Arrow: The Man Under the Hood Review -

Arrow Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Episode: The Man Under the Hood (Season 2, Episode 19)
  • Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Caity Lotz, Manu Bennett, Summer Glau, Danielle Panabaker
  • Written By: Greg Berlanti & Geoff Johns
  • Directed By: Jesse Warren
  • Network: The CW
  • Studio: DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television
  • Series:

Arrow: The Man Under the Hood Review

Deathstroke assembles his army

By Tim Janson     April 17, 2014

Arrow: The Man Under the Hood Review
© DC Comics
The Man Under the Hood follows up the strong episode from two weeks ago as Arrow begins to build steam towards the season two finale.  In the previous episode, Deathstroke revealed to Thea that Malcolm Merlyn was her father and revealed to Laurel Lance that Oliver was the Arrow.  Let’s just say that the reactions from the two women were 180 degrees different.  As we’ve come to expect, Thea retreats into her “poor me” silent treatment routine for some reason laying more blame on Oliver than her mother for keeping the secret even though Oliver only found out himself recently.  Worse yet Moira and Oliver need Thea to sign a legal document that can save most of their assets now that Isabel Rochev has gained control of Queen Consolidated. I have to say that the Thea melodrama has always been the part of Arrow I detest the most and this certainly didn’t get this episode off to a great start.  

On the other hand, everything now falls into place for Laurel.  She presses her father to reveal the Arrow’s identity but he tells her he wouldn’t even if he did know, saying the city needs him.  She investigates on her own and the light clicks on as she confirms that not only is Oliver the Arrow but that Sara is the Black Canary.  Rather than pushing her over the edge it seems to galvanize Laurel.  She realizes the sacrifices that Oliver and Sara have made for her and essentially blackmails her boss to have the charges against her father dropped.  A Laurel who has her head in the game will make for another strong ally.

Oliver, Diggle, Sara, and even Felicity strike back against Slade Wilson by blowing up the Applied Sciences facility at Queen Consolidated to prevent Slade from engineering a new group of Mirakuru-enhanced henchmen.  Slade will not be deterred that easily.  Slade attacks the group in their hideout, trashing Oliver, Diggle, and Sara in under a minute, firmly establishing his ultra badass character.  This was a fantastic scene as Deathstroke simply dismantled the group.  Yes he took them by surprise but it reminded me of a scene in one of the DC storylines where Deathstroke took out several heroes with ease…until he turned around and ran into Superman.  Deathstroke steals the skeleton key which Oliver took from the Clock King.

Deathstroke uses the key to break into Star Labs to steal a Bio-Transfuser which he needs to infuse the prisoners he freed, with the Mirakuru formula.  Deathstroke encounters two people working in the warehouse, Caitlin (Panabaker) and Cisco.  If you’re not familiar with these names from DC Comics, Cisco Ramon is the hero Vibe while Caitlin Snow is the villain Killer Frost.  It’s important to note that both of these characters will appear in the Flash pilot episode.  Very cool to get further expansion of the DC world even if they don’t end up morphing into their super-powered personas.

Felicity tracks the energy signature of the machine once Slade fires it up.  Oliver arrives to find Roy Harper hooked up to the machine with his blood apparently being used to feed the prisoners.  Oliver manages to take Slade down with an explosive arrow and Diggle shoots Rochev, mortally wounding her.  Oliver rescues Roy and returns him to his…uhhh…Arrow Cave?  Arrow Lair?  Whatever…He announces he has a cure for the Mirakuru that can heal Roy.  However, Oliver’s actions were not enough to stop Slade from building his army and he is now using the Mirakuru to heal Rochev.

The Man Under the Hood accomplished several important goals this week.  Even though Deathstroke makes the classic villain mistake of letting the heroes live it still underscores how diabolical he is…he much prefers to torment Oliver and Sara than merely kill them.  Secondly, the episode goes a long way in healing both the fractured Queen and Lance families after months of secrets and damaged feelings.  Finally, it further sets the stage for the Flash pilot with mentions of Barry Allen and Iris West as well as introducing Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon.  I would like to call foul on Oliver suddenly announcing there is a cure for the Mirakuru effects as well as his reason for withholding it but I’ll overlook that in light of the many other positives.


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RedHood2010 4/17/2014 11:25:07 AM

I can't give it an A- because of the Queen daughter drama.  Whenever I started to enjoy the Deathstroke scenes, it would get diminished with the 'you are all liars' tantrum Thea shared.  Poor girl.

And that sucks! 

I don't see how they beat Deathstroke.  This group isn't prepared or ready to defeat a threat like Slade.  Maybe Batman can stop in and say hi.  :-)

Looking forward to the next expisode!

CaptAmerica04 4/17/2014 11:36:43 AM

A few thoughts on the episode:  SPOILERS BELOW




Yeah, the whole "there's actually a cure for Mirakuru" smacked seriously of the writers going, "wait... ummm... we've made Deathstroke invincible, so how do we get Oliver to finally beat him?"  While I like a lot of the things that they're doing, I feel like the writing and plotting of the show has gotten lazy or way ahead of themselves in the last few weeks.

Thea needs to die now.  She is offically the last character left on the show who exists simply to be whiny, CW teen angst fodder.  The writers clearly have no idea what to do with her, so they have just put her into this huge personal drama-crisis of hating who her dad really is.  She's just a walking temper-tantrum right now, and it distracts from the rest of the show.

