Comic Vine Review


Arrow #219 - The Man Under The Hood Review


Deathstroke begins to create an army.

Arrow LOVES to tease us with Deathstroke. Sure, he's the big bad this season and they need to build him up, but for every episode where he gets the spotlight, it seems like there's at least 3 or 4 that save him just for the cliffhanger. Luckily for us, "The Man Under the Hood" brings him and his grand plan front and center. This episode isn't purely about Slade Wilson, though. It also offers some pretty large developments and well-executed drama.

The return of the Terminator of course means there's going to be at least one good action scene. While it's a bummer the big brawl was officially released online before the episode aired, it was still pretty fun to watch in context. I love the wire work with Sara's assault and the short parry between Oliver and Slade was enjoyable, even if Slade's final sword attack lacked any oomph. However, we are later treated to yet another skirmish. It's fairly short, but it packs a lot of energy and gives us a nice reminder of Slade's strength.

The real treat in this episode is the drama. Okay, maybe I'm not the biggest fan of what's going on with Thea -- I'll get to that later -- but what occurred with Sara, Laurel, Quentin and Oliver was solid. It initially had me fearing they were about to take an unfortunate direction, but by the time the credits rolled, I was very pleased with how it was all handled. Let's just say it properly closes the door on one plot point instead of totally dragging it out. Isabel Rochev gets another opportunity to make her presence known and this ends up bringing a little more depth to the character -- something she most certainly needed. But hey, better late than never! I'm also happy to see the show's reeling Roy back into the big picture. There's a lot of potential with his situation and it's great to see they're building him up for something significant in next week's episode.

I'm left with mixed feelings on Quentin Lance's big speech. On one hand, it's an absolutely critical development and something a certain character really needed to hear... otherwise they could have gone down a potentially aggravating path. But on the other hand, it felt a little too The Dark Knight-esque. More than a person? What the city needs? I mean, his performance has been good throughout this show and he nails the delivery, but I really wish they did a little more to make it feel like its own thing instead of immediately drawing parallels to Batman's famous trilogy. That said, the drama surrounding Oliver's identity and his father's history was handled pretty well and it was satisfying that the writers were able to effectively deliver quite a few developments in just this one episode. Plus, major credit for a couple of clever transitions between scenes.

Holy fan service, Arrow! To further his plot, Deathstroke needs to snag a device from S.T.A.R. Labs. This gives the writers an organic way to tease the upcoming Flash pilot and include two new characters. I have to admit, it was a really creative and fun way to promote what's coming up in this universe without hindering what's currently going on.

Unfortunately, I have some minor gripes about "The Man Under the Hood." While they delivered a cool (albeit short) action sequence at the HQ, did anyone else think messing with the lights was pointless and didn't hinder the visibility at all? I know some of you will say it gave them the ability to hide better and what not, but that really wasn't shown in the scene, and it didn't even seem remotely dark as the fight unfolded. It's not a huge deal, but I thought it was unnecessary. Also, there's a few other scenes that I thought were a little awkwardly handled. That guard in the beginning having a super delayed reaction as a man within his line of sight was choked out? The other security guy saying absolutely nothing and just staring oddly at the two employees before it's revealed there's a knife in his back? And that final reveal was pretty obvious, so despite Slade's plan taking the next step, it didn't feel like that gripping of a finish. None of these are enough to ruin the episode or anything along those lines, but they began to add up for me.

For me, Thea is becoming the new Laurel. Remember how Laurel was painful frustrating and many of us just couldn't feel empathy for her? Yup, that's apparently how Thea's being developed. Yes, she's been rocked by a huge reveal, Roy broke her heart, and it's obviously a key part of Slade's plan, but I couldn't help but groan when she says a totally unlikable and crude response to Oliver telling her something rather huge about their father. Hopefully her road isn't as long and as frustrating as the one Laurel took!

I can't be the only one wondering what's up with Oliver's "team-up" with Amanda Waller and potentially her squad, right? Considering the dilemma he's facing, he could most definitely benefit from reaching out to her and utilizing her resources. Maybe they're just saving them for the big finale? It feels a little odd to tease it and wait so long before following-up at all, though.

