Arrow Review: “Taken”


Jim’s Thoughts

Arrow started much stronger than it finished this week. Overall it was an okay episode. Darhk was front and center. The show really needed that, and it mostly paid off. I liked that they finally moved beyond the formula of Ollie shows up, Darhk uses “not the force” to choke him out and leaves grinning. The show needed that, too.

The confrontation with Felicity over Ollie’s son has been a long time coming. There wasn’t anything surprising there, and the focus on that point for the episode exhausted me. I’m to the point where I simply dislike Felicity, and being that I never bought Ollie’s reason for withholding the information from her (how would Samantha know if Felicity knew?), I had no one to side with in the argument.

On the other side, I rolled my eyes at the heart-to-heart Samantha had with Felicity. In that moment, there is no way Samantha’s prime concern is smoothing out Ollie’s relationship for him. That conversation was unnatural, and a little odd. Laurel, who has been unusually tolerable of late, bugged me this week. How could she be broken up about Oliver cheating on her when they were together? How could she even be surprised? Does no one remember that he cheated on her with her own sister? Lack of attention to continuity has been a problem for this show, and the disproportionate attention to dull romantic angles has been another.

Vixen’s role in the show was done as well as could have been expected. What’s more, there seems to be a tie to the events in the flashback segments. I can’t say the flashbacks are winning me over at all, but at least they seem to be going somewhere.

It seems the ending of this episode is where it came down hard on the Felicity involvement. That left a bad taste in my mouth, and may cause me to be harder on the show than is warranted. It fizzled, but a little more of what worked in the beginning of this episode, and at least a little less of what came in the end will work wonders toward a strong finish to the season as we move forward.

Kyle’s Take

Jim mentioned the solid opening, but I couldn’t remember anything from that except for Felicity’s struggle to walk. That was okay (at least she wasn’t dancing a jig immediately after the chip was implanted) and so was Darhk’s confrontation with Ollie and Felicity in the rehab center’s dark parking lot (that was down-right creepy), but it took a grand total of six minutes before Arrow devolved into Olicity. I agree that Darhk was too strong, and he went to the “not-the-Force” choke far too often, but Arrow didn’t have to away all of Darhk’s powers. That was a cheat.

Unfortunately, I was wrong a second time with Arrow. I had thought The League was this season’s Brick, but Arrow showed me that Darhk would factor into this stretch of the season in last week’s episode. Since “Taken” took Darhk from the venomous snake that he his and turned him into a belt, Olicity and the Merlyn-Thea daddy issues took center stage as this season’s Brick. I’m sure we’ll have villains of the week, but Arrow looked to tie a couple of bricks to this season and dump this year into the bay.

I don’t believe in the moment when Samantha smoothed things over with Felicity. What did she have to gain from that and why would she take time out from worrying about her son to do that? That shows you how little Arrow’s writers understand parenthood and how much they’re promoting Olicity. I don’t even know if I’d believe Samantha offering comfort to Felicity if Felicity approached her instead of the other way around. Samantha should be focused on her son. But what would you expect? Her and Ollie’s son is nothing but a plot device.

Laurel was as ridiculous as ever. I can’t tell if it’s more poor acting or writing for the character. There are too many examples of Ollie as an incestuous yo-yo between Laurel and Sara that Laurel should be immune to Ollie’s sleeping around. How is Laurel upset that some random woman slept with Ollie? I’d believe her—on some level—if she lamented the fact that there was a time when she thought she’d be the mother of Ollie’s children, a kind of path not taken thing, but that didn’t happen.

Then, there was Vixen. She worked as the unnecessary stand-in for John Constantine. Let’s throw in another magic user. Why not? If Arrow really needed another magician, why not go with the fan-favorite Zatanna? Actually, Vixen was another plot device. If Arrow had enlisted Constantine or Zatanna, either of those two and Darhk would’ve fought to a stalemate and the team wouldn’t think of targeting Darhk’s totem. Yawn.

I hope I’m wrong a third time about the presence of a Brick or two this season, but I don’t see Arrow spending too much time showing us Darhk’s struggle to regain his powers. Actually, that might be interesting to watch if it happens. But the clock is showing Olicity-o-clock.

Do you want more Arrow? Check out our Arrow secrets page. Thanks for reading.

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