Arrow: Crucible, Review

With plenty of revelations about the mysterious new Black Canary, and the revelation of a major new villain, Arrow continues to be the best superhero show on TV!

Fair warning: It’s pretty much impossible to discuss the latest episode of Arrow, “Crucible,” without just dropping spoilers all over the place. While that’s usually against my policy, there’s just no avoiding it this time around. So if you haven’t watched “Crucible” yet, and still value the element of surprise in your life, then get lost. The rest of you can stay.First of all, what a fun opener this was. While Oliver’s difficulties balancing the vigilante lifestyle with his billionaire head of the company lifestyle is all very “Bruce Wayne” it’s nice to see it given a light touch the way it was with this one. So, what starts off with an action-packed Green Arrow versus gangmembers shootout gets intercut with Felicity covering for Ollie’s late arrival at an important social function. It’s pretty basic, but considering how rarely Arrow has displayed a sense of humor over the course of its run, it felt pretty refreshing. Is there a chance that we’ll see a little more of this in future episodes? One can hope…But the big news is, of course, that we’re getting the beginning of “the secret origin of Black Canary.” And this, my friends, is where the spoilers begin. Last chance to bail. Now, with the revelation of Black Canary’s identity in this episode…I’m not sure I buy it, but I’m intrigued. Here we go: Black Canary is Sara Lance. That’s right. Laurel’s sister who supposedly died on the yacht when Ollie got shipwrecked. There’s obviously more to the story, as Oliver cops to the fact that he DID see her again after the boat sank (and so do we, in a flashback), and by the end of the episode, we at least get a hint of what she got up to and how she became such a badass in that time.Have you noticed I haven’t talked about the villain of the week yet? Well, that’s because he’s virtually nonexistent. “The Mayor” is a gang leader dealing in stolen guns and who has already built himself a solid arsenal. The stakes with this guy don’t feel all that high, and really…he’s just a filler villain since the rest of this episode is primarily concerned with moving the plot about the Lance sisters along, which is really too bad as Cle Bennet is a handsome, charismatic presence, we just don’t get very much of him!There isn’t much cooking with Roy and Thea this week, although Roy does save Sin after she’s shot during a battle with the Mayor’s gang. So, we now have an official sidekick-saves-sidekick scenario. Between Roy, Sin, Canary, and Arrow…we’ve got the makings of a decent little superhero team. Hopefully this all gets moving before the end of the season!But the absolute high point (with the possible exception of the OTHER major spoiler at the end of this review) is the full-on, 100%, this is actually happening on my TV right now Green Arrow and Black Canary team-up. Folks, if you’re a DC Comics fan and this one doesn’t just punch you right in the nerd buttons, then I don’t know what you’re doing hanging out on a site called “Den of Geek” anyway. I can only imagine how cool this is gonna be as they keep adding MORE costumed badasses to the mix.Anyone else feel that this show is so much more enjoyable now that everyone doesn’t hate everyone else? It was almost touching when Larry Lance went to Oliver for help talking to Laurel. Considering that Paul Blackthorne spent all of Season One snarling at Arrow and/or Ollie…a routine that started to wear thin after twenty-something episodes, it’s great to see him warming up to BOTH sides of the show’s hero. Of course, now that we’re all starting to LIKE Officer Lance, that certainly means he’s dead meat by the end of the season. Alright, more spoilers ahead, some of them major…DC Universe Watch: We have a major costumed supervillain! I repeat! We have a major costumed supervillain! And he’s certainly less irritating than Count Vertigo. As suspected, Sebastian Blood isn’t the altruistic guy he appears to be. He is, in fact, the hooded Brother Blood! And…what’s that drug he’s injecting test subjects with? Any chance that it’s Bane’s venom? Oh Good Lord that would be cool.Obscure DC Universe Watch: The folks at Arrow TV have identified Oliver’s jail cell buddy on The Amazo as “Anatoli Knyazev.” Does that name mean nothing to you? He’s an obscure Batman villain by the nom-de-badguy of The KGBeast. Hmmmm…last week’s villain was a Batman baddie, Ra’s al Ghul’s name has been mentioned, and next week’s episode is called “The League of Assassins.” Anyone seeing a pattern here?Speculative DC Universe Watch: A few episodes back, I mentioned a news broadcast talking about a STAR Labs particle accelerator coming to Starling City. At the time, I assumed this was a set-up for a new origin for the upcoming appearance of The Flash. But tonight, Channel 52 mentioned protestors being arrested in front of it. This sure does sound like they’re seeding Firestorm’s origin, doesn’t it? And there IS an upcoming episode named “Blast Radius.” Am I reaching with this one? I don’t think so.“Crucible” would have done a little better with a stronger villain, and maybe saved one subplot for another episode. Nevertheless, it was still a terrifically entertaining and well-paced entry, and it’s miles better than most of what we got in Season One. Now that we’re four episodes into Season Two, I’m willing to bet that this isn’t a fluke.Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!


3.5 out of 5