“I keep my promises, kid.”

arrow314

**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.14 of Arrow, “The Return.”**

I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that, Malcolm Merlyn aside, much of the present-day stuff in this week’s Arrow was almost up to par. There were familiar faces, island scenery, a ridiculous booby trap, and some much-needed truth-telling from Oliver. Unfortunately, there were also flashbacks… and the only good things about the flashbacks were Andy Diggle and the incredible Tommy Merlyn. (Sorry, Felicity fans, but you might want to skip this post. I promise this will hurt me more than it will hurt you.)

I couldn’t even write about last week’s episode, aka the Oliver Steals Everyone’s Agency Episode. He was downright awful to Laurel, and he even did it to Roy! It was all just bad, and I think it was a misuse of Caity Lotz when there is still so much of Sara’s story that we don’t know. I will say that Katie Cassidy knocked that one out of the park, but I couldn’t bring myself to write an entire post slamming the episode and then have one paragraph that said “At least Katie was awesome! Go Laurel!” So I’m saying it now: Katie was awesome. Go Laurel!

The only reason I had any sort of hope for this week’s episode can be summed up in two words: Slade Wilson. I don’t even know why I held out hope for him — whether it’s because his season 2 storyline was so great that his face just reminds me of why I loved this show, or whether it’s because Manu Bennett just seems to elevate the show indescribably — but he was definitely a sight for sore eyes. And his scenes with Oliver and Thea brought back a lot of the frenetic action that’s been sorely lacking this season. People like Malcolm and Ray Palmer, they’re calculated and precise, to the point that they get boring. Malcolm Merlyn is boring, his particular brand of psychopath is no longer intriguing because we spent all of season 1 exploring that. There was no outcry when he was gone, because the character arc stopped being interesting the moment Oliver thwarted him.

Slade Wilson’s brand of psychotic is still refreshing, somehow. It helps that his vendetta is focused solely on Oliver, and everyone else is just collateral damage. He’s not acting out of selfishness or self-preservation, he’s still reacting to the love he lost, and he’s willing to die or trade his freedom just to watch Oliver suffer. Malcolm is not that intriguing — selfish characters are not that interesting. Show me a selfish lead character on a show that is fun to watch or is beloved! There aren’t any, that’s why the Bad Boys with a Heart of Gold is even a trope, because people want to believe that selfish people are actually acting out of love. Malcolm isn’t doing that, he’s never done that, even the Undertaking wasn’t really about his wife, it was about control at first, and eventually it became about power.

 

Slade, on the other hand, has never exclusively wanted power. Power, via his Mirakuru army and Sebastian Blood, was a means to an end. Power was what would enable him to torture Oliver Queen. He’s acting out of love, not just for Shado, but for the betrayal he felt from his brother-in-arms. He even said it in this episode: “Maybe if you’d told me what really happened with Shado, your mother would still be alive.” In this respect, Slade is the killer counterpart to Moira Queen. Everything Moira did, she did out of love for her kids. In a way, and I say this grudgingly, it’s kind of poetic that she died by Slade’s hand.

(Sidenote: Did the writers ever think about that aspect of Sara’s death? That Oliver chose Sara over Shado on that island all those years ago, sealing his fate with Slade and leading to the events of season 2, only to have Sara die for no reason by Malcolm Merlyn? It actually cheapens Shado’s sacrifice. And if and when Slade finds out about Sara’s demise… there will be hell to pay.)

So I was hoping Slade’s presence would bring back some of the energy and pace of the second season, especially in regards to people finding out certain secrets, and it worked for the most part. Thea freaks out when Oliver finds out that Malcolm had freed Slade just to turn them into murderers, and it eventually forces Oliver to tell her the truth about Sara’s death: that Malcolm had drugged and manipulated Thea into doing it.

 

They have a fantastic tag-team fight to take down Slade, who holds his own even without Mirakuru now, and Thea has him at gunpoint when Oliver stops her and talks her down. Together, they manage to overcome Malcolm’s ministrations and continue to honor Oliver’s promise to Tommy after he died. That, of course, means nothing to Malcolm. And just when you think this episode is going to fix the fundamental problems with the show… Oliver and Thea go and agree to continue working with Malcolm, because they need him so badly. You know. For the mess he created. Sigh.

I’m sad to see Slade go, but I’m happy that he’s still alive, and I loved his interactions with Thea (he seemed to grow to respect her over the course of their encounters; she’s not the same girl he kidnapped only eight or so months ago) and his last conversation with Oliver.