I'm really glad that they tied in more of Isabella Rochev's origin/background from the comics.  That was a nice touch, and it also added substantially to her crazy-factor.  We now have more understanding of why she is such a nut-job with a hate-on for the Queen family.  "Shallow, greedy CEO" was a poor stereotype, but this more personal touch really takes her character up a notch, IMHO.

Diggle continues to be two-dimensional to me, and a really poor soldier.  Speaking as an infantry vet, NO SOLDIER, I don't care how Delta Force he is, dumps his pistol magazine at the guy in body armor, aiming entirely for the chest, while running towards him.  Factor in that Diggle knows that Deathstroke is super-strong, heals fast, etc., and Diggle's part in the fighting last night was just stupid.

Laurel SUDDENLY cluing into who Oliver and Sara are was done too suddenly and too conveniently for my tastes, but then again, a woman who is supposed to be that bright should've figured it out a bit sooner.  But I'll forgive that, because the show needed time to grow out of CW soap opera/Smallville nonsense and become the great show it is now.  Both my wife and I continue to wonder if she will eventually take over as Black Canary somehow.

GreatOne 4/17/2014 11:49:15 AM

Good review. I really like how they handled Laurel’s reaction, and agree that it was pulled off well. While Thea is really annoying, isn’t she supposed to be late teens/early 20s? If I keep that in mind, and add the fact that she’s grown up mega-wealthy, helps me to give the character some slack. Also, I know this is limited by budgetary reasons, but it would be nice if they could show her having a few girlfriends. Makes her seem very isolated, which is not believable.

Another thing I really like about the show is Armell’s portrayal of the character. Really sold on him as Oliver Queen, and hope that he is brought into the eventual DC movie universe. 

I do have to (continue, ad nauseam) point out how poorly the show depicts legal situations. Lance could never be arrested under the scenario they depicted, as merely responding to a call and arresting a suspect is not grounds to show conspiracy, especially when it turns out they were right about the suspect; you can’t secretly dilute shares of stock to a point of making it worthless - you have to increase the numbers of shares, which is done at public board meetings and publicly announced; can’t sign legal documents transferring ownership to a trust without the papers being notarized (and how that’s supposed to help makes no sense - idiot writers must have thought it sounded good, and thinks so little of the audience that we wouldn’t know better); and Laurel’s threat to the D.A. is beyond stupid - a prosecutor has no power to change a prisoner’s bail conditions (unless they dismiss the charges, which she did), and the threat to become a defense attorney and go public by someone who the show has spent time discrediting as an unethical druggie is laughable. Please, please, please - hire someone with a legal background as a consultant.


GreatOne 4/17/2014 11:54:04 AM
CaptAmerica04: Agree with most of your comments (especially about Diggle), but from your thoughts it appears you missed that Laurel was told by Slade that Ollie is Green Arrow; she didn't suddenly figure it out.  Her actions were merely her attempt to confirm what Slade told her.
Iridan 4/17/2014 12:26:44 PM

I've got to agree with GreatOne. I really enjoyed the episode, but Laurel's "blackmail" to free her dad made no sense. And the plan to save the Queen's money was completely ludicrous. And that stock thing, whatever. But I can let them go as they were minor issues.

Thea apparently doesn't bother me as much as everybody else. She's something like 18 and spoiled, so I can buy that she's immature, but I agree that her anger at Oliver seems out of place. Based on the preview for next week I assume she's going to have some part to play with Roy.

So for me, the good parts of the episode made up for the dumb parts. It was really cool when Summer Glau opened her eyes at the last scene. Can't wait for next week.

BunyonSnipe 4/17/2014 5:51:41 PM

I have a weird feeling that Barry will emerge from his coma (which is that his mind is trapped in the speed force... with Jay Garrick!) fully in tune with his powers and will be the defining factor in taking down Slade...





















I don't think the cure is primarily for Slade, but Roy and the others, Slade will not be 'cured' but he will regain his sanity (and humanity) and will be horrified at what he has become and turn himself in to Waller and become the newest member of The Suicide Squad.

DarkLloyd 4/17/2014 8:48:43 PM

 Great Ep, and I agree with most of the criticisms posted here. 

And yeah Snipe, I'm sure Barry is gonna help with Slade, but instead of giving up and joining Waller I think Ollie will wise up and call her to get help from the Squad to take down Slade. They wanted to stop him anyway.
This cure could "Power down" Slade enough that he would match the power level of the others, but still be a badass. Or mabye the cure will only supress the formulae for a while and Slade will again be an ultra badass. Some one will have to be there to take down Grundy when they bring him back.....

Daybreak0100 4/22/2014 10:59:59 PM

 I also agree that Barry Allen will have something to do with the ending factor of this season. The cure is too lazy. No way the writers will double back that far just to sum up something major on television. I really hope they ( writers ) know what is at stake. I for one cannot not fall for the whole "cure" thing. Too obvious. IMO too lazy. The Flash will be fast enough, hopefully/maybe, to spank the shite out of most of Slades army while Arrow and Canary are able to finalize their story line with Slade (both island version AND Sterling). 

But Deathstroke shouldn't necessarily DIE. He could obviously be used for later purposes if DC decides to connect the universes. 

Also agreed, Amell is perfect for Ollie. Hopefully DC is waiting on Flash reactions to possibly determine some type of connection. As far as show and movie goes, the company still has several years to get these things sorted out. Just think, Snyder will siphon out new Bats and WW, while carrying and expanding his interpretation of Supes. Meanwhile CW is taking care of the other half (or part) with Arrow and Flash. 

Lets go something smart DC. 

Daybreak0100 4/22/2014 11:01:28 PM

 Do * something smart 



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