Category Archives: john barrowman
Finally we’re at the season finale of “Arrow.” It’s been a long road, sometimes bumpy, sometimes kinda cool. We enter shortly after we last left our hero. Stephen Amell’s Oliver was unmasked and unconscious, and at the mercy of John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn. Amell’s chest makes a welcome return as Barrowman plays Bond villain and gloats a bit before leaving our hero hanging chained and flashbacking.
After a pretty dynamic escape, wishy-washily aided by Diggle, Oliver jumps from character to character playing emotional catch up. There’s a real sense of finality to it all. Tommy to potential villain, Laurel to potential girlfriend, Quentin to potential ally, everything but Arrow to the rescue. There’s a nice bit while Felicity is taken in for questioning, and she channels “Smallville”‘s Chloe to Detective Lance, saying maybe The Hood is a hero.
As the gears begin to click together, it seems that Moira Queen is more of a hero than anyone else in the cast. She calls a press conference, revealing The Undertaking and naming Merlyn responsible. The problems? You can’t stop John Barrowman, and Thea goes to The Glades to get Roy. Meanwhile Oliver and Diggle go after Merlyn while Felicity and Quentin look for the Markov Device. Why do I get the feeling someone’s not making it out of this alive?
I have to say I was surprised who it was that wasn’t going to make it. I have to wonder if it was a last minute decision by the showrunners as well. In hindsight, it seems to be more tidying up than anything else. I liked Tommy a lot, and would have dug his young, hip, and vengeful Merlyn the Magician.
The one thing that really bothered me about this episode was the lack of resolution, both on the island, and in the present. While the thinking behind Merlyn’s redundancy plan is sound and logical, it’s very unsatisfying storywise. I don’t want to see the hero lose. Maybe that’s something they can work in next season…
Not the final episode of the season, but this is what all roads have been leading up to on “Arrow.” We know what The Undertaking is – some sort of seismic device that will level The Glades, and Malcolm Merlyn is behind it. Can Oliver stop him, and save the city? The clock is ticking.
The episode begins with a late night killing raid on Unidac Industries by the Black Archer. Unidac is of course the company that made the Markov Device. Killed in the attack, Brion Markov, who in the comics, is Geo-Force. Just so we wouldn’t have a fast paced action adventure show, we’re stalled by more romantic parrying between Oliver and Laurel. It’s getting monotonous.
Meanwhile the two Speedies, Thea and Roy, are still stalking The Hood. It doesn’t take a genius to know they will be in the middle of it when the Markov Device goes off, and also likely for Hood vs. Archer, round two, as well. I hope we’re not headed toward Thea dying and Roy joining Oliver under the name Speedy.
But let’s not say this series can’t surprise me. A clever ploy by Oliver and Diggle forces Moira to confess the specifics of The Undertaking. Nice to see Diggle back in the Arrow togs though.
Revelations continue on the island, in flashback of course. Fyers plans to blow up all planes entering or leaving Chinese airspace to destabilize their economy. He has set Yao Fei up as the fall guy, after blackmailing him by shooting up Ollie, Shado, and Deathstroke. Fun reference for the comics folks, the first target is a passenger jet from Ferris Aircraft.
Back in the now, the Markov Device must be found, and the only way to find out is through the mainframe at Merlyn’s corporate headquarters, thus demanding a break-in with all of the Arrow crew. Nice to see Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity going all Oceans 11. Oh yeah, I want a Big Belly Burger jacket like Felicity’s if there’s anyone listening who can do anything about such a thing. I’ll take a XX.
What I don’t get is that as soon as Oliver knows for sure what The Undertaking is, and who’s behind it – what dies he do? Try to find the Markov Device? Showdown with Merlyn? Any kind of Arrow action? Nope. Booty call with Laurel. And quite possibly creating a new archenemy in Tommy. Yep, we’re back to bad idea theater.
Eventually The Hood does go after Malcolm, and we finally get to see John Barrowman do something other than talk and look pretty. Not for the first time, he hands Oliver his ass, this time getting a look under the hood. A perfect cliffhanger to lead into the season finale.
