Since Marvel’s Daredevil premiere last Friday, I’ve seen many comparisons between it and The CW’s “Arrow.” While they share their similarities in terms of theme, Marvel’s Daredevil and “Arrow” are very different comic book based properties. While I’ve also seen many argue that The CW’s “Arrow” could learn a thing or two from the Netflix original series, it’s not completely fair as The CW’s DC Comics based series is already nearing the end of its third season and is very successful in many ways. After all, how many of you really cared about Oliver Queen before Stephen Amell picked up his bow and quiver? I’ll even ask how many of you were well versed in all things Argus and Suicide Squad before we saw this developed on the series. Probably not many and it’s an assumption I’ll make that a great amount of people walking into next summer’s “Suicide Squad” film will have more of a working knowledge because of “Arrow.” That’s alright and one important detail that you have to credit to the first DC Comics feature that started building its connected multiverse and launched this year’s runaway hit “The Flash.” This week’s episode – “Broken Arrow” was an excellent installment in the adventures of Team Arrow and picked up directly from last week’s episode that saw Roy Harper surrender himself to the Starling City Police as he gave himself up as the Arrow.
While “Broken Arrow” serves as a direct continuation from the last episode, we are introduced to a new metahuman in the form of actor Doug Jones, best known as Abe Sapien from the “Hellboy” movies. He’s tall, charming, and a bit creepy as we see him stalk two guards at the Starling City National Bank. While they watch the news broadcast of Roy Harper surrendering himself, a power surge occurs and they check to see what may have caused it. Little do they know it’s a metahuman and sadly both men are killed in the line of duty as they are severely ill equipped to contend with Doug Jones’ character. He’s later revealed to be a metahuman named Jake Simmons and no surprise, he’s from Central City!
Laurel Lance has Oliver Queen released from the SCPD HQ as she argues that there is nothing they have on him that places him as the Arrow. Her father, Captain Lance, is still harboring his anger and resentment over Sara’s death and continues his pursuit of Oliver and company even after he’s released. Unfortunately for Roy, he’s immediately incarcerated and it’s a safe bet that a jail isn’t a safe place for someone to be in, especially if they’re the one responsible for most of the inmates being there. While Roy is incarcerated, Oliver begins to formulate ideas on how to break out his friend and sidekick. He speaks with Malcolm Merlyn and the Dark Archer himself believes that it may just be time for Oliver to rethink the offer Ra’s Al Ghul made him a few weeks back. The city turning against him and the SCPD’s manhunt all started after Ra’s, dressed as the Arrow, started killing people in an effort to poison the Arrow’s reputation. Oliver is firmly set in his ways, but shortly after he returns to Verdant Shipping, the warehouse turned nightclub which is actually the secret base of operations for Team Arrow, the police arrive. Captain Lance has a warrant to search the premises and starts raising hell as he discovers Oliver’s Arrow-cave. To make matters worse, the police find only Roy’s fingerprints throughout the secret base. This is soon explained to be the handiwork of John Diggle and Felicity Smoak as they cleaned their fingerprints, along with Oliver’s, off of everything they had. They’re still dealing with the metahuman Jake Simmons and the first person Oliver thinks of going to for help is Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash. Felicity, having returned from Central City (as seen in this week’s episode of The Flash “All Star Team Up”) believes it to not be an opportune time as he’s busy dealing with Harrison Wells/Reverse Flash. That only leaves one other person they could trust and that just so happens to be Felicity’s current boyfriend, Ray Palmer a.k.a. The A.T.O.M.
“So it’s a team up?”
Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) immediately agrees to help Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle track down the metahuman and high fives Oliver at the thought of “a team up.” Ray suits up as The A.T.O.M. and proves Oliver’s doubts in him correct after he gets beaten by the metahuman. Jake Simmons is a force to be reckoned with as he absorbs energy and turns it into plasma. Thankfully for Ray, he has his armored suit and is able to escape. He returns and Oliver warns him that in trusting in his tech so much it will one day lead to him getting himself killed. After Felicity goes to check on the city power grid and install a device that will halt Simmons, she’s caught and it forces Ray to rethink his strategy to save his girlfriend and listen to Oliver’s advice. In an interesting spin on the superhero team up, Oliver essentially pilots the A.T.O.M. suit while Ray is just “a passenger” in his own tech. After they rescue Felicity, they are confronted by Simmons who immediately begins to battle with The A.T.O.M./Oliver. Oliver, using his fighting prowess, is able to defend himself and protect Ray, but loses control over the suit as it retains damage in the fight. Ray, believing in himself and his instincts, listens to Oliver’s words and becomes the “hero” he tells him he really is. Ray is able to defeat Simmons, rescue Felicity, and save the day in a very comic-book way that is pleasing and satisfying. Unfortunately, not everything goes as it should as…
Roy Harper is killed in prison. Throughout “Broken Arrow” we get this sense of saying goodbye to Colton Haynes as Roy/Arsenal. Thea Queen visits him, as does Oliver and Roy believes that taking the fall as Arrow is the right move to make. Still feeling the guilt over killing a police officer last season while he was under the influence of the mind altering Mirakuru drug, he believes he is finally able to pay for his sins and repay his debt. Sadly, during a planned moment of attack, he is stabbed in the stomach and is left to bleed out on the floor. But wait…
It was planned! Roy isn’t really dead and we learn that the reason Captain Lance and the SCPD only found his fingerprints was because it was all part of a plan he hatched alongside Felicity and Diggle. Roy explains to Oliver that they all believe in him, even if he doesn’t necessarily believe in himself. Roy says goodbye, leaving Team Arrow behind, and the crew now down to just Oli/Arrow, Felicity, and Diggle.
Before “Broken Arrow” closes, we see Thea mourning the supposed death of Roy Harper in her loft. But she’s not alone as Ra’s Al Ghul almost mystically appears. The Demon’s Head kills her and asks forgiveness for what he did for the day she returns. Ra’s then leaves leaving us all shocked at the real death of Thea Queen (Willa Holland).
If you’ve followed my reviews/recaps and rants about “Arrow”, you’ll know that I absolutely love Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable), Laurel Lance/Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), and everything about The CW’s first connected DC Comics multiverse television series. However, I will admit that there are moments that lose its significance when you can call the writers on their bluff. It happens all the time with comic books and for fans that pride themselves on being too savvy for their own good (I am one of those people), shows and comics could develop a habit of being predictable. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the surprise of this season when they killed off Oliver Queen or share the shock when Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) was killed in the season three opener. I truly enjoy “Arrow” and applaud it’s re-imagination of some of DC Comics most treasured of characters. If it wasn’t for “Arrow”, I wouldn’t have such a crush on Black Canary and the admiration for Oliver Queen’s heroic crusade. If it wasn’t for “Arrow”, I would never have started reading the DC Comics ongoing series and tv spin off series “Season 2.5”. The CW’s “Arrow” turned me into a fan and the episode “Broken Arrow” was another highly entertaining and exciting hour of television that leaves me wanting to talk up the latest developments for Team Arrow more so than Team Flash!
Ra’s Al Ghul killed Thea! Lazarus Pit next week! Come on! “Broken Arrow” gets five out of five stars.
“Arrow” airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on The CW. Check your local listings.