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TV REVIEW: Arrow “The Fallen”

By on April 23, 2015

Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

By Justin Carter

There’s no way I can dance around this: Arrow has been unfocused this season — convoluted, overly dramatic, and a mess. There have been bright spots, like the Flash crossover, and last week with Roy, but overall things have gotten extraordinarily ridiculous, even by CW and DC Comics’ different set of standards.

Take, for example, Ra’s al Ghul’s latest plan to get Oliver to replace him. Continuing from last week’s episode, Thea is just barely alive, having been stabbed by Ra’s. Sarab, or Maseo, (the guy’s name switches with every scene just to screw with the audience) tells Oliver that Thea can be saved via the Lazarus Pit if and only if he become the new Ra’s. So Team Arrow, minus Laurel, take Ray’s jet and head to Nanda Parbat in order for the elder Queen to fulfill his destiny. This all sounds incredibly contrived, even coming from the show that managed to make Thea’s crush her own brother. For whatever reason, Ra’s is determined to make Oliver his successor based on some prophecy, as opposed to his daughter Nyssa, who actually wants to rule the League. At some point, the dude should’ve just cut his losses and accepted the rejection with pride.

Then there’s Felicity. Oh Felicity. She finally accepts that she’s in love with Oliver and not Ray, and the two (somewhat) break up mutually before taking his jet to Nanda Parbat. It doesn’t entirely gel with the episode in terms of tone and feels like it’s just there to justify another scene later on, but fine. Felicity and Oliver finally having passionate sex before he becomes Ra’s? Not surprising at all, thanks to that trailer, but what I have issue with leading up to that is Felicity being told point blank by Ra’s to tell Oliver she loves him. Let me reiterate: Ra’s al Ghul, the man who shoved a sword through Oliver’s gut four months ago and has taken time out of his day to basically ruin the guy’s life over a two letter word, is basically an Olicity shipper.

It’s moments like these where I’m unsure if “The Fallen” is just messing around. There’s nothing wrong with a little mindlessness (I’m the guy who unashamedly loves the Fast and Furious franchise) but despite having its heart in the right place, everything is too clunkily done to appreciate any lurking moments of subtlety.

Maseo’s change of heart where he helps Team Arrow escape with a drugged Oliver would be more touching if it was made clear which personality he’s supposed to have whenever he appears on screen, but at least we learn for sure his son Akio died! In his arms, obviously; I’d be rather annoyed if he didn’t and his death in no way involved that virus in Hong Kong from 5 years ago. Thea loses her memory once she comes out of the Lazarus Pit to such a degree she thinks Moira is still alive, then passes out and it’s never brought up again in the episode. No joke, Oliver ends the escape attempt by straight up telling the League forces to stand down in his Arrow voice and that he’d join them shortly.

When I watched Jupiter Ascending, I called it a beautiful mess, something that had to be watched to fully understood. This week’s Arrow is a similar beautiful, 45 minute mess; while it’s got its heart in the right place and is too earnest to hate, the elements just don’t all gel together and the issues of the past season stick out even more because of it. With four episodes left and Oliver now dressed in League garb, I should be excited and wondering what’s going to happen next. I shouldn’t be going “what the hell did I just watch, and how could this get any weirder?”

 

Additional Notes

Never let it be said that John Diggle cannot throw shade. He insults Maseo-Sarab, asks for his dead son’s name, and then flat out asks him what Akio would think if he could see his father now. Damn.

Seriously, the Ray-Felicity breakup just does not gel with the rest of the episode. I mean, part of the problem is that I have little to no investment on any of the ships in this show, but still.

So Team Arrow up and leaves for Nanda Parbat, but leaves Starling City just to Ray and Laurel? Great thinking there, guys.

“John, you’re the best man I’ve ever known. Whatever happens, you’re my brother.” Ouch, my heart.

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