About mid-season of the “Arrow” series, the powers that be finally gave a name to the master plan that the bad guys of The List had for Starling City. They called it The Undertaking. It’s never been clear what it actually was, but we know it has sinister implications for The Glades – the ‘bad’ section of the city, and home to Roy Harper, the Verdant nightclub, and the ersatz Arrowcave. One supposes by the title of this episode, we’ll finally find out exactly what The Undertaking is.
From all indications, we might just find out what happened to Walter as well. A unique flashbacknot to the island, shows us a meeting of The List several years prior. It seems their original plan was to blackmail bad people into doing good things, but John Barrowman’s Merlyn suggests a new ‘undertaking,’ leveling The Glades and starting from scratch. No Glades, no crime. And there it is.
And OMG, the thing that’s going to level The Glades is called the Markov device. Comics readers know that half-siblings Brion and Tara Markov are Geo-Force and Terra, metahumans with earth elemental powers. Brion was a hero who joined the Outsiders and later the Justice League. Tara was a teenage psychopath who joined the Teen Titans in order to betray them to… Deathstroke, with whom she had a very unhealthy and possibly illegal relationship. Wow. I’m guessing The Glades go in an earthquake.
In the soap opera zone, Laurel goes to Verdant to cry on Oliver’s shoulder about her break-up with Tommy. Felicity’s awkward walk-in may have sent odd signals to Laurel. Sigh. To quote one of my favorite “Simpsons” lines, “When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” In this case, fireworks factory equals superhero action.
In a slightly more high quality melodrama moment we get to watch Barrowman tell of his wife’s death in order to convince Oliver’s father to go along with The Undertaking. It really the first time “Arrow” has given the man room to act. Finally. And we get a glimpse into the making of a villain.
In the distracting secondary plot of the episode (because on “Arrow,” the overarc is always the main plot), Felicity goes undercover in a casino to find clues of Walter’s whereabouts. As I’ve said before, Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity cleans up real nice, but then again I like her in and out of nerd.
With no Diggle for back-up, The Hood has to save her, doing so like a bull in a china shop. I counted at least four arrows to the chest, one a woman, probably some of them only patrons to the casino. Once again, I find myself rooting for the police to put this murderous Bizarro version of Green Arrow away.
At first it seems that Walter was dead, and then alive. The Hood saves him, plowing through henchmen to get him, but first parachuting down onto their hideout from a plane. I couldn’t get past that. Who was flying the plane? Wouldn’t they know it was The Hood on board, and jumping out? Seems like a major loose end here.
Things are heating up and finally coming together. Oliver makes up with Diggle. And he admits to Laurel he still loves her. And, most importantly, he knows that Merlyn and his mom have been lying to him, and they are behind The Undertaking. The secrets are out, time for the real game to begin.
Other shout outs to the comics in this episode include Ted Kord for whom a fundraiser was held in flashback. Ted Kord was the second Blue Beetle. And Walter was being held in Bludhaven, Dick (Nightwing) Grayson’s old stomping ground.
Yes, things are finally heating up, I can’t wait for the next episode. As long as they keep tying up loose ends, that is.
Didn’t Deadshot take an arrow to the eye rather nastily waaay back in the third episode? Well, he’s back. How exactly does one live through something like that anyway?
The episode begins with a bang. Guillermo Barrera, known to comics fans as Nightwing villain, the knife wielding Brutale, shows up in Starling City via helicopter only to be immediately confronted by The Hood. He’s got his knives but no costume or bad guy codename. Maybe that’s why he lasts less than a minute with our ‘hero’ before he takes an arrow in the chest.
More scenes with Tommy and Laurel interacting with Oliver and a date, in this case, McKenna – it works out better this time, even though Tommy’s dad AKA Merlyn the Magician AKA Captain Jack shows up to spoil the fun. There’s also a great bit where Laurel shows McKenna a photo of her sister as a little girl… with a black canary. Other shout outs to the comics this episode include Deadshot living at the Bludhaven apartments, and of course… the first appearance of Riversong herself, Alex Kingston, as Laurel’s mom, Dinah Lance.
