Arrow season 2 episode 9 review: Three Ghosts

Review Caroline Preece 13 Dec 2013 - 16:25

Arrow closes the stellar first half of its current season with the establishment of a real villain. Here's Caroline's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.9 Three Ghosts

As much as I enjoy John Barrowman being on my television, what the first season of Arrow really lacked was a strong season-long villain. Now, after half a season of mystery surrounding Sebastian Gold and what his ultimate plan was, we discover that the second run of the show is going to rectify that problem. I had assumed that, while it was always clear that Slade Wilson would a) return to Oliver in the present day and, b) be some kind of nemesis, the show would save him for last. We’re only in the second season, and this feels like a major card they’re playing.

Oliver’s near-death experience at the end of last week served as an excuse for some informative hallucinations which, according to Diggle, happens to everyone who’s been through some trauma. Attributed to survivor’s guilt, through these apparitions we’re led to believe that Shado and Slade have already met their makers back on the island and, about five minutes later, we see that Shado was indeed killed. Oliver blames himself for her death simply because he didn’t choose between her and Sara fast enough and, judging by the size of Slade’s grudge at the end, he blames Oliver too.

Slade’s presence in present-day Starling City will at least render the flashback portions of each episode a lot more interesting, as we’ll see his rivalry with Oliver form at the same time as seeing him mess up his post-island life. It’s the same thing I hoped for Sara’s presence in both timelines but, as she is currently missing from present day stories, I guess we’re only dealing with one of Oliver’s ghosts at a time. I never really expected Shado to die this fast - quite unceremoniously right in the middle of the episode - but more emotional turmoil witnessed from Oliver’s past is very welcome.

The hallucinations were a nice insight into his damaged psyche which, with Oliver being a closed book often even to the audience, gave the episode a bit of weight. It might be a tried and tested trope to have the hero of the story air his insecurities through imagined old friends and enemies, but I don’t think there’s any viewer who didn’t enjoy seeing Tommy pick him back up and throw him back in the ring. That relationship was sadly left on quite a sour note – which has spurred Oliver on to becoming a better man this year – and it seems as though he’s finally forgiven himself for his part in his friend’s death.

But we can’t forget Barry Allen who, after being introduced as the main event in last week’s episode, took a bit more of a back seat this week. That worked well for me given that he presumably has to function as both a sidekick to Oliver in Arrow and as a central protagonist in Flash next year. My feelings on his relationship with Felicity are a bit mixed only because I worry that he’s going to take her with him to the spin-off should it get picked up, and I really want her to stay at Oliver’s side. That threesome dynamic is working really well and, while I wouldn’t mind Barry coming over a joining Team Arrow for a spell, I don’t want them split up.

What came with him to the show, of course, were full-blown superpowers for the formerly real(ish) world of Arrow to integrate into both the narrative and the general tone. We’re not just going to be dealing with a couple of supercharged bad guys when the show returns in January – Roy, Slade and Barry all have some kind of ability that will finally bring the ‘super’ into a show that has so far only questioned the nature of costumed heroes in relation to the very normal Oliver. We can assume that Roy will now either be a more effective helper to Oliver, or another antagonist after the hasty shot through the calf last week.

We’ll see how this new development is handled when Arrow comes back to us on January 15th, but for now let’s just wallow in the stellar first half of season two we’ve been able to enjoy. Things certainly won’t be the same when we return.

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

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Disqus - noscript

I think that Roy will get over being shot by the Arrow, since it is obvious that he was also saved (and tucked into bed) by him as well. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Roy remembers Ollie being the one who brought him back to life.

I still have not gotten over Shado's death. I was really hoping she would get another storyline similar to the comics. Sigh.

