‘Arrow’ season 2, episode 9 review: The anatomy of a villain

Take a look -What does it take for one to be a hero, and what does it take for one to be a villain? In the wake of everything that we saw on “Arrow” last night, we couldn’t stop ourselves from really asking both of these questions. “Three Ghosts” was a complicated and in some ways stellar episode for the show, which brought us surprises, some teasers of a romance ahead (Oliver / Felicity!), and also the return of a face from Oliver’s past.

But, hours after watching the end of the episode, we still wonder to ourselves whether or not Slade really has enough motivation to turn completely to the dark side with the added power of the serum in his blood. His motivation seems to be avenging the death of his beloved Shadow, who Dr. Anthony Ivo killed after Oliver was forced to choose between her and Sarah Lance. We understand in some ways the rage, but this was not a situation where Oliver murdered her himself, or out of cold blood. He had to make a choice, and it’s no surprise that he chose to save the person that he knew the longest of the two.

But we’re willing to look past most of our questions for now, since we realize that there could have been more that happened on the island to drive Slade to his angry place where he borrowed The Governor’s eye patch and got himself a heck of a fancy suit. Manu Bennett is a series regular, so seeing him turn up in the present almost as the new Big Bad is hardly much of a surprise. We do at least love what he represents, as he is sort of the upper tier of bad guy once Oliver figures out how to deal with Brother Blood. He’s also majorly threatening in that he is significantly stronger than almost any man alive, and already knows who he is. There aren’t the same sort of conflicts that were occasionally there last year for Malcolm Merlyn.

We do want to at least touch on a few other interesting little threads that were present near the end of this episode, as well.

1. Is Roy Harper now a super-soldier in his own right? He did get injected with the serum, though it’s not clear yet what the impact of that is going to be.

2. Clearly, Tommy Merlyn must have a different haircut in real life now than he did on the show last year (thanks to the camera angle). But, this was a nice, surprising cameo that was not really advertised.

3. The way the end of Barry Allen’s story was handled here was somewhat brilliant. They didn’t show you that he was The Flash, but they showed you just enough that you assume the transformation is happening. We imagine that the upcoming pilot starts just after getting off the phone with Felicity, where he starts to figure out what has happened to him.

4. Is Detective Lance really going to be okay? We worry since we love the character, and there are some Brother Blood folks working the police from the inside.

We still have questions about Slade, but even still, “Arrow” is proving itself yet again to be quite possibly one of the greatest superhero shows on TV. We weren’t expecting to love the show as much as we were, or to see it manage to actually create its own universe that feels like the Green Arrow Comics, but at the same time it’s great to see something new. Grade: A-.

If you do want to read some more “Arrow” scoop, just click here for a promo of what could be coming up down the road. We’ll have some more news on this subject very soon.

Photo: The CW

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