Arrow season 2 episode 3 review: Broken Dolls

Review Caroline Preece 25 Oct 2013 - 15:58

Arrow's second season darkens this week with the introduction of a particularly sinister villain...

This review contains spoilers.

2.3 Broken Dolls

This week’s Arrow was a bit dark wasn’t it? With a villain whose speciality was turning young, beautiful women into ‘dolls’ by suffocating them with flexible polymer and dressing them up - who also happened to be an old arrest of Quentin’s who had escaped from the prison during the attack on The Glades - this third outing for Arrow’s second season continued its streak of solid, entertaining instalments. It also gave Quentin a whole hour to prove why he’s a great addition to Oliver’s cause, even if the fact that he hasn’t figured out The Arrow’s identity makes him the worst detective in history.

Broken Dolls was another procedural episode of Arrow, but it was a top notch example of how this show can balance out its story threads. Having Quentin as the main focus on the case of the week builds upon his presence in the season one finale, and it’s lovely to see Oliver have someone else to work with other than Felicity and Diggle. Although Felicity, with her ‘secret identity’ already revealed to Quentin, is as much a part of this episode’s adventure as she would be with any other.

Everyone is busy redefining themselves this year, including Laurel, who got an ending for her current story arc. It was an annoying thread, with her blaming The Hood for Tommy’s death rather than accepting the element of blame that was hers. It was ridiculous, clichéd and was starting to annoy me, so I’m very glad that seems to be over. I’ve never liked Laurel, but the writers seem intent on making her much less likeable this year. Maybe now that she’s accepted The Hood (or The Arrow – whatever) is a good guy, she’ll start filling her days with something else. Though, like with Thea, I have no idea what that will be.

We also deal with the incoming League of Assassins in the episode, and we even get our first mention of Ra’s al Ghul – best known to non-comic readers as Liam Neeson in Batman Begins. The origins of the character go way back of course, and it’ll be these stories from the page that we deal with here. We knew it was coming, what with the bevy of new villains cast for season two, and I wonder how long it will be before the big bad appears in Starling City. It’s ambitious for Arrow to even attempt this kind of character, and a card that I thought they would be saving for later.

For now, we’ve got Black Canary (along with the introduction of Sin), and we got our first real look at the character this week. With rumours, speculation and, finally, spoilers confirming that this incarnation of Black Canary is actually Sara Lance, her rescue of Laurel and Quentin at the end of the episode make a lot more sense than it might have done. With Oliver asking an eager-to-please Roy to track her down while he dealt with the Dollmaker, the Red Arrow in training went above and beyond. Like with Quentin, I’m enjoying the way Oliver has expanded his team of helpers to include people who don’t actually know his secret identity.

The next couple of weeks will likely focus on the threat of the death penalty for Moira, and how Oliver and Thea react to her acceptance of such a fate. What could be so horrible that she would rather die than have her children find out? It seems like a rather silly excuse to inject more drama into Moira’s story this year, and I very much doubt the show would go through with something like that. My bet is that she’ll be out of jail by Christmas, and the return of Malcolm Merlyn has to have something to do with that resolution. See you next week!

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Identity, here.

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Merlyn trained with Ras al Ghul.

Makes sense to me. The black costume and fighting style seem to fit. So after Season 1 he retreated back to the League of Shadows to recover and to plot with Ra's al Ghul about how to bring down Starling City.

I was wondering if they would do anything about black canary's canary cry. Now to see how they handle Flash in the no super powers way.

They won't, Flash is supposedly going to be the first person with powers in the series. Episode one of this season teased his origin story slightly (or it's just a coincidence that a new particle accelerator is being built in Central City).

I know the main reveal of the week is Ra's (although with an episode called "The League of Assassins coming soon we should have guessed) but what about Black Canary in a clock tower? We have her and Huntress, Birds of Prey anyone?

I noticed that too. Merlyn said at one point that when he left the city after his wife's death he went to a place (I can't remember the name now but I looked it up) and met a man. Wiki had the place in question as the ancestral home of Ra's Al Ghul.

The 2 things that we know Moira has done that she is truly responsible for are kidnapping Oliver in the pilot and setting up that chinese dude who was part of the undertaking. Although I seem to recall she didn't expect him to be killed. Also she was complicit in Walter's kidnapping, although she was forced into that option rather than letting him be killed in the same way that she was part of the undertaking itself. It does annoy me a little that while 503 people did lose their lives, no-one mentions the other earthquake device that didn't go off - and that the death toll could easily have been twice what it was. Those deaths were prevented by Moira's warning and by Lance's heroism, yet these 2 characters are taking most of the blame.

Hmmm wonder if Moira is connected to the league of assassins somehow or has knowledge of their existence hence complicity with Merilyn, always thought she was abit to nonchalent about the undertaking, like she and merlyn had other history apart from that, could see a storyline of her being an agent for the league on a sleeper mission i.e. seduce Robert Queen, get him to create companies for the league to invest in and stealthly make the whole queen empire a LoA front, which would also imply some destiny/latent badassery in Oliver and Thea... probably very wrong but at least it would make her interesting.