There are also some nice moments with Oliver and Tommy as they celebrate the latter’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant (a front fir the Tongs, but that’s beside the point). For once we get a real sense of why they are friends, and also why Tommy always seems to be at the Queens’ home. It’s all blown to hell when Tommy finds out Oliver’s big secret. I really wonder where they’re going with this character, is he being groomed to become the next Merlyn the Magician? Or simply a casualty in the war between The Hood and the Dark Archer?
Last episode Moira hired China White to kill Merlyn, and this time, it seems that she’s farming that work out to Deadshot. Not dead, but blind, however she provides him with a vision boost eyesight that more properly resembles his comic book appearance. And China White sure can kick ass in an evening gown and heels. Go, Kelly Hu!
Back on the island, Slade and Oliver continue their Odd Couple routine, get a radio working and learn more about Fyers’ Odyssey obsession. Next time on “Arrow, ” three weeks from now, why does the Huntress return (groan), did Malcolm Merlyn meet Ras al Ghul in Nanda Parbat, and who doesn’t know Oliver is the vigilante?
In many areas this episode was pre-empted or rescheduled because of the 12-12-12 Benefit Concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I have no complaints about that, it’s a noble and just cause, and being right in the center of the devastation, I know how bad it was. My nit is with local CW affiliate channel 57 – it might have been nice to let viewers know what was up with your regular programming, that’s all, just a bit of courtesy. For the record, this episode of “Arrow” airs tomorrow night at eight.
Now on to “Year’s End,” the mid-season finale of “Arrow,” which I hoped was good because the Huntress two-parter was very lacking. I was at first surprised and excited by this show only to be let down by those last two episodes. Although, from ‘previously on “Arrow”‘ clips, this -could- be good.
We open on a member of The List, a Brian Michael Bendis lookalike (Marc Guggenheim?), being murdered by a shadowy someone who looks suspiciously like Oliver. The tool? Black arrows. Not green. Only one DC Comics character in the Green Arrow mythos uses black arrows. That’s Merlyn the Magician AKA Arthur King or as reimagined here on “Arrow,” Tommy and/or Malcolm Merlyn. On “Smallville,” he was called alternately Vortigan, and the Dark Archer. He is (or will be) played by either John Barrowman or Colin Donnell. Finally. Just wait.
In the first ten minutes, in quick, almost HBO style plot succession we get some wonderful interaction with Diggle and Oliver, a return to the island flashbacks, and at a Queen family dinner party, John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn names the vigilante “Green Arrow.” Yeah. Squeee. It seems this special Christmas episode might just be a gift for the viewers.
Things I like include that Arrow, ahem, Green Arrow is beginning a tenuous relationship with the police, or at least Quentin Lance; and that Felicity Smoak is turning into Oracle/Chloe. At this point, it’s a cliche character, but nerd girl Emily Bett Rickards is just so likable. Moreso than Laurel, and definite more than the cardboard Huntress. I also liked the shout out to Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, the comics creators who revitalized Green Arrow in the late 1960s.
The island flashbacks bring much revelation. Yao Fei and the still unnamed Deathstroke were the only two survivors of a prison that was the island. There’s even a quick rematch between the two. All fun stuff, but seriously, why does Oliver still have the top button of his shirt buttoned?? Maybe that’s why he’s always walking around shirtless since he got back to civilization.
As with most confrontations on “Arrow,” and for that matter, the aforementioned “Smallville” (I seem to remember this being the case with both Doomsday and Darkseid), that don’t last long. Such is the case with Oliver (even though I’ve done it, it still doesn’t feel right to say Green Arrow) and the unnamed Dark Archer. For the latter, he’s called the copycat more than anything else. It’s a brief fight that ends with Oliver on the short end of the arrow, literally, and his foe escaping. More than unsatisfying.
Oliver defeated and the Other Archer on the loose (but finally revealed), that’s the note this episode ends with. Malcolm Merlyn has a master plan for Starling City that doesn’t look good, and has abducted Walter to keep Moira in line. None of this looks good. A bit of a downer, but an excellent episode. Can’t wait ’til after the New Year.
When last we left our CW prime time drama loosely based on the comic book superhero Green Arrow – Oliver and Helena had find each other kindred spirits in revenge, justice, and romance; Walter had returned home to care for Moira; Tommy was making time with Laurel, and had been financially cut off by his dad – finally revealed as the mystery character played by John Barrowman. Up to speed? Good, here we go with “Vendetta.”
