‘Arrow’ season 3, episode 11 review: ‘Midnight City’ and many masks
“Arrow” season 3 for the most part has been a very strong season, and one full of great moments and memorable new characters. With all of this being said, we sit here feeling at least somewhat divided over “Midnight City,” which may be one of the weaker episodes that the show has put out there.
Let’s start with what this episode struggled with, starting first of all with the almost complete lack of explanation for how Oliver Queen is still alive. How do you gloss over something like that with “herbs”? Unless this is something about Tatsu that is going to become clear later, this cheapens Oliver’s character to make him appear strangely immortal, like it takes more to kill one person than everyone else. It doesn’t quite work. This is a bummer, given that we liked most of everything else from Maseo and Tatsu in this episode. Even Maseo killing the League of Assassins members, while cutting his own neck to make it look like liver did it, was an interesting move.
Now, we turn to the other flaw: How cruel is Laurel Lance to her father? This episode in some ways probably validated while she never told Quentin the truth about Sara, since this enabled her to get information from him, and no way he gives it to Laurel if he knows that she has on the Canary mask. It just felt very unsettling, even if you have to make hard choices.
Finally, Felicity seemed to have a pretty magical turnaround to be back with Team Arrow after a conversation with Ray, which makes this the week of strange flip-flops on DC Comics shows. Over on “The Flash,” we were also critical of how it took Caitlin almost no time to go back with Harrison Wells.
Now, what this episode did well. The DJ’s an assassin! Who thought that? Maybe some saw this coming, but we envisioned him more as just some annoying dude love interest for Thea who really did not mean anything else to the story. He is much more interesting now that we know he is watching her and Malcolm Merlyn, who was convinced to stay in Starling rather than run away after he told her some partial truths.
Other than the aforementioned Sara stuff, we do feel like the show handled Laurel’s first full Black Canary episode very well. She convinced Roy and Diggle to let her take part, but struggled with it almost throughout before sort-of-getting it together at the end. Brickwell is turning out to be a solid first real adversary for her, given that he comes across as dangerous, but he is not someone who has that same sort of mystique as a Ra’s al Ghul or a Malcolm.
Hopefully, the path is being paved for Oliver to return to Starling City soon. For now, we enjoyed most of “Midnight City” despite its flaws; while “Arrow” is often not perfect, it typically does enough to leave us very entertained. Grade: B-.
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