"The Man Under the Hood" is a big episode. It's able to successfully juggle Deathstroke's plan, strong family drama, and the situation surrounding Arrow's identity. On top of all that, the episode's able to work in some major fan service by teasing the upcoming Flash pilot. All in all, this is guaranteed to be an episode that many viewers will really, really enjoy.

44 Comments Refresh
Posted by The Stegman

Getting tired of these d*ck teases with Deathstroke, have them have an actual fight already.

Posted by Farkam

Watching this now.

Posted by Jphu8414

Good episode, this is all building up pretty well for the season finale-which I'm sure is going to be epic.

I'm not going to lie though, I find Thea to be a little but annoying in this episode. I know she's just a teenager who found out some very shocking stuff but the way she's acting is a but silly.

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

Edited by The Stegman

@jphu8414 said:

Good episode, this is all building up pretty well for the season finale-which I'm sure is going to be epic.

I'm not going to lie though, I find Thea to be a little but annoying in this episode. I know she's just a teenager who found out some very shocking stuff but the way she's acting is a but silly.

I agree. I understand it's bad news, but come on, your family is losing their company, stop whining and act like a big girl.

Posted by War Killer

I did find Thea's response to what Ollie revealed about their father at the end a bit...jerkish. I get that she's had to deal with a lot of crap, but when you find out that your father knew you weren't his daughter yet loved you enough that he didn't care...that's sound like a pretty awesome dad to me.

Posted by SynCig

I still think that Thea is being much more reasonable than Laurel but she was a bit annoying in this episode. At least you can point to external sources for her turmoil. Laurel just kept screwing up her own life and blaming everyone else for it. I still think Thea needs to just sit down and talk this out with Ollie. I get why she'd be mad at her mom but Oliver didn't do anything all that wrong and didn't even know about Malcolm being her father for very long. It's not like he knew since they were little kids or something. A lot of her drama is hinging on her refusal to actually talk anything out like an adult.

Edited by Gotham331

Tonight's episode was pretty solid. I was a little bit let down over the way Laurel handled Ollie's secret identity. I really wanted a lil bit more from that. Also, how did Slade know about the transfusion device if the patent was pending and pretty much hush hush?

Still, I liked the episode. Can't wait for next week.

Edited by MrMazz

Man I love the death stroke outfit except for the like eye hump on the bisected mask why dose that need to be there?

cheap plug to User Review (trying out a shorterend outisde URL to see if that gets around the linking problems here).

Posted by jwalser3

Such a fun episode tonight!

Posted by Farkam

Good episode.

Edited by Fallschirmjager

Anyone else lol pretty hard when Ollie finds out Isabel was his dad's lover? He face like "AND I SLEPT WITH HER GG"

Edited by Farkam

Anyone else lol pretty hard when Ollie finds out Isabel was his dad's lover? He face like "AND I SLEPT WITH HER GG"

I loled hard at that scene.

Posted by Sachmoo

Solid episode. Agree mostly with the review. The producers seem to always want a 'woe is me' character, and it's Thea's roll now. Also, is this the first time they mentioned Bludhaven? I liked that. As I said in another review; At some point, most likely next season, I wouldn't be shocked to see Roy running with Red hood and the outlaws.

Posted by daredevil21134

Under The Hood belongs to Jason Todd

Posted by NightFang

Anyone else lol pretty hard when Ollie finds out Isabel was his dad's lover? He face like "AND I SLEPT WITH HER GG"

Ollier and his dad have the same taste in women.

Posted by Sovereign91001

Cisco was supposed to be Vibe right?

Posted by MadeinBangladesh
Posted by patrat18

Robert and Ollie shared a bed with Isabel.

Posted by bunkerbuster05
Posted by Lurkero

I enjoy Slade's cartoonish villain antics, but I am not confident that he will have a badass action scene wearing that suit. It seems too bulky to allow him good mobility.

Laurel took a while to redeem herself and the writers brought me back to liking her. Thea is going through a lot and, honestly, you aren't going to like everybody all the time. Thea may mature after this ordeal. Her family has been lying to her her whole life. I'll cut her a little slack.

