Arrow season 3 episode 11 review: Midnight City

Team Arrow emerges from this week's episode newly established, with Felicity back in the fold...

This review contains spoilers.

3.11 Midnight City

Though it was pretty necessary, last week’s attempt to explore the fallout from Oliver’s ‘death’ was a little predictable, stagnant and focused on Felicity above other, equally important, characters. This episode, however, had to show what Team Arrow would do with the gaping chasm left by their leader. As it turns out, they can do quite a lot.

Something had to get Laurel’s Canary out of the gym and onto the streets, and this was as good a way as any to have her first take over for Sara as the city’s protector. Her Canary is quite rightly a little ineffectual, but thankfully not to the extent that Oliver and Diggle’s doubt that she could be of value is given extra validation. She might not have the years of hard training that Sara had, but she’s still perfectly capable of helping.

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By association, this episode’s version of Roy was probably the most engaging the character has been since he was introduced back in season one. Aside from Thea, these are the show’s two least-loved characters and, if season three had continued to refuse to do anything with them, there’d be a question as to why they were still around at all.

With Oliver gone, though, there’s finally room for everyone to have a say, proven by Roy’s face-off with Merlyn. This is the most he’s objected to anything this season, surprising given that he once dated Thea and seemed pretty unperturbed by the news that she was Sara’s killer, and it’s a definite step in the right direction.

It’s hard to really buy Laurel and Roy as real superheroes as far as we would Oliver, and that feels as much like a deliberate choice as it is a failure to develop them properly. In this episode, it all comes together and points towards the former, as their one joint mission sans-Arrow is equal parts quite adequate and a complete travesty. Laurel falls over, Roy shoots before thinking, and they don’t really accomplish anything.

But this, here, is the show capitalising on Oliver’s brief absence. When he comes back, Roy and Laurel may actually feel like part of the team as much as Diggle and Felicity are.

It certainly beats how season three has handled Thea, who still apparently doesn’t know anything about her brother’s night time adventures despite seeing the Arrow up close multiple times, living with him in an open-plan apartment and generally being an intelligent person. Watching Roy and Merlyn argue about what’s best for her was painful for anyone who wants to like the character, as is the attempt at a love interest who is also pulling the wool over her eyes.

Because arrogant DJ bloke is actually an informant for Ra’s al Ghul, which at least gives him a purpose beyond being an excuse for Thea to be on screen.

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The same gripe applies to poor Quentin, with the show backtracking on the rather beautiful notion that Det. Lance did in fact know that Oliver was the Arrow, but chose to retain a veil of ignorance in order for them to co-exist in Star City. Nope, he doesn’t know that Felicity’s admission that they’re on their own also means that Oliver (who, conspicuously, is also missing) is gone but, worse, thinks that Sara is still alive.

It’s sad, and gives Katie Cassidy some great material to work with, but that doesn’t make it less irritating. Just when other characters are being treated as human beings, the show insists on treating others like idiots. The fallout from his discovery, which is surely inevitable now, better be worth it.

By the end of the episode we have a newly established Team Arrow, with Felicity back in the fold and a mission statement of honouring Oliver’s mission despite his absence. While Oliver is dealing with his own ghosts from Hong Kong, then, his friends back home are dealing with their own.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Left Behind, here.

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