I really enjoyed this episode but their medical facts regarding the drug Warfarin in this episode is scary!!! I am employed in the medical field and prescibe Warfarin on a daily basis for patients. A few mistakes regarding this drug are:

1) Warfarin cannot be administered as an IV drug
2) The first few days after administering Warfarin the patient's clotting actually
increases, increasing your risk for strokes. So Barry actually gave Oliver a stroke instead of preventing one.
3) Brain damage from stokes can cause hallucinations if the stoke is in a certain are of the brain, that's were Oliver's hallucination are coming form.
4) Rat poison is call super Warfarin. If ingested by humans it stays in your system for a few months increasing your risk for bleeding. Not the best drug to give a super hero injured on a regular basis
5) The drug they should have used is call streptokinase or altaplase. These drugs are given IV for acute strokes and heart attacks. They work in a few minutes and are very effective and are cleared form your system in a few days

I just feel that the writers of these episode should research the stuff they write. it can be easily accessed on Wikipedia. I hope Barry's medical expertise improves in the Flash TV series.

Yeah i was hoping for another island ep but with Shado in it kicking ass ah well

do you know that you called Sebastian blood Sebastian Gold in the first paragraph?

Far enough comments, but for the vast majority of the viewing public just the mention of Warfarin would do enough to progress the story. About all I knew was that rat poison contained Warfarin..and that's despite knowing 3 people who have been on blood thinners for months.

Arrow handled the integration of powers really well. I hope they get more DC heroes and build their own TV universe. Please give Aquaman another chance! And Martian Manhunter, Arrow is comic book-y enough to put aliens in the show.

Well Slade coming back, while a bit of a shock, was always on the cards. After all, when Sarah came back she asked Oliver what happened to Slade, which means she's getting off the island without either of them.

But after the teaser last week with the thunderstorm and the chemicals, the point that Flash gets his powers didn't disappoint visually.

And a return for Solomon Grundy/Cyrus Gold at some point is always on the cards.

This was in my opinion the best episode of arrow yet.
After seeing Barry now and how good the visual
effects were at bringing the flash to life I still personally
think this universe should merge with the MoS universe.
If it doesn't I just hope WB will lift bands on useing
characters like um Batman or Superman. And just
maybe Jenson Ackles will get his turn at Batman Lol.

Will that mask really hide his identity that much? And I've noticed how slack his colleagues are in hiding his cover. Running into building screaming Oliver!! Or when Oliver feels the need to rip off his hood when he had gotten 10 yards away from anyone he talks to...

Its going to suck waiting until January for 2nd half of the season.

That said the last episode really cemented my theory i had back at at ep 2 or 3 that Moira is a member of the league of assassins (last weeks threat to Merlyn about Ra's al ghul being unhappy with him, how would she be able to contact him unless she was a memeber????)

The whole Thea being merlyns child arc could play out like this, i think Roy will become Red Arrow in the next 2 or 3 episodes, probably independently of Team Arrow, perhaps the vigilante's vigilante, and he will end up battling merlyn with the black canary, I can see Merlyn capturing Thea and Sin somehow Thea will become injured and receive Roys blood, thus setting her up to become speedy in season 3 (the name was used at least 3 times in three ghosts with reference to her).

Ultimately roy gets brought into the fold at the end of the season after his Mirakue enhanced abilities enable team arrow to thwart the big bad (ideally with some time based threat so that flash can join in the fun and stop a Glades 2.0 event happening).

Based on the "date" with blood in three ghosts laurel will end up in peril, and i think the black canary will be the one to rescue her, however i think that Sara should die in the battle, with her identity revealed to laurel so that she can take over the mantle of Black Canary, and she will be v pissed off so could see a return of the huntress and them teaming up in season 3. Of couse if they dont kill Sara, then kill laurel as she is basically useless this season so far, as long as only one of the Lance sisters is alive at the end of the season i will be happy.

