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Arrow #221 - City of Blood Review

3

Sebastian Blood takes office and Deathstroke's plan is put into action.

After last week's cliffhanger, it's understandable this episode would have a slower pace to allow for fitting reactions and character depth. As expected, the show's recent development gave Stephen Amell and even Kate Cassidy a better chance to deliver material that's a little more engrossing than usual. Some of the dialogue was a little odd ("I know you like I know my name" and why not open with the part about Blood?), but when secrets come front and center, the show certainly produces some engaging bits. Unfortunately, the same doesn't really hold true for another one of Oliver's family members and the episode felt like it was just going through the motions to plant her somewhere specific.

When an episode is promoted as putting Slade's army forward, you'd expect some action-packed goodness and memorable tension. However, Felicity is absolutely the highlight of tonight's episode. Not only does an earlier scene give her a chance to show off her acting chops, but she later steals the show with some legitimately funny and sharp remarks. Way to go, Felicity.

I really wasn't feeling the flashback segments in this one. The cuts felt sudden and, right when they said someone had to go, we all knew where the show would go (out of those 4 individuals, 3 are alive in the current era, so...). They try to give the scene a little emotional impact by sharing why the character is okay with it, but honestly, I didn't find it all that effective. Sure, it drew parallels to the modern storyline, but the material just didn't feel all that compelling there.

As I said above, this episode brought out some good performances, but it went for an amount of weight and tension that sometimes didn't feel justified. For example, as viewers, we know what Slade meant when he says another person has to die (come on, you know who he means, right? Of course you do.), so to have extended conversations about a road we know the show won't go down takes away from the intensity and instead left me waiting for them to correct this course. Also, was it just me or was Oliver totally talking to himself during that one scene outside? That said, they do make up for this a little bit with the handling of Sebastian Blood's character. Instead of feeling like a rehash of what previously happened or dragging it out, this episode is able to swiftly move forward with the fiend and place him in a variety of satisfying scenes.

I get the program has good stunt work and they want to dish out some fight choreography, but the show just makes Oliver look bad when he gets humiliated by mirakuru goon #42 because he's too stubborn to fight tactically. It doesn't help that the entire time Oliver possessed a trick arrow that could defeat the character, too. Again, I understand they want to show off cool stunts, but I wish it didn't make Oliver look bad in the process -- something which tends to happen a fair amount (like when he previously rushed into hand-to-hand against Bronze Tiger despite knowing the guy has crazy reflexes and skill).

The last time we chimed in on Amanda Waller, Deathstroke was obviously on her radar. This episode then takes steps to establish her as being essentially the super NSA, yet they're awfully oblivious to what's been going on with Slade, and then they don't even seem all that concerned. Perhaps they're just saving the Suicide Squad's return for the big finale, but a little more from this side of things would be appreciated.

Holy abrupt ending, Batman! I mean, yes, it's an ending that has several threads hanging (Diggle's is without question the most exciting one), but man, talk about a jarring switch to the credits. They ended on a note that didn't properly deliver on the chaos that's about to go down. Instead, it felt like they cutaway a little too soon. You know, right before it ends on a "say WHAT?!" kind of moment.

Following-up the last episode isn't an easy feat, and while this one does deliver an appropriately somber tone, a couple of solid performances, and some big developments, it just doesn't pack the same kind of punch as some of the stronger episodes. It's not bad, but it'll definitely have you looking forward instead of positively reflecting on what just occurred.

54 Comments
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Posted by MrTummyTumms

Yeah it did feel really rushed.

Posted by AlKusanagi

Really? I thought this one was a solid 5 stars. Perfect build up for everything about to pop off in the final two episodes.

Edited by Spider-Man

3/5? @k4tzm4n

"I do have a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will look for you, I will find you."

arrow animated GIF

Edited by Zjd106

This is DC right? So Isabel Rochev is not suppose to look like Lady Deadpool?

Posted by k4tzm4n

3/5

"I do have a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will look for you, I will find you."

smile animated GIF

Really? I thought this one was a solid 5 stars. Perfect build up for everything about to pop off in the final two episodes.

Well, uh, glad you enjoyed it, I guess? Too many moments in this took away from the hype-building for me.

Staff
Edited by Spider-Man

@k4tzm4n: You do know I'm joking, right? Please don't send Liam Neeson after me. Your review is accurate and fair.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@spider-man said:

@k4tzm4n: You do know I'm joking, right? Please don't send Liam Neeson after me.

I don't make Liam Neeson do anything. He does what he wants. He's an uncontrollable force of nature and something tells me he wants to make you suffer for being the 249242949124091748913th person to use his line from Taken and he's tired of hearing it :P

Staff
Edited by Spider-Man
Posted by k4tzm4n
Staff
Edited by patrat18

4.5/5

Posted by SynCig

Agree with this review. The editing was my biggest complaint of this episode. The cuts to flashbacks happened at seemingly random intervals sometimes and the end of the episode felt like someone pulled power to my television right before something awesome could happen. It was still pretty good despite all of the flaws you listed. 3/5 is a fair score for a predominantly set-up episode.

