Arrow “Corto Maltese” — TV EPISODE REVIEW


David Ramsey, Stephen Amell, and Colton Haynes in Arrow

 Arrow has just been getting better and better as every season progresses. But the second season was so intense and filled with so much drama, I think it will be hard for season three to match it. And even though the iconic R’as al Ghul will eventually show up as the big bad this season, it will be hard to match the villain of last season. Manu Bennett killed it as Slade Wilson hopped up on Mirakuru. And this season is off to a slow start as well. Even season two started the same way, but I just hope this season gets going the previous year did.

The first two episodes were a bit of a letdown for me. The cliffhanger in the first episode was the furthest thing from shocking and the second episode, while good, was a bit slow. Let’s start with Sara’s death. She was a good character and was a great addition to the cast. It is sad to see her go, but her usefullness, in terms of the show, ran out last season. I honestly thought she should have been killed off in last season’s finale to add more weight to it. Now it just feels like they did it as an excuse to get a storyline going. Which is fine, it just was easy to see coming, especially with knowing Caity Lotz was only contracted for three episodes this season. Plus we were without Thea and Malcolm Merlyn (for the most part) in the first two episodes, which was one of the elements I was most looking forward to.

“Corto Maltese” had some very good things going for it. To start out, I was excited for the flashbacks. I wanted to see what Merlyn and Thea have been up to and not just have it fast forwarded to the present and having us believe their training is over. So I liked that we got to see the training. The acting was surprisingly good from Willa Holland, who I’ve found myself annoyed with on more than one occasion. John Barrowman’s return was a welcome one, as he gave Thea the harsh training he thinks she deserves. It also had some good acting all around, with Stephen Amell getting better and better every week and even Colton Haynes was solid and not completely unbearable anymore.

The action scenes were well choreographed. It was nice seeing Oliver pick up a gun and use it with precision. The scenes between Roy and Oliver continue to be well done, as the action scenes were awesome and the dialogue was funny at times. Everyone did well this week, but its unfortunate that they spent so much time on a storyline that was developed because of a coincidence.

The story this week had Oliver and Roy tracking down Thea to Corto Maltese and trying to bring her back. That story was good. But then John had to tag along because his wife (or ex-wife; I don’t know what she is at this point) came up with a convenient ARGUS plot that happened to be taking place in the same place where Thea was. And they decided to focus on this weaker storyline, opposed to the stronger story in the Thea drama.

All of the scenes with Thea this week were the strongest. Her conversations with Oliver, Roy, and Malcolm were all very well done. Oliver telling Thea one of his many secrets was a nice moment that was well-acted. The weakness this week was definitely the Diggle drama and the story with the ARGUS agent.

Also this week saw a change in Felicity’s story as she went to work for Ray Palmer. Brandon Routh is continuing to bring some quirkiness and excitement to his new role and is consistently one of the best parts of each episode. Setting up Felicity’s leave to go to The Flash was a bit much; we didn’t need a reason on Arrow.

And now to Laurel’s story. I’m torn on this because I like the direction they are taking the character in and it all makes sense….BUT Cassidy’s delivery is still pretty bad. Her decisions were stupid obviously, but that’s kind of expected in the state her character is in. But when she yells at Oliver or tries doing really anything that involves talking, I just get annoyed. I thought after learning Ollie’s secret, she’d get better. But I was wrong. Her exchange with her dad in the show was really good, but the rest? Not so much. Here’s to hoping she gets somewhat better or that my tolerance for her increases.

The episode overall was pretty decent. Had they focused on Thea and Merlyn more, it probably would have been much much better. But because they focused so little on them and so much on some pointless ARGUS plot (which, if it results in Lyla’s death; no one would really care), it didn’t flow as well as it could’ve. I wanted more flashbacks and more training scenes than we got. And I knew Thea would be back but this soon? You don’t even see much of the training so we are just supposed to belive Merlyn turned her into a badass already? Okay….I guess. It didn’t feel earned. But the previews for next week make me excited as Nyssa and Malcolm return to Starling City and things look to be heating up.

WHAT I LIKED:

+: Good action sequences

+: John Barrowman and Brandon Routh stood out

+: Thea not annoying me and actually being interesting is a welcomed change of pace

+: The acting

+: Great Thea/Oliver and Thea/Roy moments

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

-: The pointless ARGUS story that was the focus

-: Too little time focused on Thea and Merlyn

-: Thea’s return didn’t feel earned

-: Everything Laurel-related

ARROW: “CORTO MALTESE”

8.1/10

B-

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