ARROW “STAR CITY SLAYER” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
I won’t lie, there’s something quite satisfying in this week’s Arrow dropping two big story reveals and a character departure rather casually. Unfortunately, the path to those moments is sort of all over the place and not as tight as it really should be.
The easiest one to tackle upfront would be the reveal of Dinah getting her throat slashed. It’s something that the show hasn’t really called attention to in the flashbacks, and that led me to believe that it was something the show would just answer in future seasons, if at all. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy that it was just a thing that happened as Team Arrow went skulking in a dark mansion for a serial killer, just that it didn’t have the complete impact the show likely wanted it to. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that, even though it’s made sense narratively, we just really have not seen Dinah use her Canary Cry much this season. The loss of her power just as things are starting to look up for her now that her friends are working with her again should feel heartbreaking, but the episode itself just isn’t really interested in letting that anguish settle.
Likewise, Curtis’ departure isn’t given time to breathe, either. Out of the various Team Arrow members this season, his story has felt the most scattershot and unclear. I just wish that if the show was going to write him off that he was given a real chance to shine and show why he would be missed in an episode that required his set of skills, something previously afforded to Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne, and Colton Haynes. And though he does end up getting a final chance to do a heroic thing before his departure, namely saving Dinah from her throat slashing, that’s really the only thing he gets to do this episode.
“Star City Slayer” is unfocused, but not without charm. I don’t know if anyone didn’t bank on the stalker being Stanley, but the show does make the build up work as Team Arrow lurks around in a creepy abandoned mansion that’s very well shot and keeps the tension going. Likewise, it’s very chilling when he finally does make his way to the Queen household and rants at a paralyzed Oliver, Felicity, and William about his messed up childhood. He continues to be delightfully unhinged and the only real source of liveliness in an episode that should feel much more immediate than it does.
Similarly, I did like how the show decided to use Stanley as a way to get William off the board until he becomes an adult. After being held hostage by a psychopath claiming to be his dad’s prison buddy, yeah, it makes complete sense why he’d decide to live with his grandparents. It’s not the cleanest way of explaining his absence in the years to come, but it is a definitive one that makes a lot of sense and mostly sticks the emotional landing it’s aiming for.
And finally, there’s the future Star City. I’m not sure what I ever expected to come of Blackstar, but Oliver and Felicity’s daughter wasn’t on that list. But no, it makes sense that Team Arrow’s kids all find themselves unable to leave the orbit of Star City — in addition to Blackstar/Mia Smoak, we’re reacquainted with Connor Hawke, aka Diggle’s adult son from the first season of Legends of Tomorrow. There’s supposedly an episode completely focused on the future timeline coming later this season, and I hope there is, because I’ve got plenty of questions that need answering.
In an interview that released after the episode aired, Echo Kellum revealed that the primary reason for his departure was wanting to spend more time with his kids. He’s still open to appearances down the line, which I suspect we’ll get at least one of before season’s end.
No Emiko or Laurel this week, which was likely for the best.
“Gross, I’m gay, and Felicity’s my mom!” — adult William when asked if he dated Felicity.
Arrow returns March 4, see you then.