Episode 219 “The Man Under the Hood”
[photos: Alan Zenuk/CW]
Oh, Arrow writers, you tease us.
After giving us a short-ish fight between Isabel and Oliver a few weeks ago, we get an even more truncated combat scene in this episode, thus making fans salivate even more for the inevitable showdown we all know is coming. Especially after seeing the leaked photos of Summer Glau in a particularly-styled costume…
Team Arrow, meanwhile, is making efforts to stop Slade from reproducing the mirakuru drug, using his own blood as a source. After blowing up Queen Consolidated’s applied sciences lab — where we met Barry, as Felicity points out — they figure that the only other place with tech that could help Slade would be the warehouse leased by S.T.A.R. Labs. Said warehouse is being inventoried and packed because the city has opted to not renew the lease after S.T.A.R. had a little “accident” in Central City.
Enter our latest Flash cross-over in the form of Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, soon to be known to the world as Killer Frost and Vibe. Both S.T.A.R. employees, they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time when Deathstroke shows up to steal a transfusion device that will allow him to distill the mirakuru laced blood samples to his army of escaped convicts.
Nice shout-out to Dr. Light, by the way, thereby establishing his existence in the Arrow DC Universe. (Should we start distinguishing? DC Cinematic Universe-A? DCCU-MOS, DCCU-G… because you know what Goyer said.)
Some really nice fight choreography in this episode — first when Deathstroke shows up at the ArrowCave to steal Tockman’s “skeleton key” — catching Sara by the throat in mid-air? nice — and then a nice (again, truncated) bit between Arrow and Isabel at the warehouse. You know fans are going to geekgasm when she finally puts on the costume, right?
The big surprise tonight is the fact that Slade’s not using his own blood to fuel the berserkers, but Roy’s. Turns out he went to Bludhaven, where Isabel’s people found him in a shelter. So now that’s on Oliver, too, because he blames himself for everything that’s going on.
Meanwhile, Lance sits in a prison cell for colluding with the vigilante. Laurel, still reeling from Slade’s reveal of the Arrow’s true identity, has done what every red-blooded mystery-chasing obsessive compulsive person does — a Wall. The bulletin board with the photos, newspaper clippings, police sketches, and etc. etc. ad nauseum… because this is the thing to do, right? Put it all up on a bulletin board and stare at it for hours until the answer just smacks you in the face? Come on, this one’s getting too old even to parody at this point. How many times have we seen this?
It’s interesting to see Lance’s shift in attitude toward the Arrow this season. His realization that without anonymity, the Arrow is just another person who couldn’t do what he does, really shows that Lance has been thinking this through. He’s come to an understanding that if he learns the identity of the Arrow, it will put people in danger. And he understands that better because he already knows the identity of the Canary, and what danger that puts near his family. So it was good to see that moment tonight, and to see the impact it has on Laurel’s reckless thinking. At this point, is she ready to expose Oliver? Or just let him know she knows? Even though she doesn’t let him in on the fact that she now knows his (and Sara’s) secret, it’s only a matter of time before that comes out. Because secrets have a tendency to do that.
The secondary thrust of the story — Isabel threatening to destroy the Queen family’s personal finances — dovetails with the embattled Thea Queen, who feels the world has turned on her, even more so when they all find out Robert Queen loved her like a daughter even though he knew that she wasn’t his biological child. Somehow, he’d known all along that Thea was Malcolm’s. And he chose to keep it to himself and take his family as his family, no matter where they came from. Something that irritated Isabel the lovesick intern no end. So there’s a backstory for the junior villain of the piece. Isabel’s is a revenge story. A woman scorned and all that.
Still, it doesn’t make her a sympathetic character. Not that it’s meant to. Just adds another layer of deceit and soap opera complexity that we’ve come to expect. So when she takes a bullet while trying to kill Oliver, the first thought it “Summer’s not done with the show already, is she?” followed by the realization that she’s in the mirakuru lab. So of course…
Ravager is coming, folks.