This review contains spoilers.
2.7 State Vs. Queen
Well, you either saw that twist coming or you didn’t and, even if the mere mention of a sexual encounter between Moira and Malcolm Merlyn got the alarm bells ringing, that doesn’t make it any less silly. What does knowledge of Thea’s true paternity change, other than giving her something new to brood about? I guess it did bring John Barrowman back to the show, which is always a positive thing, and he’s no doubt gotten mixed up with the new big bad while he’s been away.
There were two major things going on in this episode – Moira’s trial and the escape of Count Vertigo – and, unfortunately, Oliver had to find a way to deal with both at the same time. The first, turning Arrow into a campy courtroom drama for an hour, was basically a long drawn-out character assassination of Moira Queen. As is often the way with these kinds of television shows, Laurel suddenly becomes the only lawyer in Starling City who can get anything done and, despite making a compelling case for her conviction of conspiracy and mass murder, the jury somehow come down on her side. Odd? That’s what Oliver thinks too.
The second was a lot more interesting to me simply because it saw the return of Vertigo. The escaped convict idea introduced with The Dollmaker a couple of weeks ago has allowed the show to effectively sidestep the consequences of their kill-happy attitude in season one, and this is now the third (and final) appearance for the character. He never really fit into the world with his comic-book flamboyance and silly serums but, by actually having a clever master plan, this was probably the best example of the threat he posed to Oliver. The world is in a delicate position right now and all it would take to topple it over would be a wildcard like him.
And that’s my favourite thing about this season of Arrow – the consequences of last year’s finale are still being felt. It’s not always overt, either, but just a general feeling of anger and panic that hangs around each episode, threatening to boil over at any second (or just before the Christmas break, I guess). Even Oliver feels it, clinging on to Felicity and Diggle more than he ever did last year. Despite what I think about the suddenly-there love connection between Oliver and Felicity, it make complete sense that the two of them being threatened would be the thing to make him disobey his new ‘no killing’ vow.
So, we’re only seven weeks into the new anti-vigilante regime and our hero has already killed someone. That makes things interesting for the audience, of course, since it proves that his promise wasn’t just a way for the show to fast-track personal growth. Making the killing a rare occurrence and only okay in exceptional circumstances raises the stakes whenever Oliver has to face off against somebody, and the writers can now pick and choose when they want the series to return to the darkness of season one. With so many villains trickling into their lives, it might not be too long before Team Arrow is threatened like this again.
This impending onslaught of bad guys makes Malcolm’s return feel a little unnecessary, as we already have a lot to be getting on with. I guess his role will have more to do with the family dynamics than it will with any Dark Archer business, but it’s always a little strange when a first season bad guy returns in amidst a flurry of new, better, villains. In two weeks, we’ll also get a brand new hero – The Flash – and we can judge him mercilessly before he shoots off to do his own series. See you there!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Keep Your Enemies Closer, here.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.