The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project: Episode 1.23 – “Sacrifice”
|March 24, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project|
Flashback. It’s the scene in the raft where Robert kills the random other guy and then himself. I love (“love”) that Robert’s moral imperative to Ollie that inspires the whole damn show starts with murder.
Present day. Someone throws a bucket of cold water in Ollie’s face and he comes to. He’s in a warehouse, shirtless, his wrists chained above his head. Malcolm, there was no reason to take his shirt off. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate it, but you’re creepy.
Speak of the devil! “I hope I didn’t hurt you,” Malcolm oozes as he walks in. Ollie glares. He tells Ollie he wants to explain his plan so that Ollie will understand it. “You murdered my father!” Ollie snaps. “You sentenced me to that island, to five years of hell!” Malcolm’s all boo-hoo, my wife died, and Ollie asks if he really thinks he’s honoring Tommy’s mother by destroying the Glades. “As surely as you think you’re honoring your father with this hood,” Malcolm replies.
“Not a day goes by I don’t miss your father,” he adds. “You’ll see him soon,” Ollie promises. Malcolm tells him he can’t win, because he doesn’t really know what he’s fighting for and Malcolm does. “No one can stop what’s about to come,” he concludes, “not even the vigilante.” He leaves.
Flashback. The Ferris plane approaches Lian Yu. Shado sobs as Fyers and Lying Radio Operator plan to launch the missile. Ollie makes eye contact with Slade and Shado, who realize he’s almost free. As Fyers gives the command to launch, Ollie frees his hands and springs forward. He stabs LRO as Slade and Shado hurl themselves into the other soldiers, then frees Shado, who starts kicking all kinds of ass.
Fyers grabs a walkie talkie and screams “FIRE! FIRE THE MISSILE!” in hilarious fashion. Shado kills the LRO, who is choking Ollie, and she and Ollie run out of the tent just in time to see the missile shoot into the sky.
Present day. Ollie flips himself over and pulls himself up the chains holding him, then lets go. The sudden shock of his weight pulls down the bar that the chain is attached to and he crashes to the ground. A henchman comes running in and Ollie knocks him out with the chain, then snaps his neck completely unnecessarily. Kill Count: 43. He lies in wait for the next guard, then kills him too. 44.
A third guard comes running in, but there’s a gunshot and he falls. Diggle is standing behind him. “I take back every joke I ever made about you sticking a tracking device in your boot.” Ah, yes, we’ve all chuckled heartily over those jokes you’ve never made. Also, I kind of feel like that word initially had a different vowel sound, ifyannowhatImean.
Arrowcave. Diggle tells Ollie that Felicity’s at QC going through the info from Merlyn Global, and has already found the device’s design schematics, so that once they find the device, they can shut it down.
Cut to Felicity, on her way to the Arrowcave – until Quentin shows up.
Police station. Felicity sits down in the interrogation room, babbling in terror. “Not exactly a hardened criminal, are you?” Quentin asks. “No, I’m not any kind of criminal,” she says. “What do you call computer hacking?” he asks. “A hobby?” she suggests, then quickly adds, “That I do not engage in.” Quentin tells her that his tech guy found evidence on her computer of her involvement in several Hood cases: “Tell me, what am I thinking?”
Before she can answer, his phone rings – and it’s the Hood. Quentin tells him he has his “little sidekick” and Ollie says he doesn’t have a sidekick, then tells him about Malcolm’s plan. Quentin scoffs but Ollie insists it’s true and tells him to evacuate the Glades ASAP.
As Quentin hangs up, Felicity says, “Sounds like you got bigger problems to me.” “Don’t leave town,” he tells her, and she starts to leave, then pauses. “You know, I used to think the vigilante was a criminal too,” she says, “but it seems to me, whoever he is, he’s willing to sacrifice an awful lot to help the people of this city. Kinda makes him a hero, doesn’t it?” Felicity, I love you, but I would like you to look upscreen at that Kill Count for a minute, if you don’t mind.
