This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 4 Episode 3
You know how last week I was hinting that things felt a little too familiar on Arrow so far this season? Well, there’s two sides to that. While the Star City stuff still hasn’t mostly clicked, expanding the scope of things to include Nanda Parbat again (even with all the trouble that brings with it), helped “Restoration” immensely.
In other words, I’m far less worried about Arrow season 4 than I was last week.
Look, Double Down is a dreadful villain. Always has been. There wasn’t much they could do with him. I was ready to dismiss “Restoration” as a crappy “case of the week” story sight unseen, which would have been foolish. Sure, he’s really not that much of a threat, and I can’t imagine we’ll see much more of him, but the fact that the episode really doesn’t revolve heavily around him and his stupid metahuman power, and instead is just kind of an engine to move the rest of the more important stuff forward helped ease the pain.
Despite the fact that this episode delivered the highest action percentage we’ve seen so far this season, it was really just dressing for the important stuff. Oliver and Diggle’s reconciliation was not only needed, but it felt natural. I believe both of these characters and I bought their angry dude journey, and I felt this was a satisfactory resolution.
The action was great, though, and despite Double Down’s silly superpower, even those big sequences, it felt more incidental to the actual business of fighting going on. Arrow often does its best work when it just straight up feels like an action movie that happens to feature a costume or three running around in it rather than a pure superhero show, and “Restoration” struck that balance nicely.
I’m also enjoying the parallel between Felicity/Michael and early episodes with Oliver/Felicity. Nothing like lying to a genius in order to get shit done! Emily Bett Rickards and Echo Kellum are lots of fun on screen together, and I can certainly take a whole season of this. Not to mention a whole season where Felicity shuts up the macho boys having a spat and kicks metas in the nards.
Come to Beautiful Nanda Parbat!
Setting aside for the moment that we’re once again on the Nanda Parbat Express (for real, folks fly back and forth to that place like it’s a commuter train away…and this time they had a freakin’ coffin in tow!), John Barrowman and Katrina Law are most welcome sights. Both have remarkably reasonable positions as far as why they want to kill each other, and I’m happy to let these two play it out for the rest of the year.
Bringing back Sara is obviously necessary in order to make Legends of Tomorrow work, but I can’t help but feel that the way they’re going about this, and Laurel’s absolute recklessness, isn’t really helping anybody in the “Laurel is a dumbass” camp of Arrow viewers. The bit when she’s talking to the feral Sara about how happy poor Quentin Lance will be to see her seemed to strain even the most hardcore devoted sibling logic.
Meanwhile…On an Island…
zzzzzzzz…oh, I’m sorry. Were there flashbacks?
What is it with this show and The Flash making the most absolutely reprehensible character choices seem like no big deal? Last year on The Flash we had the ridiculous “prison with no hope for a trial, ever” thing happening underneath STAR Labs (and this year, not one villain has survived yet). And now we’ve got Ollie just straight up resorting to torture?
Honestly, I realize it’s to save additional lives, and he seems to claim he knows how not to do permanent physical damage. But damn, dude. It’s torture. There’s psychological damage to consider. I realize this Oliver isn’t really the “Green Arrow” Oliver of present day, and this is still the guy who happily killed his way through season one, but the torture thing just doesn’t sit right with me.
DC Universe Watchtower
– Double Down first appeared in The Flash: Iron Heights one-shot in 2001. He sucked there, too. Basically, his powers in the comics are magic-based, making his origin story only slightly less insufferable than the “scuzzy dude caught in particle accelerator blast wave while getting a tattoo” logic of Arrow.
– Your eyes did not deceive you. Those are definitely Mr. Terrific’s T-Spheres (and the appropriate contact lenses to transmit the information to) being worked on at Palmer Tech. I can’t wait to see if they add those lenses to a domino mask.
I’m probably missing some stuff, because as long as the Mets are playing baseball in October, well…I’m a little distracted. Let me know what I missed in the comments or on Twitter, and if it checks out, I’ll update the Watchtower. Thanks for reading!