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Arrow “Three Ghosts” Review (2×09)

11 Dec

ar209a_0733b-jpg-56d2169b-t3-630x419Oliver Queen’s always been a moral guy; he’ll do what needs to be done, but he’d prefer to do it the right way. Yet, considering all the pain he’s suffered and all the tough decisions he’s had to make, it’s certainly understandable why that pent-up guilt would manifest itself in the three “ghosts” he sees here. Although the concept is a bit heavy-handed and clunky, it serves as an effective bridge between his past, present, and future; it’s only fitting that this episode brings Slade into the present day picture.

I do like the idea of Oliver facing his past here in the present, because although we see glimpses of it in his flashbacks, it’s always been something he can distance himself from; for him, fighting to save the city is a way of redeeming himself for his past mistakes. Now, though, he can’t convince himself that it’s all behind him–it’s a nice move to have Slade’s ghost appear during a time in which Oliver’s supposedly in his element: using his bow and arrows–because it isn’t; I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic created by Bennett and Amell, and I’m looking forward to see it play out in the present day.

I’m also looking forward to the Barry Allen/Flash transformation; like I said last week, I’m genuinely surprised at how endearing Gustin’s become in this role. It helps that he has a strong supporting cast–in particular, he has Felicity to play off of–around him, but he’s also brought the right amount of charisma, charm, and general personality needed for a role like this. In fact, we start to see shades of a more emotionally and intellectually sound person in this episode; although he’s still starstruck by Oliver, he’ll still stand up for Felicity and do what he thinks is right. It’s a nice parallel to Oliver’s personality, and it’s going to be mighty interesting to see the tension and grudging respect between the two develop further.

Elsewhere, we get some Detective Lance-Laurel stuff, as well as a continuation of the Thea-Roy-Sin team up. I like that the show’s trying to integrate everyone into the overarching storyline; it’s not always successful–I still can’t bring myself to care about Laurel–but it’s emblematic of an ensemble show that doesn’t feel overstuffed.

All in all, it’s an exciting finish to a surprisingly wonderful half-season; Arrow has become one of my most anticipated shows each week, and it has a clear grasp on all its characters and the places they occupy in the grand scheme of things. I’m looking forward to where we go next.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Slade, acting all badass up in here. Manu Bennett was channeling from his Crixus days when he ripped out that heart.

-It’s nice to see Tommy back; both actors do some great work in their hallucination scene, able to make it a poignant and meaningful reunion.

-So Oliver essentially chooses Sara; it makes sense, although it’s absolutely devastating when Shado’s killed.

-There are still problems with Blood’s character; revealing that he’s just a pawn in Slade’s game doesn’t erase the nebulousness of his motivations and plan.

-See you on January 15th.

Credit to The CW and Arrow for all pictures; I own nothing.

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