Slade: “She’s lost, your sister.”
Oliver: “No, she’s not.”
Slade: “You can see it in her eyes. She’s been touched by darkness. Was it Merlyn? He’s an interesting man, to do that to his own daughter. So now you’ve lost your father, your mother, and now your little sister. How’s the girl in the glasses? What’s her name? Felicity. How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no more Oliver Queen?”

 

I’ve got news for you, Slade: there already is no more Oliver Queen. This guy is not the same Oliver we saw for the last two seasons, or the Oliver we see in flashbacks. This guy is just a travesty… and Felicity is the least of his problems. (I like how Oliver immediately says Thea isn’t lost, like just by saying it, it must be true.)

Nonetheless, the Slade fan in me appreciates how he can just cut right to the core of Oliver, and I think if Oliver weren’t so wrapped up in his League of Assassins stuff, he’d realize that that was, and still is, Slade’s intention all along: to turn Oliver into himself. Slade lost all the people in his life, so he’s no longer Slade Wilson. And from what he’s seen, the last link to humanity lies in Felicity Smoak, which is why he says her name like a threat.

Which goes to show that even Slade Wilson underestimates the importance of John Diggle in Oliver’s life.

 

Hey! Speaking of Diggle — we met Andy this week! We only saw him for a minute, just long enough to establish that Andy got Diggle the Rich Kid Bodyguard gig, and that he thinks Diggle was a fool to divorce Lyla, to which Diggle dryly replies, “Thank you, Andy, I appreciate that.” Heh.

 

Tommy also appeared as an overbearing but good-hearted big brother figure (nice that he turns out to actually be her big brother) to Thea, who was already getting into drugs and acting out. She still goes to talk to Oliver at his gravestone, which is sweet until her drug dealer meets her there. Oliver, who is back in Starling this week for really dumb lampshaded reasons, watches appreciatively from afar as Tommy intervenes. Tommy also flirts adorably with a radiant Laurel, and I had honestly forgotten how delightful they were together until now.

If I could choose one other person to be in flashbacks, it would be Moira. I feel like that deserved a long, resounding DUH after that statement, but unfortunately, this show decided to cater to the lowest common denominator and have Oliver have a near-brush with… Felicity. Who talks to a terrifying picture of him… and calls him “cute” even though he’s dead. It was painful and weird and bad and I hate when shows retcon and rewrite history to have people crossing paths in contrived ways, but the shippers are eating it up. The cynic in me thinks this crew really knows how to manipulate the fanbase.

Oliver kills Thea’s drug dealer, probably causing a lot of emotional and mental harm to his little sister along with the fact that he kind of ruined Tommy’s party, then throws a fit when Waller won’t let him stay in Starling. The only reason Oliver even survived this season of flashbacks is because Maseo is repeatedly sticking guns in his back to keep him from doing stupid things.

They end up capturing China White and turning her over to military custody, with a particularly villainous looking Army guy telling Oliver that he will be debriefed in China before they drop him off wherever he wants to go. Oliver doesn’t seem to notice that Waller seems scared of the Army guy, but we do know that China White somehow makes it out of custody and that Oliver never makes it back to Starling City until the day he’s rescued. Presumably.

The only good thing to come out of the flashbacks is the video Oliver found of his father, Robert, telling him about the list. So that’s one mystery solved, clumsily, but solved nonetheless. I appreciate the casting for Oliver’s father, when he talks, he has a lot of the same mannerisms and facial tics as Stephen Amell, and that’s when the resemblance really comes through.

Quentin was awful in the flashbacks, but in a realistic way. He was deep into booze and blaming the world for his troubles, and it played painfully but accurately; it shows the tremendous growth he’s made since then. Unfortunately, present-day Quentin is really mad at Laurel, not for donning the mask or becoming the Black Canary, but for lying to him for months. He tells her she broke the bond between them, and he leaves for a separate AA meeting from hers. And I’ll just end with this observation: This is the same sort of secret and breach of trust that created the Slade Wilson we know and love today.

Next week: It looks like everyone takes a field trip to Nanda Parbat. Hopefully this ends with Malcolm Merlyn’s demise. Also — ugh — ATOM stuff.

