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Arrow Season 3, Episodes 3 & 4 Review

Arrow Season 3, Episodes 3 & 4 Review

‘Corto Maltese’ & ‘The Magician’

The third episode of Arrow‘s season 3 leaves Starling City behind as Oliver, Diggle and Roy team up to take on two jobs at once: recovering a lost ARGUS agent as a favour to Diggle’s partner, and encouraging Thea to return home.

There was something extremely enjoyable about this episode. Perhaps it was the lack of drab flashbacks to the island or Hong Kong, but Corto Maltese proved to be a quick-paced, multi-strand narrative pleaser.
arrow-corto-maltese-02We begin the episode with the reminder that six months ago Thea left behind her friends, family and the secrets and lies buried within Starling City, to travel with her biological father, Merlyn.

I understand Thea wanting to develop her self-defence skills, but choosing a crazy killer who trains you with burning tea and surprise attacks? I highly recommend choosing a kinder teacher next time; someone who is less likely to kill your brother and then claim it was an accident.

We also sadly witness Laurel trying to take over Sara’s role as a hero. Unable to handle the ‘fire’ growing after her sister’s death, she tries and fails to take down an abusive boyfriend, only to end up in the hospital battered and bruised.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Laurel but I’m enjoying the writers’ decision to develop her character away from Oliver and her father, even if focusing more independently on her struggles wasn’t altogether successful. Losing a sister has left her unable to escape a desperate need for heroism, and you can’t help but feel sorry for her.
arrow-corto-maltese-03Another nice contrast between the angst and everyday enjoyments were Lyla and Diggle’s scenes with their baby girl. I loved watching the new parents enjoy some quiet moments amidst the storm that is Starling City; the two provide a much-needed stability for the show.

After arriving in Corto Maltese, Diggle tracks the M.I.A agent only to discover he’s switched sides and is attempting to sell dangerous Intel that would put Diggle and his family in the firing line. This included an excellent fight sequence in which Oliver, Roy and Diggle take down a group of bad guys in a good old-fashioned scrabble for survival that, obviously, ends in victory. The group quickly restore the data and head back to persuade Thea to come home, which they manage to do.

As well as being a whirlwind of an episode containing light humour, fights and character growth, the ending brought Sara back into our minds. Nyssa’s final few moments broke my heart over Sara’s death all over again, as she storms in, bow raised, asking, “Where is she?” Oh, the joys of television angst!
arrow-corto-maltese-01‘The Magician’ kicks off another lead to discover the true killer behind Sara’s death. We see the return of a revenge-fuelled Nyssa as she teams up with Oliver and the group to track down another false suspect; this time in the form of Malcom Merlyn.

The tension in this episode was fantastic. From Nyssa’s determination to kill Merlyn – after confidently deciding he is the man behind her beloved’s death – to Oliver’s decision to protect Merlyn from her, there was an edge of moral questioning behind the entire episode. The conflict eventually leads to an epic showdown between Merlyn, Nyssa and Oliver, with alliances switching every moment.

Despite Oliver’s vow against bloodshed succeeding in saving Merlyn – for now – Nyssa makes it clear that by standing against the League, Oliver has started a war. I’m always the first to excitedly await a battle, but I had hoped that Nyssa would take a little time to understand Oliver’s predicaments.
arrow-the-magician-02The writers and creators of Arrow should be praised, as this season has really showed steady improvement in terms of storyline, enabling every actor to showcase their skills with each new conflict.

Laurel, in particular, was a highlight in ‘The Magician’. After signing up for boxing classes last week, I enjoyed the final scene in which Nyssa leaves, clearly admiring Laurel’s decisions by saying, “the strongest steel is formed in fire”. Arrow has a wonderful way of developing the ladies of the show, and season 3 continues to show female characters such as Laurel and Nyssa, working together and supporting one another.
arrow-the-magician-04Though Merlyn hasn’t earned a ‘father of the year’ award just yet, I’m beginning to hope he’s truly looking out for Thea, as the poor girl deserves every ounce of protection and devotion in the world. The few scenes she has with Oliver and Roy are grounded in a way that makes Arrow such a wonderful ride. The various forms of love – romantic, family and friendships – are all encouraged and fought for, and I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping for Thea and Roy to sort out their past and realise they’re better together than alone.

The only downfall of ‘The Magician’ was Felicity’s absence. It was strange when Diggle took over Felicity’s desk job, and I found myself missing our favourite adorkable gal – who had popped off to check up on The Flash’s Barry Allen this week.

★★★★

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