Arrow Review: “Beyond Redemption”

ArrowSeason4

Jim’s Review

This week’s episode did a lot right, I think. Maybe it was the tying up of a couple loose ends, maybe it was individual performances, it was almost certainly because the rogue SCPD task force had a device which could mute Laurel, but what’s important was that I enjoyed it.

One thing this show is doing is borrowing from other areas of the DC universe. Since the big two (Batman and Superman) seem personas non grata in the Arrow-verse, that’s freeing them up to pilfer a little from those characters. With Sara, they seem to be swiping the Jason Todd angle from Batman, and that could work, but I’m a little worried about how much screen time that will give Laurel in all of it.

The angle with Felicity worrying over Ray’s last recording fell a little flat for me, and the idea that the device couldn’t be hacked didn’t really ring true to me, even if it was Ray’s. I suppose the long and the short of it is I’m not invested with that particular angle. Felicity working with Curtis to develop an idea and save jobs at the company is all well and good, but there’s no tension attached to it. When they’re seen together, they banter and trade life stories. Neither of them seems particularly stressed, and if they seem detached, you can be sure the audience will, too.

I will say I’m really enjoying Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk. He’s doing a fantastic job of blending a menacing demeanor with an odd sort of charisma, and in that way, I feel like he could just about become this show’s Joker, where Count Vertigo failed miserably to hit those notes.

A trend I started seeing last season, which I’m sorry to see continue, is the flashback sequences flattening out. I’ve noted it before, and it’s just something they haven’t gotten on track. Oliver being back on the island is an effective way to introduce future plot elements, but there’s too much of a disconnect with what is happening now.

The highlight for me was Oliver confronting Captain Lance. Maybe for the first time, I felt their conflict had something tangible to it, so it was a strong narrative moment for me as a viewer, and I think Stephen Amell really sold it. It may be the most impressed I’ve been with him as an actor.

Unfortunately, I feel I have to fire a parting shot at this episode. I liked what Captain Lance said at the end, but I didn’t buy it. It came too suddenly, and I couldn’t believe it managed to change the mind of a woman who’d already murdered colleagues in cold blood.

Everything considered, I still think this season is working much better than last. As always, they’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and I just can’t see my way to caring about all of them, but I don’t find myself checking out nearly as often, and I’m genuinely interested to see how things progress.

Kyle’s Take

I’m unsure whether Arrow made significant strides during “Beyond Redemption” but I’m enjoying this season more than the last, and that’s a good thing. Like Jim, I couldn’t care less about the Ray/Felicity angle because Felicity is with Ollie and her mourning will be short lived as Ray Palmer/Atom will return and we’ll get another lead-in for Legends of Tomorrow. I won’t harp on Arrow setting up yet another show here. I’ve even said my piece about how ridiculous and deflated the Curtis-Felicity saving jobs arc is. Tom Brady texted and he says you need to pump more air into that story, Arrow.

The further removed we are from Arrow’s first season, the less sense Ollie revisiting the island during flashbacks makes. We also get a disconnect from season to season (we do the time warp every year), so since I’m a solutions-oriented guy, keep the flashbacks but make them about the six month gap between seasons. Alright, enough of the negative let’s get to the positives.

McDonough as Darhk: good. Oliver confronting Lance: great. Rogue cop using a Canary dampener on Laurel: belly laugh funny. Laurel’s comeback of different frequency, same cry: cringe-worthy. But if Arrow could drop lines like these with a little more tongue-in-cheek (think Robin during Batman Forever and “holey, rusted metal, Batman”), I might be able to get on board. Cheese pairs well with whine.

Overall, this season’s moving along well and I’m glad I stuck around.

Arrow had a handful of secrets this week and here’s a link to our Arrow secrets page. Thanks for reading.

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