I have to confess I was a bit taken aback when I saw that Arrow was going to try to take the Huntress (never named thus in the previous “Muse of Fire” by the way) on as a sidekick/partner to train. It’s not something that had occurred to me. He teaches her archery in a rather clever scene. She of course opts for a crossbow. At first, at least.
Arrow and the still unnamed Huntress make their debut against a warehouse full of drug dealers. Nice little fight scene. While Jessica DeGouw’s acting has not improved, she does look good in costume, purple and black with a crossbow and cross motif. I would have questioned it if it had a cape, but I gotta say I would have liked a cape a whole lot more than this long coat. Sorry, it’s an accepted conceit – superheroes wear capes. Deal with it. And the similarity to Hit-Girl’s costume is unsettling.
Whereas last week Diggle was doing too much Alfred to Oliver’s Batman, this week, he does a decent Lucius Fox, as played by Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight. Although, unlike Fox, Diggle is a sensible voice of reason. Stephen Amell’s naked torso and Felicity Smoak both return in this episode, but we get enough of neither.
Last episode I was entranced by the bits with Oliver and Helena, and Tommy and Laurel. But here, where all four meet for dinner, I was bored and completely taken out of the show for the first time in a while. This was “Melrose Place,” not a superhero drama. Zzzzzzz…
Ultimately the Melrose incident leads to China White and Frank Bertinelli going to war as well as Arrow vs the still as yet unnamed Huntress. It is a very unsatisfying conclusion, and she remains unnamed. I think that irks me more than anything.
This was not the best episode so far. The superheroics and the island flashbacks have vanished. The soap opera aspects have creeped in. I’m not happy. Hopefully things will get better for this week’s mid-season finale. We’ll see.
After a Thanksgiving break, “Arrow” is back, with the Huntress.
In the first part of this special Huntress double feature on “Arrow” we see the debut of a DC Comics super-heroine with a decidedly special pedigree.
History lesson time. Originally the Huntress was Helena Wayne, the adult daughter of the Batman and Catwoman of a parallel universe called Earth-Two. She was an extremely popular character, representing a next generation of crimefighters on that world.
When DC Comics decided to clean house in the 1980s, they effectively erased Earth-Two from continuity and rebooted the Huntress as Helena Bertinelli, the vigilante daughter of a crime boss. Notably this version lacked the charm of the original and was subsequently less popular.
When the CW (of was it the WB then?) decided to bring the comic Birds of Prey to the small screen about a decade ago, they featured the Huntress as once again the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. The show only lasted one season and was, while sometimes fun, mostly bad, and a mish-mash of comic continuity. It’s interesting that the show came up at dinner with friends the other night, and it was remembered with only contempt. You can read my thoughts from the time on the “Birds of Prey” series here.
Interestingly enough, DC Comics has returned to the Earth 2 concept and brought the Huntress back to her first origins. It’s a shame that “Arrow” has decided to use the Helena Bertinelli version for their show. Maybe they thought the Batman reference would be confusing? Well, then they’d better stop referencing Bludhaven is all I have to say.
I think it’s worth noting up front that in the comics, the Huntress and Green Arrow are two characters that have had very little interaction, despite their choice in common weaponry. The Huntress is an odd selection to show up here, just saying.
As “Muse of Fire” opens, Oliver’s mom is caught in the crossfire of a mob hit. She was having lunch at the time with the mobster. And the hitter turns out to be our lovely Huntress, as played by Australian Jessica DeGouw, not the most charming or likable or even talented actress. Disappointingly her character turns out to be simply a female version of Arrow, working through her own list. I could think of more interesting ideas than that.
This episode also features the return of Kelly Hu as China White, as the Triad is revealed to be a rival of Helena’s dad, crime boss Frank Bertinelli. The latter, scared, starts to rattle the cages toward a mob war. One incident leads to the first confrontation between Arrow and the Huntress. Great exchange between Diggle and Oliver follows as they try to figure her motives. I love Diggle more and more every episode. I just wish he wasn’t so ‘Alfred’ in this one.
