This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Well, this was certainly better, wasn’t it? Arrow bounced back from a series of questionable episodes with “Broken Arrow.” While this one often felt more like a backdoor pilot for Brandon Routh’s upcoming star turn in a still-untitled Atom-centric superhero team show, it handled all its moving pieces considerably better than last night’s counterpart on The Flash.
“Broken Arrow” isn’t without its problems, though. When a colleague tells Quentin Lance to lay off the Arrow case because, as he puts it, “you’ve come so far,” I couldn’t help but agree. I’m going to try not to keep barking about my disapproval of Lance’s storyline during the second half of this season. There’s nothing I can do about it, so now all I can do is hope for the best. Perhaps, though, now that he thinks he’s got a little satisfaction (at the expense of Roy’s “life”), he’ll mellow out a little.
I do now at least feel that the stakes have been legitimately raised, even if some of the more obvious “big changes” are probably going to result in easy fixes (Roy’s fake death, Thea’s impending dip in a Lazarus Pit, a heart-attack for Quentin Lance insuring that Oliver’s secret identity goes to the grave with him). I’m pretty sure about those things…but I don’t know how sure I am. With Roy “gone” from Team Arrow now, does this mean that the rest of Arrow season three is going to be devoted to taking more of Oliver’s pieces off the board? How much more can they break him down?
On the surface, “Broken Arrow” could have fallen into many of the same traps as “All Star Team Up” did on The Flash. It’s a hefty focus on the Atom, and he’s the only superhero on the side of the good guys who we see suit up (even with that assist from Oliver). Doug Jones is here this week as the villainous “Deathbolt,” and he’s the very definition of a “villain of the week.” He is, however, saved by some very good special effects and Jones’ impressive screen presence. See? He doesn’t even need the make-up!
In fact, the visuals during the Atom/Deathbolt fights were really nice. It’s something as simple as the contrast between Deathbolt’s “red” radiation and the blue energy given off by the Atom against the traditionally dark Arrow nighttime backgrounds made for some appropriately comic book-y fun.
All in all a good, if not great episode of Arrow. Extra points for that final scene, though. I didn’t quite see that coming (although I should have), and I’m all in on Matt Nable as Ra’s al Ghul now.
Meanwhile…On an Island…
“You have to learn how to let people help you.” Oliver is still learning how to work and play well with others in that regard. But if that turns out to be the major lesson of this year’s flashback sequences, then these will ultimately be remembered as one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of the show.
DC Universe Watchtower
– Opal City! I get more excited than I probably need to whenever Opal City is mentioned on one of these shows (it’s happened before, right?), because it’s the stomping grounds of my favorite incarnation of Starman, Jack Knight. I would pretty much do anything for a Starman TV series, and Jack Knight and his supporting cast would work so perfectly in the CW superhero format.
– Jake “Deathbolt” Simmons old address was listed as Dixon Canyon. I’d like to think this is a reference to long-time Bat-universe writer Chuck Dixon, but I might be wrong.
– Speaking of Chuck Dixon, where’s Roy off to? Bludhaven? Could he possibly be headed to the Titans show that TNT is developing? Nah…probably not. But that would be kind of awesome.
– Deathbolt isn’t exactly a major villain, but he’s got a cool pedigree. He originally appeared in Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway’s World War II-era Justice Society title, All-Star Squadron. Sticking him in STAR Labs’ horrible prison is just to help set up the fact that we’ll see him raise a little hell in Central City in episode 22 of The Flash.