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Arrow S2x12 “Tremors”

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Arrow’s latest episode is another thrilling installment in the second season and although there are some weaker moments, Tremors on the whole is a pretty good episode – one in which Oliver has to deal with not only an escaped Bronze Tiger being hired to help secure a prototype for an Earthquake Device from Malcolm Meryln’s abandoned mansion, but also Roy Harper – who is turning out to be a hot-headed and anti-authoritarian, not happy with the fact that Oliver is concealing his identity as Green Arrow to him. Roy’s also not happy that Ollie is keeping secrets about the Mirakuru, which has been injected into his blood following Three Ghosts’ cliffhanger.

Roy begins his training.

Roy begins his training.

With the amount of continuity in each Arrow episode and already developing plot threads – H.I.V.E, Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Deathstroke’s return, the League of Assassins, Isabel Rochev and more keeping the plot thick we are starting to get to the point now where you have to ask whether they’re putting in too much into this show. The Sebastian Blood plot took a relative backseat after being pushed to the forefront in the previous episodes as the main focus of the episode was split between Arrow and Roy chasing after Bronze Tiger whilst Moira reunited with Walter Steele, who an always welcome appearance whenever he crops up in an episode of Arrow. This week’s return for Walter heralded an important shift in how things look set to play out in the future – and I think the most important thing that can be said about Tremors is that it really deserves that short but appropriate title. Tremors not only refers to the earthquake device, but also the rapid advancements in the plot between Arrow and Roy. I didn’t expect the writer team to cover the ground that they did so quickly in this episode but they handled Roy’s training very well – with one of the scenes towards the end of the episode being a personal highlight as they learn to co-operate more. I can’t talk about what happens without risk of spoiling but it’s a welcome change to the status quo, and will be more than welcomed by fans of the series. Much like we had a Laurel-centric episode recently, and a Diggle-centric episode before the mid-season break, Tremors is very much a Roy Harper centric episode and it works – mainly because Colton Haynes is pulling off so far a relatively strong portrayal of Roy.

However, speaking of Laurel, the show is keeping us frustrated with Cassidy’s portrayal of the character. She was one of the most wooden parts of Season 1 and after improving dramatically since the mid-season break – it feels as though her character has regressed back to square one here which is a real shame. I wish the writers would decide to make Laurel consistent and likable because at the moment I find myself rooting for Quentin over her character in their family drama – which, much like Season 1 – continues to be the least interesting part of Arrow.

Ollie and Sara reunite with Slade on the Island

Ollie and Sara reunite with Slade on the Island.

This episode also resurfaces another problem that the show has been dealing with since Season 1, and that is its villains. For the majority of the show’s run single character villains, like Shrapnel or Vertigo, have often felt like one-note villains, not sticking around long enough to really make an impression and not coming off as deadly or intimidating enough as the characters who have had larger roles to play in the show like Malcolm Merlyn. With the return of Bronze Tiger it was a chance for the character to break out of the throwaway villain that he has regressed himself to and improve the character as a whole, but this was not to be – he still felt like a villain who won’t have a memorable impact. However, things look set to change with the final few minutes of the show, which came from a welcome return appearance from a surprise character whose identity I won’t spoil. Whilst I’m still unconvinced by the casting choice behind that character due to their relative lack of screentime, they sure do know how to make their presence felt and I’m sure fans of a certain series in the DCU will really get a kick out of hearing that ending discussion between the character and Bronze Tiger, which really bodes well for greater developments in the show in general. I can’t wait.

I think it’s safe to say that Arrow has pulled off another entertaining and fun episode. It’s taking Moira’s character in an interesting new direction as well as improving the partnership between Roy and Ollie with a rapidly advancing plot. The showing for Bronze Tiger was also a considerable improvement over his previous appearance – but he does still feel like a one-note villain despite that (and I love Felicity’s dig at the name)  – and I’m wondering where the show will go from here with some big changes in store for the overall plot. However, Laurel is still unlikable and her character annoying – and the show often feels like it’s handling too much at once, as many characters have now been pushed to the side (Diggle) or not heard from at all (Isabel Rochev) but it’ll be interesting to see if they come to the forefront in future parts of the show. 

Another great week for Arrow – I can’t wait for the next one.

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