It was a lot to take in, and our panelists have very strong opinions about the installment. Join TV Fanatics Allison Nichols, Paul Dailly, Amanda Festa, Hank Otero and special guest Andy Behbakht (of @TheFlashPodcast) to discuss "Uprising."
Comment on the overall arc of Oliver's death and the return of both Arrow and Oliver.
Andy: I have said openly that I'm not too thrilled with how they dealt with "The Death of Oliver Queen" because it seems at this point that they are trying to make it look like that he never died from that fall, but the bigger problem for me is that he came back way too soon. I almost wish that the lay out had been a bit different with him coming back in episode 14 or 15. But at this point I just have to accept what they did with his death or "death", I just wish that it had been for longer and that he had actually been brought back from a Lazarus Pit. Maybe he sacrifices himself in the season finale and then gets taken to the pit? A nerd can only dream, I suppose...But hey, at least he is back now!
Allison: I was happy that Oliver was gone an entire month. It may have felt quick to us, but Starling was without it's Arrow for a month. I wish the return would have had a more personal focus. We only get to see the first reactions to Oliver's return by Laurel and Roy. Whenever Oliver finally stops to chat with Diggle and Felicity, they already know he is alive, so we didn't get to see the genuine shock. Also, there hasn't really been a clear distinction as to whether Oliver died or not. Was he dead when Maseo got to him or would Oliver had died if Maseo didn't bring him out of the cold and to Tatsu? Also, how did Oliver get the Arrow suit without running into anyone in the Arrow cave?
Paul: I didn't enjoy his "death" storyline that much. It was obvious it was used to show us how the residents of Starling City would cope in his absence. It felt really forced. I agree with Allison that we don't really know if Oliver died or not. This could be a big questioning going towards the conclusion of the season. I find it difficult to imagine he didn't die. When we got to relive the scene at the "previously on Arrow" segment, it all looked pretty final for him. The return felt very random and was miles away from what I expected it to be. It didn't pack much of an emotional punch.
Amanda: What was most interesting about the arc of Oliver's death was that it wasn't so much about his death so much as it was about the repercussions of his absence. Oliver's death gave us a chance to see what Starling City would be like without the Arrow, and I thought the show handled it well. I particularly loved the attention given to Diggle and Arsenal in Oliver's absence. It really gave them a chance to step up and shine. I also think it was the best way to introduce Laurel as Black Canary, showing it as the personal journey it was, unconnected to Oliver. And with Oliver around, Team Arrow wouldn't have needed her to rise up as much as they did.
Hank: I like the way Amanda has chosen to look at the whole "death" arc. I've been pretty vocal about my disappointment, but if you think about it as a chance to let Team Arrow shine the story works from that angle. That said, I have to agree with Andy and Paul that bringing Ollie back the very next episode and not via the Lazarus Pit was a letdown. For me, the entire story arc lacked emotional impact after Ra's al Ghul stabbed and kicked Oliver over that cliff. That was an impressive moment, everything that followed... not so much.
Is Oliver right in his decision to train with Malcolm to overcome Ra's and is there something else at play?
Andy: At this point, he kind of has to and you know what, if this is the way we can finally get some more Malcolm/Oliver scenes, then sign me up! I do think that there might be something else in the makings with Oliver reaching out to Malcolm for help. Is this him trying to get into Malcolm's head, learn what he actually wants with Thea? It would be more shocking if Ollie actually didn't have anything up his sleeves in this dynamic so we will see what happens. But I do think that it's right of him that he is turning to Malcolm because as strong as people like Diggle are, Malcolm is an actual member of the L.O.A.
Allison: I think so because Oliver was trained in a very different style of fighting. He needs to know how Ra's fights, and the only real person who can teach him is Malcolm. I'm curious if Oliver training with Malcolm will bleed into his nights wearing a mask - will Oliver will start killing again? Will training with Oliver affect Malcolm any? There are many possibilities. I'm looking forward to seeing the two of them working together.