Anyone else ever notice that Tommy Merlyn is always around? At the Queen house, at their job, at Laurel’s job, but he’s never there to see his best friend Oliver. It’s just odd. Did he just take his place with the family in a very creepy way while Oliver was on that island thought dead?
Tommy goes to dinner with Laurel, and Oliver goes to dinner with Helena. There is clever well written dialogue for both, and Stephen Amell does his best, acting against the cardboard wall that is DeGouw. Meanwhile Captain Jack Harkness visits Oliver’s Mom’s sickbed. It has been frustrating but I have admire how well the writers have concealed the identity of the character John Barrowman plays on “Arrow.”
Spoiler alert for those who have seen it yet, but the secret comes out here. He’s not Maxwell Lord, or John Deleon, or Count Vertigo. He’s someone rather boring, at least for the comics fans. John Barrowman is Malcolm Merlyn, Tommy’s dad. Of course, wouldn’t it be cool if Barrowman turned out to be Merlyn the Magician?
There’s a nice shout out to the co-creator of the comic book Huntress, Joe Staton, in the name of Helena’s late fiancé. Nice touch. He also gave her the cross she wears around her neck – as much a symbol for the second comics Huntress as the bat was for the first.
The episode ends with Oliver and Helena entwined in a kiss, kindred souls in justice, revenge, and an understanding of one another. What happens next? Be here tomorrow, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel.
Not only do we pick up on that great cliffhanger from last week (Lance discovering Oliver’s double identity and placing him under arrest), but this episode, we finally see Deathstroke. Big doings, big doings.
Six minutes into “Damaged” however, I had to stop the DVR and consult my attorney, The Bride, because something really stank in Starling City. Oliver insists it’s mistaken identity (and circumstantial evidence) when Lance sees security video of him with a green hood. Oliver then insists that Laurel defend him. What the what now?
If that’s not illegal, it’s certainly a conflict of interest, and stinks of impropriety. I really don’t think you can be defended by your ex-girlfriend whose father is not only the arresting officer but also has a grudge against the defendant and his family. I was really surprised to see this coming from executive producer Marc Guggenheim, a veteran of lawyer television. But there it is.
Nice to see that Oliver does think ahead however. I love that Oliver planned on getting caught. I equally love heroes who plan and think, as opposed to simply just punching, or in this case, shooting arrows. Nice touch. TV’s Arrow is more Batman than the most recent cinematic version of Batman.
It was also nice to see Diggle in action. Or rather, -not- see him in action. Sam Amell’s chest again features heavily, and there was much character development in this episode. There were nice call outs to Iron Heights, and to Laurel wearing fishnets, and the subplot with Oliver’s stepdad Walter Steel finding the Queen’s Gambit also continues, but let’s face it, all we really wanted to see in this episode was Deathstroke.
Before we see the Terminator, we meet Eddie (called Edward here) Fyers. On “Arrow,” he appears to lead the men who captured Oliver in the island, and is hunting Yao Fei, who had been helping Oliver. In the comics, Fyers was an adversary then unwilling ally of Green Arrow, and later a mentor of sorts to his son, Connor Hawke. Fyers here seems early in his career.
We learn it was Deathstroke who gave Oliver those scars flawing the real star of the show. And we get to see an absolutely awesome and far too brief combat between Yao Fei and Deathstroke. All in all, a disappointment that left me wanting more. I suspect we’ll be seeing more of next week’s special guest villains, the Royal Flush Gang, than we dud this week’s.
In the miscellaneous department, we find that Laurel’s father’s name is Quentin rather than the expected Larry. Starling City appears to be a conglomeration, probably through CGI, of several cities including Philadelphia. Some nice shots of Liberty One and Two in this episode. Does Oliver have a new Arrow costume? And boy, have the writers just forgotten about Tommy Merlyn or what? I think T-Dog got more dialogue in the first two seasons of “The Walking Dead.”
John Barrowman appears again. His lack of accent makes me wonder if he’s really Count Vertigo of not. Perhaps he’s John Deleon, or Maxwell Lord… now there’s something to think about… Bonus trivia points for anyone who can tell me who John Deleon was…