Verdant. Ollie walks in to find Tommy already halfway through a bottle of…something potent. “Look who it is,” Tommy says bitterly, “my best friend in life…I took your advice, you know. I went to Laurel’s to fight for her. So imagine my surprise seeing you there, kissing her!” “I’m sorry,” Ollie says, but he doesn’t sound even a little earnest, and Tommy calls him on it.
Changing the subject, Ollie tells him their fathers made a plan to destroy the Glades, which is laying a little too much guilt at Robert’s door, but whatever. Tommy doesn’t believe him, and when Ollie says it’s because of Rebecca’s death, Tommy takes a swing at him. Ollie steps aside and Tommy falls to the floor.
“The difference between us, Tommy, is that I didn’t find out the truth about my father until it was too late,” Ollie says. “But you have always known, deep down.” UM, BULLSHIT. I’m sorry, why is this suddenly Tommy’s fault? Why is Ollie innocent like a newborn babe of that time his dad got mildly annoyed and killed someone, but Tommy is somehow responsible for the Glades? Fuck you, Ollie.
“I wish you would’ve died on that island,” Tommy says, which, fair enough. Ollie looks pensive, which means…
…flashback! Shado beats up a bunch of guys and jumps onto the missile launcher. “Help her!” Slade yells, firing a machine gun at the soldiers. Ollie jumps up beside Shado (P.S. I think the writers forgot that both Slade and Shado have been shot), who’s opened the control panel. He doesn’t know how to reprogram a missile launcher, but luckily she does.
They’re attacked by a couple of soldiers and Shado fights them off, but one of them slumps against the steering panel and starts the missile launcher rolling. “Oliver, put the chip in!” Shado yells as she and an opponent roll off the missile launcher. Ollie does as he’s told and the missile, about to hit the plane, veers back towards the island – and blows up Fyers’ camp. Ollie sits down on the ground, stunned.
Present day, police station. Quentin tells Lieutenant Frank what Ollie told him as the other cops in the station stare. He makes a whole speech about how he’s learned that upholding the law isn’t as important as saving people, which would work if he had ever upheld the law, ever. Also, the last time we saw Lt. Frank, he was totally Team Hood while Quentin was all “I’ll endanger my own daughter to arrest him, if I have to!” but now he’s super mad and suspends Quentin. Ugh, grow longer memories, writers.
Queen Castle. Moira’s packing up Walter’s clothes when Ollie comes in and tells her they have to stop the Undertaking. Moira says she only did it to protect him and Thea. “What about all those people in the Glades?” Ollie asks. “I’m not their mother,” she replies.
Ollie tells her that he spoke to Malcolm, and also that Robert survived the boat long enough to sacrifice himself for Ollie, and he doesn’t want anyone else dying so he can live. “Mom, please. You have to help me stop Malcolm. We need to know where the device is.”
Moira’s phone rings. It’s Malcolm. “Yes, I see,” she says, “thank you for calling,” and hangs up. Choked, she tells him the Undertaking’s been moved up to tonight. “Somebody in this family needs to put an end to this, whatever the cost,” Ollie says, and leaves.
In the foyer he runs into Laurel. “I woke up and you were gone,” she says. He apologizes, but she says she’s worried their history is repeating itself, and asks what’s going on with him. He says something vague about all the stuff he wants to tell her, then says the island honed him into the man she always saw in him, and that no one he knows is who he thought they were except her. Fair enough – Laurel makes THE WORST decisions, but her moral fiber is sound.
They smooch, and he asks her to stay out of the Glades tonight. “Why?” she asks. “You’ll know soon,” he says, “one way or the other. I have to go.” As per usual on this show, she doesn’t ask where or why.
Merlyn Global. Tommy storms into Malcolm’s office and starts griping about Ollie and Laurel. Buddy, I think Malcolm’s got other things on his mind. Tommy tells Malcolm what Ollie said about his plans: “It’s funny, scotch doesn’t make it any more believable. Maybe after your jihad we can grab some steaks.”
