There was probably no more important “Arrow” episode this season so far than “The Scientist,” mostly because it held more than just the fate of this one show in its hands. Instead, you were really talking about both this series and also the potential spin-off starring The Flash. If just one of them started to go off the rails somewhat, then you were looking at a situation where you ruin months and months of planning.
But by and large, the show did a good job with introducing Barry Allen, a character who really needs these sort of superpowers if anyone ever did. He is a guy who is perpetually late, a little bit disoriented from society, but also kindhearted. He also has an instant connection to Felicity Smoak in that they are both extremely intelligent, resourceful people who will do anything to get the job done.
The one issue that we have with the character’s interaction, though, is the connection in some ways with Felicity. While it makes sense that the two would hit if off, it’s a little bit of a risk to make a new person likable when they are working unintentionally against the most-popular ship on the show in Oliver / Felicity. It’s the same problem that “The Office” had with Karen during Rashida Jones’ brief time on the show, and probably why she ended up being on “Parks and Recreation” rather than a spin-off that was still within that same sort of world.
But personally, we find that we still like Barry; we just don’t want to see him and Felicity together in the end, and that probably isn’t going to happen anyway, unless she leaves this show and heads over to the new one. What they did do right here was establishing some of his origin story, and his desperation to clear his father’s name. A dead parent is #1 on the list of tired superhero cliches, but having the other parent being accused of the murder is at least somewhat different.
As for the rest of the episode surrounding him, it was solid. We got a sense presumably of what happens to Slade on the Island, and how this could be interesting to the modern-day world of Starling City. Remember that Manu Bennett is a series regular, and it would only make sense for him to turn up eventually. Also, Brother Blood’s world seems to be getting closer to colliding with the Hood’s, and that should make for plenty of wonderful chaos.
In the end, though, we were surprised by how much of this episode ended up being words rather than actions. Malcolm threatened Moira to tell Thea the truth about her paternity, but she didn’t; meanwhile, the cliffhanger was all about seeing if Barry could save Oliver after he was on the brink of death. This was all more of a buildup to the second part of this story next week, and while it was good, we’re still waiting for the payoff. Grade: B+.
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Photo: The CW