Arrow 2-12: “Tremors”
Some dude gets himself arrested and thrown in prison, where, conveniently for his purposes, he ends up sharing a cell with Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White). Turns out a mysterious benefactor has paid him a great deal of money, to be used to provide for his son after his death, to smuggle in Bronze Tiger’s metal claws. The dude extracts the claws from inside his body and dies.
Bronze Tiger promptly uses the claws to kill a whole bunch of guards, then escapes. He meets up with his mysterious benefactor, who turns out to be a black-market arms dealer. The arms dealer offers to pay him ten million dollars to break into Malcolm Merlyn’s repossessed mansion and steal the prototype of the earthquake machine used to destroy the Glades last season.
In The Stupidest Plotline Introduced on Arrow to Date™, Moira’s ex-husband Walter Steele and campaign consultant Mark Francis (Nicholas Lea, Krycek on The X-Files) try to convince her to run against Sebastian Blood for mayor. Theorizing (wrongly, I hope) that voters won’t hold Moira’s recent criminal trial for MURDERING 503 PEOPLE against her, Mark says, “You were a lioness doing what she had to do to protect her cubs.” Nope. See, no, she didn’t have to do any of it. Arrow, let’s shut that narrative down right now. You don’t get to murder hundreds of innocent people to protect your kids (which, in Moira’s case, would be just Thea, since Oliver was presumed dead during the five years she spent conspiring with Malcolm to commit mass murder, and since Thea is Malcolm’s daughter, it’s hard to believe she was ever in much danger from him). That Moira conspired with a group of her fellow billionaires specifically to murder as many of the city’s poor people as possible makes her actions seem even more unsavory. There’s no chance the citizens of Starling City would forgive Moira, much less vote her into a position of power.
Moira hems and haws about Walter’s proposition before finally deciding that, yes, she will run for mayor. One possible problem, though: Her obstetrician knows the true identity of Thea’s father, and Moira doesn’t want that knowledge coming out during the campaign. As she tells Walter, “If we’re going to move forward, we’ve got to make certain he won’t be a problem for us.”
Er… Is Moira suggesting they should have her obstetrician whacked? Even if she’s just planning on bribing him into keeping her secret, it’s weird that Walter—who, up until now, we’ve only seen as a good guy—seems willing to go along with this.
This stupid-ass plotline makes me cranky. Let’s just move on.
Quentin drops by Laurel’s apartment to take her to dinner. When he notes that the place is a mess, newly-fired Laurel snipes, “Can’t afford a housekeeper without a job.” Oh, Laurel. I like you, but you can be tedious. Keep your apartment in whatever condition you want, but bear in mind that if you don’t have a job, you have plenty of time to do your own damn housecleaning.
(When Quentin arrives, by the way, Laurel is sitting on the couch reading a book: Awakening Intuition, by Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz. From Schulz’s author bio on Amazon: “Dr Mona Lisa Schulz is one of those rare people who can cross the borders of science, medicine and mysticism.” Oh.)
The dinner invitation turns out to be a trick to lure Laurel to an AA meeting (Laurel: “I’m hungry”). She stalks off in anger, and as pain-in-the-assy as she’s being this episode, my sympathies are with her. Dinner first, Quentin, and then, over crème brûlée and coffee, gently broach the subject of maybe taking in a meeting. Anything less is just mean.
Oliver, keeping his true identity hidden, starts training Roy. It’s not going well: Roy, who is approaching Laurel-esque levels of pain-in-the-ass behavior, gripes bitterly about the sub-Karate Kid exercises Oliver makes him do. Oliver stresses that he’s teaching him to control his mirakuru-induced fits of rage. He brings up his experiences with Slade, who never learned how to master his mood swings: “I had to put an arrow through his eye.”
Mid-training, Felicity notifies Oliver that Bronze Tiger murdered an architect and stole the blueprints to Malcolm’s mansion. Oliver heads off to confront Bronze Tiger, bringing Roy along for backup. He orders Roy to wear one of his omnipresent red hoodies as a disguise.
This seems like an exercise in futility, since:
1. Roy always wears a red hoodie, whether he’s fighting crime or not.
2. Roy’s hoodie does not cover his pretty face.
3. Roy’s face is probably familiar to the people of Starling City, since the Savior broadcast his attempt to kill Roy live over the internet and on all television stations last season.
