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ARROW Review: Will “Restoration” Prove to Be an Ace Up the Sleeve?

By on October 22, 2015

Pictured: JR Bourne as Jeremy Tell -- Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW

By Justin Carter
The thing about comic books is that their universes are full of characters that are both really cool and also really stupid. Every Batman has a Calendar Man, every Captain America has a Batroc the Leaper, and so on. This week’s Arrow goes all in by introducing Jeremy Tell, aka Double Down, an assassin who (and I swear this is true) can form playing cards from the tattoos on his body and uses them as projectiles.

It’s hard to tell if he’s a ripoff of X-Men’s Gambit or the other way around, but either way, Double Down is a character who feels better suited for Barry Allen’s adventures (he even tries to hightail it back to Central City after both attempts to kill Green Arrow go south). Luckily for Double, he’s brought to life by Teen Wolf’s JR Bourne, who plays him with the right amount of cocky to work in Oliver’s world. The reveal of his powers coming from the multitude of tattoos on his body is cool, and he’s thankfully short on the card puns. I’m actually sort of hoping that he returns sometime down the line.

Double Down is hired by Damien Darhk on the personal recommendation of Mina Fayad, the woman last seen in season two talking to Deadshot in the flashbacks. Mina is part of HIVE’s upper management, it seems, and they’re not too keen on Team Arrow stopping whatever they have planned for Star City. Hive involvement naturally means that Diggle is going to pursue them to figure out why they wanted his brother dead, meaning that he’ll try and lone wolf the hunt for answers instead of coming to his friends about it — which is the same thing Oliver does with just about everything. Hive is as good a reason as any to end the “Diggle is still pissed at Oliver” thread, which it thankfully does through Oliver taking a card to the chest for his partner and Felicity yelling at them. Won’t lie, I like Felicity when she’s telling people to quit being stupid and I hope this continues.

The episode’s title, “Restoration,” doesn’t just refer to Oliver and Diggle getting over their issues. Thea and Laurel take a road trip to Nanda Parbat, which means the return of the League of Assassins and the ever delightful Nyssa and Malcolm Merlyn! Always good to have John Barrowman back, and Katrina Law is once again game to match his passion with her own. It’s still a bit baffling how in six months and with presumably dozens of shots to end him, Nyssa hasn’t taken those chances (or more accurately, it’s weird how Nyssa more than likely failed at all of those attempts), but it’s still fun to see them again.

Neither are too keen on Laurel’s plan for bringing Sara back using the Lazarus Pit, since the last time that happened Thea decided to start breaking dudes’ arms and beating people to near death. Nyssa’s more against it because of that, while Malcolm frankly just doesn’t care and only goes along with it to connect with his daughter. Her revival and blood frenzy makes him the only person she can really turn to, so of course, dear old Dad suggests that she just go on a murder spree and sets up two of his own men to ease her bloodlust. Malcolm Merlyn, father of the year! It’s one of those moments where you’re either going to ask “is he serious?” or just laugh your lungs out for sure. Personally speaking, I was somewhere between the two; it’s a goofy answer that seems like a joke, but also feels totally in line for Malcolm, a guy who built an earthquake machine to take out a part of the city where his wife died. Stupid, but fun.

If there was any phrase to describe “Restoration,” “stupid, but fun” would fit the bill. It definitely helps the show stick to its promises of a lighter tone this season, and it also does a pretty solid job of setting the deck for stuff to come later on. Too early to tell, but this episode could end up being the ace in the season’s sleeve.
Additional Notes

  • The weird stuff going on with Felicity’s phone is definitely Ray trying to contact her, right?
  • Given Sara’s return, I was expecting Constantine from the canceled NBC show to make his guest spot here, but I guess that’s happening later in the season. Exactly what he’s supposed to do is unclear, but maybe he can restore Sara’s mind.
  • Seriously, can you imagine having Malcolm for a Dad? If you got a bad grade in school, he’d probably set the entire classroom on fire.
  • Felicity is as bad at lying to people about her second job as her boyfriend, so in that regards, they’re perfect for each other.
  • If you think Double Down was good looking in this episode, you can catch JR Bourne on Teen Wolf in the first four seasons, and he’s slated to return in the back half of this current season when it starts back up in January.

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