Edited by TheMultiverse

His knee is still busted! Plus he fought better than Bruce in all of the Nolan batman films combined. lol The acting was great all around in this episode, and the brother blood reveal to Ollie felt so natural. He went from depressed to motivated so well.

Posted by VaizD

Ravager (can we just call her that? Because, c'mon.) looks kinda silly with her giant doofy mask. I sorta wish they'd gone the bandanna route.

Posted by godzilla44

It was a poor episode with editing and ending, everything else was just fine though. 3.5/5

Posted by Nightwing4

@zjd106: looks like she's the Arrowverse's Ravager.

Edited by iceslick

I admit I feel this way sometimes when I have opinion that goes against the reviewer or when an opinion becomes the majority opinion, lol. By the way, I felt this episode was 4 stars for me. I felt the emotional ties in the characters' response to dealing with Moria's death and Laurel finding out who was Arrow made the episode very strong.

Edited by Nuec_Sol

@alkusanagi: I thought it was a solid episode too. Some may feel it was rushed but its the almost the end of the season, its suppose to be fast paced and yet leaves you wanting more.

Posted by Lurkero

I'm okay with cliffhangers during the climax episodes so long as characters and plot keep progressing. From now on every show only gets one "Soprano" ending, so Arrow used it up.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I loved this episode, definitely better then "watch Roy rage" for a hour. 5 stars imo, its ending kept me pumped and I love the Laurel and Ollie scenes. i really liked the sacrifice scene on the island and how it affected Oliver.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Yea thought it was a okay epsiode.

Edited by JakeN7

Haven't watched it yet, but IGN gave it a 9.7. What am I supposed to expect!? A mediocre/average episode or an amazing one!? Curse you @k4tzm4n: for confusing my expectations!

Online
Edited by Jaydarocknrolla

this show is frickin boring. i wish it had more suicide squad. i wanna see deadshot vs deathstroke.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

@jaken7: its an amazing one imho.

Edited by MatthewParker

@jaken7: There were some really awesome parts, but it was definitely one of the weaker episodes...I thought so any way.

Posted by Saren

"Like riding bicycle.......underwater."

Best KGBeast evaaar

Moderator
Posted by SupBatz

I thought this was one of the better episodes. If was mainly a character development episode, without a lot of action. So it really comea down to whethwr you're the kind of person who appreciates taking a step back to get into each character's head to see how they're thinking after a big event.

Laurel was pretty great here. I'm liking her more and more each episode. Admittedly, I half expected her to put on the Canary costume tonight.

Felicity was hyaterical, as always. Isabel was cool (though her mask does look kind of dumb). Blood was engaging. And it was good to see Walter again.

Thea was okay. Again, I understand her reaction and support her mentality throughout this season. But I was kind of hoping that she would put two-and-two together by this point. Hopefully that comes soon.

The island scenes and the episode's pacing were both a bit off, though.

And Oliver is just cringe-worthy. It's sad that he is the weaket character on his own show at this point. He has showed minimal development compared to several other characters, has absolutely horrible judgment, continuously rushes powerful enemies head-on rather than approach tactfully, and just doesn't have any leadership capabilities. I sincerely hope that they work on Oliver's characer nezt season. Because he i incredibly unlikable right now. And I can completely understand why so many characters in the show are pissed at him (Roy, Thea, Slade), yet Oliver is paintes as the victim and the other three are painted as "misguided". Ugh.

4/5 from me. Looking forward to the last two episodes.

Posted by Mr_Winchester

Couldn't agree more about the abrupt ending, that flashback just before the ending seemed a little pointless as well, or at the very least out of place.

Either way I'm hoping for the League of Assassins and/or Suicide Squad vs Slades Army

Posted by Herx

As an episode looking at the turmoil caused by Moira's death i thought it was pretty damn good (Especially felicity XD). As an action piece i obviously wasn't expecting much (i didn't see any of the previews btw so i went in blind) but as a stand alone episode they were not 5 star material, but as a build up to the next (2?) episodes i think it was a good'un. BUT i agree with some of the other comments: the flashbacks in this episode were not edited well plus the "emotional" weight of loosing peter was...... wait there was a guy called peter? TBH i think that the flashback storyline of this season has been stretched beyond what it should have been, i loved the first half leading up to the attack on Ivo's ship, but the aftermath of the ship fights have not been good in my opinion (sure season 1 had its "flop" flashback episodes but i don't remember them happening as often). + Ravagers mask..... yeh, i don't need to say anything else. Why giver her a mask which, compered to the others, was less protective? (you know, apart from the whole ravager thing). Other than that i enjoyed the episode and am very much looking formward to the next episode.

Edited by Xwraith

This episode moved really fast for one that didn't have a lot of action.

But I couldn't stop smiling when Ravager showed up.

Edited by snarkybits

Sebastian Blood?