4. It’s a memorable face. Kid looks an Abercrombie model.
Oliver and Roy try to stop Bronze Tiger in the act of stealing the earthquake generator. Roy goes into super-rage mode and pulverizes a henchman; while Oliver tries to prevent Roy from killing the guy, Bronze Tiger scampers off with the device.
Furious, Oliver fumes to Diggle and Felicity about how Roy’s a lost cause. It starts looking like maybe Roy will take an arrow to the eye by the end of the episode.
Island flashbacks: Oliver and Sara discover Slade is planning to use the rocket launcher from last season to blow up Ivo’s freighter. When Oliver tries to stop him, a mirakuru-crazed Slade threatens to shoot him. Oliver calms him down by reminding him of Shado’s love for him.
These island scenes. Man. They’ve taken a turn for the terminally dull in recent weeks. There’s not much forward motion, and there’s even less suspense, since the present-day scenes have already filled us in on what will eventually happen here in the past: We know Slade will eventually find out that Oliver protected Sara instead of Shado, we know Oliver will eventually shoot Slade in the eye with an arrow, and we know Oliver will think Sara, Slade and Ivo all died on the island.
Freaked out about the earthquake machine, Roy tries to convince Thea to leave town. When she balks, he gets angry and manhandles her a little. Even though he immediately backs off in horror and apologizes, even though we know Roy is a good kid, even though we know he’s out of control because of the mirakuru, it’s ugly.
When Roy tells Oliver he tried to warn Thea, Oliver orders him, in no uncertain terms, to leave Thea out of it. Roy gets pissy, they get into a scuffle, and Oliver ends up trying to strangle Roy with his hoodie. I adore Roy, but I’ve sort of wanted to strangle him this episode, too. Anger-Management Issues Roy is not my favorite side of Roy. Roy uses his super-strength to rough up Oliver a little, then flounces off in a huff.
Upon learning that she might be disbarred due to her recent behavior, Laurel goes on a bender. She sidles up to the bar at Verdant: “Can I get something with olives? I don’t care what it is, as long as it has a lot of olives.” She then sets about drunkenly insulting Thea, Oliver and Felicity, and while I don’t love Laurel’s whole substance-abuse plotline—there are far better uses for this character—Katie Cassidy has been pretty great in the role lately. Fed up with Laurel, Oliver makes a mysterious phone call to someone: “Laurel needs your help.”
Bronze Tiger meets with the arms dealer to hand over the earthquake device. Oliver intervenes, but Bronze Tiger gets the drop on him, and in the resulting chaos, the arms dealer activates the device. Roy shows up and beats the crap out of Bronze Tiger. The activated device is kept in a locked shipping container of reinforced steel; Oliver needs Roy to use his super-strength to penetrate it, but Roy is having another rage episode and won’t listen to him…
…until Oliver drops his hood, removes his mask, and reveals his identity.
Aw, man. I have problems (so many problems!) with this episode, but that’s a great moment.
Oliver talks some sense into a stunned Roy, convincing him that he needs to calm down, focus, and stop the device in order to keep Thea safe. Roy smashes open the container, and Oliver blows up the device. Once more calm and rational, Roy shakes Oliver’s hand and thanks him for giving his life purpose.
Denouement: Amanda Waller, head of the shadowy association A.R.G.U.S., pops by the prison to recruit Bronze Tiger for a new squad she’s putting together.
Oliver shows Roy the secret lair beneath Verdant for the first time (Roy: “Is this the part where you kill me because I know your secret?”) and introduces him to Diggle and Felicity. We see Roy and Digg shaking hands, and then the scene ends before Felicity and Roy have to awkwardly explain that, thanks to those Bose®-sponsored minisodes that aired last year, they’ve actually already met.
And then we end on Laurel drunkenly staggering around her apartment and passing out, only to be awakened by… Sara.
Didn’t love the episode, but the nice interaction between Oliver and Roy at the end redeemed it somewhat. I’m a sucker for a dramatic secret-identity reveal. If we’ve seen the last of Anger-Management Issues Roy, it’ll all be worth it.