Warning! Major Spoilers!
We’re in the home stretch of Arrow now and it proves that this show is at its greatest when putting main characters through hell – providing an action packed, very entertaining episode that explores the consequences of last episode as well as improves several elements from earlier in the season. A large amount of plot is dealt with here and it’s all handled very well – The Man Under The Hood proving that the writers have plenty of material left to throw at us as the show returns from its final break of the season.
At the end of the last episode “Deathstroke”, Laurel found out the fact that Ollie is the Arrow. This allowed for one of the best episodes featuring her character this season – and some great moments between her and Quentin Lance, with Paul Blackthorne pulling off some amazing acting as the former detective who has been arrested for working with the vigilante. Sure, the Lance/Arrow partnership is connected with the Gordon/Batman partnership from the movies in the way that Lance now doesn’t want to know Ollie’s identity, but it’s pulled off so brilliantly that we couldn’t care less.
It also proves just how brilliantly this show is capable of changing its characters and causing them to undergo great lengths of development – with Detective Lance being one of the greater success stories of the season, having been transformed from one-dimensional detective to a fully fleshed out character. Speaking of changing characters though, this had some great moments with Slade. We got to see him unleash hell against Sara, Felicity, Diggle and Ollie as they returned home from seemingly a first victory against Slade at the cost of the destruction of a part of Ollie’s own company, which now belongs to Isabel Rochev.
Seeing Slade wipe the floor with Team Arrow was great to watch, dispatching Diggle and putting Sara in hospital with ease. He’s already shown to be more than a threat than Malcolm Merlyn ever was, and it’ll be very interesting to see what lengths the characters have to go through to stop him in the upcoming episodes.
Much like the earlier episodes in the season that introduced us to Barry Allen, we now have
an episode that introduces us to two Flash characters who will play an important role in the spinoff series featuring Barry Allen. Whilst there was no appearance of Barry this week, given that he’s still in a coma, we got to see newcomers Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), who, as comic fans know, will eventually become Vibe and Killer Frost – a hero and a villain respectively. As of now though, they’re just S.T.A.R Labs scientists who come under attack from Deathstroke.
Whilst it was nice to see them in this episode as the DC Universe cast is expanded in greater detail, the character introduction felt forced. Also, a namedrop of another Flash character wasn’t needed given that it’ll be a while before we see her on screen. However, this couldn’t help feel like the only weak parts in this episode, as the rest of the show was standout scene after standout scene.
This episode also was able to reveal some of Isabel’s motivations, providing a handy backstory for the character and why she has a vendetta against the Queen Family. It was interesting to watch unfold, and I’m almost glad that she wasn’t brought down so easily towards the end of this episode with plenty of interesting stuff left to do with her character.
The flashback material saw Professor Ivo being captured by Ollie and Sara. It was good to see how this was handled and now that we’re building up to the final act on the Island for Season 2, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle it in the future because we obviously know that Slade won’t be cured, and even though it robs the tension slightly it still allows for some good viewing.
On the whole though, The Man Under the Hood was another amazing episode proving that this show is consistently pulling out all the stops to deliver a build-up to what should be an amazing finale. The wait for next week can’t come soon enough!