ScreenSpy - big news from the small screen
Don't Miss

ARROW REVIEW: Roy Harper Returns in “Unchained”

By on February 4, 2016
Arrow

Pictured (L-R): Colton Haynes as Arsenal, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Katie Cassidy as Black Canary -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

By Justin Carter

So much has happened on Arrow recently that it’s easy to forget other plotlines have been sort of dropped while others have taken centre-stage. Case in point, this week’s B-story is concerned to Nyssa al Ghul breaking out of prison so she can finally make good on her word to kill Malcolm Merlyn. The opening prison break is pretty cool and shows that she hasn’t lost a step, but it highlights an issue I’ve had with her storyline (more on that later).

Our main story this week brings us the return of Colton Haynes as Roy Harper: Parkour King, still presumed dead by the larger world. Instead of just showing up to put on the old hood and leather jacket, he’s being blackmailed into stealing technology with his parkour skills by a guy known only as The Calculator. Exactly why he’s called that is never made clear, but the show makes sure to poke fun at the moniker as many times as possible via Felicity.

Haynes’ return to the show is welcome. I’ve always liked him as Roy, and it’s nice to see him doing some good old super-heroics again again. His reunion with Thea is appropriately sad and sweet (declarations of love!), and it helps Oliver get over his current internal drama of the week. With Thea’s bloodlust starting to rise up again, he naturally wants to strike a deal with Damien Darhk to get her back to normal before she dies.

He has no real reason to be guilty here, but the dilemma over whether or not that plan will work largely doesn’t matter, because he skips out on the meeting with Darhk to help the others take down the Calculator. Roy and Thea are able to convince him that the choices both of them make to die are both of their own doing, and while Oliver’s guilt is something that needs to be toned down, it does make sense with how he refuses to give up, even if it’s on himself. This is something said to him in the flashbacks, but those hold no real weight here, given that we already know he’ll be a brooding and closed off killer as the show opens. At this point, the flashbacks just serve to pad out the show’s runtime, and I honestly considered fast-forwarding through them during a few points.

The real focus of Thea’s plot is to put her into a coma so Oliver will have to kill Malcolm for Nyssa’s help in healing her, which is kind of where the show loses me. There’s nothing wrong with getting Oliver involved in this, because odds are he would’ve ended up doing so anyway. But up until now, there’s been no indication that Nysa has made any move against Malcolm to date, so this doesn’t feel so much as a move out of desperation or quid pro quoas it does “I just figured, since I’ll be in town …”

Still, if it leads to some swordfighting between Nyssa and Malcolm in a few weeks, it could possibly be fun.

What’s most certainly going to be a lot of fun down the line is the big reveal that Calculator is Felicity’s dad. At first when he showed up at the Palmer Industries presentation, I thought this was going to be a “I’m a new member of the board/also spying on you” plotline, but the sleight of hand works a lot in the show’s favor as they drop that bomb and cut to another scene. Just about everyone on Arrow has family issues, and if Felicity’s mom made her freak out, who knows about her dad…

Additional Notes

  • I’m calling it now: Curtis will become Mr. Terrific by season’s end just in time to join season two of Legends of Tomorrow, if that becomes a thing. And it more than likely will, because that show is pretty fun.

  • Too bad Team Arrow didn’t call John Constantine to ask for his help, not like he has any experience with matters such as these. Ah, well.

  • Poor Damien. Out in his favorite limo, dressed in a new suit, and Oliver’s nowhere to be seen. Just unfair.

  • Tatsu and Shado make returns this week. The former shows up to swordfight with Nyssa before disappearing, though I’m making a bet that she’ll show up again so she can die and clear the deck for Suicide Squad’s Katana. Shado’s just a hallucination in the flashbacks, and no more needs to be said about that.

  • This is a pretty good episode, but I enjoy it even more for having Roy open the episode with parkour.

  • Thea joked about it, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Malcolm wanted her to kill and only kill pedophiles to sate her bloodlust.

  • It would’ve been inappropriate for the show, but how great would it have been to play the Bon Jovi song after Roy said “It’s my life”?

Hottest Stories from Around the Web