Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Arrow has kicked up the intensity week after week since the heartbreaking and jaw-dropping mid-season finale. Each new episode gives fans more backstory on characters and allows them to grow and change. In Arrow’s latest episode entitled, “Uprising,” fans saw the conclusion to Danny “Brick” Brickwell’s (Vinnie Jones) reign of terror on the Glades and return of the all mighty Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell).
This episode was all about Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and his journey to being a killer. In the midst of the action with Brick, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) uncovers that he was the one who killed Rebecca Merlyn twenty-one years ago. John Barrowman has always been a fan-favorite actor on the show and this week was an episode for those fans. With the flashback sequences focused on Malcolm and how he became the killer he is today, fans learned more about everyone’s favorite villain. Through the flashbacks, fans got to see Malcolm make the choice to kill the man he believed to be Rebecca’s murder as well as leaving Tommy to go join The League of Assassins. Barrowman allowed Malcolm to be a vulnerable character this episode while still maintaining an underlying layer of villain (something few actors can achieve).
Danny Brickwell has been wreaking havoc on the Glades for the last two episodes and this week, the battle reared its ugly head. After the Starling City Police pulled out of the Glades last week, things are looking bleak. Roy (Colton Haynes), Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Felicity and Diggle (David Ramsey) struggle to keep everything under control as Brick continues his reign of terror. Even Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) becomes involved and reaches out to Roy. Yes, everyone’s favorite captain knows that Roy is indeed Arsenal. The major battle begins when Malcolm shows up and saves Laurel from Brick by shooting him with an arrow. In an emotional scene from Team Arrow, Malcolm comes and asks for them to help him kill Brick and avenge Rebecca. Malcolm isn’t their biggest fan so this brings up some feeling for the team.
Colton Haynes has grown a ton throughout the three seasons of Arrow and this episode showed his growth once again. In a beautifully acted scene, Roy begs for Team Arrow to give Malcolm a chance after he learns that he saved Thea (Willa Holland) the night of Slade’s attack, without having an ulterior motive. Felicity is not okay with working with Malcolm and she says, “I can’t think of a world or a universe or a plane of existence where Oliver would agree to any of this.” Then in one of the biggest blows and one of the most hurtful lines of the night Roy replies with, “Well, Oliver isn’t here anymore so we need to stop pretending like he is.” Rickards and Haynes are arguably the two biggest surprises on Arrow. There acting skills have exceeded expectations and it’s hard to imagine an Arrow universe without the two of them.
With Brick’s threat to destroy the Glades and everyone in it looming overhead, Team Arrow needs to act and act fast. Laurel makes the decision to go directly to the people of the Glades and have them ban together to stop Brick. This decision saw the return of two fan favorite characters, Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and Ted “Wildcat” Grant (J.R. Ramirez). Both characters help gather the citizen’s of the Glades to help protect their city. Arrow has boasted some high-budget stunt sequences and this battle can be added to it. With numerous extras, amazing stunts and impeccable acting, the finale to the Brick trilogy was on point. Several important items come out of this fight sequence. For starters, Ted gets seriously injured and Laurel runs to him and his fate is left unknown. This small encounter between Laurel and Ted was beautifully acted and added a tear-jerking component to an already heartbreaking episode. Malcolm decides to not kill Brick so he can be better a better father to Thea than he was to Tommy and Quentin learns from Sin that the blonde woman dressed as the Canary is not Sara. A lot can happen between saving an entire city. Oh, and a minor detail, the fight also saw the return of everyone’s favorite masked vigilante. That’s right folks, Oliver Queen is back in Starling City, but his return was not met without a little heartache.
Oliver Queen is alive and has returned to save his city. This Arrow episode fans experienced Oliver’s long awaited return to his beloved city. Upon leaving Tatsu (Rila Fukushima), who begs him not to go, she leaves our hero with some words of wisdom, “To defeat a man like this Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable), you must be willing not just to die but to live knowing what you have to sacrifice in order to beat him… whatever you hold most precious.” Fans of Arrow know who/what Oliver holds most precious. In one of the most empowering and hero-esque scenes Arrow has produced, The Arrow stands in the middle of the crowd and address his city. He says, “I’ve been gone and I’m sorry for what this city has had to endure in my absence… You did not fail this city. And I promise I will not fail you by leaving it again.” Amell has been transformed into a true hero and this scene proves it once again.
Whenever a hero returns, there is bound to be an emotional reunion with their significant others. In this case, Oliver and Felicity’s emotional reunion was one fans have been gearing up for. Their reunion in the Foundry was met with a heartwarming, tear inducing embrace that had “Olicity” fans on the floor. Sadly this lasted all of two-minutes when Oliver reveals that he has agreed to train with Malcolm so he can defeat Ra’s al Ghul. Felicity is devastated considering in the beginning of the episode she decided not to work with Malcolm because she believed Oliver never would. In an emotional encounter, Felicity tells Oliver, “The last thing you said to me was that you love me. Now you’re back and the first thing you tell me… is that you’re working with a man, who turned your sister – who you love into a killer, who killed a woman you loved. I don’t want to be a woman you love.” Rickards delivers the crushing blow and Amell’s face has fans on the floor crying. Their chemistry on screen is further proven with this encounter. Although fans may be devastated, Felicity did come from a place of genuine love. Fans can see that Felicity thought Oliver was going to come back and want to build a life. This is a broken-heart talking.
The only critique for the episode? Not enough John Diggle. Diggle has been an intricate part of Team Arrow from day one and in the past several weeks he has taken a back seat to Laurel becoming the Canary. He has been used as a plot device to further Laurel’s story with Roy and Felicity. Here’s hoping Diggle begins to take a bigger role now that Oliver is back in town.
Arrow continues to hook fans with moments of truth, drama and humor and creates some amazing moment of television. With Oliver back in town, how will he deal with Laurel becoming the Canary? And will Felicity and Oliver keep their distances from each other? Tune in next week for the newest episode.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8/9c on the CW.
Overall Episode Grade: A-