“Arrow” has prided itself on being many things throughout its second season, and ambitious has to be at the top of that list. Despite airing on a network in The CW known mostly for people not wearing shirts and for vampire romances, they’ve pulled off more than we could have ever hopes.
But how much is too much? Is “Arrow” starting to go a tad overboard? There were a few times during “The Man Under the Hood” where we started to feel like the story may have a little too much going on, rather than just giving us some simplified stories that gave us a chance to see all of the individual characters shine. We had very little Diggle, and despite the election for Mayor being right around the bend, nothing with Sebastian Blood. It’s almost like Slade doesn’t really need him anymore, and he’s just wandering around somewhere in the background. Isabel Rochev has almost taken his place now as the secondary Big Bad, and we wonder if you could have just combined Isabel and Sebastian into one character, and saved yourself the “too many Big Bads” problem.
Also, you had in this episode the appearance of Cisco Roman and Caitlin Snow from “The Flash.” They seem like fine characters, but it was an obvious shoehorn on the writers’ part for the sake of reminding us that Barry Allen is still out there, and to also give Felicity to be hesitant about going to see him again (i.e. the sudden introduction of Iris). We suppose we understand why this was important for the Felicity character to have this moment, but we really didn’t need another reason to watch a potential series we would already watch.
What really surprised us about this episode is that we actually liked what Laurel did for a change! Her not confronting Oliver about being the Arrow was the most mature thing that she’s done as a character, since she realized that there is nothing good that is going to come from her confronting either him or her sister about it. It’s just yet another thing for them to worry about, and Quentin helped her to see that they are trying to do good for the world. This was a cool twist that we didn’t see coming, and it turns Laurel from a tool for story angst into a confident woman who doesn’t need to walk into a room and metaphorically drop the mic.
The island plot was also very important to giving us hope that the mirakuru could actually be stopped, and it further showed the darkness within Oliver and just how deep that it runs. We still have no idea why he didn’t suggest the mirakuru cure in the present, though, especially since he knew that STAR Labs is out there and Roy had been injected.
At the end of the day, we nitpick here because “Arrow” is a show we adore, and while we have qualms here and there that they are not going to be able to resolve everything in the final four episodes, this is still a fantastic season. As for the big reveal at the end that Isabel (revealed earlier to be a former lover of Robert Queen) is being injected, someone made Summer Glau more of a killing machine. Oh no. (Actually, we feel like her impact is more felt as the CEO at this point, given that Slade already has an army of people with powers. Adding one more to it isn’t necessarily going to turn the tide.) Grade: B-.
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Photo: The CW