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Dec 12, 2013

TV Review: ARROW: Season 2, Episode 9: Three Ghosts [The CW]

Kevin Alejandro Stephen Amell Grant Gustin Arrow

The CW‘s Arrow Three Ghosts TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 2, Episode 9: “Three Ghosts” paid off. Period. It delivered much of what was promised, in the form of two established heroes and its highest profiled villain, while setting the stage for a second round showdown of grand proportions.

In order to save The Hood (Stephen Amell), after his encounter with Cyrus Gold (Graham Shiels), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggs (David Ramsey) brought Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) into Oliver’s inner circle. Oliver was less than pleased. To make matters worse, Barry’s treatment might have left him lucidly hallucinating. Barry bought himself some good graces, by getting a forensic ID on Cyrus, but Oliver doubted his own ability to face Cyrus again, even after Diggs had a close call of his own.

Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) had a problem with Thea (Willa Holland), locked away in her room, that required Oliver’s attention. It did not involve Thea’s father. Thea had been harboring Roy (Colton Haynes), who had been hobbled by an arrow (for his own good) by The Hood, and was tending to him alongside Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus). Oliver removed the arrow and called in some medical help, but this assistance did little to settle Roy’s rage (or Thea’s, for that matter). Clearly Roy had better things to do than being book-ended, James Bond style, by the good girl and bad girl.

Oliver, in the mean time, had to contend with reoccurring hallucinations of Shado (Celina Jade) and a particularly hostile – and violent – visit from Slade (Manu Bennett). It was while cleaning up the wreckage of the Slade visit that Oliver was told that his system was already clear of side affects. Oliver by way of Tyler Durden, or was there something else to Hood-quarters getting trashed?

His treatment no longer considered responsible for his hallucinations, The Hood called upon Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to deal with Cyrus. Even as Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) was calling in his police connections, setting a trap that left Quentin hospitalized and killed his former partner, Thea got help from Laurel (Katie Cassidy) on Roy and Sin’s behalf. Laurel’s lead set Roy back on track to discovering the fate of Sin’s lost friend, but also got him into the very trouble the arrow through the leg was meant to keep him out of.

Barry’s forensic chops scored again, and The Hood faced off against Cyrus and Blood, but not before Roy was injected with the miracle drug. Oliver’s phantom motivators turned the tide, and Oliver, in turn, motivated Roy back to life, but Blood escaped. Blood reported back to the source of not just his operation, but the miracle serum itself: Slade Wilson.

The “Three Ghosts” flashback took us to the aftermath of the group’s use of Mirakuru to save Slade. With Prof. Ivo’s (Dylan Neal) party having caught up to them, Slade was left for dead, the serum apparently having failed. Ivo, for his part, was not pleased about his miracle being wasted. He forced Oliver to choose between Shado and Sara (Caity Lotz) for execution. Shado and Slade’s earlier appearances, in the present, made the outcome a foregone conclusion, denying the scene any real suspense. It did serve to introduce us to miracle make-over Slade (with chest-busting fist action!), and a mission of vengeance that will extend to the present.

The Slade reveal should not have been a surprise to anyone that had been paying attention. Never mind foreknowledge of the source material, major hints had been dropped, going all the way back to the season premiere (remember the Deathstoke mask on a post, arrow through the right eye, when Diggs and Felicity retrieved Oliver?).

Barry made something of a hasty exit, but made sure to contribute something he saw as a missing component to Oliver’s evolving hero motiff. A practical eye mask. After a few encouraging words to Felicity, long distance, Barry proceeded to do everything you are not supposed to in a lightning storm (short of standing under a tree – likely because he couldn’t grow one in his loft lab). While Arrow was careful to avoid giving any superpower air time, to what was to be its first spin-off character, it may have spared its first spin-off series some time spent on an origin. I suppose if any show could justify a rush to the action….

Personally, I don’t find the mask to be that much more of a disguise than Raccoon eyes. My recommendation would have included an additional distracting detail, more in line with source character: a well pronounced and manicured blonde goatee. Oliver could get a long needed shave out of it.

It was, however, still a decent way to end the first half of a season meant to mark the transition from Oliver the vigilante to Oliver the hero.

What we are left with, then, is fallout. Merlyn vs Queen: the Thea legacy. Sara Lance vs The League of Assassins, and future of the Lance family. Slade vs Ivo: the flashback fate of Ivo’s quest, and Slade’s turn from Ivo to Oliver. Blood vs Oliver: with Blood driven to learn The Hood’s identity, and Oliver out to avenge Roy, it should get pretty personal. The speedy recovery of Roy, due to the Blood miracle, and his relationship with The Hood. The Man Formally Known as the Hood, and the further evolution of Oliver’s hero, in the face (and perhaps wake) of Slade’s systematic vengeance campaign.

On top of all that will be the question of the final reveal. Viewers were promised two principal villains, this season, and I don’t think Brother Blood was one of them. Blood was revealed far too early, and has been regulated to a tool of Slade as much as Merlyn has been reduced to a rogue splinter from the League of Assassins. So it becomes a question of who among the known Arrow elements can share the stage with  Slade Wilson. Ra’s al Ghul is out of the question. His character is well above Slade’s pay grade, and his name had already been dropped. If this is to be the WTF moment that Malcom Merlyn’s reveal was, for season one, then I can only think of one source material suspect; a suspect with a penchant for red – and it’s not Roy.

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