TV Rants & Ramblings: Arrow 1.22 – Darkness on the Edge of Town

Arrow headerWith this penultimate episode of Arrow, it’s time to devote our attention to Malcolm’s evil plan, The Undertaking.

Back on the Island

Picking up where Arrow left off two episodes ago, Shado, Slade, and Oliver are taken captive by Fyer’s men thanks to Yao Fei assistance in finding their awesome plane wreckage base.  They’re brought back to Fyers so that he can use them as leverage to get Fei to do what he wants, but luckily for Oliver, Fyers must think that he means nothing to his original savior because he only gets punched in the face while everyone else gets a bullet hole.

Surely Fei knew that a man willing to burn a big chunk of the island down is not someone to trust to do what’s right, but he probably didn’t expect his story to end as it did.  To protect his daughter Fei agrees to shoot a “voluntary” video claiming responsibility for the commercial airline that Fyers will be training his missiles on shortly for a rather violent firework show, so now that his scape goat has done his duty he might as well be adorned with a bullet hole as well.  With this shot to the head, this weird dance of helping and not helping Oliver is finally at an end thanks to some woman wearing heals who wants to crash China’s economy.

The only character we know of currently who could fill these shoes is Moira, but I am pretty sure this job of criminal mastermind will be sent elsewhere.  At least I hope so.  Oliver’s mom is definitely not without flaws, but I really want to believe her story about being involved in Malcolm’s plan because she really felt there was nothing else she could do if she wanted to keep her family safe.  With that said, similar reveals have happened (the beaten up cave guy was an evil soldier all along!), so I won’t take it off the table.

Favorite Quote of the Episode #1

Detective Lance: “Psychopaths are color coating themselves now, that’s helpful.”

Tying Up Loose Ends

Now that we are so close to the finale, it is time for Malcolm to begin taking major steps with the Undertaking, starting with destroying evidence of his involvement.  He dons his evil archer gear and kills the scientists that worked on creating the earthquake-at-the-push-of-a-button machine since dead men tell no tales, but just because generically blue dressed male and pink dressed female died quickly does not mean they will go peacefully.  In other words, they did a tiny amount of damage while they are alive since there are still phone calls connecting this company and Merlyn Global, and Lance is good at being persistent.

Pranking Mom

While Detective Lance is working with his hunches, Oliver chooses a faster way to get to the end of the detective work by having Diggle tranq his mom while Oliver is having a conversation with her.  They make you believe that it is the evil archer coming for them, possibly to kidnap Walter once more, but it turns out that Oliver signed off on the dart to his neck so that his mom would willingly give up information to protect her son once more.    I should have known since Oliver seemed way too calm when he was tied up, and not at all angry about his nemesis stealing his failing the city catchphrase.

Diggle gets a few good punches in, which I am sure was pretty satisfying after their short lived falling out, and before long Moira is spilling everything about Malcolm and The Undertaking.  Diggle unties them, and Oliver is none-too-happy with his mom.  I know what she is a part of is horrible, but I still felt bad for her after seeing Oliver’s look of disgust as he walks away from her.

Favorite Quote of the Episode #2

Felicity: “I’m fine.  Yeah, this is my “just about to hack” face.  I always look like this right before I, you know, hack.”

Breaking Into Merlyn Global

Now that Oliver knows for sure that Malcolm is involved, he gets his tech girl Felicity to hack into Merlyn Global’s system to figure out where the device is.  Unfortunately for Felicity, it proves to be too worthy of an opponent for her, but her misfortune is our gain as she now has to go out into the field again.  Glasses off!

I don’t know about you, but this getting to the mainframe part of the episode was easily my favorite.  Mostly because of Felicity and her ability to say something that never sounds like what she meant it to mean, but also because it was just plain fun, like Mission: Impossible with a smaller budget.  They should have done a little better planning though, because this would only work if the other security guard in the room with Diggle (that was the fastest hiring process ever) was ok and willing to share a burger with a stranger.  What if he had been a vegetarian, or a germaphobe, or full!?  Then Diggle would have had to resort to the old fashioned way of knocking people out, as opposed to the burger’s secret ingredient doing the trick.  Good thing we have writers to make sure these situations go the right way, allowing for better opportunities for screw ups later.

Long story short, Felicity and Oliver part ways after incorrectly traversing the elevator shaft, so he isn’t around to get her out of a tight spot when a security guard comes her way as she is hacking into the mainframe.  Thank goodness for the quick thinking of Diggle, who shows up just in the nick of time to accuse her of being a Tommy stalker and drag her away.  Seriously, great scene…  And when Oliver smacked the paperwork out of the guy’s hand so he would get out of the elevator (and also probably because of how he was talking to Felicity)!?  I definitely rewatched that moment a handful of times.

The Love Triangle

With the possibility of a finish line in the near future for Oliver’s career as a vigilante, he quickly turns himself into a liar.  First he told Laurel that he hadn’t changed since he was on the island so there was no hope for them as a couple (which is the worst attempt at lying ever since even Lance is willing to vouch for Oliver’s transformation), then he meets with Tommy to explain why he should get back with Laurel, and then he shouts “SCREW IT!” and runs over to Laurel’s for some sexy time.  Tsk tsk.  We all knew this was going to happen at some point, but way to just screw over your friend!  Not only that, but he rubbed it in by making out with Laurel in front of the open window, which just so happened to provide the perfect view to the street below where Tommy was standing.

Looks like we’re one step closer to evil Tommy.  He’s already stealing Joker catchphrases, so there probably really isn’t too much farther to go.

The Confrontation

Now that Team Arrow is in Merlyn Global’s system, they can find where Malcolm is keeping the earthquake machine, coordinating an attack where Diggle will go for it while Oliver goes after Malcolm.  Too bad Malcolm is full of surprises.  First of all, he noticed the Trojan horse in his system and moved the device as a precaution, and then he shows how good he is at catching arrows.  Bet Oliver didn’t see that coming.  What’s worse is that all that rehabilitation and training after his first encounter with the other archer didn’t help him at all here because he still gets his butt kicked.  And Malcolm chopped his bow in half!  The possessive person in me was pretty upset about this moment, even more so than when Oliver was knocked unconscious.  Malcolm knowing that Oliver is under the hood is definitely not a good thing, especially based on the “Oh no” line reading.  Maybe Malcolm is just upset by the surprise that he has attacked Moira’s family again, or he just realized how poor his chances are at surviving the finale.  I still think there is a good chance that Oliver will defeat him and hand him over to Lance, but it’s not like Oliver hasn’t killed people before.  And he has to keep his secret safe.  Which means Tommy can rise up and take the place of his father!

Final Thoughts

Even with Roy and Thea serving as filler to the episode as the hunt for Arrow causes some drama between the two, this is easily one of the best episodes of Arrow yet.  And with the preview for next week, it looks like things are still able to get better from here.

Arrow Ep22

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