‘Left Behind‘ & ‘Midnight City‘
We’re back! I’d normally cheer but this episode was an emotional rollercoaster and I feel like weeping.
What was a three-day break for Team Arrow, was a depressingly long hiatus for us fans. And what do we get as a reward for our patience? Tears, heartbreak and violence. So…the usual.
It’s a few days after Oliver left to fight Ra’s al Ghul and Team Arrow are carrying on without their leader, and are actually doing relatively well. For a short while at least, they manage to continue our favourite vigilante’s work and aid the police in catching the bad guys of Starling City. Speaking of, let’s introduce the big bad for this half-season: it’s the one and only Vinnie Jones, who plays his usual tough-guy act as the new big-shot crime lord of Starling. With plans to ‘take over the Glade’, Jones plays Danny ‘Brick’ Brickwell who quickly challenges our heroes to their next battle of good vs evil. Unfortunately, with Oliver still missing and presumed dead, the gang make a few slip-ups that poses the question: can Team Arrow survive without The Arrow himself?
The theme of grief is definitely explored in this episode; we see Felicity in denial, then anger, and Roy looking shell-shocked and flustered through most of his screen-time. We also see Diggle have a heartbreakingly sad moment as he shares his grief with Laurel, who seems to be the only one confident of Oliver’s safe return.
The entire cast did a great job of showing their characters’ conflicted emotions. Should they battle the new baddies or grieve for their lost friend? Felicity breaks first and admits to not wanting to see more of her loved ones die. She says, what seems like, a permanent farewell to her hero duties and takes the broken hearts of viewers alongside her departure. Let’s just hope Oliver can return soon and pick up the pieces of his team.
The Hong Kong flashbacks, meanwhile, show Oliver and Maseo break in and successfully steal one part of China White’s virus. With Waller showing no signs of rescuing Maseo’s wife, Tatsu, Oliver takes matters into his own hands and places a tracking GPS onto one of China’s guards. Speaking of quick-thinking, Oliver’s body is dragged through the wintery mountains and the perpetrator is finally revealed by the end of the episode: Maseo. And who revived Oliver? Why, Tatsu of course.
Left Behind was a good, strong opening to the second part of season three. We not only get an introduction to the new villain, but we also get insight into the sub-plots of Laurel’s journey to become the Canary, while the flashbacks finally come back into the present storyline. It’s about time!
With Midnight City we continue to witness what’s left of Team Arrow struggle to remain saviours to the city without our green-hooded vigilante leading the way. Meanwhile Oliver continues to have a slow recovery up in the mountains.
In this episode, new baddie ‘Brick’ (Vinnie Jones) continues to wreak havoc on Starling City when he takes three men hostage and demands the police force to evacuate the Glades in exchange for their lives. It’s extreme and over-dramatic but makes for excellent TV. With Felicity still keeping her distance, Roy, Diggle and Laurel – who has her own struggles in becoming the Canary – are left to rescue the men.
Let’s talk about Laurel. First of all, I was delighted when this storyline was first hinted at after Sara’s tragic death – which I still refuse to fully accept. It was tough but somewhat satisfying to watch her struggles in this episode. She doesn’t become a badass over night, but rather falls, gets knocked down and injured quite frequently. It was great for Arrow to show this transition as a tough one for Laurel, who although has the spirit and determination to help Starling City, has had small training in comparison to Roy, Diggle and Oliver. But, from the looks of it, it’s clear that Laurel is going to train and train until she’s just as good, if not better.
One thing I definitely did not support was Laurel and Felicity’s shocking fake-call to Quentin Lance. I think Felicity has finally earned her mark in the bad deeds column after that. God only knows how poor Lance will react to finding out that Sara is dead and Laurel kept it hidden for months.
With the crime gang continuing to challenge the authorities, Brick’s attempts to evacuate the city is challenged by Team Arrow, who despite a few mistakes, ultimately rescue the hostages save for one innocent man who Brick shoots in response to Laurel’s attack. By the end of the episode, it’s unclear whether the Mayor, who planned to evacuate the city and obey Brick’s command, is carrying through the decision or staying to fight. I suspect we’ll see no shortage of hostage/negotiation situations as the weeks go on.
Back in Hong Kong, the flashbacks are shorter and actually more enjoyable, revealing how Maseo attempts to go behind Waller’s back and rescue his wife from the evil clutches of China White. I’ve grown to like Maseo, so it pained me to see him at his lowest point as he desperately bargained with the Alpha part of White’s virus. Maseo risks everything and fortunately, along with Oliver’s help, rescues Tatsu and they all leave unharmed.
There were a few happy moments, such as Ray’s charming proclamation of protection to Felicity. I’m led to believe there’s a lack of Ray love in the fan base, but I see nothing hateable about him just yet. It’s also clear that Felicity is back on board with Team Arrow when she and Laurel have a heart-to-heart about protecting their loved ones, not avenging those who are dead. Bravo, ladies!
‘Left Behind‘: ★★★
‘Midnight City‘: ★★★