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ARROW Review (S3E11): 'Midnight City'

If you're a citizen of Starling City you may be a little perplexed as to who exactly is patrolling the streets because it sure ain't the Arrow. Laurel, bless her heart, does her best to fill the void left behind by the Arrow's  absence, but she's not quite ready for prime time. Thankfully, Arsenal provided some back-up. Taking on her sister's persona as the Black Canary is proving difficult for Laurel but she is committed. 

"Midnight City" was at least honest about Laurel's limited skills after  training with Ted "Wildcat" Grant for only a few months. No workout montage could hide her inexperience on the street. The bright side is Laurel has found a purpose. Similar in Ray's desire to make himself into a hero the city needs, Laurel's motivated by Sara's death but slowly learning that kind of anger won't sustain her if she's going to make a difference as a vigilante. Laurel seems fearless and willing to take a beating to give a beating. Critics of the character may have to finally eat their words and cheer on her development.

Roy had the benefit of basically interning with Ollie, Diggle is an ex-soldier/bodyguard and Sara trained with the League of Assassins. Laurel has a huge learning curve to overcome. Roy has grown as a capable archer and fighter but lacks Ollie's tactical and strategic mind. Something that may have contributed to one of the kidnapped alderman being killed in a failed rescue attempt against Brick and his henchmen. Not having Ollie around places the burden of protecting the city from Brick's power grab of the Glades in Team Arrow's hands whether they're ready or not. It's made for some excellent villainy from Vinnie Jones. 

The veteran actor, known for his tough-guy roles and currently on ABC's fairy tale comedy Galavant mini-series, brings some signature menace, tenacity and bravado as the ruthless Daniel Brickwell. His brazenness against police, city officials and Arrow's sidekicks has him doing basically whatever he wants. It sets the table for an explosive confrontation next week between the forces of good and evil.

There's been more focus on the supporting players with Ollie somehow recovering from his near fatal skewering at the hands of Ra's al Ghul. While Tatsu and Maseo tend to his recovery, back home Felicity is still shell-shocked about the presumed death of Oliver. She’s fed up with the people around her putting themselves in harm’s way. She gets back to work, even though her boss wants to fight crime in an armored suit. She soon realizes that without Ollie around the world is in dire need of heroes. It’s a great arc of emotion and consciousness that helps Felicity honor Ollie’s hard work and inspire the troops.

Roy has stepped up and looked after Thea because of his distrust of Malcolm. He confronts the Dark Archer for his recklessness, blaming him for Ollie’s death and the chaos going on in Starling City. Malcolm doesn’t deny it but he’s more concerned with getting out of town and avoiding Ra’s return. Thea has really grown up in a short time. Maybe it’s the sword fighting that Malcolm has taught but she’s way more confident. So confident in fact that she convinces her dad to stand and fight Ra’s instead of running away. And now that we know her douchey blond DJ friend is really a spy for Ra’s with a surprise contact things are getting twisted. 

The rather chilly relationship between Tatsu and Maseo is still of great interest. The flashbacks of them united and in love are in direct contrast of what we see now despite working together to help Ollie. The fact their son is nowhere to be seen could be a clue as to why they’re so distant. Yet, Maseo remains loyal to Ra’s. It’s a storyline that only grows more intriguing.

This season continues to evolve. The emergence of Laurel as the Black Canary and her poor unwitting father who’s duped into believing Sara is still alive. The much-needed force of nature that Brick is brings a lot of  energy to the show making him a formidable foe. It’s helped rally Team Arrow in a common cause. The shadow of Ra’s looms large over Malcolm and the eventual reveal that Ollie lives. There may be another round to be fought for Ollie against the Demon Head. ‘Midnight City’ set a lot of things in motion that comes to a head next week.

Check out scenes from next week:

Arrow 3x12 "Uprising" - Still operating without Oliver (Stephen Amell) and desperate to stop Brick (guest star Vinnie Jones), Team Arrow is forced to consider Malcolm’s (John Barrowman) offer to help shut Brick down as Malcolm has a personal score to settle with the felon. Roy (Colton Haynes) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) point out that the team could use some help to save the innocents of The Glades, but Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is adamantly against it. They look to Diggle to make the final decision. Meanwhile, the flashbacks chronicle Malcolm’s descent from kind-hearted father and husband to cold-blooded killer after the murder of his wife. Jesse Warn directed the episode written by Beth Schwartz & Brian Ford Sullivan (#312).


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