By ending last week’s episode on such an exhilarating cliffhanger, I’ll admit, Arrow impressed me. Not only because the series was willing to go there, willing to put Oliver (Stephen Amell) at such risk of discovery, but because Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was able to prove herself as ruthless and tenacious as any hero or villain. Say what you will about the series distorting the character of Laurel Lance from her comic book counterpart, but the lady’s got balls. Equally ballsy is Olives’ shining knight, Black Canary–or rather, the “masked blonde woman in black leather.”  Crucible Yes, Canary is properly on the scene this time, saving Oliver’s butt twice during the course of the episode. Her true motives are still unclear, except that is, for beating up misogynistic fuckwads who prey on innocent women. Which is handy since that’s precisely what the villain of the week for “Broken Dolls” does. Otherwise, BC’s another dubious female ally, not so unlike Season 1’s Huntress. And while her intentions remain mysterious, I’ve got to hand it to them for finding a way of incorporating Canary’s sonic scream. No longer a meta-human power, BC has with her a gadget that sends out a frequency capable of shattering glass, as well as deafening anyone within earshot. It’s how she springs Oliver from Laurel’s trap, and therefore nixes any lingering theories it might be Laurel running around town in that blonde wig. Speaking of this week’s villain I’ll admit The Dollmaker, a.k.a. Barton Mathis (Michael Eklund) was terrifying. Comic books fans will recognize this dude as the guy who cut off The Joker’s face, per his request, and is a recent, New 52 addition to the DC Universe. The serial killer with an M.O. of suffocating women by pouring a flexible polymer down their throats, transforming their bodies into pretty, pretty dolls, then displaying them around town was seriously creepy. Especially when he captured Laurel and her father (Paul Blackthorne) together in order to give Lance a front row seat to his daughter’s death. And while sure, outlandish, The Dollmaker could have been one of their best villains, yet. Too bad he’s dead. Killed not by The Hood but by BC, who clearly is having none of Oliver’s grappling with the morality of taking lives. Then again, while The Dollmaker was horrifying, perhaps it was his past with Quentin Lance that made this villain of the week captivating instead of simply mediocre. Especially since in Lance’s desperation to see Mathis caught he seeks out the vigilante in another oh-so-obvious, “This is how we do things in Gotham” move. Yes, Lance is Gordoning; meeting on rooftops, handing over police files, and even assisting on investigations and stakeouts. It’s quite the change of pace from where we saw Lance last season, and I really hope we won’t see him revert to hunting down the vigilante anytime soon. That’d be a real step back for the character. Besides, they’re like buddies now, what with Lance giving him the more heroic sounding moniker of The Arrow. Much better than, The Hood, even if I could do without a “the” in front. It’s a little pretentious. Like if we actually referred to Batman as The Batman all the time. s020a-o23-arw-110-07 What they’ve done with Lance and Laurel, and to a lesser extent Moira (Susanna Thompson) and Thea (Will Holland), is an interesting role reversal. Both children have taken on what was the responsibility of the parent, and in a way are more adapt at handling it. Laurel came closer to catching The Hood–sorry, The Arrow than her father ever did and Thea is, so far, doing a better job of holding her fractured family together. We’ll see how things develop for the Queen’s now that the prosecutor in Moira’s case is calling for the death penalty. I mean, 500+ people died in that earthquake to which Moira was partially responsible, giving her the death penalty isn’t entirely out of the question. And with Moira hinting at even darker, more terrible secrets that have yet to be revealed I can only imagine those wouldn’t do much to sway a jury to a lesser sentence. Laurel gives up on her hunt for The Arrow since it’s pretty tough to want revenge on the guy who saved your life, again. In her father’s arms she comes to terms with her guilt and anger over Tommy’s death, confessing her responsibility since Tommy wouldn’t have ever been in the collapsing C.N.R.I. building had Laurel left when she should. I worry Laurel will lose some of the drive this search for the vigilante gave her, but I’m intrigued to see where this leaves The Arrow in the eyes of law. Clearly, he’s still a vigilante but without someone leading the crusade how, well, vigilant can they be? Besides, with more copycats, like our proto-Canary, cropping up they could have have a real problem with wannabe heroes on their hands. Finally, if you were wondering what went down on the island after Slade (Manu Bennet), Shado (Celina Jade), and Ollie found that Japanese plane–plenty. A massive ship appeared and begun firing on the island, targeting the plane where Shado happened to still be inside. Like the lovestruck loser he is, Olives went running back as the bombs dropped and got himself knocked out and Slade caught on fire. Smooth move. In the end they’re all three, presumabley, captured and taken away on a boat that’s more prison than ship. And just who owns that ship? Well, considering before the episode ended there was the bombshell BC is in league with Ra’s al Ghul and his assassin’s – you see what I did there? – I’d wager Olives was once a prisoner of the Demon’s Head. Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm EST on the CW.

Category: Comics, Featured, reviews, TV

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