Advertisements

The Pleasure Was All Mine

*Warning: This post contains spoilers for CBS’s Elementary Episode 3.14 “The Female of the Species.”*

Ever since last week’s episode I have been fangirling over Sherlock’s progression this past year. Elementary has become one of the very few shows I can still rely on to give me solid episodes. This week Sherlock had a new companion to help with his mystery solving, Marcus Bell. It was an utter delight to see the two of them working together. It also made me realize Sherlock indeed cannot work a case on his own anymore. He needs a sound board, and with Joan out of commision this week he seeks Bell’s company while he is on mandatory vacation. This is one similarity the two of them have. They can not sit still and relax. Bell was forced to take vacation, and Sherlock has never been known to stay still for long. He is always doing something even if only it appears to be is sitting. Sherlock knows Bell is probably restless, and so he enlists in his help to find two zeh-bras (zebras).

Bell and Sherlock have worked together before, but they have never worked together alone before. It is interesting to see how Sherlock treats Bell at the beginning of the episode with calling Bell “Detective Bell” and having him get his lunch without ordering for two compared to the end of the episode. At the end of the episode, Sherlock lets Bell sleep in while he does all the work dealing with the police to catch the zebra-napper and orders Bell breakfast before he even arrives at the diner. The most beautiful thing about this partnership was when Bell tells Sherlock it was a pleasure, Sherlock replies, “No, the pleasure was mine and mine alone, Marcus.” This sentence holds so much significance. There was one a time Sherlock probably would have replied he sure it was Bell’s pleasure. Sherlock has become somewhat humble over the past couple of years. He still has his quirks, but you can also see a part of humanity in him. He finally addresses Bell as Marcus. Bell wanted Sherlock to call him that at the beginning of the episode, but Sherlock kept being proper by calling him Detective Bell. There is now more of a sense of familiarity between the two of them at the end of the episode.

Bell also helps Sherlock where Joan is concerned. He tells Sherlock he needs to be with Joan and help her get through this time, and Sherlock does follow Bell’s advice. He visits Joan throughout the episode, cooks for her, gets her mail, and actually waits for her to let him into her apartment. While the episode showed a new closeness between Bell and Sherlock the closest relationship of the episode is still Sherlock’s and Joan’s. Sherlock is there for Joan in her time of need. It is no longer the take relationship it was at the beginning of season one. Sherlock has now learned how to give as well.

One of my disappointments with the episode is Elana March is now dead. I was hoping Joan’s nemesis would last a bit longer, but Jamie Moriarty had other plans. I had a feeling Moriarty would somehow get involved because Joan bested her in season one. Moriarty has this appreciation for Joan, and now considers her a great adversary in the chess game she and Sherlock are playing. Moriarty saw Elana as a threat, and therefore Moriarty had to get rid of her.

My greatest disappointment is with Joan’s speech to Sherlock at the end of the episode. In some ways I’m glad she is moving back in with Sherlock because it will lead to shenanigans. However, her speech left me unsettled. A part of me thought she was giving up some of her humanity with it. Only time will tell, and I hope this unsettling feeling is nothing.

I Need a Hero

*Warning: This post contains spoilers to CW’s Arrow Episode 3.13 “Canaries.”

Last week, was one of the first weeks I did not loath Laurel. At the beginning of the episode, we saw Laurel taking out a bad guy Oliver and Roy were going after. Oliver confronts Laurel, and tell her what she is doing is selfish. Laurel replies that it is not selfish and “it’s what a hero would do.” This leads to the problem I have with the show. For some reason the show believes Laurel needed to lose her boyfriend and gain a drug habit so she could find her path to being a hero. Here’s the thing. Before Laurel’s part became mostly a love interest in season one, she was a hero. She fought for justice, and she didn’t have to wear a mask to do it. The people she brought justice to thought she was a hero. You don’t need to wear a mask and prowl through the night finding criminals to fight in order to be a hero. If that was the case, Felicity would not be considered a hero.