Malcolm tells him it’s true, and plays him the message Rebecca left him the night she died, because he is a dickweasel. Tommy tells him to turn it off, but he doesn’t. “No one would come,” Malcolm says. “She bled out onto the pavement while people passed.” Yeah, like you’re the world’s greatest good samaritan, Malcolm. Malcolm starts screaming about how they all deserve to die while Tommy backs away in horror.
And…sigh. Okay, I guess this is as good a time as any to get into this. I kind of feel like there’s one writer at Arrow Central who loves the comics and the idea of Green Arrow as a progressive figure and really wants to get into issues of race and class and social justice, and everyone else there is like “Whoa, man, don’t get all PC on us, calm down.” So you get scenes where, say, Diggle will call out racism, even Ollie’s racism, and it’s either laughed off or literally ignored. And you have this whole thing, which…this is genocide. This is race and class-based genocide. “The Glades” are not just a location, they are the home of working class people who are implied via Diggle’s dialogue but not actually shown (since they’re represented by, like, Colton Haynes) to be predominantly non-white. And the longer the show dances around this fucking ethnic cleansing without calling it what it is, the more uncomfortable I get. Especially since by the most recent episode I’ve seen (I’m a bit behind) they’ve written off Walter and every WOC.
Arrowcave. Felicity has deduced, based on the old subway map in the book with the List, that the earthquake device is underground. Did…they ever think it wouldn’t be? How would that even work? Anyway, there’s a fault line under the old 10th Street subway line, which makes it a likely candidate. “I know where it is,” Ollie says.
Suddenly his phone rings. It’s Thea, who wants to know why Moira’s holding a press conference in their house. Ollie tells Felicity to pull up the local news.
“My name is Moira Dearden Queen,” Moira says. “I am the acting CEO of Queen Consolidated. And God forgive me, I have failed this city. For the past five years, under the threat for my life and the lives of my family, I have been complicit in an undertaking with one horrible purpose: to destroy the Glades and everyone in it.” There’s a startled rumble through the press, and Thea looks horrified.
Moira goes on to say that Malcolm’s behind it. Malcolm, watching in his office, angrily smashes his laptop while Tommy looks appalled. P.S. Moira has proof that Malcolm’s killed dozens, including Robert. Thea looks appalled-er.
As Laurel and her colleagues and Quentin and his watch from their respective workplaces, Moira tells everyone to get out of the Glades right away. She steps off the podium and makes her way to Thea: “I’m sorry. I love you.” “I love Roy,” Thea replies. “He lives in the Glades. I can’t leave him there.” She runs off, and Moira is arrested.
Malcolm’s office. “Is it true?” Tommy asks angrily. “Did you kill all those people?” “I did what I had to do,” Malcolm says, and shows him the secret vault where he keeps his Dark Archer stuff.
Suddenly the cops burst in. Malcolm grabs a sword from his Dark Archer room and starts killing them, despite Tommy’s protests. Tommy picks up a gun from one of the fallen cops and points it at Malcolm: “Please, Dad. Stay back. I don’t want to hurt you.” “You can’t, and you can’t stop me,” Malcolm replies. He disarms Tommy and knocks him out.
Arrowcave. Felicity tells Ollie she’s sorry and Ollie says at least Moira gave the Glades a chance. He pulls a bow out of his Box o’ Vengeance. “I thought Merlyn broke your bow,” Diggle says. There’s a dramatic zoom and pause before Ollie says “I have another.” This would be more powerful if we could tell the difference between various bows on a very poorly-lit show.
Felicity says the device can be set on a timer or activated by a remote trigger, which Malcolm could obviously just be holding. Ollie says, again, that Diggle should go after the device while Ollie goes after Malcolm, but Diggle doesn’t think that’s a good idea: “He’ll kill you, Oliver.” “I know,” Ollie says. But Diggle won’t let Ollie do it: “You are not alone, not since you brought me into this.” He glances at Felicity. “Us, into this. Besides, army regulations. A soldier never lets a brother go into battle alone.” DIGGLE. DIGGLLLLLLLLLE. He holds out a hand and Ollie shakes it. SEND HELP, I AM DROWNING IN FEELINGS.
