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ARROW Review: There’s an “Uprising” but Mostly From Felicity


Since the midseason break of Arrow, which saw Oliver Queen getting all kinds of impaled by Ra’s al Ghul, we’ve seen Starling City’s tenuous grasping to law and order slip to a fingertip and the remaining members of Team Arrow, including a so-not-ready-for-this Laurel Lance who’s taken up her sister’s mantle as Canary, or Black Canary for comic book purposes, have had to step up and try to pretend like everything was okay. Well, now with Danny “Brick” Brickwell having run roughshod over The Glades, and the police basically turning its back on the people, hope seems decidedly low. But in “Uprising,” we get to see the city taken back…actually in a very easy way. We also get to see Felicity Smoak take a moral stand as firm and unwavering as Stephen Amell’s abdominals.


Oliver’s still recovering in Nanda Parbat (immediate sidebar: where in the hell is Nanda Parbat in relation to anything else? It can’t possibly be anywhere but Asia, and yet some of these characters can just go between Starling City and Nanda Parbat in the span of what seems like only a few hours. Are there direct flights?) and he decides to pack up and head back to Starling City but Tatsu thinks it’s way too soon and he’s probably just going to die anyway. Why doesn’t she go with him, he asks, but she says “No, that would be too convenient for plot purposes.”

My favorite part of this episode has to be that the flashbacks have nothing at all to do with Oliver’s time in Hong Kong working for Amanda Waller and interacting with Maseo and Tatsu. I imagine will get more of them before the season is out, as they’ve got to do something to explain why Maseo joined the League of Assassins and why Tatsu hasn’t seen him in forever. I’m sure it has to do with their son, so that’ll be really sad. I’m just so completely unengaged by that storyline and those characters. Great, Maseo is in the League, and he’s clearly got something to do with the current plot, but other than that, I don’t care at all.


The flashbacks we DO get are interesting because they’re about a character who hasn’t had much development recently: Malcolm Merlyn. We learn through his training with Thea that he killed the man who murdered his wife, thus beginning the whole downward spiral that ended with The Undertaking. But, though ballistics matching, and because Merlyn’s spying on Team Arrow, he learns that it was Danny Brickwell who actually killed his wife. A bit convenient, yes, but it allows us to see Merlyn back 21 years when he was just an angry man with a gun. He wasn’t the nearly unstoppable fighting machine he is today; he was a scared, and pretty ineffectual guy who just happened to be full of rage. It’s pretty refreshing, actually.

And it’s really Merlyn who is at the heart of the story this week. We’ve seen him all season teaching Thea, nurturing her in his own twisted way, and she tells Roy that his caring about her and coming to save her during Deathstroke’s siege was really meaningful to her. He does care about the city, he just went about it a horrible way. But, we also can’t forget the fact that he drugged Thea and made her kill Sara for the purposes of… I’m still not entirely sure. Pissing off the League? Trying to get the League off his back?


For all the good Arsenal and Canary are doing in The Glades, they actually could use Merlyn’s help, since he now has a blood vendetta against Brickless. He proposing pooling their resources. Felicity is fervently against this. VERY fervently. Roy, after his talk with Thea, is in the “let’s side with Merlyn this once” camp, while Laurel is leaning yes and Diggle is leaning no. Ultimately, Diggle tells Merlyn that they don’t need his help, thank you, and Roy is seemingly okay with being outvoted. Felicity’s whole point is that Oliver would never allow such a merger, but he’s not there anymore.

Ultimately, it’s decided that they should get the people of the Glades to help them take on Brick and his criminals. This seems like a VERY bad idea, but Laurel finds Ted Grant, who is mad at her for leaving training to go vigilante already, and Roy goes to find Sin, who is only in this episode to narc on Laurel. More on that later. But, there gets to be a big in-the-street rumble between citizens, a few masks, and an army of hardened criminals. Seriously, this is an AWFUL idea. Ted Grant, a/k/a Wildcat, get his ass handed to him by Brick and it doesn’t seem like he’s getting up any time soon. Poor Ted, we barely knew ye. Or maybe he’ll still be around. Sin seems to be doing slightly better, and Arsenal keeps shooting Brick with arrows just as he’s about to shoot someone.


Eventually, Brick finds himself in an alley with Malcolm Merlyn, in full Dark Archer get-up. He’s about to murder Brick when suddenly, Oliver as the Arrow shows up and talks him out of it. If he’s ever going to be anything close to what Thea believes he can be, then he ought to not murder Brick. And miraculously, and maybe because the writers need to make Merlyn a not-so-straight-up villain, he doesn’t.

Arrow then gets on top of a van and makes a big speech about how he’s sorry he’s been gone but he’s back now and the city is protected. This could not have been hokier or less in the spirit of the character, but hey, I guess it works.

So then we get to the real apex of the episode. After the gangs are retaken by the police, led by Captain Lance, Sin walks up to him and tells him that the woman in the black mask and blonde wig isn’t Sara. He says “Umm, of course she is; I talked to her from a very long way away.” She says “It’s not your daughter,” which is actually false. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun. It only took one sentence from a street youth to make Lance realize Laurel’s been duping him for the past month. Poor sap.

Oliver goes to see Thea just as Malcolm begins to tell her he didn’t kill Brick. Thea’s expecting all kinds of explosiveness when Oliver sees Malcolm, and yet, none. It’s probably because they’ve come to an understanding of sorts. While Thea goes to make some plot-necessary tea, Oliver asks Merlyn to help train him to fight Ra’s al Ghul, since it’s his fault the League of Assassins is pissed off in the first place. It’ll take a student to beat the teacher.


