him. I’m just kidding- of course Ollie was hobbled up in Tatsu’s hut, while Team Arrow has been struggling in Ollie’s absence against Brick- a ruthless, extremely tough (YES I’m admitting I was wrong about him having enhancements), old school London style gangster. Meanwhile, Malcolm Merlyn has been training Thea. Like endlessly. Like it’s all they do. I mean, I get it- he’s an ex-member of the League of Assassins and all but shouldn’t a father and daughter just go to the lake and enjoy some good ole fashioned fishing every once in a while?
One cool thing about this episode is that even though we all knew it would be Ollie’s triumphant return, it’s really a Merlyn episode. Which is good for three reasons: A) It gives us one after a perceivable drought in Merlyn focused stories B) It gives us some insight into Malcolm’s background and C) Really, any chance to have John Barrowman on screen needs to be taken advantage of. And in this episode he shows us all why he is a fan favorite actor.
21 years ago, Malcolm Merlyn’s wife was murdered during what can only be called a challenging period for his hair. Malcolm, understandably filled with rage, tracks down and murders the culprit. Or so he thought, until it comes to light that the actual proprietor of his wife’s demise was none other than Mr. Danny Brickwell, a.k.a. Brick. What’s so interesting about Malcolm Merlyn’s character is that even though he has done some terrible things, he had good intentions in mind. But as Alan Grant once said “Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” He became a member of the Assassins to try and better protect his family and loved ones: he undertook the…Undertaking…because he wanted to make the Glades a better place; he framed Ollie for Sara’s murder because he wanted to protect Thea. I mean, I get it, Mal, but jeez- perspective, man. Perspective.
Malcolm offers his services to Team Arrow, who flat out refuse him thanks to Felicity’s bitching. A note on her character- why did they make her so bitchy and hormonal and bi-polar all of the sudden? I mean she was the Teams rock for two seasons now all the sudden she loses her shit? With two different super-hero’s? But I’m not hopping off the Felicity train any time soon. I mean look at Laurel’s character: for two seasons she was a total bitch. Now she’s awesome! I have faith that the writers know what they’re doing and intend on taking her character down a bit (but not too far, as some of the foreshadowing instrumentation seemed to suggest)
Any who’s, Malcolm just straight up doesn’t give a shit and is gonna go after Brick himself, which as far as I can tell might actually have been Team Arrows plan. Don’t overtly enlist Merlyn’s help, just make the ground fertile for him to take action. And they do so in the most bad-ass way I can think of: VIVE LA RESISTANCE! Enlisting the help of some old friends (Wildcat and Sin, namely) to stoke the fires of rebellion and convince the people of the Glades to take arms against the sea of oppressions, and by resist we mean to end them. Whoa…did I just accidentally quote Shakespeare? Wow. Okay, just Googled it- missed it by one word.
Though the episode was a fun watch through and through, the main complaint I have is Ollie’s actual return. One minute he’s catching a..hay…bus…in the Himalayan Alps (or Andes or whatever) and then BAM! Next minute he’s in his Arrow outfit and preventing Merlyn from killing Brick. It’s just really anti-climactic. Maybe if Ollie had just gotten there when the fight started and we got to see him being his old self again (admittedly impossible as he’s still a bit hobbled up), that would have done the trick. Or engaging Merlyn in a fight in order to stop him from killing Brick. Besides that though, the street brawl is epic. Wildcat comes back and, for a while, beats the shit out of Brick. However they did leave an unanswered question as to whether or not Wildcat actually lives through Brick’s rebuttal. Personally, I think he does.
All in all, it’s a really really good episode. Despite Ollie’s lackadaisical return, we do get to see Merlyn being the bad-ass that he is as only John Barrowman can do. And a really nice touch by the writers was showing that Thea is not completely corrupted by Merlyn’s teachings- she still refuses to kill people. I was bit sad to see Brick’s run end like it did- personally, I had hoped there was something between him and Ra’s and that would play into the season finale. Who knows- maybe there is. But we do know that we will be seeing a lot more of Mr. Barrowman, and that is always a good thing.
John Barrowman. In any way, shape or form.
It was really nice to see Wildcat and Sin again, even if only for a few brief scenes. (Am I the only one who things Sin is, like, super hot?)
The street brawl? Epic.
Seeing Arsenal and Black Canary work together as well as they did is actually pretty fun.
Lackluster scenes in the Himalayan Alps (or Rockies or something like that).
Ollie’s return was really anti-climactic.
Felicity’s still being kind of a bitch after last weeks hopeful showing.
Two DCTU references for those counting: Arsenal gets mistaken for Flash and Ollie tells Thea he was in Bludhaven. This last one could possibly be in reference to either Lodai (their outfitter) or, hopefully more likely, a proposed Nightwing series.
This is what John Barrowman actually looked like the 90’s.
A) Don’t kill off Wildcat, B) Give him a better outfit. Please. Thank you.