Felicity says she’ll handle the dismantling. Ollie says she needs to get out (remember, Verdant is in the Glades), but she says if he’s not leaving, she’s not either. “Besides, if I don’t deactivate the device, who will?”
Ollie calls Quentin, of course. He tells him the device is near Papp Street (ha!) because that’s where Rebecca was murdered: “I need somebody I can trust to deactivate the device. We have a mutual friend who I think could talk you through it.” Quentin says Felicity says Starling City needs the Hood, and Ollie says right now it needs Quentin. Quentin hangs up and considers fetching a cape and mask.
The Glades. They’re in turmoil, people running around and screaming. There’s a car on fire and people waving signs saying “THIS IS THE END.” Uh, did they just have those lying around? Why exactly is that car on fire? This is silly.
Roy watches the news in amazement. Apparently he hasn’t noticed the frenzy outside his window. He runs outside and stares in even more amazement. SERIOUSLY, HOW DID YOU MISS THIS?
Quentin drives through the crowd, leaves his car in the middle of the street, and busts his way into a boarded-up basement. It’s suddenly raining, because that is More Dramatic.
Merlyn Global. Ollie walks in all Hooded-up with Diggle behind him. It kind of looks like Diggle’s about to shoot Ollie in the back of the head. But all they find are unconscious bodies.
Flashback. Ollie walks through the camp, which is full of dead bodies, calling for Shado and Slade. He finds and opens a suitcase, which has a bow and arrows in it, so it’s presumably Yao Fei’s. He’s just nocked an arrow when he hears laughter. It’s Slade, who’s injured but alive: “I should’ve figured you couldn’t save the day without making a mess.”
They’re trying to figure out where Shado is when Fyers appears, holding a gun to Shado’s head. Ollie draws the bow: “Let her go.” I do like that at least Shado looks more angry than scared.
Fyers rants about how stupid Ollie ruined his whole plan and then says he can call in a rescue ship to send Ollie home: “Are you prepared to sacrifice your freedom for her?” That makes no sense. First of all, Fyers has offered and then rescinded safe passage home like nine times, so why would Fyers think Ollie would believe him now? Second, why would Fyers getting to kill Shado be a condition of Ollie’s escape, if Ollie’s the one Fyers is pissed at?
Ollie looks at Shado, who nods. Ollie shoots Fyers in the throat. “Guess so,” he says. Slade and Shado looks up at Ollie like HEYO, it’s gonna be a hot time in the ol’ plane carcass tonight!
But, okay, since this is the end of the first season island arc, can I just say that it was mindbogglingly incoherent? It didn’t support any themes in the main story, it didn’t actually have a resolution, I’m 10 episodes into Season 2 (yes, I’m behind) and we still don’t know who Fyers was working for, nor does the Season 2 island arc seem keen on telling us, and constantly cutting back to it sacrificed so much tension and forward momentum from the main plot. They just kept adding characters and having them switch sides whenever they got stuck, which is not great writing. Also, if I didn’t mention this before – I love TV Shado, but making Shado Chinese instead of Japanese is actually really offensive. ALL ASIAN PEOPLE AND COUNTRIES ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE.
Present day. Ollie finds Tommy coming to on the the floor and rushes over to him. Shellshocked and miserable, Tommy tells him he was right. He asks if Ollie’s going to kill Malcolm, and Ollie tells him to get to safety. Tommy leaves.
Meanwhile, Diggle’s found the false wall hiding the Dark Archer stuff. He opens it – and there’s Malcolm, waiting for them. Has he just been sitting there this whole time? What a weirdo. They all exchange some tough-guy bon mots, and then: AWESOME THREE-WAY FIGHT SCENE!
Malcolm manages to throw a knife into Diggle’s chest. When Ollie stops to check on Diggle, Malcolm flees. Diggle tells Ollie to go after him. Ollie follows Malcolm onto the roof, where he’s pulled up his mask to make it easier to replace him with his stunt double. “So tell me, are you ready to die?” he asks.