During the episode, Laurel gets stabbed with Vertigo by The Count (these are the times I miss Lincoln Lee Seth Gabel as The Count). Her nightmare is revealed as Sara, but in reality it is her doubt in ever becoming a hero like her sister. Illusionary Sara names all of Laurel’s flaws, tells her she will never be a hero, and asks why Laurel is trying to take her place. When Laurel comes to Felicity is there, and Laurel tells Felicity, “I was crazy to think I was fit to wear Sara’s jacket. So much as follow in her footsteps.” Felicity agrees with Laurel’s statement, and the reaction on Laurel’s face is priceless. She wasn’t expecting Felicity to agree. Felicity agreed because she knows Laurel does not face the demons Sara faced. Sara didn’t just wear the mask to hide her identity, but more to hide from who she thought she was. Laurel may have seen her sister as this hero, but Sara did not see herself in that way. Heroes generally do not see themselves as heroes. It what makes them a hero. For them it is a job. Oliver is seen as a hero, but he doesn’t recognize himself being one. He recognizes being Arrow as his job, and Sara was the same. They use fighting because that is what those five years being away taught them. Both of them lost so much of their humanity with those five years. They are/were slowly gaining part of their humanity back, but the demons will always be present.

The last vision Laurel sees from her second dose of Vertigo is Sara without her Canary outfit. The two sisters may not have always been on the best of terms, but Sara would never have been like the illusion Laurel saw and Laurel knows that.

What I do wonder is if Laurel went to see her dad the same night or not because Oliver must have taken her to get the second dosage of vertigo flushed out. She did seem to have all her faculties with her when she finally told Quentin the truth about Sara. Both actors gave their best performances with the scene and it was very moving. I do wonder if Laurel had not seen Lance accusing her of not telling him and Sara’s death, how much longer Laurel would have kept the secret. I guess we can thank Vertigo for something, but will we see any ramifications of nobody telling Lance the truth?

The episode had a couple of other revelations. The DJ was revealed to Thea as a member of the League of Assassins. I’m glad they didn’t bring out the story with him. By revealing who he was, then killing him shortly after made me see a glimpse of the second season where everything was fast paced. Stories don’t need to be drawn out, or visit points Q, M, and Z when going from A to B. The DJ served his purpose, and then killed himself. His purpose was to show Thea that Ra’s al Ghul was a real threat and she needed to be prepared.

The other revelation for Thea was Oliver being Arrow. The show did right with Merlyn in this episode compared to his his “redemption” story a couple of episodes ago. He was there when Roy and Thea couldn’t handle the DJ alone, and he was the one who told Oliver (what the audience has been screaming for a very long time) he needed to tell Thea about Arrow. Of course Thea also finds out Malcolm has known about Oliver for a while now, and whatever trust Malcolm was gaining with Thea is lost. The show uses Oliver’s voice when he tells Thea he is partnering with Malcom because it is the better of two evils. However, If Oliver does not also reveal to Thea what Malcolm did to her at the beginning of this season he may also lose her trust.

Oliver may have revealed to Thea he’s Arrow, but he is still trying to hide part of it from her when he tells her to leave the basement. Roy is the one who stands up to him, and tells him Thea should not be kept out anymore. When Oliver made the decision to tell Thea about Arrow he invited her into all of it. Oliver cannot comprehend his team not jumping when he tries to enforce Thea leaving, and Felicity drops another truth bomb. They all have their own voices, and the mission became even more theirs when they thought he had died. There’s no way they are going back to the way things were before Oliver left. Now Arrow is becoming more of a partnership than ever before. Oliver considered them partners before, but he still was the leader. He is able to understand the teams reasoning when Diggle lays it out for him. Felicity may drop truth bombs, but Diggle is the guru of understanding Oliver’s way of thinking and explaining how things are to him.

Nothing really happened in the flashback front. Maseo told Oliver to get back home before Waller could find him, but Waller found him and Maseo came back for Oliver. One of the last scenes we saw of the three was them entering Starling City. Home Sweet Home. A time where Tommy was still alive. This week will hopefully be a good week with Tommy and Slade appearances.

Happy Galentine’s Day: 2015 Edition

Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. (Leslie Knope)

Happy Galentine’s Day! It is time to tell the ladies in your life that you love them. Celebrate their accomplishments, and let them know you appreciate them. This year, I decided to talk about the top five TV shows who love and appreciate the ladies on their show.

1. Jane the Virgin

The Villanuevas have this beautiful relationship. Three generations of women living together with men generally being on the sidelines.

These women all have different personalities, but they support each other through thick and thin. They are family, and have been the only ones for a long time. I love the family is so loving of each other even when they may not always agree.

Then there are the other ladies of the show. This show is predominantly a female cast, and it is beautiful for this reason. Not only does the show have women as protagonists, but they also have them as morally gray and antagonists. Sin Rostro was finally revealed to be Rose, who is not a person to be messed with. They have done amazing casting for the show, and Bridget Regan makes an excellent villain.

