jedi_of_urth: (arya)
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Arrow 2x03: Broken Dolls

We’re still very much in the gearing up phase of the season, although the episodic plot here is a more intense one. This season has a lot of moving parts to it, most of which click together in the end (and some of them are Barry, but we’ll discuss that later) but for now we’re mostly still winding things up.

Lian Yu
One thing that’s weird about this episode is that it clearly wants the flashback story to be Lance’s thoughts on dealing with the Dollmaker case the first time. There’s even moments when he’s looking at things and the shot lingers like it’s supposed to go to a flashback. It really would have better set up the rivalry between Lance and the Dollmaker if we had seen their initial cat and mouse game from six years ago. It also would have been something we haven’t seen so far and barely ever do see, which is how things went in Starling City after the Gambit went down.

Instead we have a rather bland island adventure, which doesn’t flow particularly well from the last episode. Oliver is quite chipper again, and quite comfortable telling Slade that his whole “don’t get too attached” thing is stupid; that that’s no way to live. Not that Oliver five years ago should already be at the point where he’s taken that advice so completely to heart, as we are meant to have contrast between present-Oliver and flashback-Oliver. I suspect a lot of it was meant to give us one last story where Slade and Oliver really got along, since those aren’t really going to be possible much longer; and to parallel Felicity with Shado in the fact that the women in Oliver’s life can make their own choices.

The Canary
This episode obviously breaks with any attempt they may or may not have been doing to make us think Laurel was the Black Canary already. It also was probably when I twigged first time through that it was supposed to be Sara; even if she wasn’t the kind of obvious choice, this episode talks a lot about Sara. It’s a little contrived that Quentin would open up to the Arrow about Sara so quickly into their newfound buddy-cop drama; which on a Doyalist level could be explained as some dramatic irony for the audience, since he’s saying this to the man he still largely blames for Sara’s death, but with the Canary running around it’s not such a big leap to figure it out at this point.

That’s also a super convenient text that Thea sent Roy that Sara could see, though how she figured out where to find Laurel and Quentin is not exactly explained.

I’m going to try and keep track this time about how they pronounce Ra’s in various instances (this would work better in audio but we’ll spell it as the difference between Rahs or Raish). Here they use Rahs, so right off the bat my sometimes attempt at assuming it’s a matter of the League says Raish while others say Rahs goes out the window; my other sometimes theory is that they treat Rahs as a name and Raish as a title (hence how others become Raish), but that will require some more data. My last ditch effort is that people whose first language is Arabic (or when speaking it) use Raish but even that doesn’t quite hold I know; hence making notes on it this time through. Sara vs. the random League guy at the end isn’t much of a fight is it? Also, Ra’s did supposedly send people to bring Sara back, I can’t remember if that carries on as most of it gets placed on Nyssa as we go, but maybe since Sara did once/eventually leave with her time traveling friends Ra’s was very confused.

I might as well say here, that I’m pissed to this day that Sin didn’t become the next Black Canary, keep it in the family people. I love Sin and miss her on the show, so I’m glad I at least get her in these rewatches for a while. (Also, why is it Sin and not Cin?)

I do however think I’ll save my thoughts on the setup of what the Canary’s up to until we’re a little further into this arc, because I definitely have thoughts, but I have time to get to them.

Team Arrow and Lance
This is actually a really good episode for Team Arrow. They were all a little snippy and off with each other last episode (it worked but it was a little harsh), but here they’re a well-oiled investigative team. I think the directing gets a lot of credit for that actually, the teamwork scenes where they all kind of fall in sync with each other are really highlighted in the directing.

The directing is not so good in other scenes though. The overactive camera during the death-on-the-phone scene (I also wonder how and why the Dollmaker managed such a setup for Lance, again, would have helped if we’d seen them play out this chase years ago too) was just distracting. And the chase scene with Roy and Sin was not great. I don’t normally notice directing, but I notice this one for both good and bad reasons.

I do wish we’d had Felicity referring to Oliver as Arrow on the coms, it would explain how Lance picks it up and would remove a somewhat awkward feeling I have during the scenes as they are where I’m worried she’s going to slip up and call him Oliver. Felicity herself needed a codename years before she got one; yes Lance knows who she is, that’s how they got into this weird team up situation, it still rings awkward with me whenever anyone outside the team is working with them and they don’t all use codenames.

For that matter does Lance know that Digg is on the case with them? Because Digg doesn’t have any identity concealment and Oliver Queen’s EA and bodyguard both work with the Arrow just might be a tip off.

I only have a couple things to say on this plot. Moira is sort of a weird combination of zen and over-dramatic about her chances in this case, and I’ve never been quite sure I buy it. She’s too much of a schemer and a survivor for me to completely buy into this attitude she’s taking where death is preferable to the truth coming out. I could probably do some fancy fanwanking to come up with a reason why it makes sense, it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, but it’s not a clean fit.

Also, what happened to the other members of the conspiracy? You would assume that Moira would have turned them in, even if they had fled the country and couldn’t be tried along with her. She doesn’t seem to have had any loyalty to the ideals Malcolm and maybe the other members of the conspiracy had; nor to any of the other members themselves that she would sit on that knowledge after she turned on them.

I’m also debating whether calling this a mass-murder case is correct. It seems like a terrorism conspiracy to me, but there may be some legalese reason why they term it that way.


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