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Arrow Episode 9 “Year’s End” Review

Arrow episode 9Christmas time is here in Starling City but will it also bring happiness and cheer to Oliver Queen et al? We find out in the last episode of 2012.

The episode opens with Arrow’s first target, Adam Hunt (Continuum’s Brian Markinson) on the phone and getting shot three times in the chest with arrows by what appears to be a hooded man, who could be Arrow.

And in our Oliver training routine of the episode, Ollie and Dig are practicing fighting and block each other fists while holding knives. The discuss how Oliver has crossed off three names of his father’s list and that by hm just showing up as his vigilante alter ego has made people give themselves up to him.

The workout ends with Diggle saying he is taking his nephew to visit Santa. Oliver didn’t realize that Christmas is coming up but Dig thinks its because Oliver has been keeping himself busy after what happened with Helena but Oliver said that he didn’t realize because out on the island, holidays didn’t exist and all that mattered was surviving.

Oliver reflects fondly of his father’s Christmas time traditions that included having a Christmas tree in every room of the house, which i don’t quite get and to me just shows off your wealth but I do love the smell of a real Christmas tree because when you do smell them it does evoke Christmas memories. But I digress.

Dig suggests that Oliver puts the list to rest so he can enjoy the holidays with his family.

And we get our first island flashback after two episodes with out and with it Stephen Amell in a awful wig. And we get the return of Yao Fei who has opened up the cave and deposited one Edward Fyers who last seen in episode 5, Damaged. As a greeting, Oliver punches him for torturing him and almost killing him if it wasn’t for Yao Fei coming to the rescue. Yao Fei tells Oliver that he can kill Fyers as revenge or he can help Oliver off the island as a passenger on his plane.

Back to the present, Oliver comes home and discovers the Christmas spirit lacking in the Queen household.

At the dinner party that Moira and Walter are hosting, the guests are talking about the Hood and how he has helped crime go down. Oliver thinks that he should have a better name and Malcolm Merlyn suggests Green Arrow with Oliver saying that name is lame.

Felicity Smoak calls Walter to let him know that the vigilante is targeting people on the list and next up is Doug Miller, Head of Applied Science at Queen Consolidated. And why does Felicity look like she is a  server room that looks straight out of 1983’s WarGames.

The police arrive to talk to the police chief, who is a guest at the dinner party and lets them know that the vigilante has struck again and put an arrow through Adam Hunt. People around the table seem shock but not Mr. Merlyn. Oliver takes a call from supposedly his contractor but Malcolm eyes him suspiciously as he leaves the room.

When Det. Lance is at the crime scene, he tells the police chief that he doesn’t think its the Hood because 1) Hunt was shot with black arrows and 2) why would the Hood want to kill Hunt after taking him for $40 million dollars way back in the Pilot. Lance believes they are dealing with a copycat as Oliver listens in.

Dig and Oliver discuss the copycat and the way the arrows were shot, Oliver believes this guy is a serious archer and if they can find out what type of arrows they are they might find out the identity of the copycat. And to help, Oliver asks Det Lance via a iPhone sent to Lance and Oliver calling with his voice disguised asking for one of the arrows and saying he can help find this copycat.

Walter brings him Doug Miller to find out why he is on the vigilantes list.

Meanwhile, Oliver and Thea are having lunch at the diner, which I am now equating to Arrow’s version of Smallville’s The Talon. Hopefully this diner won’t get blown up by a rocket fired upon by the Suicide Squad! Over protective older brother Oliver emerges when a teen boy approaches Thea to ask if she wants to hang with a group of friends but Thea refuses to answer. So instead, Oliver wants to know why the family isn’t having a Christmas party like they used to. Thea said they didn’t feel like celebrating Christmas after Oliver and his dad disappeared.

Oliver announces to his family that they are going to throw the Queen Christmas party but is met with a lukewarm reaction.

