Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Arrow "Tremors" Review

The truth sometimes sets one free, but truth often creates more problems than it solves. “Tremors” is a significantly truthful episode. The Bronze Tiger doesn’t delude himself when working for a bad man. He admits he’s working for the payout and doesn’t concern himself with what he’s helping to destroy. Oliver can’t help Roy without telling him the truth. Roy will continue to nearly murder guys unless Oliver makes a drastic move. Slade wants to blow up Ivo’s freighter, motivated by the pain of losing Shado, and Oliver concocts a lie about what Shado wanted for him because of her love for him. Oliver, in the present day, admits, to Diggle and to Felicity, that he should’ve told the truth. As Laurel continues to spiral down a Lifetime movie drain, Oliver calls on her sister to come and show her what truth is. So, yeah, the truth tremors throughout the episode. See what I did there? No, I’m not impressed either.

Contemplative Oliver is my favorite side of the character to watch. Badass Oliver, Vengeful Oliver, Tortured Oliver, Doubtful Oliver, and et al, are all worthwhile sides of the character. Each aspect yields substantial material for the Stephen Amell for the viewing audience. I really like contemplative Oliver, though. Contemplative Oliver brings out the character’s good nature the most and combines it with Oliver’s original mission for justice (but without the murder and revenge). Contemplation leads to weakness for Oliver, which he’s reminded of after he ends the threat posed by those who wanted the earthquake machine. Felicity and Diggle remind him of the issues of revealing his identity to people, especially an unhinged Roy. Oliver repressed such weakness last season. As often as I invoked Hamlet to compare with Oliver, Hamlet never acted without regard like season one Oliver. Season one Oliver borrowed his sense of revenge from the prince of Denmark, but not his contemplation. “Words, words, words,” do nothing for Hamlet. Words, Oliver has learned, matter, especially word and action.

Roy fails to control his strength. Each test of his he destroys. Oliver can’t connect with Roy. The mirakuru works against Roy. Tedious tests and exercises aggravate him, increasing his volatility and violence. The Bronze Tiger, tasked with taking the earthquake machine from the Merlyn basement, gets away with the machine because Oliver needs to stop Roy from killing a man. Oliver’s fight for Roy’s soul makes Roy’s arc worthwhile. Roy’s a good character, but this arc matters more for the past than for the present. The Thea element of it in “Tremors” seems like a footnote. Oliver’s helping Roy because of what happened with Slade on the island. Their interactions reveal two wildly different purposes, though. Roy concerns himself with the safety of Thea and Moira. Oliver doesn’t. Oliver possesses an ability to separate his two lives. Thea and Moira are part of a world he-as-Arrow needs to protect and save, but he cannot protect and save with attachments influencing his decision. Roy’s not off base to lash out at Oliver for trying to tell him what he needs to do for Thea. In a way, Roy’s right; however, Oliver started to help him for Thea’s sake, and Roy’s influenced by a serum.

The scene in which Oliver takes off the hood for the sake of motivating Roy, of convincing Roy he knows what it means to save family, to use his love for Thea to save the city is tremendous. The island flashbacks work to emphasize the meaning of Oliver’s approach to Roy. On the island, Oliver found Slade as Slade was about to strike the freighter. Slade points a gun at him; he’s frantic and within a muscle movement of ending Oliver’s life. Sara told Oliver that love is the strongest emotion in the world. Oliver uses Slade’s love for Shado to help him feel loved. Slade calms down and agrees to listen to Oliver. Oliver’s on-island plan is to take the freighter from Ivo and use it to escape the island. Roy sees and hears the truth from Oliver without a lie thrown in. Roy wouldn’t have listened unless he saw someone who connected with Thea. Love saves the world in “Tremors.” Roy and Oliver bond after the city is saved. Seeing Oliver’s face neutralizes the bad stuff working in Roy’s system, since The Hood saved his life. Oliver makes it clear he won’t abandon him. One wrong has been made right for Oliver without bloodshed and fighting.

Other matters of truth are scattered throughout the episode. There’s Walter’s idea for Moira to run against Sebastian Blood for mayor of the city. Such a pursuit will confront Moira with what people think of her (though she learned all that during the trial, and Walter’s little speech about the support she has is convenient considering Malcolm’s the only reason avoided a guilty verdict and the death sentence). Moira decides to run with the caveat that her OB/GYN never reveal the identity of Thea’s father. Laurel’s life and career spirals away from her, leaving her as a drunken mess, with no hope until her sister appears over her as if conjured from drunken delirium. Laurel won’t listen to her father or to Oliver. She’s a CW character and thus unnecessarily cruel to Thea in bringing up Thea’s party girl past. Laurel’s at the bottom, physically and emotionally, which is the truth she need accept. The shot of her on the bottom, looking up into a blur, is very on the nose about what it conveys; so, too, is the entire episode on the nose about its theme.

“Tremors” is mostly a set-piece episode for February sweeps. Though The CW executives claim to think not about ratings and other traditional measurements for success, instead choosing to rely on new social media platforms, quite a few hooks are dropped into the body of water of the series. The hooks include Oliver’s admission of shooting Slade’s eye with an arrow, the return of Sara to Starling City, Oliver’s intention to take the freighter, what Roy learns, Moira’s mayoral candidacy, the return to the Merlyns. “Tremors” insists one watch next week, almost promising viewers the next run of episodes will satisfy all that’s set up. Certain scenes were tremendous, but the whole of the episode lacked something. The fight scenes were tremendous, but the sense of ‘just wait til what happens next week’ seemed paramount.

Other Thoughts:

-I don’t know anything about the suicide squad. I assume the squad is a big deal.


-Marc Guggenheim & Drew Z. Greenberg wrote the episode. Guy Bee directed it.

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.