jedi_of_urth: (harry/hermione dh)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth posting in [community profile] tori_reviews
So we have our first act break of the series, a rather small milestone in our 250+ episode quest here, but I suppose worth noting.

Arrow 1x09: Year’s End

Well, I think I see why my very early thoughts on this show were not coming from a particularly engaged place, this episode is just not that good. It’s important certainly, and it’s not bad from my perspective now, but it’s not that good and I don’t think it seemed very good at the time. I made shockingly few notes for this one, which translates into not a lot to say.

This episode kind of brings to the foreground something that I haven’t been thinking about up to now, but finally seeing it, it has been there. Thea’s on a different show at this point. She in (possibly staring in) a CW family drama about a troubled teen girl, her loving but distant mother and step-father, and her dickish recently back from the dead older brother. And this other show is just going on in the background while most of the cast is in a superhero show and/or a conspiracy thriller.

But where there’s something almost deliberate feeling in Thea’s disconnect from the story that’s actually going on, the love triangle stuff just doesn’t fit with the main story yet doesn’t seem to realize it There are times in this season that it all works together, of at least one compliments the other well enough, but not so much here.

I also think part of why in those early days this episode left me feeling confused is because it seems to be jumping the gun on Ollie as a hero; and following from the last couple episodes made it feel like the show really wanted us to see him that way when it hadn’t been earned yet. Maybe they did at the time and have just backpedaled so much over the years that now it’s confusing framing around an Ollie we know should not be considered a hero at this stage. Lance all of a sudden changes tunes on the Hood for this one; and even though I buy that he wants to make sure the right archer gets taken down for the right crime, I’m not sure how much I think he’d put aside his case against the Hood to catch the Dark Archer. On top of which the new archer gets accused of being a serial killer but apparently somehow the same description isn’t being applied to Ollie. And then there’s Digg saying Ollie would be on the nice list...yeah I don’t see how that would happen if we’re being honest about what Ollie’s been doing so far.

A couple years ago I was rewatching some early episodes because...reasons I suppose, and it was about this point that something hit me; Ollie makes up all these excuses about doing things because of his friends (or sometimes hookups), and he doesn’t have friends (or hookups). It’s why the parts of the Helena story that worked came off as well as they did, because Ollie is incredibly lonely and not able to show it to the people around him. I think it’s especially obvious in his scenes with Felicity and only partly because she’s the future love of his life, it’s because even at this early stage there is a connection there; it doesn’t read romantic to me at this point, flirtatious maybe but restrained even at that, but the fact that he keeps finding himself coming back to her makes her one of the closest things he has to a friend as opposed to all the made up ones he tells her about.

I’ve never been quite sure I agree with the choice to reveal so much more to the audience than Oliver gets yet. Oliver gets a new level of mystery to explore and that’s important to launch us into the second act of the season, but the audience is given a lot more information. That’s been going all season regarding the conspiracy, but they’ve been fairly careful not to tell us a lot in one go until here. I’m actually only slightly talking about revealing to us that Malcolm is the other archer, because while that was a reveal and kind of a surprise it was also kind of predictable in a way.

I feel like I should have things to say about the return of the flashbacks, but they weren’t very interesting I only things I feel much need to comment on it that Yao Fei keeps picking up English very quickly considering he wouldn’t speak it at all a few...days, weeks maybe ago. And ultimately, when did Yao Fei teach Oliver anything except I guess the choke hold we’ll see in a few eps? Ollie told Digg that Yao Fei taught him some of the moves he uses, but I guess we’ll put that on the very long list of times when Oliver lies about his backstory.

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