TV Show Review

TV Review: ARROW: Season 3, Episode 11: Midnight City [The CW]



The CW‘s Arrow Midnight City TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 3, Episode 11: ‘Midnight City,’ continued the Starling city power vacuum arc, and did a good job of demonstrating just how much the city needs its titular champion. This was not a good thing.

For starters, the Diggle-Roy duo (David Ramsey, Colton Haynes), for all the practiced skill of its make-up, still can’t carry a full-on furball without Oliver (Stephen Amell) either on point, or on overwatch. Making matters worse, Team Arrow – minus The Arrow – appears to be no match for Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), who, while not the baddie-of-the-moment, seems to be holding a League of Assassins trump card, in the form of Thea (Willa Holland), over both the team, and the city. Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) ongoing slump, over Ollie’s death, wasn’t helping.

Frankly, Felicity really needed a triple shot of caffeine – she seemed to sleepwalk through most of the episode.

The other problem, with the Arrow-less city, was just how unprepared the authorities were. I’d think some kind of city wide war footing would have been set up, after last season’s Mirakuru mayhem; but everyone was caught flat-footed by the smash-and-grab tactics of Brick (Vinnie Jones). I imagine this was an example of characters conforming to script; meant not only to underscore Oliver’s absence, but to provide a crucible for Arrow’s vigilante B Team – if only to prove that they are not ready for primetime.

Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) was able to find out that there was more to being a hero than drive & motive. Nothing like having your life flash before your eyes to do that. It was, in part, because of this re-evaluation that Ray helped Felicity out of her funk. More points for Ray; but I still miss their initial dynamic. So Ray got a new outlook for his project, and Felicity got her game glasses back on; but I don’t think everyone took the right lead, from the Brick crisis.

Even as her father & the Mayor were left relatively helpless, in the wake of Brick putting them under the gun, then running off with three Aldermen, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) decided to first go rogue, as the DA (given the predicament she put him in, you’d think her squeeze would’ve asked for immunity – or witness relocation), then go off the deep end, as the Canary. Her opening scene (hoping to get her feet wet, off of the peripheral crime wave) only proved that she was more eager, than able; but all of Laurel’s strength often seems collected in her head.

None of that, when it comes to telling her father about Sara, though. I can’t be the only one not seeing the nobility in Laurel stringing Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) along – her arranging for Quentin & Sara’s “face to face” was just… sad. I fear more of Laurel will be rubbing off on the Canary, than vice-versa.

Topping things off, for the headless heroes, seemed to be the fact that no one (except Ray & Felicity) learned anything. Given Laurel’s baffling resilience (the Canary took a lot of lumps – Laurel should be on her way to being as scarred as Oliver), I’d imagine her learning curve would be steeper; but then, no one took notes from Diggs’ one-on-one with Brick. There was the aforementioned police unpreparedness, for a city wide terror campaign – as Brick seemed to be the only one who learned anything from the Slade scenario. Even Brick, himself, failed to appreciate that he didn’t have the stones to fully back up his reckless fighting style (seriously, though, best ironic/ feminist sight gag moment of the episode).

Also failing to take matters into account, in the thread most likely to carry on through the season, were Merlyn & Thea. Not content with having thrown Oliver to the League, to save his own skin, Merlyn wanted to get himself, and Thea, clear of Starling City, before the wrath of Ra’s. Thea wasn’t playing ball. The detail Merlyn missed, during his dress down of Roy’s interloping attempt, was that Thea’s broke from family before, over secrets. Even before all the Sith training, Thea had a nose for hidden agendas – good enough to smell through her father’s given explanation, but not enough to sniff out the plant, practically dropped on her lap. Their decision to stay did not fully add up; I can see Meryln staying for her, but her reasoning was a bit off. Sane people might think twice about facing down that which fearless sensei fears. Thea was being stubborn out of ignorance, and I’d be surprised if Merlyn wasn’t placating her, having a contingency plan already in mind.

So now that it was established, that everything goes to pot, when Oliver’s not around, how was that comeback shaping up? Appropriately complicated.

Details pending (I assume), Oliver had been revived by Tatsu (Rila Fukushima), after being recovered by Maseo (Karl Yune). That was where the good news pretty much stopped. The couple had become estranged, since Hong Kong, and flashback Maseo’s effort, to rescue her from China White (Kelly Hu), might have had something to do with it. Given Tatsu’s future character prospects, I’d say the reason may have more to do with the one flashback character that has been missing, for a while; but A.R.G.U.S., in the past, and the League, at present, continue to complicate matters. Oliver’s return to Starling has to get past the League stumbling upon his rescue.

As heavy as the Brick work-over of the city has been, the most compelling aspect, of season 3.2 has revolved around Oliver, Maseo, and Tatsu. High stakes had to be set, for The Arrow’s return, but ‘Midnight City’ made the place-holders seem more hapless, than overburdened. There may be a few redemptions in store, for the arc wrap-up; but for now, I’m more interested in the resolution to the Hong Kong reunion arc.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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