*This review is spoiler-free*
Arrow's been making some massive strides and thankfully, the mid-season finale keeps things moving at full speed. The amount of pure fan service and buildup in this episode is downright crazy and I sincerely have a tough time believing any fan of the show won't be blown away after watching this one.
First and foremost, "Three Ghosts" does a great job giving Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) a confidence boost and the dude's totally lovable. From standing up to Oliver to acting like a fanboy and dropping some much needed logic about Oliver's disguise, Gustin's sold me on his ability to bring Allen to life. And the ending with him? Well, let's just say it's beyond satisfying and very well executed. Brilliant stuff right there.
The stunt work remains impressive as we're treated to even more displays of super-strength. From "Solomon Grundy" taking on police to Oliver getting a rematch against the brute, it's all thoroughly entertaining and mostly devoid of infamous shaky cam. A fight in Arrow's hideout utilizes close cuts too often and that takes away from what could have been a stellar melee, but the rest of the chaos makes up for that. Besides, that conflict is more about the emotion.
Good action's fun and all, but a mid-season finale is all about setting the stage for the second half of the season and hitting us with some huge shockers. "Three Ghosts" does that and then some. And then again. And again. Basically, this final episode feels like one phenomenal setup for the future. To further cement our anticipation for the show's return in January, a certain villain lays out their agenda and the way it's directed is fantastic.
Seeing as this is spoiler-free, I won't ruin all of the respect they give the source material in this episode, but I will say there's more than enough of it to go around. We're not just talking about a name drop, either. There's ginormous developments with a few characters and the final two scenes are sure to make any fan cheer or get goosebumps. Game changing moments have definitely been delivered.
While there's some nice fan service with Cyrus' conclusion and we had a solid emotional moment right before it, I couldn't help but feel disappointed with the physical conflict. Oliver's a tactical guy, yet once again, he seems to think arrows, fists and feet will cut it against a guy who can literally tank bullets. You have trick arrows, man, so use 'em sooner when you know you're outclassed! Additionally, reveals in the season's story and a certain character already having a role in the modern era takes away from what could have been an emotionally compelling scene during the island plot. But on the plus side, it'll clearly give proper motivation to another character, so at least there's that.
"Three Ghosts" is a legitimately impressive episode. Not only does it cover plenty of ground and deliver some major nods to the comics, but it also does an absurdly good job building the hype for the second half of the season. Truth be told, I've had plenty of mixed feelings about this show since its debut, but honestly, these last two weeks have been excellent. Way to step it up, Arrow! The future definitely looks awesome.