Arrow: Uprising review

This week's episode of Arrow wrapped up the story that's been running since midseason. How did it do? Find out here...

This Arrow review contains spoilers

“Uprising” was a weird one. Not a bad one, but a weird one. A tough episode to get a read on. I may just have to work through this as I actually write this review, so you unlucky folks will have to deal with my thought process evolving in “real time.” My apologies.

For starters, it was a different kind of opening. Starting with a quiet moment between Oliver and Tatsu was certainly a big change from the usual action movie madness we get at the start of these shows. I figured this meant we were due for a ridiculous climax of some kind, but I was wrong.

I did appreciate Oliver asking Tatsu to come back to Starling City with him. I can only imagine what Team Arrow would be like if both Maseo and Tatsu joined up. In fact, maybe that’s the secret plan. When Arrow completes its five season run, the show can just continue as “The Outsiders” or something, because this team can and should grow a little more!

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I’m enjoying watching Roy and Laurel working together. It’s just neat seeing Arsenal and Black Canary getting it done on screen. There fight with Brick later on, when he’s firing shotgun flares at them, was another nice moment.

I guess my biggest problem with “Uprising” was how it flitted around from point to point, and ultimately felt a little anticlimactic, especially considering how great the last few episodes have been. I think we hit the limits of Brick as a villain. When it really came down to it at the end, he was nothing. Just a plot device to hit a big reset button on the streets of Starling City.

Oliver’s return was cool, but it wasn’t the feel-good asskicking of the year that I was expecting it to be. They would have earned that. But I now am certain it was a mistake not to have him gone for longer. I don’t necessarily mean “more episodes” I mean for the time frame he was gone as depicted on the show. They skipped the usual “real time” aspect after the midseason break, and revealed that Ollie had only been missing for a few days, and at the end of this one, when Green Arrow gives his speech (also not my favorite moment) he talks about being gone for “a few weeks.” An entire section of Starling City went to hell in a few weeks because the leader of a pack of mid-level vigilantes was out of commission? Sorry. Not good enough.

I found the big brawl in the street at the end to be seriously lacking, too. It felt a little like “we ran out of ideas” and then it turned into the Jets and the Sharks on the least convincing backlot in Arrow‘s arsenal. It was great to see Wildcat all suited up and throwing punches, though. I do hope this isn’t their excuse to write him out of the show, as I think having another vigilante who could lend a fist every now and then is a good way to keep things fresh.

Sin’s miraculous return and thoroughly boneheaded chat with Captain Lance seriously rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, Sin literally just strolling back on camera was…silly. Second of all, she’s pretty dense to just have a casual conversation with Quentin like that in the middle of the street. It also doesn’t help that it exposes how thick he’s been lately. This stuff, Oliver’s speech, and a lot of the Malcolm stuff just felt like characters explaining the story to each other and the audience, and over fifty episodes in, there’s just no reason for that on a show like this any more. Maybe this “trilogy” should have been longer.

Does it bother anyone else that Thea was taking a nice nap on the couch while an entire borough of Starling City was having open warfare in the streets? Unless my continued “Manchurian Candidate” theory about Thea comes into play here. Did Dad hypnotize her so she wouldn’t even pay attention to the news or something?

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Some of the show’s other ladies fared a little better. If there’s one thing that has been totally consistent during this entire story arc, it’s been Felicity. Felicity has just straight up been the adult in the room for most of the season, especially since midseason, and with a big white hot spotlight on her tonight. Her little chat with Oliver to close things out doesn’t feel like something just dropped in to drive fans of their romance insane, I do think there are going to be consequences.

Oh, and nothing…nothing tops the death stare that Felicity fixed on Merlyn when he showed up at the Arrowcave. I will give the episode this, though. Despite Felicity’s (justified) protests, I do actually buy Oliver agreeing to work with Merlyn, now. That’s a pretty major swerve, but they earned it.

Meanwhile…On an Island…

Wait…not on an island? This week was all about Malcolm Merlyn string of bad decisions that ultimately landed him in Nanda Parbat. These were alright, but I think this story would have been better served as its own flashback episode. There was a lot of talky exposition and the decision to go off and leave Tommy felt rather abrupt.

I really dug seeing young Nyssa, though. There was a real Damian Wayne vibe coming off her, and it definitely brought a little smile to my face. I even dug “the magician” explanation.

But yeah, like the rest of the episode, it was all a little too talky. But you know what? Compared to how weak most of the flashbacks have felt this season, it really didn’t come off any worse. And more John Barrowman screentime is never, ever a bad thing.

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DC Universe Watchtower

– There was nothing in that Channel 52 news crawl at the beginning. Believe me, I looked.

– Oliver’s alibi was that he was shacking up with somebody in Bludhaven, occasional home of Nightwing. That’s actually a story I WOULD like to see at some point in the future.

– And in the kickoff fight with Arsenal and Black Canary this week…was that goon’s chat with Roy the first time we’ve actually heard the word “superhero” uttered on Arrow? I’m legit asking, because I don’t know.

Other than that, “Uprising” was light on DCU references. It wouldn’t have made a difference. This week wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was awfully pedestrian. I might have been easier on it if the build up from recent episodes hadn’t raised my expectations. Oh, well. There’s always next week!

Rating:

2.5 out of 5