No Suicide Squad appearances is really making me sad.

Posted by josai21

Honestly, I'm less annoyed with Thea's character development than I am with Oliver's. It feels like every episode lately portrays him to be an idiot. Especially relationship wise. Trust Isabel? Tanked. Advice to Roy? It tanked. Tell Thea -some- truth? Tanked.

Quite frankly I feel like the only way to redeem Oliver's idiotic relationship with others would be for him to realize the pain his secrets cause when they get out and tell Thea and Moira the truth about the Arrow.

Posted by iceslick

@k4tzm4n: Gregg, I think you have problems with characters who are not in the same line as you are. I agree with all the points of the reviews except with the Thea drama. You gotta try to put yourself in their shoes not put them in your shoes. I hope you get the memo, lol. Thea is a young naive teenager, plus when you are constantly being lied to all of your family. It's kind of hard to see why they lied and it's hard to see who they can't trust, especially when it every single family member that lies to her. It's like her trust to her family has been broken over lie over lie. When things happen like that all you can think about is the big word "lie" in your head over and over. The word makes you blinded to not see anything else but the word. The girl feels alone because she doesn't know what to do and she can't see the good reasons why it has happened because of the word "lied". Sometimes being lied is hard to come by even when it's within good reasoning. Also, Laurel went through the same exact thing with her family and that's why it feels like it's happening all over again because it is, but with Thea. I think this is why Thea and Laurel had a great connection when they use to work together because they are one and the same. They both go through same trails in life. Also, remember how Oliver felt like disowning his mother (which, he already has in someway) because she lied to him. That's exactly how Thea feels now, she wants to disown her entire family because they all have lied. I'm not trying to sway you into my opinion (It's too late for that now, lol since you posted the review). I just want you to try to get a better understand of the characters, that's it. I'm just the type of person that like to discuss and make people think before they formulate an opinion. Me and my boyfriend have these discussions all the time and sometimes I admit I'm guilty of putting my opinions before I think, for example I disagreed with Sasha in the Walking Dead, but talking to my boyfriend made me think otherwise. I think everyone is guilty of doing these things. I think that's why discussions are always fun to make us think better.

Posted by webling

This episode had a lot of moments that I did not see coming, the opening was certainly an awesome beginning. The introduction of the Flash characters I guess is a good use of synergy but I found their scenes very jarring simply because of the transition to the Flash's cinematography. That show is also going to be essentially a crime procedural, how is it going to have such a bright and positive lighting and musical score?

Anyway, I am really hoping that they don't degrade Thea, I have finally liked her this season and she actually became one of my favorites. I think if she doesn't reconcile with her family she could at least be a considerable third party. She has proven herself capable this season. They are trying to redeem Laurel but I don't think I will ever care about her. This show has had the unfortunate habit of making at least one character at a time be the physical embodiment of PMS'ing. It'd be nice to see them try a different archetype for their supporting female characters.

Posted by GodOfMischief

Great review, Gregg. Another minor gripe I had was Diggle running at Deathstroke like an idiot firing his pistol. I understand they were probably trying to make a cool fight scene but it seemed pretty stupid.

Posted by SupBatz

I support Thea! The girl has a lot going on, and her "breakdown" (if we're calling it that) seems like the most justified of any that we've seen on the show so far. Just look how Oliver reacted to his mother when he found out about Merlyn? Nobody decried Oliver as being irrational and jerky at the time. Thea's earned some anger. Especially conidering that there are STILL secrets being kept from her (Oliver is Arrow, Merlyn is alive, Deathstroke is looking to piss off Ollie, Roy is Mirakuru'd). And as an aside, her speech about Tommy being her half-brother was immensely entertaining.

And if the preview for next week is any indication, we will see some excellent Thea material.

Laurel has won me over, thankfully. I'm glad that they're using a more unique approach with her character. I am definitely curious to see what she'll do next and how she might subtly try to help out Ollie and Sara.

Ollie is a piss off. Every decision he makes seems to be the epitome of idiocy. By the end of this season, he needs to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and own up to all of the bad judgment calls he's made over the years.

