It's an Arrow Christmas! For some reason, Oliver decided he really, really, really wanted a Christmas party and he wasn't gonna take no for an answer. And for the first time, I have cause to disagree with my man John Diggle: I don't think Oliver would land in St. Nick's "Nice" column.
I've had a difficult time relating to Oliver throughout the series, but another precedent was set: I'm totally on his side when it comes to that dude Shane who was hanging around and tried to bang Thea at the Queen Christmas party. I hate that kid. If I were the Hood, I'd have terrorized that kid and used him for target practice.
Some big stuff has come to light now: The Island was a Chinese prison and the two baddest mofos on the Island were Yao Fei, the Chinese Green Arrow, and Deathstroke. And of course the reveal of who the Dark Archer really is after the obvious feint that it's Yao Fei come to Starling City to test his protege Oliver:
Malcolm Merlyn is the Dark Archer. Of course! It was so obvious I can't believe I didn't see it coming. We had the foreshadowing a couple of weeks ago when Tommy watched his dad fence. And of course a Merlyn is the Dark Archer! Kind of weird that if Tommy ends up following in his dad's footsteps, he goes down the Harry Osborn path. Actually, that's more annoying than weird, how obviously Arrow set up a Peter-MJ-Harry love triangle.
The archery battle between Oliver and Merlyn kind of exposed how awkward it is to do a superhero fight between two archers. Guys who are so good they never miss have to miss as the other guy vaults and tumbles out of the way. Continue until someone doesn't miss. A future battle between archers would be more fun with they used trick arrows. Then there'd be some variety.
I did enjoy seeing Oliver thoroughly get his ass kicked by Merlyn. He got clobbered. He got his clock cleaned. Arrows in the back! The way Oliver snapped them off against the wall was cringe-inducing. When he jumped out of the window, cracked his injured back on the dumpster, landed on the sidewalk and called Diggle for help, all that was missing was him being on fire (that came in an earlier scene when Merlyn tried to explode him) and it would have been just like in Batman Begins when Scarecrow kicked Batman's ass in the Narrows.
Insubordinate Quentin Lance would concur: Starling City has the worst police commissioner ever. Like, Captain of the Enterprise-B in Star Trek Generations-level shitty. Obviously, the guy is corrupt but he's also way too young and clearly incompetent to be commissioner of police. Clearly, he's planted by 'the organization' Merlyn and Moira are deep into. The same organization that wants to commit mass murder to fulfill the "vision" for Starling City.
DC Universe shout outs, besides Deathstroke and The Dark Archer: "The corner of (Denny) O'Neil and (Neal) Adams."
The quips were pretty good this week. Felicity, the Queen (pun intended) of Super Fast and Precise Bing Searches and Oliver and Walter's personal Lucius Fox, had my favorite.
Oliver: "Felicity, you're remarkable."
Felicity: "Thank you for remarking on it."
Oliver: "Merry Christmas."
Felicity: "I'm Jewish."
Tommy: "How are you, sir?"
Quentin: "Proficient with firearms."
Oliver: "I think the vigilante needs a better codename than 'The Hood' or 'The Hood Guy'."
Malcolm: "How about 'Green Arrow'?"
Somehow, though, I think that name will catch on, lame as it is. This is why Oliver needs an intrepid girl reporter type in his life to coin a codename for him instead of the man he doesn't yet know is his arch(ery) enemy.
P.S. I kind of miss Helena.