It wasn’t all that long ago that we saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) involved in a very unpleasant incident with a sharp, pointy object. Since then, Starling City has felt the aftershocks of the absence of the Arrow in their city. Danny “Brick” Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) has taken advantage of this absence to create an empire under his control while other heroes have debated amongst themselves whether they should continue the fight on their own.
“Midnight City” (ep. 11) of Arrow continues to follow this story-line, as part 2 of a trilogy of episodes set to follow the aftermath of Oliver’s absence from his home. Laurel (Katie Cassidy) masks up along with Roy (Colton Haynes) in an effort to save the Aldermen from Brick. It is soon clear that Laurel is no replacement for her sister – but if anything, she exhibits a great sense of determination in continuing the fight at the urging of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).
As far as Arrow goes, this episode was not a favorite. I was disappointed that John Diggle (David Ramsey) seemed to be pushed to the background, perhaps in an effort to showcase Laurel as the new Canary. Although an extremely capable planner and warrior, his talents were under-utilized in this episode. While the efforts to bring Laurel to the forefront are appreciated – Diggle is known as a solid and consistent character regardless of the chaos around him. It is difficult to see him appear to have no relevance unless Oliver Queen is around. There were some questionable camera angle and handling choices made by the director, Nick Copus, in this episode that felt different from the norm, even to the untrained eye. There was a smoothness during action sequences that felt lacking during this episode.
The story also did not have a sense of urgency or a push forward as many episodes do in Arrow. The show is generally a fast-paced adventure one week to the next. However, knowing the track record of the show, this week may have allowed us as viewers to take a deep breath and enjoy the “calm before the storm.”
That being said, the episode may have felt slow, but it did not feel to be without purpose. With great confidence in the show-runners, I look back at the episode and feel that there was little forward motion, but there was a significant amount of groundwork laid in preparation for (SPOILERS) Oliver’s return to Starling City. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) appears to be continuing plans to develop the ATOM suit. Thea’s (Willa Holland) DJ has been shown to have a greater role than initially suggested. Oliver appears to be making strides toward recovery (although the “how” is still in question). We were also lucky enough to see some momentum gained with the Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) story with Ra’s Al Guhl (Matt Noble) and the toll that has and will continue to take on him and his family. This episode felt like a trap being laid, a chessboard being set up until an opponent makes his final move to put his partner in check. We are watching the pieces move, put in place, to strike in the coming episodes.
What did you think of the episode “Midnight City?” What do you think of the direction the show is taking?
Stay tuned next week on the CW on Wednesday at 8/7c for the next episode of Arrow “Uprising.”