As we return to the island, Fyers tells Oliver is a good man but at the same time he taunts Oliver. Fyers tells Oliver that the island is an actual prison run by the Chinese military to house criminals deemed so dangerous that they couldn’t be safely incarcerated on the mainland. And when the military shut the prison down, Fyers was brought in to dispose of all the inmates except two: Yao Fei and Deadshot. Fyers explains he tortured Oliver to find Yao Fei because he slaughtered dozens of people.

Back to the present, Merlyn tells Moira that Doug Miller told him that Walter questioned him and his line of questioning seems to indicate that Walter knows of the List. Merlyn states that maybe their mysterious associate should be the one to handle a very curious Walter. Who could this be? Could it be Yao Fei or Merlyn posing as The Dark Archer?

And The Dark Archer strikes again killing another person that was on Oliver’s list. The police chief wants Lance to say that the Hood is the one responsible for all these crimes but Lance refuses, which promptly gets him removed from the case and now willing to help Oliver catch the real killer. Lance gives Oliver what he needs and in the spirit of the holidays is putting on hold is vendetta and gives him till Christmas to find the copycat.

Oliver inspects the arrow and realizes its a custom job. Dig wonders if this Dark Archer is framing Oliver or trying to call him out.

Another Windows 8 product placement alert and this time, Felicity is using the Microsoft Surface tablet. I will admit that it is a cool looking device but enough of CW/CBS shows having characters using Microsoft products. Last week’s Elementary had Sherlock using the Surface to crack a case. And rant over.

Felicity is using the tablet to see names that are in that List. Oliver comes in and asks Felicity help in finding where he can get these custom made arrows for his friend “Steve” that is really into archery, that apparently is all the rage now. I actually think that this a pretty flimsy excuse and Felicity seems to buy it as she does her Internet research thing for Oliver and of course her search engine of choice is Bing. Again, I don’t know the percentage of people that uses Microsoft’s search engine but it can’t be that big because when you want to search for something on the Internet you say “Google it” and not “Bing it.” I mean even on the Amazing Race one season where Bing was clearly a sponsor, we had the contestants asking people if they could “Google” a location for them. And rant #2 is over.

And Felicity working her awesome Internet magic, finds a patent number on the arrow and traces it to a company called Sagittarius, which is Latin for archer. She also finds out the address where these arrows where shipped to. I am thinking that Felicity has a crush on Oliver, who thanks her for help and declares her remarkable. Oliver really should let Felicity in as part of his team. Like I said in a previous blog, Felicity is so the Chloe of this show with her mad computer skills that can help Oliver.

The police chief holds a press conference and calls out the Hood as the perpetrator of the killings and offers a reward for his capture. Laurel asks her father to confirm that it wasn’t the Hood behind the killings and Lance seems surprise at her defending him after she called him a monster but Laurel says he can’t be bad because he was protecting her.

Tommy comes to Laurel’s apartment wanting to spend Christmas with her but she told him she wanted to spend it with her dad. Tommy tries to convince Laurel to come to the Queens’ Christmas do but he tells Laurel that something is holding her back from fully being with him and to define their relationship. Lance becomes the protective father and saying that these rich playboys that have taken an interest in his daughter are selfish and will only hurt her. Laurel speaks to Oliver at the Christmas party and tells him he is the reason why she hasn’t committed to Tommy fully yet but Oliver says that he is happy for the both of them. I have to say that this plot line is a yawner. For being the female lead, Katie Cassidy so far really has little to do. We need to see her making strides towards becoming Black Canary and not be the self-righteous lawyer. She needs to interact more with either Oliver or Arrow as I think my favourite episode so far of Arrow is “An Innocent Man” where she worked alongside Arrow.

Meanwhile, Oliver as Arrow goes to the address that Felicity gave him and falls into a trap where he almost gets blown up but escapes thanks to a trusty arrow that detonates.

And the Queen/Luthor Mansion is all decked out for the Holidays as Oliver arrives to his family’s Christmas party.

