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Team ARROW Stumbles. As They Should.

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Episode 311 “Midnight City”

[Photos: Cate Cameron/The CW]

Apologies for the tardiness of this one. Life, reasons, etc.

This hour did more to establish just how human and vulnerable Team Arrow is than almost any other episode in the run so far. And by that, I mean capable of making mistakes, prone to errors in judgement, and just plain screwing up.

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The stuff with Oliver first, because it’s still a thing and I wish the show had waited, but it’s obviously building to something, and I have a theory about it.

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Oliver is still recovering at the cabin in the woods, and it appears there are tensions between Maseo and Tatsu. Probably something to do with the fact that their child is nowhere to be found. Dead? Kidnapped? No clue yet, but the two aren’t speaking to each other except when necessary, and only concerning Oliver’s recovery, for the most part.

Oliver is certain that if Maseo goes back to the clan, he’ll be a target for Ra’s and won’t be long for this world. Maseo seems to have a death wish on that front, accepting his fate like he’s crossing the street. Even after the cabin is attacked by League assassins, Maseo is determined to go back to Ra’s. Does he have something planned? In the flashbacks, we see Maseo is not above deceiving even Oliver, so it’s possible there’s some plan in place.

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My theory is that something is going to happen to Maseo, and that something will be the impetus for Tatsu to accompany Oliver back to Starling City, where she will make a revenge-driven choice to fight crime as Katana.

Now, to the other part of the hour.

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The city has a new protector: the Canary. And really, the whole “Don’t tell Daddy that Sara’s dead” thing has gone on way too long. I know about the heart thing, but it’s ridiculous that Captain Lance doesn’t tweak to something fishy, especially when he sees Canary fumbling around like an amateur on television. And he doesn’t see that she’s wearing a different outfit? Different build? Laurel doesn’t have the same … erm.. shape as Sara.

The up side is that Laurel isn’t letter-perfect skilled. Which is the smart way for the show to go. She needs to screw up, get into trouble, get smacked down a bit in order to learn that this whole vigilante thing isn’t Sunday in the park with George. It’s dangerous, and even though Red Arrow comes to her assistance during one particular takedown, it’s not a pleasant conversation that follows. Roy’s lecture to Laurel is very much like the one he got from Oliver.

It’s good to see the various superheroes aren’t fully formed coming out of the gate. I think it will actually make Laurel’s story better that she has to work to earn her place on the team, and it bodes well for her friendship with Felicity that they can reach an epiphany in the midst of their grief.

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Felicity is the one who basically brings everyone back together, realizing that as Danny Brickwell threatens the lives of three aldermen, it is the living who need protection, not the dead. Oliver’s mission was for his father, then for Tommy. Laurel’s mission has been for Sara. Diggle’s mission was for his brother. Ray’s mission is for Anna. Felicity realizes that all of the vigilantism in the world won’t bring those people back, and the goal of Team Arrow should be helping those who are still around. She’s always been the conscience of the group, and it’s nice to see her rally the troops with the realization that what they do still matters even after the death of loved ones.

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Brickwell still wants the Glades, and he blackmails the mayor into pulling all city services out of the district. Lance, of course, vehemently makes the point that it’s on the mayor’s head, and he wants no part of her decision to make a deal with a terrorist.

Learning that one of the aldermen has a pacemaker, Felicity uses the device’s GPS function to locate the warehouse Brick is using to hold his hostages. Borrowing Ray’s helicopter, Team Arrow raids the warehouse and manages to rescue the aldermen. But it’s not pretty. The fight choreography is deliberately rough, more street thug level rather than sophisticated martial arts. Part of that is the close quarters, which actually helps the visuals of the scene altogether, but there’s also the fact that Laurel’s skills are still developing. And that novice level skill set also affects Roy’s effectiveness as well, since he has to make sure she doesn’t do something to get herself killed.

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Felicity also decides that she’s going to help Ray in his mission as well, figuring that if she gets involved he’s less likely to end up dead. Which is one more item on the “Felicity = Oracle” list. Add to that her casual design and construction of the “quantum processor” to run his suit’s lasers…

Ray: “Well, they aren’t lasers. That would be ridiculous. They’re… compressed hard light beams.”

Meanwhile, in the midst of this, Malcolm is telling Thea it’s time to get out of Dodge, but she’s not having any. Her logic is actually pretty good. They’re going to be targets no matter where they are, so running is just a delaying tactic at best. And she points out that her father taught her to stand and fight, to hold her ground and not be afraid. So Malcolm agrees that they’ll stay.

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Which brings us full circle to Ra’s Al Ghul, as Mr. DJ at Verdant is more than he originally seemed. Turns out the song-slinger isn’t just interested in Thea because he’s interested in Thea. He’s there to spy on her for Maseo. For Maseo himself? For the League? Are they hoping she leads them to Malcolm?

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Name check: Brad Meltzer, writer of Identity Crisis for DC Comics, along with a number of regular monthly titles. He’s also the author of several political thriller novels.

The Canary’s arc is only three episodes, so we’re almost done with that run. Hopefully, Oliver’s not back too soon. The team needs to coalesce around the new dynamic before he gets there in order for his return from the dead to really disrupt things. But hopefully, we’re not building to a season finale where everyone is fighting over the Glades again… that particular story element is well and truly burned out.

[Show web site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Left Behind”]

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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.

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