The debut of the second half of season 1 did a nice job of diving back into the tension that was created before the break. We got a lot of character development for Barry, both in terms of dealing with the fallout from his revelation of his feelings for Iris, as well as his internal struggle to build on his abilities and prepare to take down Reverse Flash.
A bit of a struggle for Barry’s soul is beginning between Joe and Wells, with Dr. Wells pressing Barry for a more pragmatic approach to training, and Joe not wanting Barry to lose the part of him that is uncompromisingly good. It’s an interesting internal struggle for Barry, and it also gives the show’s two strongest actors a chance to bounce off each other.
The supervillain teamup between Heatwave and Captain Cold wasn’t exactly what I hoped for. The solution to defeating them came a little too easy, though the Ghostbusters reference was worth a smile. The actors overplayed their parts this time, but honestly, I almost found them to be incidental to the story this week.
Verdict: A strong way to pick up the back half of the season.
Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash) and Jesse L. Martin (Joe West) are The Flash’s best actors, but we haven’t seen them bounce off each other too much…yet. They bounce off of Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen more. Both give Gustin a lot to work with and that’s one of the reasons why I think The Flash has trumped Arrow this season. But Gustin’s done a great job in his own right and that comes through in this episode.
Dr. Wells also wants Barry to take a more pragmatic approach to how he uses his powers (training always has some level of practicality; just ask Allen Iverson about practice), but of course Wells’ emphasis on Barry’s training is self-serving.
And Captain Cold overacted in his first episode, so it doesn’t surprise me that he, Heat Wave, and the actors around them were dropping Batman and Robin level groaners: “Freeze,” “The flame or the frost,” and “Your partner’s a real hot head.” These lines work in the context of the show not taking itself too serious, but something that doesn’t work for this episode is the title, “Revenge of the Rogues.” This is misleading. Only one rogue has it out for The Flash.
Overacting aside, this was one solid episode, filled with plenty of action.
Check out our The Flash Secrets page but beware, it contains spoilers.
I wondered if Arrow could survive without Ollie. This episode answered, yes. I liked that they gave Diggle and Roy some much needed screen time. Roy has mattered so little this season that I’m surprised he’s still on team Arrow. They had a couple of great action sequences, and Diggle wore the Arrow suit for one of the missions. I don’t know why he didn’t wear the suit again.
Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) flexed her acting muscles this week, and her interactions with Roy Palmer (Brandon Routh) tied into Ollie’s story a lot better than the midseason finale. In turn, Roy fit more with the overall story instead of something the creators tacked on. Felicity has seen the dangerous of costumed crime-fighting, and Roy neither has the power or the training to save Starling City, yet.
I also liked the use of flashbacks, but it’d be nice if Arrow’s creative team could use these flashbacks as more than explaining the events of the current episode. Yes, Maseo owed Ollie a favor and that’s why he saved him from the cliff, but this entire season has suffered from a lack of a slow build. Heck, this episode didn’t leave any doubt as to whether or not Ollie survived his fight. We saw Maseo dragging Ollie’s carcass in the snow.
And who’s the big baddy? ARGUS, League of Assassins, and Merlyn have dropped in and dropped out on many occasions. We knew what the show’s final battle would be the prior two seasons but we can’t get a handle on which direction Arrow wants to go this season. While this sounds like a good thing on paper, it comes off as a lack of focus.
Speaking of focus, is it just me, or did Merlyn look like Quickie Koala, suffering from ADD? He popped into the Arrow Cave one moment, then he zipped over to Nanda Parbat and did a half-cheeked job of looking for Ollie’s body (note: a half-cheeked job of something is half of a half-assed job). Then, he showed back up in the Arrow Cave and finally, warned Thea of impending danger. As far as Merlyn knew, the League thought Ollie killed Sarah. Little of what Merlyn said or did made sense.
But one villain did make sense. I loved the introduction of Brick. Vinnie Jones provided the charisma needed for the unstoppable, powerhouse kingpin, but I can’t help but wonder if he’ll play into this season of Arrow’s end game.
I tried to avoid it as long as I could, but Laurel donned the Black Canary outfit this episode. She blew her big moment but not in the way I thought she would. She spouted a stuck on stupid line: “I’m the justice you can’t run from.” If you’re going to be Canary, shut up and smack down.
Despite the issues that have plagued Arrow for most of the season, this was an enjoyable episode.
Check out our Arrow Secrets page, but be warned, there will be spoilers.
Verdict: A solid return for Arrow, but let’s hope the series does more to right the ship.