In probably the funniest part of the episode is when Shane, that teen boy we met earlier, arrives at the party on Thea’s invitation and the way Diggle was shaking his head in disapproval was hilarious and him wishing the kid good luck made me laugh even more. Of course, Oliver finds Shane in Thea’s room in a state of semi-undressed and again Thea’s storyline is a yawner too.

Walter and Moira have it out over his investigating Robert’s death with Walter defending his actions by saying he wants to avenge his best friend’s murder. Moira says everything she did from embezzling the money and salvaging the boat was to use as leverage from the people that Walter has pissed off with his nosiness and admits that she part of those people and can’t fight them.

The Dark Archer puts a damper on the party mood as he starts taking hostages in the name of the Hood. Oliver wants to stop this guy and says he can handle this because he survived a very dangerous island.

And back on the island, we see Deadshot again who is out to get Yao Fei and rescue Fyers. We get a repeat of the Yao Fei/Deadshot fight and once again it is pretty impressive but Yao Fei loses this round and is captured.

Oliver as Arrow zips line in to the abandoned warehouse because all villains hold hostages in one and frees said hostages. And archer and archer come to face to face. In a disguised voice, the Dark Archer challenges Oliver to an archery-off to see who is the best. Bows and arrows go flying as their battle begins. Oliver seems to be on the losing side as he is taken down by arrows to the back. The Dark Archer tells Oliver that the man that authored the list wants him dead. Is this man perhaps Malcolm Merlyn and the Dark Archer is indeed this associate?

Smallville side note: The Dark Archer appeared in season 9’s Disciple as a mentor of Oliver’s who was targeting people significant to Oliver to get him to stay true to the mantra of their secret archery society.

The tables turn and Oliver starts getting the upper hand and knocks him out cold. I am surprised that he didn’t want to pull off that hood to find out who that guy is but instead he crawls out of the warehouse and calls Dig for help.

Given Oliver’s injuries, he is in the hospital and Dig covers for him by saying he was in a motorcycle accident.

So it is revealed that Malcolm Merlyn is the Dark Archer and he has Walter dealt with but I don’t know exactly what that means. Merlyn tells Moira that “the organization’s vision of the city will be complete” in 6 months -just in time for the season finale! Moira says that 1000s of innocent people will be dead because of this.

The episode ends with Oliver realizing that the list wasn’t compiled by his father but this someone is far dangerous than the Dark Archer and vows to take him down.

Some theories/predictions: I am presuming that Yao Fei taught Oliver to become the archer that he is today. Somehow Yao Fei escapes Fyers clutches to teach him. But I also think that Yao Fei, pre-island life, taught Malcolm Merlyn to be the archer that he is, which is why he and Oliver are pretty evenly matched with maybe a slight edge to Merlyn because he has been at it longer.

I also predict that Oliver will accidentally kill Malcolm by season’s end in one of their tussles. I am only saying this because someone like John Barrowman, who probably has a very busy schedule, might not stay for another season. But if he is like John Glover, who was just a guest star in the first season of Smallville and then became a regular until season 7 then I see Barrowman become a regular for season 2 and continue to be a thorn to Oliver. I mean tonight’s episode pretty much indicates that he knows that Oliver is the Hood

However, if he is killed, I see it like in Tobey Maguire’s Spider-man where Peter accidentally killed Norman Osborne/Green Goblin and Harry blamed Spidey for his father’s death and was so consumed with hatred becomes New Goblin. So I see that if Merlyn Senior is killed by season’s end that Tommy will blame Arrow, become so consumed with revenge, despite how his relationship with his father is. This will break him and Laurel up, leading to an Oliver/Laurel reconciliation and set him to be the new Dark Archer because he as taught archery from his dad. Or this will take seasons to happen but I think this will happen.

So ends Arrow  for 2012 until January 16, 2013. 9 episodes in and I am still enjoying Arrow quite a bit and am looking forward to what the show will bring in the New Year.

What do you think of my theories/predictions? On target (pun intended) or missing the bulls-eye completely (pun also intended)? Sound off in the comments.

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About Vanessa Ho (927 Articles)
Pop culture addicts' view of the world of TV

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