jedi_of_urth: (dw stargazing)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
Arrow 1x07: Muse of Fire

The things I remember most from watching this episode the first time are how happy I was to not have the flashbacks, the surprise realization that I could actually like Oliver in a relationship just not with Laurel, and that it probably should have been obvious that Tommy and then unnamed evil overlord were in fact meant to be related because they sure look like they could be related.

Though on that last point I’ve always thought John Barrowman was too young to have a kid Tommy’s age so for this I finally went and checked and...well he could be but using Barrowman’s age for Malcolm he would have been 18 when Tommy was born so he would have had to knock Rebecca up freshman year of college or so; adding a couple years though they could have gotten together and/or married in college and had Tommy soon after. Although further research shows Paul Blackthorn is actually younger the Barrowman and I’ve never had issues with him having a kid the same age. I’m sure it has a lot to do with how quickly Barrowman went from being studly Jack Harkness to evil dad Malcolm Merlyn; my head says he’s still closer in age to the main cast of the series than the other parentals. Also, you know, CW casting; anyone could be any age.

In story, this episode is doing a lot of work to make Malcolm as terrible as possible. He only has two real scenes, one where he intimidates Moira just in case she was getting fresh ideas, and the one where he becomes evil dad Malcolm. To a point Malcolm and Tommy is sort of a scene you might see in these kind of shows of a rich parent cutting off their entitled kid from the family coffers; I have no idea if this sort of thing really happens but it’s not unfamiliar as a story. And as a story it feels very much like it services Tommy’s story already in progress, to make him grow up and be someone Laurel would see as worthy. But I don’t know that the story ever really does answer the questions of “why now” or “why not before.” I can see what the story is trying to show about Tommy, but what is Malcolm trying to prove to/about his son? Maybe it has to do with the Undertaking making progress at this point, but I don’t recall the story ever being real clear.

Though one of the things that is the most telling about Malcolm is that when Tommy comes to Laurel and says that he talked to his dad, Laurel knows what Tommy’s relationship with his dad is like. It’s also the flip side of how Tommy keeps wishing they were starting fresh without so much history, there’s comfort in having that history already in place for moments like this.

I’m not sure I’d ever noticed before that Tommy’s discussion of how they’re missing out on starting something that’s new is set against Oliver and Helena getting to start from the beginning. Getting to find out and be surprised by things about each other and how much they have in common, even before they realize they’re both killers. And like I said, this is something I really responded to the first time out, this relationship was everything Oliver and Laurel wasn’t; and mostly they’re honest with each other (again even before the truth comes out). While I think Helena is overstating at the end that only someone like her could understand the ways the island changed him, she’s definitely the first person he’s found who gets past his defenses and his bullshit, largely because she can relate so much.

I’m mostly going to put off talking about Diggle’s attitude towards Helena for next time (I think), but while I do love how consistent it is going forward, I’ve never quite agreed with it or agreed that it’s what Digg’s attitude should be. Oliver does see too much of himself in Helena and is too attracted to her for a lot of reasons to be objective on the subject, but I kind of feel like Digg swings too far the other way. But I think I’ll have a lot to say on both halves of that next time.

I actually have quite a few notes on the similarities between Oliver and Helena, to the point where having made all those notes I wonder if it was being laid on a little thick, but I do think it’s important for part 2. It is all about Oliver’s development in the end, which is a little iffy since Helena’s development is so compressed, but with that in mind, Oliver needed to see this from the outside. Him turning away from the darkness is part the influence of those around him (so far basically Digg) and part seeing for himself that he needs to redraw the lines he can work in and live with; and realizing that Helena represents a path he cannot let himself take it important.

You know, for a year or two I’ve been wanting to write the Arrow-verse club for people with dead partners. Iris and Caitlyn start it after Flash s1 and invite Laurel as an experienced member; Nyssa shows up occasionally (maybe even after Sara’s brought back); Thea decides she shouldn’t go since Roy is actually alive; Rip randomly shows up sometimes, and he offers to bring Ray (and maybe Mick, and would have offered to Kendra if there had ever been time). There’s a debate over whether to invite Felicity after Billy’s death, since everyone knows she was never actually in love with him but he did die tragically; they also know she’d insist on bringing Oliver – since he lost Shado, Sara (repeatedly) and Laurel – and no one else wants him there. Anyway, I’d never actually thought about Helena being a member, but she totally could be.


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