Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Arrow "City of Blood" Review

Oliver’s response to his mother’s death was isolation, seclusion, in a secret lair that served as backup in case the other lair was compromised. Felicity and Diggle find him there, with the help of A.R.G.U.S., and Oliver seems annoyed his trusted friends would search for him to see that he’s okay. Slade Wilson wanted to destroy Oliver’s life and kill the fighting spirit that carried him through the island and beyond, that helped him transform from killer to city champion. And Oliver looks destroyed. His absence from his mother’s funeral makes people mad. They don’t understand why he didn’t attend. Thea’s anger about her mother’s death, her frustrations about what her mother thought she felt when she died, is directed towards her absent brother. Thea doesn’t understand why Oliver wouldn’t warn anyone about the psychopathic Slade Wilson’s vendetta against him, brought about by a mysterious thing on the island. Thea doesn’t understand. Oliver and Sara are the only ones that truly understand. Both disappear at the prolonged moment of crisis.

Oliver’s ready to die before the start of act three. He puts in a call to Isabel to offer his surrender to Slade. Slade wanted to ruin the kid’s life before he killed him. Oliver sat in his large, empty room—the place he set up for an emergency but which became a sanctuary for him: somewhere he could be alone and think. Superheroes act. Thinking is a detriment to their duties. Hamlet would’ve spared lives had he acted against his uncle; instead, the Prince of Denmark thought and contemplated as Polinius died, and then his Ophelia, who drowned herself in a pond, surrounded by flowers. Hamlet’s lack of action—his agenbite of inwit—kills him in the end. Oliver thinks and he dwells and he feels sorry for himself and he feels that he is powerless to stop the menace hellbent on ending him, having already ended the life of his mother. So, he’s ready to die. Oliver thinks action is useless. The opposite of action is inaction. In the genre, a superheroes inaction means death, regardless if it is the hero that dies or innocent people that die while the hero sulks in a cabin in a faraway place.

Felicity and Diggle want to rouse him from his dwelling and move him to action, but he’s sad and broken. Laurel, though, won’t let her friend and former love died so meekly and sadly. Sebastian Blood’s smooth ascent to mayor of Starling City after Moira’s death fills her with the feeling she had during her earlier correspondence with Sebastian—as potential lover. Quentin and Laurel illegally accessed Sebastian’s files and found a statement written in response to Moira’s death written the day before Moira’s death. Oliver listens to Laurel tell him what he means to her, her sister, and to the city, with little interest. Dejection convinced him he’s no match for Slade. Sebastian, though, wakes Oliver from his internal, deadly sorrow; that is, Sebastian’s involvement with Slade, and his assent to do what Slade wants in exchange for City Hall. Oliver sits down for a drink with Sebastian to share a meaningful conversation that involves head nods and the truth. Sebastian’s in the role of triumphant villain’s accomplice, while Oliver’s had his heart ripped. But Oliver’s the hero.

A brave man freed from Ivo’s ship sacrificed his life for the sake of other lives on that island, which is where Oliver learned what makes a hero. The selfless hero of the flashbacks told Oliver he wanted to give back from Oliver saving him from Ivo’s tortures. Oliver admits he didn’t think about saving anyone’s lives on the ship because he only thought about going home. Oliver learned, though, how to enact what he learned on the ship in the days and weeks and months after whatever happened after the submarine and Slade’s ship collided. Oliver laments not curing Slade when he had the chance, which may return to the theme of inaction causing death.

Arrow, though a series full of family, friendship, and romantic relationships, singularly singles out Oliver Queen. He is the Arrow. His safe haven is a place no one knows about where he can be alone. Thea hears his apology. He tells her about his shortcomings, his regrets as her brother, but underlines his love for her, for his little sister, his Speedy. Oliver apologizes and tells her loves her because he’s ready to walk into Slade’s secret bunker and die. He feels alone, singularly responsible for what’s happened and whatever will happen unless he dies. His singularity represents a weakness, though. Slade’s objective is to make him separate by destroying all he loves. He’s nothing without the people he loves. The final act shows Slade’s mirakura army marching towards the city, Isabel about to demolish Diggle, and Oliver overwhelmed by the onslaught of superpowered people, with Laurel to protect. In the penultimate act he tells Felicity and Diggle he’ll need them to finish what they started, together, as a trio.

Other Thoughts:

-The last two acts reminded me of The Dark Knight’s third act.

-Director Michael Schultz blocked the Laurel/Oliver scene very well. I especially liked the slow camera that stopped, peering through glass and the bow at Oliver and Laurel.

-Cisco called Felicity, probably with good news about the antidote.


-Holly Harold wrote the episode.

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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.