ARROW “THE DEMON” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
Arrow has always been about people struggling to make sense of the dual lives they live. For most of what we’ve seen, Oliver’s had trouble being the man, while being the Hood (and later the Arrow) has been a far easier route. A cycle of violence has run through his life and ruined everyone he touches, or at least that’s what he believes after last week’s therapy session.
This is a part of Oliver’s storyline that works when it’s at the forefront — which is to say, not often and enough, and quite messily at that — because it reflects nicely with Curtis’ plotline. The reason Curtis has seen the least action this season is that he’s understandably gunshy about being Mr. Terrific again now that Oliver’s in jail, and even doing an ARGUS mission longer than he believed is triggering his fight or flight response. If Rene and Dinah’s stories are showing how communities have dealt with the loss of their heroes, it’s only fitting Curtis and Felicity get arcs about how this has affected them on a personal level. Echo Kellum does good work here, and even manages to get a brief moment of super spy badassery when things hit the fan.
Did Talia al Ghul as the Demon throw anyone else? I assumed that like anyone not on the show within the last season and a quarter, she died on Lian Yu, but she evidently didn’t (or at least came pretty close to it). Now in Slabside after an ass kicking from Batwoman in Gotham (!), she orchestrated his shower attack so she can get his help in escaping the prison. Not surprisingly, Level Two is also where inmates get rehabilitated to the point of dying, something that Oliver is weirdly slow to pick up on.
Last week, I made a point of saying the Arrowverse was maybe punching above its weight class, and this week’s story about prisoner abuse is also something I thought I would be worried about. Those concerns are currently unfounded, but only because the show is so basic in how it handles such issues that there isn’t enough time to really dig into the messed up stuff Slabside is doing beyond surface level exploration. The talk about Oliver’s life being a cycle of violence and how he plans to break it doesn’t feel as formed as it should, and just gets muddled since the prisoner abuse takes up most of his plot.
I won’t say that “The Demon” is a mess, but it’s not as focused as it certainly wants to be. This is most prevalent during the what I can only call the Birds of Prey storyline, which puts Dinah, Felicity and Laurel together. The banter between them is sharp, as it is whenever Katie Cassidy gets to interact with anyone in the cast. In this instance, the pleasure really comes from seeing Laurel try to make friends with two women she’s tried to kill multiple times before. Certainly enjoyable, but there also could have been a better use of everyone’s time.
- That Elseworlds trailer sure was something, huh.
- Of course the doctor in Slabside is evil, everything he says is thick with foreboding.
- Seriously, Katie Cassidy is very good at playing a Laurel who is both exasperated with Felicity and desperately seeking some kind of companionship.
- Oh hey, Anatoly’s back.
- May your memory be a blessing, Stan Lee. Hell of a life he lived.