Isabel was pretty fun. I like her character, even though she's pretty irrational and is occupying a "jealous ex-girlfrienx" archetype. But it works for her. I'm hoping that she survives the season (cured of mirakuru) and becomes a recurrin antagonist for Ollie. Giving him an adversary in the business world as well as in the vigilante world.

Looking forward to seeing a more Roy and Thea-centric episode next week. Slade was definitely right to call Oliver out in tonight's episode on his treatment of Roy, who Ollie drove from idolizing him to despising him. Roy has been a character that I really liked this season but who has had a decrease in fanfare since he was injected with Mirakuru. So I'm hoping that he is the first to be cured so that he was swe him return to a more likable character.

8/10. Good episode, but not really enough content to make it an amazing episode.

Edited by Vitalius

I liked Laurel ´s role. I am fine that didn´t tell Sarah and Oliver that she knows, but i dont think that Slade is happy with that.

Deathstroke vs Team Arrow was one of best fight of show.

But there was some plot holes.

Posted by Mister_Sensational

@madeinbangladesh: HAHAHAHA!!! NICE! That quite literally was the case for me as far as this episode goes because as soon as it hit 8:30 my girl called me with some drama making it virtually impossible to finish watching the show.

Posted by Mucklefluga

Average episode, some really dumb but minor moments happened, which seem to occur a lot in this show. The line Cisco said using the word "vibe" being one of them.

Posted by lifeofvibe

under the hood belongs to jason todd

Edited by SaintWildcard

I enjoyed this one, I was getting tired of Slade just messing with Oliver. The last episode I liked was the Suicide Squad episode and now this one. The episodes in between were kinda meh.

Posted by Wolverine08

Cool episode.

Posted by Jayisabaus

@wolverine08: I'm thinking about getting into the show but Deathstroke looks low budget.

Edited by Wolverine08

@wolverine08: I'm thinking about getting into the show but Deathstroke looks low budget.

Manu Bennet's Deathstroke portrayal is one of the best things about the show man.

Posted by spidershamrock

Loved this episode. I don't mind Thea's drama as much as Laurels. Laurel was really annoying and her reasons were stupid. Maybe I just like Thea more so I don't mind but Thea's drama is less annoying and makes me feel for her. Although the end bit with her was kinda annoying.

Posted by godzilla44

Bad-ass episode

Edited by Avenger85

Plz don't hate on the Champion Of Capua.

Posted by Angrymeal

I think Laurel is way more annoying than Thea I've been hoping she was going to die since season 1 all she does is get depressed and try to drag people down with her

Posted by thewalkingdeadpool18

Arrow>Agents of Shield

That being said this episode was meh. Wasn't bad just wasn't invested as i usually am in the show. I actually found this weeks AOS better and i hate that show except this weeks episode and last weeks episode. I really hate how those two character who will be on Flash as Vibe and Killer Frost were so forced in there. Felt like bad producte placement they were just shoving it down our throats that "PAY ATTENTION THESE CHARACTERS WILL MATTER IN FLASH PAY ATTENTION LOVE THESE CHARACTERS BECAUSE YOU'RE STUCK WITH THEM" i didn't even know who they were some one in the comments of a review for the episode told me. Yet without knowing who they are i was still able to tell they were trying to make them out as important characters with alot of emphasis because they made it that obvious.

Posted by KnightRise

Upsettlingly accurate. The baseball game dragged over 24 minutes of my recording.........

Posted by Avenger85

Screw Ollie. I want a Deathstroke series.

Edited by Red_Vibe

best part of the entire episode was seeing Diggle put some rounds into Isabel.

Posted by mak13131313

Awesome episode! Deathstroke rules!

Posted by AmazingWebHead

I agree with you all, Thea, like everyone else under 20 in this show (except Sin) is being whiny.

Quentin Lance: He is what this city needs him to be.
Me: NO MORE BATMAN PARALLELS UNTIL YOU GET A BATMAN VILLAIN TO GUEST STAR! (Maybe Bane vs Deathstroke or Joker breaking Harley out of Checkmate)