Arrow: The Man Under the Hood Review (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Source: Mania.com

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.


Mania Grade: A-
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: