The CW
James Hibberd
November 08, 2012 AT 06:26 AM EST

I thought my Arrow recap during Hurricane Sandy last week was a one-time stint. But your regular NYC-based recapper Nuzhat Naoreen is going to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show tonight so editors asked me to fill in again. “Why does she get to cover the lingerie show and I have to write about that guy with the abs?” I whined. They explained the fashion show is in Manhattan and I live in Los Angeles and yadda yadda I’m writing about Arrow again. So let’s get to it!

Last week’s episode was somewhat disappointing. Tonight’s hour really worked. The writers wrote themselves into a corner by having Oliver Queen arrested for being The Hood and wiggled out of it more convincingly than I expected. This is also Stephen Amell’s best episode so far this season. Let’s quickly hit the highlights:

What happened on the island? Bearded Asian Yoda lets Oliver try his bow and he misses his target. Then a group of bad guys capture Oliver. All the bad guys are wearing masks covering their faces despite being on an island in the middle of nowhere. Oliver is brought to see their evil blonde leader named Edward Fyers who pours Oliver a rather hypnotically refreshing-looking sparkling beverage. Fyers wants information about the mysterious cave-dweller. Oliver refuses. So Fyers brings in — yah! Scary masked man. As DC Comic fans know, this is Deathstroke the Terminator. You can just call him Deathstroke. Or, since this is Arrow, producers will probably shorten his name even more, down to Deaths, or The Stroke.

Deathstroke (whose mask is rather badass — bet we’re seeing a few more of those at Comic-Con next year) tortures Oliver. So that’s how he got those scars. Oliver refuses to give up any information. Suddenly the island’s version of The Hood bursts in and fights The Stroke and rescues Oliver. This is a rather intensely fun little fight. Bearded Asian Yoda brings Oliver back to his cave and is impressed that his dumb American pet didn’t talk. He then, in the episode’s lamest moment, somehow seals the entrance to the cave with a massive boulder to prevent him from leaving.

What’s cool about this? Not only did the island reveal some serious backstory about Oliver’s time there, the incarceration theme matches what’s happening in present day. (It would have been even better if it explained how Oliver beat the polygraph, but you can’t have everything, and we’re getting ahead of ourselves).

Can you really fight bad guys by whacking them with a bow? You can, but it tends to break the bow. I found this out while visiting the Arrow set in Vancouver. They’re constantly having to replace them.

What about Oliver being arrested? I’m getting to that. So Oliver’s defense against that damning videotape that showed him getting the duffel bag of Arrow gear is so obvious that I kicked myself for not realizing it out last week. It’s the oldest excuse in the book, one familiar to anybody who watches COPS. Basically: Hey man, that ain’t mine! I dunno who put that there! I was just holding it for somebody else! But furious haggard wild-eyed Det. Quentin Lance isn’t buying any of it. (Is it just me, or does his character always look like he just did a line of coke before entering the room?). His daughter Laurel Lance accuses him: “You hate The Hood and you hate Oliver and you want more than anything for them to be the same person!”

NEXT: The Hood’s a menace, Tommy sighting

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