When I hear that name, I think:

Posted by k4tzm4n

@jaken7 said:

Haven't watched it yet, but IGN gave it a 9.7. What am I supposed to expect!? A mediocre/average episode or an amazing one!? Curse you @k4tzm4n: for confusing my expectations!

Expect another episode of Arrow and then make up your own mind :D

Staff
Posted by Rixec

@jaken7 said:

Haven't watched it yet, but IGN gave it a 9.7. What am I supposed to expect!? A mediocre/average episode or an amazing one!? Curse you @k4tzm4n: for confusing my expectations!

It all comes down to personal opinion. I thought it was a great episode that leads into the greatness of the upcoming episodes. Reviews may be good to look at and hope to see good ones - particular for things you like - but it's not always the case. You just have to go in for yourself and see if you agree with the review or not. Would you believe there are people who say Batman & Robin is a masterpiece and that The Dark Knight is trash? Just trust your own opinion if you like it or not. Either way, I'm sure it's about to pay off. >D

Posted by Farkam

Dull episode.

Posted by Superbat420

Wait who's that guy tryin to get off the island?

Edited by TheAcidSkull

This was actually a good episode, much better than seeing red. Well...aside from the ending that is.

Posted by Hagenti

It was an awesome episode, but the last 5 minutes or so, felt rushed and expecially the last flashback was waaaayyy too sudden.

Posted by The Stegman

The ending was very abrupt, but a good episode nonetheless.

Edited by Falconer

For a boring episode of Arrow (and lets be honest, those have been few and far between this season) a ton of awesome stuff happened. Except Laurel. Please die, no love, me and everyone else watching this show.

For this technically being part 2 to a four part finale, I am okay with (and it makes sense) this just dealing with the last bombshell and setting up the craziness that'll happen in the last two eps.

Online
Edited by The Impersonator

@zjd106 said:

This is DC right? So Isabel Rochev is not suppose to look like Lady Deadpool?

She's Lady Deathstroke. =P

Posted by Dernman

I want to like Laurel but I just can't.

Posted by TheBhramaBull

@k4tzm4n Who is the one person who has to die? Please spoil for me

Edited by Knightfall225

Sorry to say but this weeks episode was pretty boring

Edited by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n Who is the one person who has to die? Please spoil for me

Slade's obviously talking about Sara, but who knows if she really will.

Staff
Posted by Black_Arrow

I loved when Oliver said that he wanted to go back to be a team of 3. I fear for Diggle, he has to fight someone who has mirakuru and can give a fight to Oliver.

Edited by TheBhramaBull

@k4tzm4n:

Sorry, but why is that obvious to you? Not saying you're wrong, but I never even considered it would be Sara, especially when's he's had ample opportunity to capture her. I assume this is something he has planned out and I don't see how he could have known Sara would even come back to Starling City, let alone know what to do now that she has gone back to the League of Assassins (I'm guessing that's where she's gone and I know she will definitely be back for the finale but still I don't see how he could know that).

My guess was it could be Ollie's kid, although I'm not sure what kind of emotional weight that would bring, sure it's his son but he has never ever met him so it may not bring the despair Slade's looking for. If it is Sara that would probably open the way for Laurel to become the Black Canary.

Posted by MrMazz

As far as opening acts of three part arcs go, "City of Blood" manages to tell an effective episode story while still playing Act 1 set up for "Streets on Fire" and "Unfathomable"

I truly loved the first halfs contemplative meditative and tonal flourishes, I can see why some wouldn't like such a slow start but it was excellent craftsmanship by Nick Corpus and the writers.

Cheap Plug to User Review

Posted by spidershamrock

Build up episode, which is a necessary annoyance. Summer Glau's mask was more stupid than scary tho

Posted by josai21

@supbatz: I agree entirely. Oliver is the most dislikable character on the show imo. His judgement and decision making skills are pretty crappy. I'm like...you see how -all- these secrets are coming to light and hurting people plus yourself. It might....just -might- be a good idea to tell the truth to people?

Plus the whole "Isabel temp CEO" thing was dumb as could be. At the very least Oliver can no longer be compared to a rip off of batman in this show. Bruce at least has some modicum of intelligence.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n:

Sorry, but why is that obvious to you? Not saying you're wrong, but I never even considered it would be Sara, especially when's he's had ample opportunity to capture her. I assume this is something he has planned out and I don't see how he could have known Sara would even come back to Starling City, let alone know what to do now that she has gone back to the League of Assassins (I'm guessing that's where she's gone and I know she will definitely be back for the finale but still I don't see how he could know that).

My guess was it could be Ollie's kid, although I'm not sure what kind of emotional weight that would bring, sure it's his son but he has never ever met him so it may not bring the despair Slade's looking for. If it is Sara that would probably open the way for Laurel to become the Black Canary.

I believe that because Slade stated he wants Oliver to suffer like he did. In order for that to happen, he needs to lose the person he loves. This immediately brings Sara to mind, though I wonder if something will happen to Laurel instead. Guess we'll see!

Staff
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