I dont think Smoak will be going anywhere, i expect that they will tease her leaving to go to metropolis but after the events of the finale she will stay in starling city, one possible idea that would be harsh on her character but fits with her skills is that she ends up paralysed and becomes Oracle, which could be intresting

I posted a theory last episode that when Thea finds out about her Mom and Malcolm that she will hate her mom all over again and become a bad guy along with Roy who is pissed at Arrow.
This would only be temporary, but Oliver will be forced to reveal his identity to them and they will have to team up to take down Slade and Ra's Al Ghul.

I really hope they don't ship Felicity off to the Flash--even if they turn Laurel Lance into Black Canary, her version of the Black Canary won't be enough for Arrow to survive on if they get rid off Felicity. Over the course of roughly fifteen episodes she's become the show's strongest female character--Arrow would be fatally foolish to ever move her out of the show.

One would hope so - he is a zombie after all in the comics.

i have to say i love arrow. its by far in my top three programs. but i have a two concerns. one i hope the big reveal at the end of the show does not means that character days are numbered on the show. as this could have several long term options. i was hoping malcom merlyn would be arrows long term villian in the way lex was for smallvile but would much rather have the other guy in for the long hall. arrow secret is getting dished out too easy. i feel like too many know and a few look close to knowing it.

I really like Arrow but just getting a tiny bit fed up of the fact no-one ever dies - almost everyone significant who's died has come back, Malcolm, Sara, Slade etc it just seems a poor plot device for them

Ya, he is not dead. Will come back eventually.

But when Malcolm asked how Moira knew of Ra's name, didn't she say "I didn't until you mentioned Nanda Parbat". Although there is a possibility of lying about not knowing him until Malcolm gave a hint, why didn't she just use her connection with the League to get away from the Tempest and all? Why didn't she contact the League the year the Queen's Gambit was retrieved? Didn't she fear Malcolm since then? Why didn't she use her connection with the League to stop Malcolm from tormenting her all those years?

BTW, Barry's place is Central City, not Metropolis. Just pointing it out. And I don't think they'll make Felicity as Oracle. That's just a big no. Barbara Gordon is Oracle and that's her backstory for taking that mantle. Sorry, a big fan of Barbara Gordon here. That, and I'm still hoping for a Nightwing special.

Also, I wasn't really happy when I found out about the changes they did with Black Canary. Heck, I hated how they changed Laurel Lance from the one we are accustomed to (have to agree that she is pretty much useless). I agree that some kind of event will eventually make Laurel take over the name Black Canary. 'Coz if not, there's no point in naming Katie Cassidy as Laurel then naming her supposedly dead sister Sara. Why not just name Caity Lotz as Laurel since the beginning of the show since it's really Black Canary's name in the first place?

Malcolm and Slade are both major antagonists, plus we haven't seen Slade properly die yet, it's not unreasonable for them to be brought back. There have been many pretty major characters to be killed off, especially Tommy. Also Shado was a pretty important character and Count Vertigo was a big villain for the show, so far.
No character we have outright seen actually die has come back. Malcolm took an arrow to the chest but so did Oliver in pretty much the same spot and he survived, Sara disappeared underwater but we never saw a body, Slade was saved by the Miracuru drug.

Anyone else notice that the product placement has gone from being Nokia phones to Samsung ones? Everyone that had a Lumia now has a Galaxy S4. I wonder if that also means no more blatant Windows 8 placement?
Anyway. I find myself enjoying Arrow more and more as this season goes on. It was already one of my favourite shows. I also can't wait for whatever they do with Flash.

I think the way they'll do it is... Currently, Sara is "Canary."
I imagine she'll die properly at some point, causing Laurel to become 'Black Canary.' Black being the colour of grief, mourning etc.

Not complaining, but they have loads of bad guys:
1. Malcolm
2. Slade
3. Brother Blood
4. Ra's al Ghul ( at some point)
5. Solomon Grundy ( though i assume he'll be a one episode return)
6. Whoever Summer Glau really is.
7. H.I.V.E
How about this for a twist: Felicity is really Rose Wilson, working deep undercover...

Roy harper is suppose to become speedy/red arrow/ arsenal i hope you ppl know this

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