Aaaaaand when Oliver goes to see the gang, Felicity is obviously very happy to see him, until he reveals that Merlyn’s going to help him fight Ra’s al Ghul. There is no reasoning with her on this point. She feels like Oliver hasn’t changed at all after his ordeal, and if dealing with horrible people under the auspices of women he supposedly loves is his thing, she doesn’t want to be one of them… OUCH. Felicity Smoak, unwavering moral authority.

Ultimately, “Uprising” finished off the Brick storyline (I hope) and set up a new trajectory for the rest of the season, with Oliver training to have a rematch with the Demon’s Head, and Merlyn becoming a bit of a mentor to him, at least in the fighting sense. Felicity is NOT ON BOARD with any of it, and I could see her really pulling back even further from Team Arrow and joining up hardcore with Team Atom. And of course we’re going to have all that Sara’s Dead bollocks to deal with next time, because the episode is called “Canaries.” Take a look!

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    Arrow uprising: Another mixed bag from the writers of Arrow. Likes: Oliver returns, and as I predicted, he will team up with Malcolm Merlyn to take on Ra’s Al Gul. No other way to do it. Neither man could or would take on the Demon’s head alone and so the only choice possible was to join forces. Although not given credit for it, (still wanted for the undertaking) Malcolm takes down Brickwell, and in rather short order I must say. The Canary charade is over, unless Captain Lance decides to say nothing and allows Laurel to think that he still thinks Sara is still alive. Although I think he may say something because Sara is dead and Laurel never told him about it, so a tongue lashing for Laurel is in order. Thea is progressing in her training. Dislikes: Diggle might as well put on a chauffeur’s hat and coat and open doors for the rest of Team Arrow. He is essentially Alfred the Butler and nothing else to the show. Thea is progressing in her training, but for what and for whom? Will we ever see her show off her fighting skills in actual combat against a real enemy? Can’t wait but the writers are seriously dragging this out far too long. Time for Thea to show us what she can do and how Malcolm’s forging her into steel has paid off. DOUCHEBAG OF THE WEEK: FELICITY SMOAK. She wants Oliver to kills Ra’s Al Gul but she has a problem with Oliver teaming up with a killer in order to get it done? Makes no sense to me. I have no idea what her silly childishness was all about. I get her hatred of Malcolm Merlyn, but Ra’s and the League of Assassins are the more immediate threat and Felicity, of all people, should be able to put priorities in order. I guess her temper tantrum was to create a way out for her to leave Team Arrow for a while and hang out with Billionaire Ray Palmer. Although it was good that Malcolm took down Brickwell, I was hoping that Brickwell would put up more of a fight against Merlyn. But I guess seeing as how Merlyn may have to take on Ra’s down the road he has to look formidable. Speaking of Brickwell, his people had guns, Laurel’s townspeople had sticks and bats, and yet few, if anyone actually died in this episode. Go figure. That end fight as pretty lame, and the fact that Sin made it out with few if any bruises and no serious injuries should tell you that the purpose of this episode was to bring about Merlyn’s redemption and not taking down Brickwell. Well, all in all, pluses and minuses, although it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great either, I must rate Arrow: Uprising as 3.75 stars out of 5.00.

  2. Mike says:

    I really enjoyed seeing Vinnie Jones being funny in Galavant one day and then being evil in Arrow a couple days later.

  3. Crystal says:

    I really liked the Merlyn pre-dark archer flashbacks. I too have found the Hong Kong flashbacks a bit flat. This was a terrible episode for us Olicity fans.

  4. Nich Hustler says:

    I just am getting really upset with all the non powered characters on this show, and Flash for that matter being able to teleport. It often makes no sense why people have moved to different locations.

    Wherever the hell Nanda Parbat is apparently it’s a less than one day trip for anyone. Merlyn all but teleported there and back to retrieve the sword. 

    When Lance gets the phone call he teleports a car into the glads immediately and the rest of team arrow leave a wounded Oliver to talk up a crowd for no reason, Arsenal could have stayed. 

    I just feel like often the transitions and locations of people to different places doesn’t make sense. 

    I love these shows though, but this is really putting me off.

  5. Grant says:

    They didn’t fight at Nanas Parbat, they fought at a location close to Starling that was sacred to the League of Assassins, I figured it was Mt. Hood or somewhere in Washington State. 

    • Steve says:

      Grant, finally someone else who actually paid attention.  Every reviewer of the past 4 episodes on any site seem to think that the Ra’s vs. Ollie fight took place in Nanda Parbat. Ollie specifically says to Felicity before he leaves that it is not, and that it was sacred ground picked out by the league. People need to pay more attention if they are going to write a review.

  6. Nick says:

    Oh god, this was one crappy episode. I completely agree with all the snarky “plot-necessary <blank>” comments in this review. Also, when a gang of armed criminals are facing off against a mob of unarmed civilians (save for Diggles’s ONE assault rifle, which he only fires once), you wouldn’t get a Braveheart charge. You’d get the criminals gunning every single one of them down in a bloody massacre.

    • Valie says:

      Because there’s nothing like a good brawl…like in the old days !  …the guys always bein’ guys 😉

  7. Timbill says:

    Nanda Parbat is somewhere, mystically “lost” in the Himalayas.