Arrow: “The Sin-Eater”

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Jim’s Thoughts

After the disaster that was last week’s awkward “issue” episode, Arrow needed to come back strong. When I saw Cupid returning as one of the villains, I didn’t hold out much hope. With that said, this was a better episode than other Cupid appearances have resulted in, but nowhere near what was needed to right the ship.

The “Sin-Eater” theme was played heavily across the various storylines, and it’s beginning to look like the show has lost all interest in subtlety. This week, I think it was, more than anything, an attempt to tie the flashback scenes with the present, and kick sand over the fact that neither plot moved much.

If there’s any movement to speak of, it’s Ollie’s cover up being leaked to the press. On the one hand, it could be refreshing to see realistic consequences brought to the show, but they’re still leaning far too heavily on suspension of disbelief for that to work. Isn’t Quentin still deputy mayor? Why is he wielding a gun and fighting alongside Team Arrow unmasked? Ollie’s girlfriend has been fired and ruined because of Felicity hacking her? Wouldn’t an affair with the mayor already constitute a conflict of interest and seriously discredit her in the journalistic world? If they want to bring any realistic consequences to the table, these are questions they can’t keep answering with, “It’s based on a comic book.”

Maybe the biggest problem with the show is characterized by the preview for next week. Vigilante comes back, and it’s been so long since the show has had any focus, I’m having a hard time remembering where we were with that character.

It’s not the worst episode we’ve seen this season. Last week set that bar so low you could only hope to trip over it, but it’s more of the same.

Kyle’s Take

At least we can say “The Sin-Eater” wasn’t as bad as last week’s Arrow. The quality of CW superhero shows declines the later in the week you watch them, so I’ve been dreading Arrow. Jim saw this episode first, told me it was a Cupid episode, and I shuddered. Fortunately, it was easily the best Cupid episode. But that’s not saying much.

I vaguely remember Liza Warner and I don’t recall China White ever gracing the screen, but they managed to keep Cupid grounded. That’s a good thing. They were also over-the-top and, like Jim said, not subtle with the “Sin-Eater” theme, especially with Warner. That’s not so good. What’s worse is that if “The Sin-Eater” progressed the Prometheus storyline, it did so at a crawl. Prometheus’s mom sides with Prometheus. Big shock.

I’m still not convinced Prometheus is this season of Arrow’s end-game, but “The Sin-Eater” reinforced the notion that Arrow had to drop its flashbacks seasons ago. These flashbacks may as well feature McBain’s Radioactive Man (The Simpsons). The goggles, they do nothing.

And the flashbacks haven’t done anything in a while. Arrow’s flashbacks went from disorienting the viewer (okay) and putting them in Ollie’s mindset (good), to setting up Deathstroke (brilliant), to explaining any plot device (poor), to not serving any purpose and straining the present-day story to relate to them on a cursory level. Awful.

I laughed aloud when Arrow explained how Dinah had to wear Black Canary’s mask because she had to protect her identity and five minutes later Quentin Lance fought alongside the Green Arrow unmasked. You’ve gotta love Arrow’s situational logic. At least when the original Ghostbusters warned its characters against crossing their streams, it was done for comedic effect and the characters were still nervous when they were forced to do the thing they weren’t supposed to do. It’s bad when a comedy offers more realism.

If Arrow wanted to make Cupid a more palatable character, mission accomplished. But it hasn’t picked up enough speed for its finale.

Thanks for reading.

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