Arrow Review: “Public Enemy”

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Well, as they say, that escalated quickly. Things go from bad to worse for Team Arrow. Not only are they all now hunted by Captain Lance and the police but Ra’s al Ghul steps up his game in a huge way. He is no longer content with besmirching the Arrows good name.

Full spoilers for “Public Enemy” below

Everyone has something that they find breaks the immersion of storytelling, something that just grinds at them and prevents them from becoming invested in what is going on. A friend of mine can suspend reality enough to watch movies about humans (and ‘gods’) with super human powers but a couple off-handed remarks about how science ‘works’ will irk him enough to almost walk out of a theater. He can accept a human with an adamantium skeleton and claws but ‘punching a hole in time and space’ annoys him. Go figure.

For me that breakage is when a plot seems like nothing more than an excuse to speed up the story around it. Ultimately I just don’t care if Oliver ever accepts the offer, and highly doubt he ever will. To me this ‘plot line’ is nothing more than a distraction from the main story of everything falling apart for Team Arrow, something that started with the death of the original Black Canary.

It could be argued that by having Ra’s going around (or more recently Maseo) killing in the name of Arrow and telling Captain Lance that Oliver is the Arrow, that the struggle between Oliver and Ra’s is the driving force of this season. However with the death of Sara Lance and the revelation that both Laurel and Oliver kept that information from him (revealed accidentally by Sin), Quentin was turning against the group anyway. It would have been a small couple of steps to go from anger to hatred of Arrow and the group. Considering how not secret Oliver’s secret identity is it isn’t inconceivable that Lance would have figured it out.

All that aside this was a fantastic episode. It was very dark, and not in a gritty Batman-eqsue kind of way but rather we get to see the culmination of Oliver’s choices in the first season (to kill) and the effects of the police turning a blind eye to his actions (season two). We see how much he and the rest of Team Arrow have come to depend on being able to run around Starling City with a fairly loose leash now that said leash has been pulled very tight.

After Ra’s tells Captain Lance that Oliver is the Arrow all hell breaks loose. Lance issues a warrant for Oliver’s arrest and does so very quickly. Laurel comes in to ‘talk some sense’ into her father and when she realizes that he knows Oliver’s secret attempts to warn him. It is then that we learn the warrants have already been issued and officers have already been dispatched. A fact that I loved because the whole ‘I will spill my plan and give you the time to stop me’ trope is so over used. Here, it’s flipped on its head and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Ultimately Oliver has a crisis of heart and turns himself in. While this was an awesome moment the scene where his friends offer to aid and help and he dismisses them saying ‘I started this’ is getting a little old. He made a good speech however and even I was convinced to let it play out.

Thankfully not everyone was. At the end of the episode the Arrow attacks the convoy transporting Oliver. He leaps off the truck tells Lance he arrested the wrong man and pulls back the hood revealing himself to be Roy and stating ‘I am the Arrow.’ A very well done scene, one in which we have to assume Roy is trying to atone for his killing of the cop at the end of Season Two by freeing Oliver. In it’s on way, a very touching Sparticus moment.

All in all, dispite the issues I had it was probably one of the best episode of Arrow thus far. Very emotionally driven and very touching in moments (Felicity taking the chance and injecting Ray to cure his brain tumor for example) and one that makes me very anxious for next week.

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