Counting down to next week’s first season finale, this episode opens with Malcolm Merlyn, in his guise as the Dark Archer. Merlyn is tying up any connections to his company by killing all of the scientists at Unidac Industries, the tech firm responsible for building the device that Merlyn intends to use to create an Earthquake in the Glades. Oliver and Diggle concoct a plot to stage an abduction of both Oliver and Moira Queen with Diggle dressed as The Hood (sigh) in order to get her to reveal what she knows about Merlyn’s plans. Thea and Roy Harper are continuing their quest to try and find The Hood even after Oliver warns them off.
Oliver goes to see Tommy at Merlyn headquarters while Felicity sneaks off to try and hack the company’s mainframe to locate the earthquake device. She is successful but Merlyn is alerted to the computer breach and moves the weapon before Diggle can disable it. The Hood confronts Malcolm in his office, leading to an episode-ending battle where once again, Malcom gets the better of Oliver. Back on the Island, Fyers finally reveals his master plan…he intends to use his surface-to-air missile system to shoot down commercial aircraft out of China, blaming the terrorist act on Yao Fei as a renegade Miliary officer, in order to cripple China’s economy.
Well that was grand wasn’t it? You almost forget that this is a show based upon a comic book until you have one villain planning to destroy several blocks of a city with an earthquake-making device, and another villain planning to shoot down passenger jets to make a profit off tanking the Chinese economy. I’m going out on a not so fragile limb here and say that with what happened in the final moments of the episode that Malcolm is going to get deep-sixed in the finale leaving Tommy to inherit the Dark Archer mantle. As enjoyable as the first year of Arrow has been, I think this season-long plot needs to be wrapped up to progress the show and the characters. I know some of you hate when I compare Arrow to Smallville but I’m going to do it again, anyway.
Smallville tried to ignore its comic book roots for a long time, instead concentrating on the meteorite mutant of the week for the first few seasons. Arrow thankfully has introduced more of these elements early on. Oliver thinks he will be able to hang up his costume once he takes Merlyn down but obviously we know different. I think a natural progression to more comic book-style villains as opposed to taking down evil businessmen is the way the show has to go.
It’s nice to see Oliver and Diggle back on the same page although it will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out when and IF Roy Harper becomes Ollie’s sidekick. Emily Bett Rickards continues to sparkle as Felicity. Week in and week out she delivers some of the funniest moments and lines and this week was no different as she had to pretend to be a stalker when she’s caught in the Merlyn building. It even made you overlook the implausibility of her sneaking in there in the first place. Back next week with the season finale!