Underground, Quentin finds the device. Felicity talks him through dismantling the device. The timer says seven minutes, but she nervously says they can probably do it in three.
Aboveground, people are looting, because when a GIANT EARTHQUAKE BOMB is about to go off under your home, your #1 priority is stealing an iPod. I mean, it’s not like Californians are particularly sensitive or safety-conscious when it comes to earthquakes.
Roy spots three guys roughing up a fourth and leaps into the fray to save him. He beats up the first two guys, but the third pulls a gun on him. Suddenly, a bottle comes flying across the alley and hits the gunman on the back of the head, dropping him. Thea steps out, looking shellshocked. “Where’d you learn how to do that?” Roy asks. “I guess I have wicked aim,” she stammers. Hee! He asks if she came to rescue him and she says yes. They smile at each other. CUTEST but also, you stupid show, you probably don’t want to be like “Malcolm wants to destroy the Glades because he thinks they’re all criminals!” and then show LITERALLY EVERY GLADES RESIDENT EXCEPT WHITE WHITE WHITE ROY BEING A CRIMINAL. You morons.
On the roof, Ollie and Malcolm shoot at each other a bunch of times and both miss. Not sure how that works. Then: RAD HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING! GRIMACING! YELLING “HA!” Ollie gets off an arrow and Malcolm catches it – just in time to see that it’s an explosive arrow. Someone saw Avengers! (In my mind, Ollie is soooo bitter about Hawkeye being in a movie before him. So very bitter.)
The arrow blows up, and Malcolm goes flying.
Felicity tells Quentin to cut the blue wire, which he does. The device starts whirring, the countdown resets to just over two minutes, and various parts start to move. While Felicity tries to figure out how to override the “anti-tamper safeguard,” Quentin says that there’s not enough time, and calls Laurel.
She’s at WLLI, but she tells him she’s not. Dammit, Laurel! It would be one thing if she was attempting to help with life-saving/evacuating, but she’s just collecting files. Quentin doesn’t believe her for a second and tells her she’s gotta get out of the Glades right now. “I’m not gonna make it,” he confesses, and she starts to cry. He tells her she has to promise him she won’t die with him, literally or figuratively (and uses the phrase “I became like a ghost,” as all hard-boiled cops do). She promises, they say they love each other, and he hangs up.
But wait! Felicity might have an idea!
Cut to Roy careening through the streets in an undoubtedly stolen car while Thea berates him for texting while driving. Hee. Sure enough, they nearly crash into a dude, but Roy stops in time. “Help me out!” the guy yells, and Roy gets out of the car over Thea’s protests. There’s…a bus? And people are yelling? It’s not totally clear what “help” they require.
Thea says the device could go at any second. “I can’t leave any of them behind,” he says. Thea tearfully says he doesn’t need to prove anything, and he says he can’t do this unless she’s safe. “Then you better haul ass out of here too,” she replies. They kiss, a snapped power line illuminating the scene, the soundtrack of the angsty action movie in Roy’s head swelling majestically. Then Thea gets in the car. I guess Thea doesn’t care about poor people?
Back on the roof, Ollie and Malcolm are still fighting. As Diggle crawls through the roof access door, Malcolm gets the upper hand, his arm around Ollie’s throat. “Don’t worry,” he says, “your mother and sister will be joining you in death.” Ollie has a flashback of Robert telling him to survive, spots an arrow on the ground in front of him, grabs it…and shoves it through his own body into Malcolm’s heart. Diggle’s OH SHIT face is hilarious.
Ollie struggles to his feet: “Thank you for teaching me what I’m fighting for, but my father taught me how.” He punches Malcolm, who collapses.
On Felicity’s instructions, Quentin pulls another wire. The device turns off. Felicity tells Ollie, who tells Malcolm it’s over. “If I’ve learned anything as a successful businessman, it’s redundancy,” Malcolm cackles, then topples over. Worst. Last lines. Ever. (Yes, I know he’s not actually dead.)
Ollie’s face falls. “Felicity…there’s another device.”