2. Agent Carter

Bridget Regan makes such an excellent villain she also plays one on Agent Carter. While she may play a villain on both shows, they are two completely different types of characters. Dottie is an artifact from Russia. She is an example of who Natasha Romanoff used to be. They were both brainwashed as little girls to be assassins.

The show takes place in a man’s world. The women are not treated equally, but prove time and time again they more than capable of handling themselves. Throughout the season, Peggy has been able to get the job done. She still may not have the acceptance or the equality she wishes for, but the men in her life are slowly learning she is not someone to be messed with. She was shown holding her own with the famous Howling Commandos, and already has their respect. Peggy is not someone who should be messed with.

The show also has Angie. Angie is not skilled in combat like Peggy or Dottie, but she is still a strong woman. She is her own person. Angie is amazing and will stick with you, if you treat her right.

3. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It is important to treat someone right. Grant Ward suffered the ramifications of being a misogynist by the hands of women. Melinda May kicked his butt, Skye shot him, and Jemma Simmons threatened to kill him. The ladies on this show should not be messed with. They have their own set of skills, and are the best of the best with them. What is my favorite thing about the ladies is they each have their own personality, but they will protect each other at all costs. The core team is a family, and the ladies are there for each other through thick and thin.

Then there are the guest characters who are their own. Bobbi Morse like Melinda May is one who can kick serious butt.

Raina is the type of person who is out for their own benefit. She goes after what she wants while wearing a flower dress. The show has also had appearances from Lady Sif and Maria Hill. Lady Sif is a strong warrior and shows a great loyalty. Maria Hill is one of the most competent women I have met, and it is clear to see why Fury chose her as his second.

ABC has been running a promo for the show celebrating the ladies during Agent Carter to show how awesome the ladies are and I get giddy every time I watch it.

4. Elementary

There is only one lady who is a regular on the show, but Joan Watson is queen. She does not allow anyone to control her, and has gained the respect as well as friendship from the men in her life. At the beginning of the series, Joan was a sober companion for Sherlock, but she didn’t let him control her. Watson gained Sherlock’s respect. He also considers Watson as a true friend and partner.

The only other person who came close to being Sherlock’s partner is Kitty Winter. As much as he saved her in London, she also saved him. Kitty is another person not to be messed with. She is still growing into the person she wants to be after suffering a traumatic rape. Kitty finally got justice with them man who raped her, and he will not be forgetting her anytime soon after what she did to him. Kitty is a survivor, and I hope she will somehow appear on the show again.

The show also knows how to make impeccable villains. There is Watson’s own nemesis, Elana March, who is the boss of a mostly female ran crime ring. She reappeared last night after the female assassin she hired failed to murder Joan. By the end of the show, the assassin was murdered by the number one villain of the show, Moriarty. Natalie Dormer wins at all things, and her Irene Adler/Moriarty is flawless. She is Sherlock’s equal, and the only one who was able to read her was Watson. While there may not be that women on this show, the ones they have are so intricate. It is fascinating to see them work.

5. Parks and Recreation

The reason why I even celebrate Galentine’s Day is because of this show. The ladies are versatile, and do not let men control them. Leslie, April, and Donna are all married now, but the most beautiful thing about their marriages is they are equal partners.

This week’s episode was an excellent example of what feminism stands for and how it truly works. The show has these amazing ladies, and the support and confidence they have for each other is empowering.

These ladies have control over their lives, and are there for each other. They celebrate each other all throughout the year, but still have Galentine’s Day in order to recognize each other over breakfast food.

It is so powerful to see ladies supporting other ladies instead of degrading one another. Today is Galentine’s Day, but this doesn’t mean you should stop celebrating the ladies in your life or stop telling them how much you appreciate them any other day.

5 Reasons Why You Should Own 101 Dalmatians

*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.*

101 Dalmatians was released on Blu-Ray/DVD today. I grew up with this movie, and my love for it has only grown. It was one of the few animated Disney films that didn’t include prince and princesses. It was a film where Pongo was the lead, and his human, Roger, was a background character. This movie is a classic, and needs to be in every Disney collection for multiple reasons.

5. The Barking Chain

Be honest. After watching 101 Dalmatians, you wonder if the barking chain really exists when several dogs start barking. You want them to have their own message system because it was essential to the movie. If the barking chain didn’t exist, the puppies may have never lived.