Paul: Oliver really has no other choice. If he could turn Thea into the bad ass she is now then the possibilities for Oliver are endless. The city needs to be ready for Ra's to attack. The writers took the lazy route to "redeem" Malcolm, so I don't think there is something else at play.
Amanda: From the first fight between Ra's and Oliver, we know for certain that Oliver does not currently have what it takes to beat him. While I do think training with Malcolm may be a necessary evil, I wish we had seen Oliver struggle with the decision a bit more. From the Malcolm backstory shown in "Uprising," I'm wondering if we are heading towards a redemption story. Can he ever fully be redeemed? I don't think so. But, I think that his love for Thea is genuine. Although, once she finds out about what he did to her, her eventual reproach may lead him back down the evil path.
Hank: I absolutely hate the thought the writers are going for a redemption story with Merlyn. If this is all about Oliver learning the secrets he needs to defeat Ra's and later taking out Merlyn I'll be thrilled. If the two go out to Big Belly Burger for a milkshake, I'll stick with The Flash next season.
Team Arrow brought in the citizens of the Glades to assist with decent results. Your thoughts on the fight.
Andy: It all seemed a little fast, but I'm a sucker for big fights like these when you have a big group of bad guys fighting against a group of ordinary citizens, along with Black Canary, Arsenal etc. I was happy to see Wildcat in action, but jeez, they couldn't give him a better costume? Hopefully if Ted is sticking around, we will see him get a cooler costume and I hope he does because I really enjoy this actor and what he brings to the show. But overall, the fight was really neat, in addition to when Oliver showed up and made his speech to the public before doing his flying-arrow-grapple thing-y or whatever you want to call it!
Allison: I love a huge fight scene. I wish we got to see more of how non-masks were fighting. We see Arsenal, Black Canary, and Wildcat taking on people, but there isn't much of a focus on the common person. I also wonder how they convinced so many people to fight off Brick. Personally, I would be no good in a fight and would be afraid of dying, so I wouldn't have joined in.
Paul: The fight scene was really good and well put together. It looked good, but as Allison said, we never got to see how the civilians joined in the fight. I understand the notion that people who still reside there would like to save whatever is left of the town, but it would have been good to see the recruitment process.
Amanda: I get pumped whenever they have large group scenes like that. The end of Season 2 in the tunnels comes to mind. I really liked having Arsenal and Black Canary leading the charge this time, and I am a big fan of Sin, so it was great to see her in the spotlight. I think getting the citizens you are trying to protect involved in a street fight is questionable, but at that point it was definitely necessary.
Hank: The scene was just okay for me. Amanda is right, it reminded me of the Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 finale, only that one was infinitely better. I get that Arsenal, Black Canary and Wildcat (wait, was he there?) brought the citizens of the Glades together, but it was all so rushed and convenient. Also, though I like Vinnie Jones, I thought the Danny Brickwell character was one of the worst villains we've seen on the show. Oliver's speech was a little cheesy at the end, but did they have to make him fly off like Spiderman? They're seriously pushing it.
What are your expectations upon Thea learning the truth about Oliver? Will she learn the truth about Malcolm and Sara, as well?
Andy: While we all know that she will learn everything pretty soon, I hope it comes in one and the same episode! I just want to see all of these secrets be out there already so we can see some new steps in Thea's arc. It hasn't moved a lot as much as I had hoped for so it would be neat if her entire world was changed by learning everything all at the same time and see how that character would deal with it. But my expectations re: her learning about Ollie: if she has it so easy accepting (sort of) that her biological father killed 503 people, than I will be pretty pissed if she gets all upset about Oliver killing bad guys (season 1) and now being a hero. I will be fine with her getting concerned about his well being, but if she complains about that he can't just go and take the law in his own hands, then I will be irritated.
Allison: Thea, Oliver returned the SAME day as the Arrow. Start putting things together, woman! She needs to start using her brain and realizing that some things are a little coincidental when it comes to Oliver and the Arrow. I mean she knows Roy is Arsenal. I hope she is the one who figures it out, and honestly I want her to know the Arrow/Oliver truth before learning about Sara.