Sure enough, off goes the second device. Buildings start to shake and lights go out. Laurel and her coworkers start to head out of WLLI, and Felicity looks up in alarm as the power dies in the Arrowcave. Ollie and Diggle hobble to the edge of the roof and watch in horror as buildings crumble.
And. Okay. I’m sorry, but this is just flat-out bad storytelling. Chekhov’s Gun says that if you you put a gun on the mantel in the first act (or two episodes ago, if you’re the Arrow writers and can’t plan ahead worth a damn), you have to use it in the third – but the corollary is that you can’t suddenly whip out a second gun from the secret passage behind the mantel nobody knew about! It’s like a murder mystery where the murderer turns out to be someone we don’t see until the case is solved.
Now, I freely admit that I would’ve hated this even if there hadn’t been a secret second device, because I don’t consume superhero media to watch them fail. That, to me, is anathema to what superheroes are. And I can understand the writers wanting to play with the story possibilities that having Ollie fail to save the Glades would open up. I get that.
But if Ollie was going to fail, he needed to fail for a reason – arrogance or not trusting his team or Tommy betraying him to help his father because Ollie had betrayed him with Laurel (Tommy would NEVER, but you know what I mean). A pre-established character flaw or mistake that would have led to this. It can’t just be because there was another gun behind the mantel. You might as well have them stop the first device, and then Godzilla shows up and stomps Starling to rubble. It’s cheating, plain and simple.
And it’s cheating that leads to a genocide of working class and minority people, where, narratively speaking, the great tragedies are that a rich white man dies and a rich white woman might go to jail. And that is bullshit.
Sigh. So Felicity is crying, and Quentin’s stumbling through the Glades towards WLLI. Laurel pushes Joanna (hi, Joanna!) towards the door and goes out a different way, arms full of files. FORGET THE DAMN FILES, GIRL. A huge piece of wall lands on her, pinning her to the ground.
Felicity tells Ollie she’s okay – the damage is on the other side of the Glades. “Laurel,” Ollie realizes, and Diggle tells him to go. Laurel screams for help – and suddenly Tommy’s there, trying his best to lift the wall off of her. He says he figured she’d be there, and when she’s amazed that he came for her, tells her he loves her. TOMMYYYYYY.
With a tremendous effort, he lifts the wall and she scrambles out from under. “Go! I’m right behind you!” he says and she runs out into the street. Quentin appears and she flings herself into his arms – and WLLI collapses. Laurel screams Tommy’s name and tries to go back inside, but Quentin holds her back.
Ollie zooms up on his bike, presumably hears Laurel screaming, and clambers into WLLI. Moving some rubble out of the way, he tells Tommy he’s gonna be okay, but Tommy says that’s another thing they’ll have to disagree on – and Ollie movies a chunk of concrete to reveal that Tommy’s been impaled on a metal spar.
Tommy asks if Laurel’s safe, and Ollie forces a heartbreaking smile as he says, “Yeah…you saved her.” He tries to move Tommy, and Tommy tells him to stop, and that he’s sorry: “I was angry, and I was jealous…I am my father.” Ollie looks like he’s moving in closer for a kiss (DO IT) as he assures him he’s not. Tommy asks if Ollie killed Malcolm. “No,” Ollie lies. (Well, he thinks he’s lying.) “Thank you,” Tommy says, and dies.
“No, Tommy,” Ollie sobs. ME TOO, OLIVER. “It should have been me. Open your eyes, Tommy! Open your eyes…”
There’s one last sweeping panorama of Quentin holding Laurel and the destruction of the Glades, and…we’re done!
Woof. So, that was Season One. It was not good, but it was phenomenally entertaining. I’ve already talked about how I feel about the Undertaking in general and the “second device” twist, so I’ll just say that if they had to kill a regular in the finale, they were wise to pick the pure soul everyone loves (and I’m glad they offed one of the white guys and not, say, Diggle). It’s just a shame that pure soul was also the show’s best actor. SEE YOU IN THAT SEASON TWO HALLUCINATION EPISODE THAT MADE ME CRY, T-MERLS!