 

 

4. Cruella De Vil

Cruella wasn’t a witch. She was simple a woman who loved fur coats. Some of the most nastiest villains are humans. Cruella is at the top with villains because she chooses to skin puppy dogs for a new coat.

 

3. Heart

The multiple relationships shown in this movie is enough of a reason to watch it. Pongo and Perdita go the distance to find and save their children. They couples show healthy, loving relationships. Then there are the relationships the humans have with the dogs. They are more than just pets, they are family. You want the happiness for this family. Hearts will still sing for joy when Lucky is revealed to be alive and not dead after the hundredth rewatch.

 

2. Roger

Roger was one of my first loves. What sealed it for me was the scene he created his song about Cruella De Vil. There was something about his attitude I was attracted to at an early age. He may not be classically good looking by Disney standards, but the attitude they gave him all the more appealing.

 

1. The Puppies are Fandom

As the film goes on, you may come to discover you share many things in common with the puppies personality wise. I believe the younger generation of dogs would have been all over Tumblr if it had existed back then.

 

Uprising

arrow312

**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.12 of Arrow, “Uprising.”**

Everything is so bad right now, I don’t even know how to write about it. Should I stop? Should I stick it out in the hopes that it’ll get better? Can it get better? I think I’ve set a mental deadline for myself — if things aren’t amazing by the time Slade returns, I’ll be done writing about this show. It’s not fair to keep coming here and trashing something that, judging by social media, a lot of people are still enjoying. It’s getting exhausting. But I can’t sugarcoat my feelings, so the language gets worse, the writing gets more italicized and exclamation point-y, and I end up sighing with relief on Wednesday nights when I hear those blessed words: Previously, on The 100…

The funny thing is, I’m not angry about any of the things I expected to be upset about. I really, honestly thought that this batch of episodes would be hard for me primarily because of Laurel ascending to the Black Canary, but this week, she was the most inoffensive part of the whole episode. There was a snafu with her when it seemed like she actually wanted to team up with Malcolm Merlyn, but ultimately she cast her vote correctly, and my tiny bit of faith was restored in Laurel. I also thought Ray Palmer would be flitting around in this episode, but he was mercifully absent… unfortunately, it made way for other terrible developments and plot devices and ugh.

We didn’t see Oliver fight his way back. Did you know he was stabbed through the midsection, on a snowy mountaintop, and left for dead? Did you know someone dragged him all the way back to a cabin in God-knows-where to have him nursed back to health, sans magical herbs or a mythical healing pool? Did you know Maseo, and by extension Tatsu, risked everything for him? And we see, what — we see him get on a truck and half-heartedly ask Tatsu to come with him back to Starling. Then suddenly, one commercial break later, he’s back in his leathers, shooting people, bellowing at Merlyn in an alley, and moving around like he didn’t just recover from certain death. They made such a big deal about him almost dying, you guys, they pretended he was dead even though we knew better, they had the characters spin out of control in their grief, they had a madman take over the Glades, and Oliver just… appears. Mid-battle. And gives the most hokey, cringe-inducing speech on top of a truck. It was horrible. It was rushed, it was poorly edited, and worst of all, it was hackneyed.

Instead of going immediately to his team, who kept his image going for as long as they could while he was gone, Oliver went to Thea’s apartment to make a deal with the devil. We got to hear all about how Thea is now Malcolm’s redemption, except for the fact that he already ruined her. And Oliver just nods like this is totally normal language! Like, “Yes, I can see how this is a good thing, you know, you turned her into a killer and our mother wouldn’t recognize her today but sure, yeah, your redemption should totally hinge on my twenty-year-old sister who still doesn’t know the truth about Sara’s death! Hey, let’s get drinks later!”

His team barely reacted when he finally deigned to appear in the foundry; a couple of relieved looks, maybe a grin or two, and Felicity flinging her arms around his neck, but then things got so much worse. Felicity’s been fighting for the Right Thing since Oliver left, she and Diggle are holding the party line, but as the city falls into more chaos, Roy and Laurel have considered making exceptions. Felicity shouted them down.

 

And then Oliver comes back and the first thing he says is that he’s going to team up with the monster Felicity’s been facing down for weeks. It’s unimaginable.