Paul: I think she already begun putting the clues together. It's a case of her getting confirmation. I don't expect her to react positively to being used by her father to kill Sara. No one in her situation would. This knowledge could be the thing that sends her over the edge. She wouldn't be able to look Lauren or Lance in the eye. She will find everything out.
Amanda: My problem with the reveal at this point is this: With superheroes, we suspend a lot of disbelief. Oliver puts on some grease paint and a hood and it's fine that no one recognizes him, because that is part of the beauty of the genre. The reveal is part of the fun. But, the show has purposefully let that slide in regards to Roy/Arsenal e.g. Thea offhandedly commenting that she saw him on TV and knew it was him, and Quentin similarly recognizing him. I think these choices may take some of the power away from the big reveal to Thea. I think the bigger revelation will be what her father did to her, and I think that reveal will have widespread repercussions. I do think Roy will be there for her to help pick up the pieces, especially since he had a similar experience killing a cop while under the influence of the Mirakuru.
Hank: Honestly, I find it hard to care about Thea or her storyline. The character was heading in an interesting direction, but the writers have failed to follow through and excite me. These days, I watch the Thea/Malcolm scenes hoping they're quick so we can get back to Team Arrow. Man, I sound like an a-hole don't I? Guess I'm the only one truly disappointed with Arrow's Season 3-B. Not much is working for me, let me have it in the comments!
The only outstanding lies will be Laurel being unaware of Thea's and Malcolm's involvement in Sara's death and Capt. Lance's knowledge of said death. Are those answers on the horizon how will the team move forward once everything it out in the open?
Andy: I think Laurel and Capt. Lance will learn those respective secrets very soon and it's going to get messy, but hopefully it won't lead to anyone getting a heart attack or someone getting into drugs and alcohol again. I don't want to see Laurel pull away from Team Arrow when she learns the secret, because hopefully she will realize that it's a very complicated situation because of what Malcolm did to Thea. I think though once everyone knows about everything, they will be reminded that Ra's al Ghul is coming and that they need to rely on each other instead of pulling away from one another.
Allison: Captain Lance really needs to know the truth. It has gone on far too long, and keeping it from him has done more damage than telling him immediately would have. Now, Laurel's relationship with her father will never be the same. Laurel learning about Malcolm and Thea should hopefully make her angry at Malcolm, and not take it out on Thea because she wasn't aware that it was happening. I hope the dynamic changes between Laurel and her dad, but I don't want Laurel to distance herself from Team Arrow.
Paul: I agree that it's went to far. The poor guy is going to feel betrayed more than anything. A lot of the lies will come out before the end of the season. It will be interesting because it will change alliances. Will Laurel go after the Arrow for protecting Thea, or will she understand that Malcolm was behind it? We're in for a wild ride to the finish.
Amanda: One of the most emotional scenes, for sure, will be Quentin learning that Sara is dead. And I think that is on the horizon very soon. I loved the scene where Sin tells Quentin that the masked woman is not Sara. I also wish they had done a little more with the Sin/Sara friendship and Sara's history with her father. Laurel learning the truth about Sara's death will definitely bring up emotions, but I think it will just serve to further increase her vendetta against Malcolm.
Hank: I agree with everyone, both lies will be out in the open soon. With all the changes Laurel's gone through it's disappointing she's been lying to her father about Sara's death. He not only deserves the truth, but he has the right to mourn properly. If I were Quentin, I'd be pissed and I'm not sure his relationship with Laurel will ever be the same again. I'm hoping Laurel learns of Malcolm's involvement and kills Merlyn. I've mentioned many times the character has overstayed his welcome on the show. If Laurel takes him out, she will officially be Black Canary for me and I'll be forever grateful to her. We need to move past these lingering villains and plotlines from Season 1. I'm hoping for a reboot in Season 4.
Check out a few images from Arrow Season 3 Episode 13. Looking forward to seeing Sara again?