Sorry for the lateness of this review Arrow fans, had a bit of technical difficulties but all is resolved now so let’s discuss the mid-season finale!
Last week was a good episode- had good progression of b plots, Huntress was further established and given an open door to return, and Diggle provided the voice of reason yet again. Oliver needs to listen to him more often. This week’s episode, ‘Year’s End’, felt like a see-saw between ridiculous and “holy shit!”
Might as well start with the ridiculous. Oliver finds out his family hasn’t celebrated Christmas since he and his father disappeared and he takes it upon himself to bring back their annual Christmas party. What a guy. However, later on there was this whole thing with Tommy and Laurel and Tommy asking Laurel to be his plus one… why wasn’t Laurel invited in the first place? I get that there was some awkwardness after the horrible double date but to not invite her at all? Seems rather douchey Oliver.
Or perhaps he was just too busy trying to fend off the creepy advances of his sister. WTF is going on with Thea? I don’t know if it’s the actresses playing it that way or if it’s the way it’s written but it seems as if Thea is really wanting to get into Oliver’s pants. It makes me feel dirty just watching that last scene with Oliver in the hospital and them talking (again) about how they just need to accept where each other is at and blah blah blah. It seems as if they’ve just had the same discussion over and over and over again. Find something new to talk about Queen siblings and for the love of all that’s holy, stop undressing each other with your eyes! Blech.
Most of the episode was right in the middle of the see-saw however. We finally returned to the island in which we learned that Edward Fryers set up an ambush to capture Yao Fei (noooo!!!!) and I assume let Deathstroke torture him like he did Oliver. I’m really hoping that they don’t wait so long to return next time because I’m really curious as to what is going on there. Is Yao Fei really a Chinese criminal? What on earth is Fryers doing there in the first place and when are they going to return to that shot in the eye mask we saw in the pilot?
Do we know what role Moira has in this evil empire? At first it sounded like she was working under Malcolm Merlyn but then when she was talking to him and later Walter, I get the impression that they are more equals than nefarious boss and lackey. Especially when Moira tells Walter, “I am the bad people” a la Walter White. What do you mean Moira? Then after we find out who the Dark Archer is and see Walter get drugged in the elevator? She didn’t know that was going to happen? Much like the island, I hope they don’t drag this out because there are questions that need answers. Not to mention, six months without Walter? Come on, that’s just mean. Who knows when we’ll see the happy Steele/Queen family all together again?
I’m really glad that the Dark Archer has been introduced. I think the show needs a constant adversary that isn’t just “The List”. Yea there’s the Triad and China White, but they are just a cog in different storylines whereas the Dark Archer stands on his own and plays into the subplots as well.
When Adam Hunt showed up, I feared that lawyer Laurel was going to appear but thank the gods for a Christmas miracle because she did not. Instead Adam Hunt ended up being the first guy we’ve seen shot by the Dark Archer. He then goes on to take out more of Ollie’s list which prompts the unusual teaming up of Detective Lance and Oliver.
Ollie gets the black arrows, looks at them for a few seconds and figures out what it was made of. Please remember that this is the guy who can’t google anything so he returns to Felicity Smoak. Thank you baby Jesus! That entire exchange between Oliver and Felicity was like a Christmas gift wrapped up just for me. The look on Oliver’s face when she tell him she’s Jewish? Perfect. This show needs more Felicity. Of course I said the show needs more Walter and look what happened there so perhaps I should just be okay with the amount of Felicity we’ve already got.
Of course the biggest part of the episode was the showdown between the Dark Archer and Oliver aka “The Hood Guy”. Nothing like two guys running around in the dark shooting each other with bows and arrows. Best fight scene of the season so far, without a doubt. It’s easier to buy the dude shooting a crossbow missing Oliver rather than the guys shooting machine guns. Of course the dude with the crossbow ends up shooting Oliver so I’m wondering if the guys using machine guns so far have actually been blind. Would explain a lot.
Even though I had a strong feeling as to who the Dark Archer was, Malcolm threw me off when he referred to him as “OUR associate” when talking to Moira. Thanks to that little seed of doubt, I was surprised when the Dark Archer removed his mask. Malcolm you evil but still beautiful man going around threatening people and then doing your own dirty work. I approve. It seems as if John Barrowman also approves because even though he couldn’t give away his identity, he did tell the LA Times that he would love to be a regular on the show. Here’s hoping the writers listen because I have a feeling there are a lot of people who would like to see the same.
Best part of the episode? The exchange between Oliver and Malcolm while at dinner. Who would have guessed that it would be Merlyn to suggest the “Green Arrow” moniker? Even if they don’t use Green Arrow, I’m hoping that conversation means they are actually going to give “The Hood/The Hood Guy/The Vigilante” a proper name. Especially for people like myself who write about the show as it’s sometimes a bit difficult to distinguish who I’m talking about. If nothing else, I want to find a way to make Stephen Amell saying “The Hood Guy” as my ringtone. That cracked me up.
I loved this episode and even though there was ridiculous (Thea) moments I think they balanced out the big moments quite well. Diggle further cemented his role as the love child between Jiminy Cricket and Alfred. Hopefully he’ll get a bigger chunk of airtime in the new year. Ratings were down unfortunately, but hopefully people will catch up over the hiatus and come back in big numbers for episode ten on January 16th. As for episode nine, another 4 out of five.
I hope all you Arrow fans have a happy holiday season and I’ll see you back here in January. Until then!