Arrow 2×03 ‘Broken Dolls’: No more playing around.

Source: CW

Arrow is on a serious roll right now, and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. The seeds were always there in the first season, which justified staying with the show, but just three episodes into its second season and those seeds are bearing major fruit. It really feels like they’ve figured out how to balance the emotional beats, the character moments, the action and of course the whole overarching plot. The result is awesome.

Source: CW

Source: CW

We’re dropped right back into the standoff between Arrow and the police, and I had no idea how Ollie was going to escape. I was actually convinced that he would unmask himself and hope they wouldn’t believe Oliver Queen could legitimately be the Arrow. When Mystery Woman came in I was shocked. In hindsight, that was obviously what was going to happen but it’s a testament to the storytelling and direction that I could be so caught up in the moment. This simply was never the case last season, which can certainly dampen one’s eagerness to stay caught up from week to week. This show is finally earning its suspense and I couldn’t be happier.

Regarding the Mystery Woman (who looks a lot like Black Canary), I was impressed with her apparent skill set- even going back to her first appearance, but I was curious as to how they would handle Black Canary’s sonic screams. It feels like this iteration of Arrow exists in the “Nolan-verse” version of the DC Comics universe, in which special powers don’t really exist. Having Canary, or whoever she’s supposed to be at this point, deploy sonic discs fits within this world, and honestly comes off as more believable anyway.

Source: CW

Source: CW

What I couldn’t believe, and was simply inexcusable to me was when Officer Lance threw away that hot dog when he got that call. Maybe I was just hungry, but I didn’t see a reason to let a good hot dog go to waste. To add insult to injury, he didn’t even need to toss it because they called him off. SMH. This was a decidedly gruesome criminal, and to my knowledge the first serial killer featured on the show. Sure, there’s been a ton of violence, but it was always related to gangsters or robberies. I wasn’t prepared to see a series of horrific, ritual killings, but I have to say that it did a lot to engender me to Officer Lance. He was such a blowhard before, but this case gave us the chance to see him more focused on police work rather than catching Arrow, and it humanized him.

Source: CW

Source: CW

A benefit of that is that it made his interactions with Laurel more believable as well. Not to keep harping on how things were in the past, but their relationship had previously boiled down to: ‘The Hood/Oliver/whatever is bad, I’m your father and a cop!’ and ‘No Daddy, you don’t understand and I’m a grown up and a lawyer!’ Pretty rote stuff. In this episode, Laurel actually came off as a daughter cautioning her dad from making a mistake. Lance seemed like a man out for justice, while acknowledging the past and his own emotions. Their back and forth over the way that their allegiances switched was perfect, and completely in character. Plus, by having him be the one to prompt Laurel to examine her vendetta against the Arrow it reinforces their bond. I get why she looks up to him as her father now. Great work with those two this week after not really seeing much of them last time.

I liked how challenging this case was for Ollie, and it was kind of cool to see him go through the paces with Lance in tow. A killer smart enough to escape from jail should definitely be hard to catch. I also reeeeally wanted them to catch him as soon as possible. I’m sorry but I just found that method of murder disturbing, especially since we had to see him actually kill a girl. I really appreciate that the writers took the time to call out the different instances of misogyny that have occurred, and that Mystery Woman was targeting misogynist criminals in particular. I also like that Felicity stood up to Diggle and Ollie once again, emphasizing that it was her choice and that she’s done dangerous things in the past. Even though Arrow features a male protagonist that fits the traditional male-hero archetype, I think it’s really cool how they’ve established that the women on the show are just as capable as the men are. Yay equality!

Source: CW

Source: CW

Speaking of equals, Ollie put his sidekick on the trail of Mystery Woman- which put him on the trail of her sidekick. I thought Cyn (sp?) was great and hope to see more of her. Her calling Roy “Abercrombie” was probably product placement, but it was also hilarious. The real juicy part of this is that when Mystery Woman gets back to her clock tower after icing the Dollmaker, a ninja is waiting for her with a message: Ra’s Al Ghul is looking for her! If my jaw hadn’t dropped to the floor I probably would have cheered. Take note S.H.E.I.L.D., that is how you world-build with a bigger movie franchise. Oh man, to think that we could be getting some bigger DC villains on the show is enticing, and I don’t think it’s an accident that Past Ollie finds himself imprisoned on that freighter. Consider me full steam ahead.

is a self-described TV junkie, extolling it’s virtues to all who will listen. If for some reason he is not watching TV, he can be found seeing live music, in line at a food truck, or riding his trusty bicycle around Los Angeles.

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