I can’t even get into the horrible Merlyn flashbacks. Some of the scenes indicate that even Barrowman can’t make this crap work onscreen, and the anti-climactic showdown in the alley was just embarrassing for all parties. (No, I take that back, I think Vinnie Jones can hold his chin up after that.) Why bother doing a three-episode arc of a supervillain trying to take over the Glades, then throw in a random last-minute twist that Brick killed Rebecca Merlyn, then not even resolve the bigger issues around it?! The mayor kowtowed to a terrorists! The police were pulled out of that section of the city. That’s not even Gotham-levels of corruption and misplaced power, that’s just BAD. That’s just anarchy and death.

What was the point of twisting it so that Brick killed Merlyn’s wife? He didn’t even do it for a reason, he just needed someone to kill, so it wasn’t even a compelling backstory. It gave Merlyn a reason to kill him, but having him choose “correctly” doesn’t absolve him of the other horrors he’s bestowed on the people he loves. He killed his son. He turned his daughter, who still doesn’t know the truth, into a killer. He killed Sara and sent Oliver to his certain death. And Oliver made a deal with him? This is not Moira — this is not shades of right and wrong meshing and mixing in a gray area, this is black and white, this is manipulation and emotional abuse and Oliver actually making a decision that will turn him from an every-man hero into an Advocate for the Greater Good. And as Diggle rightly pointed out to Merlyn early in the episode — that makes him no better than Merlyn himself.

So ultimately, by the time the last scene rolled in and Felicity was standing alone in the alley as Oliver wandered over to her, I was done. I was livid, I was over it, and I was ready for the whole thing to implode. I’m so tired of this season, of the choices Oliver has been making for no good reason, of our beloved characters becoming warped versions of themselves… I was done.

I can put myself in Felicity’s shoes and picture falling out of love with Oliver Queen in that moment. Here is a guy who, despite the blood on his hands, I thought was a hero. I fought for him. I defended him to cops, to friends, to family, even to myself. He always did the right thing. He saved lives. He loved his mother and his sister, he defended his father’s honor, he chose not to kill in the name of his deceased best friend. He loved me back. He believed in me. He saved me. He armed me for a takedown, and I followed through. Things were good, and then they weren’t, and he pushed me away. I had to choose how to feel, and I tried to move on, but one of our close friends was killed, and that changed everything — that changed him. Suddenly he stopped believing in the good of people. Suddenly he started aligning himself with a criminal. He went to his death even when he knew it would hurt everyone, even when he knew it would leave his sister in the care of a psychopath. But he went anyway, and I asked him to fight, and he died. I mourned. I thought he was gone, but deep down, I wanted him to be alive, I wanted him to fight back and come back to me and decide life was worth living in the light, that being in the streets and in battle wasn’t fulfilling anymore, and maybe he deserved better… But he came back, and he said, “I’m going to work with Malcolm Merlyn.”

Yes. I can definitely see myself falling out of love with Oliver in that moment. At the very least, I can see myself hating him, and hating that he is who I love. I can see every reason behind Felicity’s speech, even if it was cruel, even if it was worded specifically to hurt him. He deserved it. As angry as I am at Roy for lying to Thea and considering aligning himself with Merlyn, as angry as I am with Laurel for even considering it for a moment, that’s nothing compared to the fury I feel when I think that Oliver is teaming up with the man who stole his sister’s agency, the man who killed Sara for no reason. Now Oliver is the hero Starling City has, but he’s certainly not the hero Starling City deserves. Not anymore.

Other notes:

– Thank goodness Sin was back, even if it was just for one episode. I love that character, and it sucks that they shoved off the “Hey that chick in black isn’t Sara” reveal to Lance on her, of all people, but at least he’s going to figure it out now. I kinda hope he tries to kill Oliver when he finds out the ugly truth.

– Also back was Ted Grant, who might or might not have been killed in the Braveheart battle, because why keep around a compelling side character whose backstory we didn’t even explore and who can actually fight when you can keep… Malcolm Merlyn. #ArrowLogic

– My sister was excited about “baby Oliver and Tommy!” but I couldn’t even work up a little bit of enthusiasm since they were part of the Humanize Malcolm Merlyn Campaign that this show is currently on. Still, here they are:

 

– I’m sorry I have to do this, but the absolute worst editing and voiceover work I’ve ever seen outside of The Mindy Project happened at the end of the episode, when Thea and Malcolm were chatting and Oliver walked into the apartment with an “Is my room still available?” It was poorly timed and poorly edited and honestly, it might seem like nitpicking, but after that terrible truck-top speech, I can’t abide it. IT WAS BAD.

– Also, I call it the Braveheart Battle because have you ever seen a crowd with assault rifles start charging at each other? Or do they, you know, hang back and use their assault rifles?

