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ARROW “All For Nothing” Review

By on February 2, 2018

Arrow — “All for Nothing” — Pictured: Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW

 

ARROW “ALL FOR NOTHING” REVIEW

 

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

When Arrow is on point, it is on point. The character dynamics are complex and fascinating, the action is great, and it all feels like a perfectly oiled machine. “All for Nothing” has it stumbles, but it definitely gets close to that territory, thanks largely to its ski mask wearing Vigilante.

Vigilante’s addition to Arrow has always been perplexing. Here’s a guy with a bad name and costume who basically operated as C-tier Punisher, but also has a crucial relationship with one of the main cast members. The idea that he would join up with Cayden James’ assortment of criminals in order to kill Team Arrow was incredibly silly and incomprehensible, as Cayden himself points out in this episode. Since the reveal that he’s Dinah’s ex-boyfriend, the show has gotten some good mileage playing up the ambiguity of this antihero in the last couple of episodes. If he was being truthful about becoming a double agent, there was no way he was going to last as one for long.

It’s weird to think about this when looking back, but this is probably the most extensively that Arrow has explored one of its guest stars. It’s more than clear that not all the villains on this show warrant much backstory, but the ones that do certainly do, and Vigilante was too mysterious of a character last season to leave unresolved. The flashbacks diving into the ultimately doomed relationship of Dinah and Vince during their stint as undercover cops are well executed and light on trying to sell them as conclusive thing. If there’s a problem with this, it’s that the flashbacks themselves are glimpses of their time undercover, even leading up to the night they got their powers. As brimming with chemistry as these scenes are, they don’t tell us anything we don’t already know or couldn’t glean from their previous situation.

Still, Johann Urb and Juliana Harkavy are good together, and the phrase “love at first sight” has never been more apt than their first meeting. It’s honestly easy to see what Dinah saw in him; beyond being good looking, he just seems like an earnest guy who could get you to smile at any occasion. This is easily one of the most fascinating romances that’s ever played out in the Arrowverse. He’s very good at looking sad all the time, which the best course of direction, since his part in this relationship is the more tragic of the two.

Even on his own without Dinah, Vince shows that he’s a solid addition to show’s cast. He can stand his ground and throw shade at Oliver, and even manages to hold his own against Cayden without much trouble. The scene between the two men inside Cayden’s server room is very good in that both of them are definitely lying to one another, but the fun comes from which one is doing the better job at it. To no one’s surprise, it’s Cayden, because Cayden is Michael Emerson. He’s still very much doing the same “menacing genius” bit that he did on Lost but it’s what he’s good at and when he’s sadistic, he does not hold back.

“All for Nothing” is all about what it takes to make or break a person. Black Siren, for example, has always been teetering along a line between being a villain and leaving Cayden for greener pastures. The deciding factor in this progression was always going to be whether or not Lance could break through to her in the same way that Dinah eventually broke through to Vincent, and for a while, it seems like it’s working. Surrounding Laurel with video and pictures of her heroic self while she denies vehemently she can’t replace Lance’s dead daughter is heartbreaking. For a moment, you can see that she wants to be that daughter for him, but she’s still too afraid of Cayden to refuse whatever he asks of her.

And of course, that means she has to kill Vince while Dinah helplessly watches. Whatever else can be said about the episode, it’s an absolutely brutal scene, from how long it goes on to the anguish on Vince’s face as his brain is crumbled inside his own skull. It’s all that’s needed to set Dinah off on a dark path to start killing every criminal she comes across, and that one may be a step too far for me. I have no problem buying that she’d want to kill Laurel or even Cayden and the other members of that group. But all criminals like her dead ex feels like a hell of a stretch. It’s doubtful that Rene and Curtis will let her go through with this, but it’s still a weird pill to swallow.

In the meantime…Canary vs Siren. Who will win? We’ll find out in a week.

Additional Notes

  • Dinah is right, Oliver really does suck at apologies. Learn to read the room, man.
  • This episode is filled with many recurring guest stars who ultimately do nothing. Both Anatoly and Richard Dragon are here, but barely, as is our old Helix buddy Alena. Shame there’s nothing more to them.
  • On the very slim chances that Vince is alive and slowly recovering from what Laurel did to him….that has to be extremely painful to repair both your brain and your skull, right? And a long process as well.

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