ARROW Ends With Malcolm in the Middle


Episode 109 “Year’s End”

[photos: Jack Rowand/CW]

In this episode — Christmas! Arrow gets run over by a reindeer! And Barrowman! Plus, a few plot twists that will at least keep you interested until the show comes back.


Year's End

Oliver, being the loosey-goosey fun-loving type, is all bummed because the family isn’t celebrating Christmas. No decorations, no parties, no family stuff like before he and his father died. of course, given that he and his father were dead — and his father still is — the family hasn’t been up to celebrating the holidays all that much.

Having suffered similar personal tragedy in my own life, I totally get it. But I also get that the people around you need some kind of sense of normalcy, a sense that despite everything dark and gloomy, you need some kind of positive outlet. So Ollie tries to get everyone back on the Polar Express by forcing the family into a big Christmas shindig.

This does not quite go over well for a number of reasons.

Dinner party time, and big muckety-mucks are over at the house to dine. This includes the police commissioner and Barrowman Merlyn, who suggests “Green Arrow” as a new moniker after Oliver says “the Hood” needs a new code name. But Ollie doesn’t like “Green Arrow”… says it’s lame. Oh, really?

In a scene ripped from Tim Burton’s first Batman, a uniform interrupts the dinner and tells the commissioner about a crime — Adam Hunt has been killed with an arrow to the chest. Only Detective Lance doesn’t see it that way. In a bit of actually doing his job, he recognizes that after taking Hunt’s money, the Hood has no reason to kill him. Plus, the black arrows aren’t consistent. All leading Lance to conclude that there’s a copycat.


Year's End

The copycat is an expert archer, and he’s going after several people on Ollie’s list, targeting people that have already fallen victim to the Hood. Which makes the commissioner — who’s a bit of a wimp — go into a fit, telling Lance to get one or the other so the public doesn’t panic at the thought of a serial killer on the loose. Lance, backed into a corner, uses the cell phone Ollie sent and agrees to provide the Hood with one of the black arrows so Ollie can trace it.

Are these names significant?
Are these names significant?

Which Ollie does by using some lame “Steve’s birthday” excuse to con Oracle Felicity into tracing the arrow to find its buyer. And after a significant Windows 8 product placement (did you know it could run on a tablet?) Felicity uses her tablet — not the big computer on her desk — to Smoak smoke out the address where a big shipment of those arrows went. Of course, when the Hood gets there, it’s a trap!

With a bomb! ‘Splosions! Once caused by the big chemical mixer from Die Hard 3, and the other by Ollie’s trick arrow used to blow open the door just in time for him to roll out ahead of the blast.

Year's End

Christmas party. Everything’s awkward. Even Tommy’s joke about how awkward it is — only he’s talking about the whole love triangle thing he’s got going with Laurel. Ollie says he’s cool with everything, but we all know he’s lying, right?

And is that Thea’s new boyfriend helping her undress upstairs? Ollie’s just about to open a can of whoop-ass when Diggle interrupts. The Black Archer has taken hostages! Zounds!

Year's End

The Hood goes to rescue the hostages from a building surrounded by cops. (This is important for later, folks.) In his efforts to get the people out, he crashes through the skylight, making all sorts of noise and ka-bash sounds. I guess Ollie wants Copycat to know he’s there. Hostages get sent to the roof, and then it’s just mano a mano between archers, wherein Oliver gets the stuffing kicked out of him. Fans, of course, realize this is very likely Green Arrow’s arch nemesis, Merlyn. But it’s too soon for Tommy to be the villain. He’s still in a love triangle with Ollie’s girl, and this show isn’t based on the New 52 (thank the Maker).


Naturally, the assumption among geeks is that the Black Archer is Merlyn the Senior. And Zounds! We have a winner.

Not only is Barrowman the Dark Arrowman, but Malcolm Merlyn gets wind that Walter is still snooping around, and so it’s bye-bye Walter. At least for now. He’s been kidnapped, and Merlyn tells Moira that Walter will be returned unharmed — except for a few missing memories — after their plan comes to fruition. Which will result in thousands of people dead. Moira has a problem with that, turning her into a slightly cliched character instead of the ramalamadingdong SuperSmart Conspirator we saw in the pilot.

Year's End

I really expected more from the writers with respect to Moira. She could have been another Lex Luthor type, cold and calculating and ruthless. She certainly started out that way, but then the writers had to go make a girl out of her, flaring her nostrils over trivial matters like family and love and respect. Come on. She started out as such an interesting character.

Flashback bit: Ollie still has on that screwy-looking wig. Eddie Fryers is back this week, captured by Lou Fey, and he reveals that Zombie Island actually was a military prison set up by the Chinese, who sent Fryers and his team to destroy the evidence when it was shut down. The only two inmates that got away: Lou Fey and Deathstroke.

So. Mid-season break questions:

What’s the plot that’s going to leave thousands dead in six months? And what “organization” does Malcolm Merlyn belong to? Is this the League of Assassins (or the League of Shadows, as it’s also called)? Could the man who compiled the list be Ra’s al Ghul? Has Malcolm Merlyn just become the most important character on the show?

So, when the Hood fell out the window, and was just laying on the ground outside the building surrounded by police, why didn’t they pick him up while he was waiting for Diggle? Hmm?

After Helena Bertinelli’s near-miss almost shooting Moira, why didn’t Walter have a bodyguard? For that matter, why doesn’t he have one anyway, being the head of a multi-billion dollar corporation?

Year's End
We’ll miss you, Walter. For now.

Best bit:

Tommy: “Merry Christmas, sir. How are you?”
Lance: “Proficient with firearms.”

Second Best Bit: Lance leaving the arrow at the corner of O’Neil and Adams.

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

3 thoughts on “ARROW Ends With Malcolm in the Middle

  • December 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    So, I just watched all 9 episodes while over my Christmas break and I came here because I know that you recap it! I know nothing about the world of Green Arrow, so its all up in the air for me. I love the action, I think Stephen Amell is fantastic, I like Diggle, and a few others. But the females are so typical of the CW. The women are uninteresting as you said, and the moment they are interesting they find a way to squander it! I liked what’s her face that plays Laurel when she was on Supernatural for a bit, she played a really kickass demon. But here she is dull, why do they love her again? And I really wish detective Lance would button up his shirt, no one wants to see his old man chest hair… Just my thoughts.

    • December 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      I think the writers have been taking the time to set up the Oliver-Laurel-Tommy triangle to give us more bang for the buck when it all goes south and Laurel becomes Black Canary. Whatever happens to trigger that could also setup Tommy as the next Merlyn the Archer. Possibly the death of Malcolm?

    • November 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

      And that last thought is very incorrect, if you think “no one” wants to see Detective Lance’s chest hair. I find it sexy!


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