– I’m sad that the Vinnie Jones arc ended so lacklusterly. I’m so sad that I might spend tonight rewatching his episodes of Elementary, because THAT was a compelling villain.

– The only people who managed to make this episode watchable: John Effing Diggle and Felicity Friggin Smoak, that’s who. Diggle really Diggle’d this episode and his criminally few lines by being amazing:

 

And Felicity, well…

– Finally, this needs to be seen in its entirety.

Next week: I don’t even remember the promo for next week. Actually, I wrote this whole thing based on my memory of the episode, instead of rewatching as I write like I normally do, that’s how much I didn’t want to relive it. I think I read a summary somewhere that Oliver won’t be happy with the changes on the team, but hey, that’s what you get for going to your ultimately pointless near-death, bro.

“With Questions Everywhere”

Galavant ended last week, and I’m still going through the five stages of grief with the season ending. I could always rely on the show to make me laugh, and I probably laughed the hardest when Galavant and King Richard got drunk together. I hope Galavant does get renewed if only to give us a Galavant and King Richard buddy show. Both of them are egotistical, but it is hard not to love the two of them.

 

One of the first things we learned from this series is nothing ever goes right for Galavant. He doesn’t get his moment without it being spoiled, but this is what makes the show great. Seeing the mishaps that follow Galavant made the show enjoyable. From Galavant not being able to move after training so hard trying to get back into shape to ending up on a boat with King Richard at the end of the season. Galavant went on a hero’s journey to defeat Richard, but ended up being his new companion. Galavant may not enjoy his new situation, but I greatly enjoy it especially if Hugh Bonneville is one of the pirates.

 

It would be interesting to see Richard in a new setting. At the beginning of the series, Richard appeared to be this evil man who would let his henchman do all his dirty work. However, before the first night was over the audience learned he was rather a pansy. He became one of the most loved characters on the show who Lassiter from Psych would find a disgrace to humanity. It is one of the reasons why I love Timothy Omundson. He is capable of making an adolescent king enjoyable like he did with a gun loving, straight-laced detective.

 

One thing which made his character even more enjoyable was Richard’s friendship with Gareth. The two had the best relationship on the show. So many kudos need to be given to Timothy Omundson and Vinnie Jones for what they did in this series. The two characters were opposites in almost every way, but while Gareth may have been a man’s man he never forsook his king and friend for long. Gareth took made an oath when he was a child to protect Richard, and he kept it. He may not have always been a fan of Richard being a wuss, but Richard was his friend. He was loyal to him, and continued to protect his friend until the very end. He knew Richard needed to leave, and Galavant would be able to protect him.

 

However, one of the things that didn’t set well with the finale was Madalena having Gareth join her to rule the kingdom. It will be interesting to see that dynamic, if there is a second season. What I don’t understand is why Madalena had him join her. He could have been her henchman. Madalena already discovered in order to get what she wanted all she needed was herself. In order to get rid of her husband, Richard, she sent for his brother, Kingsly, to take the kingdom with her at his side. She then stabbed Kingsly in the finale, and took over the kingdom. Madalena knows what she wants and she goes after it. It is the reason why I question why is Gareth ruling right beside her?

 

The finale also showed Princess Isabella being placed in a guarded room alone by her cousin. If Galavant does get a season two, I hope it does not show Isabella waiting for Galavant to save her. The series taught us early on Isabella is not a damsel in distress when she trained Galavant for the joust. I hope Isabella will not take being locked in a room lying down. She is more than capable of handling herself.

 

 

It would be great if she is able to escape and set off on her own journey to save Sid from Gareth. Imagine if part of season two was Galavant off to find her, while she is off to save Sid and find Galavant. They could miss each other by minutes a couple of times before being reunited, or completely disregard the used plot line and find each other immediately. Whatever happens someone please save Sid. The show was quite enjoyable when it had the three of them on their hero’s journey.

 

Finally, there’s Vincenzo, the chef, who was a breakout star. I was not expecting his role to big as big as it was, but he was a delight to watch. I hope Vicenzo does get a happy ending whether it is with homicidal Gwynne or someone else.

 

Here’s hoping Galavant does get a season two. It was a bright spot for cold winter nights, and it would be even brighter if the Lord Grantham and Daisy are able to be in a scene together. Of course it would also be amazing if we got to see Giles Anthony Head again as well.