Also the messenger was dressed like capt jack sorry merlyn when he was the black archer last season so i guess lazerus pit for him and sara to explain there lack of death. Does barrowman have an unkillable mcguffin clause in his contract???

I actually thoroughly enjoy this show. The acting is usually wooden and the stories are outlandish but this has become a guilty pleasure replacing the other comic book series the much maligned Dexter. Arrow doesn't make any pretenses about being other than escapist pleasure. And as one who grew up on DC Comics I appreciate all the references to its history.

I wouldn't call all of the acting wooden. Felicity and Diggle's actors are pretty believable to me, as it Paul Blackthorne. I also like Black Canary's actress so far, and John Barrowman is always awesome.

I wonder who will play Ra's if/when he appears?

What is with 52 appearing everywhere?

I suspect that it will be a more ''grounded" interpretation though. He'll get some radiation-like illness from the particle accelerator, and end up with a condition that greatly increases his adrenaline (causing inhuman reaction time and sprint capacity, but within the boundaries of the human body and normal physics), at the cost of greatly shortening his life. Audience reaction will determine whether he dies from the condition in the last episode, or whether he finds a way of alleviating its damaging effects upon his heart and central nervous system.

(Incidentally, does anyone else find it a bit hilarious that they threw in a particle accelerator as foreshadowing in the knowledge that audiences would just focus on the word 'accelerator' without knowing what a particle accelerator is? Despite the name, a particle accelerator isn't even vaguely a logical basis for comic-book Flash superpowers. It's a piece of lab kit that
you use to measure the half-life of sub-atomic particles. It's actually LESS logical than getting superpowers from having a battery-powered torch shone at you. The battery powered torch is sending electro-magnetic radiation in both wave and particle form (cue Schroedinger's Cat explanation of how light is both a wave and a particle) in near-infinitely greater quantities than the sole subatomic particle sent from the particle accelerator (plus the subatomic particle is only travelling at 'close' to the speed of light - the electromagnetic particles/wave from the torch is ACTUALLY travelling at the speed of light).

I think they're going for straight-up superspeed here. Flash is supposed to return to Arrow in episode 20 and that episode is supposed to act as a back-door pilot to launch a Flash series next year.

So far, they've made no mention of putting Flash's powers through the real-world filter. The Arrow-verse is still expanding and I for one am glad to see that they're willing to include blatant superpowers.

When watching Marvels AoS I can't help but think it is in the same place as Arrow was when it first started. There were alot of people that gave up on Arrow when it first started but those of us that stayed are now watch a damn fine show.

This weeks villian was nice and creepy and the show is just going from strength to strength. Plus the mortar bombardment near the end. Slade looked like he was on fire and clutching his face. I would suspect giving him one more reason to be pissed off with Oliver and maybe start wearing the mask?

Just a little Easter egg I noticed. But at the end of the episode, the boat Oliver was on was named....AMAZO

Really? I enjoyed the first season because the Green Arrow here was so bad-ass. What with his no nonsense to bad guys and lack of hesitation to kill. I was so happy to finally watch a hero who knows that death is the permanent way to stop a bad guy from coming back.

But now, Green Arrow's gone all soft just because his bff died thinking he is a murderer. If they can show him choose not to kill in an incredibly difficult situation, then maybe it might redeem the show.

But if it's just him shooting the gun off the hand of this week's villain thereby letting him get away, instead of putting an arrow through him (or maybe one arrow at the gun and one through the villain's leg. Like c'mon he's supposed to be deadly accurate n smart), then this show has really lost the one thing that had captivated me.

To me, the character motivation for this incarnate of Green Arrow has become really weak in season 2. In S1, he kills and he doesn't allow others to be vigilantes like him because he knows they don't have what it takes to just freaking kill the bad guy. Now in S2, he is pussified but he still doesn't want to let others be vigilantes. Like, what is the rationale in his head?

The show says it's because others don't have his restraint. But his whole act in S1 was unrestrained. Plus, how do they know every single wanabe vigilantes out there don't have restraint? Or that the no-killing method is better than the killing method in the first place?

If the doll villain was executed after his complete and undeniable conviction years ago, wldn't the victims who died in this episode have survived happily?

All in all, the show has taken a very pussy direction and the confidence emanated by this Green Arrow has gone from bad-ass to obnoxious. Even if they try to salvage this puss-ification by giving this GA a Batman-like insane dedication to not killing, the show would still have lost its distinctive feature.

I second that. This 'no nonsense' attitude was the thing that brought this series to my attention. Taking this away and making him a 'good guy' with a very forced decision loses some charm I had with it before.

The new 52, a reference to the comics. Lance's cop code is Delta Charly 52, for DC 52

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