Review: Arrow ‘Dead to Rights’

Review: Arrow ‘Dead to Rights’

Season 1, Episode 16 - Best episode of the season so far.

The end of last week’s episode saw Moira Queen trying to get away from her involvement in the “Undertaking” and turning to China White and the Chinese mafia for some help in the matter.  Her plan - to knock off Malcolm Merlyn and cut the head off the organization.  This week’s episode of Arrow, ‘Dead to Rights’ deals with the consequences of her actions as they unfold.

The first assassin that gets brought in goes down quickly in the opening scene.  Arrow is on top of things and the story picks up with him already knowing about the influx of baddies and the potential for assassination.  Good job here for the writers, because we really didn’t need any more set-up to drag the story’s pacing down. 

So the first guy goes down and Arrow finds a phone, which he naturally takes to Felicity to crack.  In the meanwhile, China White is joined by another familiar face from the season in the form of Deadshot.  He may have lost an eye, but he’s not as dead as Arrow first thought.  China White hooks him up with a nifty technological eye replacement and he’s good to start assassinating again.

Eventually, Felicity tracks the phone’s last call to a restaurant being used as a front by the Chinese mafia.  So Oliver invites Tommy to get something to eat.  Of course, he’s really just there to sneak around and beat some people up and find some information, which he does splendidly.

But the crux of the story takes place at a gala event celebrating the wonderful things that Malcolm Merlyn has done for the city.  He invites Tommy, who attends because of some heart-to-heart from Oliver.  But the assassins are planning on using the event as a staging ground to kill Merlyn.  Oliver finds out just in time and comes to the rescue.

When the heat turns up, we get a nice Arrow versus China White fight (round II!).  We also get to see Malcolm beating the crap out of people and in the process cueing his son in to the fact that he’s a killing machine.  But Deadshot does his job well and Malcolm falls, victim to one of those crazy poison bullets we’ve seen before.  In order to save Malcolm, Oliver has to remove the hood and let Tommy know his real identity.

Meanwhile, in the past, Oliver continues his transformation from spoiled brat to killing machine.  He’s hanging with his buddy Slade and ends up fixing an old radio so they can call for help.  Unfortunately, it can only receive so they’re pretty much screwed in that regard.  It does, however, give them some info on what the bad guys are doing - bringing in some majorly high-powered missile launchers.

And at the very end of the episode… well, I’m not going to reveal it, but it’s kinda lame.  As if there haven’t been enough twists and turns for one season, they decided to add one more.  The only redeeming quality of this is that all the hints point to a coming appearance of a comic book favorite, Black Canary.

This episode really did well in humanizing Malcolm Merlyn and making the audience think of him as something other than a generic boss bad guy for Arrow to fight during the last episode of the season.  The Undertaking is supposedly some sort of altruistic plan gone bad and it acts as an interesting comparison to Oliver’s own plans and the potential that he himself might go down the wrong road.

The other thing I really enjoyed about this week was that they started bringing back recurring bad guys and ditched the format of introducing a new face every week.  Since we don’t have to deal with so much rushed through introduction, we can concentrate on the plot, which is the better part of Arrow.  The writers have finally settled into a proper protracted struggle that will hopefully come to a satisfying end.

Good job Arrow.  You’ve pulled out of your downward spiral well with the last few episodes. Let’s see how you wrap it all up in the next seven episodes! Next week, one of my favorites, The Huntress, makes a return.