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"I would have put an arrow in you."
While Arrow spent most of his time during "The Odyssey" on a slab recovering from a mom-inflicted gun-shot wound, Oliver was encased in his past trials on the island known as Purgatory. Hm. LOST anyone? Typically the flashback adventures are not as engaging as the contemporary thread but that may be because the show has never spent a significant amount of time at the setting until Episode 14. And last week's "Odyssey" did prove that, when most of the is story dedicated to his past, it can result in a rather exciting installment. Ollie not only teamed up with Slade Wilson (real-Deathstroke) to overthrow the mysterious island militia, which included killing Billy Wintergreen and attempting to rescue Yao Fei, but also resumed his training that will eventually lead to the rise of the Green Arrow. You know, the hairy hooded guy we see during the 'Previously On' segments. The episode came full circle at the end, with our hero awakening from his near-death experience, officially, if temporarily recruiting the Smoak to the team and preparing for another fight. As long as it's not with Mom.
"You know I heard about this guy. They call him the Dodger because he avoids getting his hands dirty."
Not to worry, this week he's got his hands full with an experienced thief and second (third) tier DC villain named the "Dodger," played to perfection by guest star James Callis. Yep, Dr. Gaius Baltar has come to Starling City. Well, it's the same city really because both Battlestar Galactica and Arrow use Vancouver as a location. You may have also noticed that tonight's main chase sequence - more on it later - took place at a familiar Fringe location. It's a small world. Dimension. Galaxy. The episode opens, as Arrow tends to do, with an exciting sequence introducing the villain of the week, in this case the aforementioned clean handed thief. And we also quickly see how he keeps those hands clean, mostly by pulling a 30 Minutes or Less on his accomplices (something similar to an episode of Sherlock too, I think) and having them man the crime front lines. Back in the Arrow Cave, the newly assembled crime fighting team (two is a duo, three is a team) experiences their first argument as the Smoak refuses to go after some dude just because he's on the list. She locks the doors and everything!
"It's not how I typically get my information."
The Smoak splits, not down with Arrow's adrenaline. Oh, and she gets the 'the' added in front of her name for two reasons; first, for bringing some much needed (or at least enjoyable) banter to the series and second, for how she looked all cleaned up. For the record, I dig the glasses, piercings and the whole other look too but it was nice to see her catch Ollie and Dig's attention. Again, I'm getting ahead of myself, the Smoak will do that to you. But it's not long before the boys head down to Queen Consolidated (if I was her, I would have quit when Walter went bye-bye) and convince her to rejoin. It doesn't hurt that the TV news sets up a criminal that can make them all comes together. Actually, it's the return of Detective McKenna (guest star Janina Gavankar The League... I... can't.... Shivakamini Somakandarkram!), the love interest with the best chemistry with Stephen Amell so far, and that's including the love of his life Laurel. In fact, a significant portion of "Dodger" was dedicated to the various romantic subplots (except Laurel and Tommy, thankfully) and, to be honest, I didn't love it. It produced one of the weaker installments of the show this season. What can I say? I'm a hater, not a lover.
"Have you given any thought to what might happen if this doesn't work and the Dodger absconds with your family jewels? Sorry. That came out very wrong."
The date challenge that sets the romantic wheels in motion happens, of course, while discussing crime fighting over hotdogs and Dig finally asks Carly out on a date. She obviously says yes. In a sappier way. Is there something weird about dating your dead brothers' widow? While the jury is still out on that, it is definitely not cool to bring him up on your first date, more so at the moment when the kiss is about to happen. And was there a "golly" in there? Don't worry, it doesn't take much more sappy talking to get Carly and Dig lips back on track to meet each other. It's so nice. Ollie's romance is far more interesting because it will actually complicate his vigilante lifestyle. Dating anyone would probably be tough but this is a little more complicated since she's (put) on the Major Crimes Unit investigating the Hood. Their kiss was better. And she did do a good job taking down that lady fence but it took more than the SCPD to get to the dodger. It took The Smoak. The car chase scene while Felicity is bomb-collared was probably the most intricate and expensive action sequence Arrow's done and it was pretty thrilling. The mini-arrow to the nerve was kind of dumb though.
"I'm not Robin Hood."
The island events of "The Odyssey" are still looming large this week as Slade and Ollie's relationship is getting stronger after the latter saved the former from the air-strip squirmish. Slade not only believes in his new found partner's ability to handle himself but also ends up pretty grateful for the magical mushroom medicine that Oliver's able to procure from his previous hideout. However, the special herbs weren't the only plant waiting for our hero in the old cave, there was also a ZOMBIE! Sorry, but my initial thought when the questionable captive showed his beaten up face was that it had only taken 15 episodes for Arrow to jump the shark and shoe-horn the walking dead into the show. It is the island from LOST, anything can happen. In reality, the reason I said there was another plant in the cave is because I totally think that the zombie was a militia man left there to wait for Ollie's return. Even if that proves not to be the case, he still did what he had to and followed Yao Fei's advice. Survive. It was also another major turning point in his character, no longer just a killer but willing to make the tough decisions in order to make it out of hell alive. Purgatory. Sorry.
"Yeah. He might have been wearing a red hoodie."
Since The Smoak has been initiated into the big boys club, Laurel (who may or may not become Black Canary) and Thea (who happens to be called Speedy) are left to deal with the small crimes, especially the ones that are perpetrated against them in the street. They also get the privilege of delivering the show's ham-fisted message about helping the underprivileged but there was a pretty big upside to the Thea thread, namely the introduction of Roy Harper. And not just because guest star Colton Haynes from MTV's Teen Wolf is pretty. Seriously, that's a handsome dude. DC should probably be looking in his direction to be a member of the Justice League, maybe Barry Allen? He puts his good looks to use in "Dodger" by catching Thea's eye as he snatched her designer purse, all while the future Arsenal/Red Arrow (aka Speedy) rocked the red hood. Nice. I must admit, the geek in me loved the world building even if Harper, the tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks, being introduced as a romantic interest for the young Queen. Do you think she'll heed his advice and stay out of the Glades? You had me at misdemeanour.
"... with the undertaking approaching, I thought a return to Starling City was in order."
And what would an episode of Arrow be without Moira Queen getting up to no good? The first time we see Mrs. Queen she's ushering a new character (Frank) and they immediately start taking about the mysterious 'undertaking,' something that could have been even more intriguing had it been mentioned more than one installment ago. Either way, the undertaking is some kind of creation through destruction plan to save the Glades that was put together by those on the list but now that it's gone south (dead husbands, missing husbands, vigilante break-ins) Moira wants out and hopes that Frank is the man for the job. He did get called a TV by the Joker.The second scene between them was pretty terrible, basically just rehashing the first but adding that he was able to set up a meeting before dropping some pithy remark. The meeting, however, does prove interesting as another old face (world building!) is brought back into the fray with Moira turning to China White to take care of Malcolm Merlyn. And it was also a throwback to the first few episodes which always ended with the Queen matriarch in a shady, secret meeting. Arrow returns with Episode 16, "Dead to Rights," next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
"Malcolm Merlyn. I want you to kill him for me."