Here we are, back from another hiatus with Arrow‘s second season heading into the final stretch. The Arrow Cave is getting a little crowded, there’s a new villain on the scene, and just about everybody’s reconciling their differences. In fact, while it’s obvious this episode’s title – “Time of Death” – is referencing new villain, The Clock King, it also neatly ties in with everyone seeking forgiveness as it’s something customary to do before you die.
Not that anyone dies this episode, but as we’re entering the last string of Season 2 episodes it’s very likely that some character(s) will meet a terrible fate at the hands of Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke (Manu Bennet). Believe me, he didn’t earn that name because he’s kind, forgiving, understanding and doesn’t hold grudges.
Our heroes, however, are. Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) apologizes to Oliver (Stephen Amell) for once accusing him of being the vigilante and his general dickish behavior towards Oliver since he returned. The Lance family as a whole is trying to heal, but especially Laurel (Katie Cassidy), who after a swift kick in the ass from Ollie has come to realize she’s been acting like a giant, whiny baby all season long. And even Sara (Caity Lotz) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) overcome tension brought on by Felicity’s sense of inadequacy and fear of replacement.
As for The Clock King, he’s a rather welcomed addition to Arrow‘s often forgettable gallery of rogues. He’s basically a walking cliché, checking off all the necessary boxes (terminal disease, sick sister, needs money, short on time, ruthless hacker), but Robert Knepper manages to turn a lot of close-ups on his mouth while speaking and shots of his glasses reflecting computer screens into an interesting performance. Arrow‘s version of The Clock King is something of an amalgamation of a couple versions who’ve come before, but still with his innate sense of perfect timing. For more insight to The Clock King’s comic book history see this article on My Geeky Geeky Ways.
What makes The Clock King such a different villain than anyone Team Arrow has faced before is the fact he’s more of a foil for Felicity than anything else. Their battle of hacking abilities borrows heavily from any face off in the comics between Oracle and The Calculator, and it gives Felicity the chance to prove her worth. Hell, she even gets to save the day, though the conclusion does come off a little after school special-y. But thank the writers they took the time to polish this episode off with yet another reminder Felicity is no longer romantically interested in Ollie. I get it, and welcome it, but Y U SO MEAN to those Olicity shippers?
Speaking of Team Arrow and how it is ever-growing, I’m enjoying the camaraderie between Olives, Diggle (David Ramsey), Sara, and Felicity. (Where was Roy? Is he the rejected little brother of the group?) Their scar comparison scene was funny, and for the most part this episode’s dialogue felt snappier and more natural than ever been before. The cast’s performances, too, were better, with Amell really shining in his scene with Cassidy where Ollie lays in to Laurel and calls her out on her nonsense. I desperately wish this would be the end of Oliver and Laurel as Sara’s already proven to be a more likable and compatible match for Ollie, but what CW show would ever let that kind of drama go so easily?
Lastly, there was one scene in “Time of Death” that I found perfectly sums up my relationship with Arrow. I do enjoy the hell out of this series, I wouldn’t be here reviewing it otherwise, but there are times when it asks me to suspend my disbelief to such extremes I cannot help but laugh in its face. Case in point: The Arrow and Canary meeting with their law enforcement liaison, Lance.
On the one hand the scene was in essence of what I love about super hero comics brought to life on screen. Green Arrow and Black Canary, working a job together, meeting with their very on Gordon, it’s awesome! Except… I can’t for one second believe anymore that Lance can’t recognize Oliver as The Arrow. At the top of the episode he apologizes for ever suspecting Oliver was capable of such a thing, then minutes later meets with his daughter, who he knows works as a vigilante for justice, and The Arrow. How he can’t connect the dots between Sara’s rekindled relationship with Ollie and her crime-fighting partnership with The Arrow is ridiculous. Especially for a detective!
I understand this is simply a case of Clark Kent-ism, and on the printed page that’s an easy bit of manipulation to pass off, but on a television show making an effort to ground itself in reality? I’m sorry, I’m not buying it any more. I mean, I still have trouble understanding yet alone believing how The Arrow masks his voice!
So there, all wrapped up in one little moment is the frustrating dichotomy of Arrow: its yearning to be faithful comic book show, while at the same time being held back by its own trappings of realism.
It’s my understanding Season 2 has only four more episodes to go – “The Promise”, “Suicide Squad“, “Birds of Prey“, and “Deathstroke” – and as you can see from these titles Arrow will continue diving head first into DC comics’ lore. Add to that Slade’s surprise visit to the Queen’s abode and you gotta know all hell is about to break loose!
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8pm on the CW. Catch up with our recap/reviews!