On the D/L – Arrow
Season 3 Episode 7 – “Draw Back Your Bow”
Arrow gets slightly back on form after a few ropey episodes this season. I was starting to worry that the writers were losing their touch on this one but thankfully the quality is building again.
The villain of the week in this episode is Carrie Cutter AKA Cupid (Amy Gumenick) and to me she’s something of a mixed bag. She is a good vehicle for relating the plot of the episode to Oliver’s emotional growth and allowing the story to explore Oliver’s underlying issues and problems but as a character she is entirely too silly for me. Something about her reminded me of Black Cat when she was first introduced into Spider-Man comics with her seemingly infinite supply of witty comments and an unsettling fixation with the main hero.
Cupid is quite clearly insane and has entirely the wrong idea about what will impress her obsession. She seems to think that killing criminals will go some way towards impressing him. Her psychosis makes me feel almost sorry for her given how entirely misguided she is. She never really seemed like a credible threat to Oliver but I don’t think that was the point really. She suffers from a lack of back-story to help us better understand why she is so insane but at least she was dismissed as a suspect in Sara’s murder quickly enough. I did find the character pretty annoying mostly due to the line delivery so as an antagonist she really grated on me. It is interesting how easily one of her lackeys figured out Oliver’s HQ, this could develop into Team Arrow needing a more subtle hideout.
The resolution of the character was pretty clumsily handled with some exposition about her being recruited for The Suicide Squad. It’s potentially a good place for her but maybe a scene where she gets delivered to Amanda Waller would have made this conclusion seem a bit neater. I did appreciate the reference to Harley Quinn, I hope she actually appears sometime.
Ray and Felicity’s story was the strongest aspect of this episode. Their scenes together are always fun and Brandon Routh remains as charismatic as ever. It would be easy to have him dismissed as a romantic rival for Oliver but the writers are really building an interesting character here. I like that Felicity understands him on a level that few probably do and his altruism is entirely genuine. In lesser hands this character would really grate but a combination of the writing and Routh’s portrayal make him a lot of fun.
Two things are set up in these scenes, the most overt is the growing romantic connection between Ray and Felicity. This is working very well and the two are a natural pair which probably means it’ll end in tears. The other is Ray’s future identity as the costumed adventurer The Atom, something that is set up in a really cool scene revealing Ray’s design for the suit that will harness the shrinking technology.
Oliver’s reaction to Ray’s obvious connection to Felicity is really good and Stephen Amell does a great job of playing Oliver as feeling completely helpless to the point of rage. He’s lost a lot lately from his mother, his fortune, his home and now Felicity. It’s only natural that this would cause him to feel a bit useless. The way he deals with it is typically Oliver as well with his propensity to shut those around him out. It’s not a good situation for Oliver to be in and it’s clear that he’s questioning his life and his current responsibilities. Seeing him walk in on Ray and Felicity as they are kissing completely smacks of TV timing as well. I also think some time needs to be spent establishing how he is actually paying for stuff though.
The flashbacks are a lot better executed in this episode. Oliver and Tatsu teaming up was a really cool story and seeing her wield her katana blade was a great fan moment for me. It was resolved a little too neatly and the lack of connection to the main story is still a problem the flashbacks have this season.
There’s a missed opportunity to have Roy’s situation mirror Oliver’s here. There’s some work done on it towards the end of the episode but there’s plenty of drama to be mined from how similar Oliver and Roy’s current situations are. I really hope they get around to doing more with Roy in the near future because he’s getting something of a raw deal this season.
Just who is this DJ character that acts as a last minute love interest for Thea? Is this really needed? What are they planning to do with this character and why is he here? This part felt really clumsy and out of place with a complete lack of chemistry between the two characters. Hopefully there’s a better plan for this character than being Thea’s beau. There are far more interesting things that Thea could be doing this season.
A vast improvement on some of the previous episodes this season and a real step in the right direction.
The villain was a little cheesy and over the top but was a nice companion to the emotional story of the episode. She was mostly used to remind Oliver of his emotional hangups around romance and present a minor problem for him to boot.
Ray and Felicity’s scenes were the strongest in this episode with the actors bouncing off each other perfectly. They are a good intellectual match which makes them a lot of fun to be around and Brandon Routh plays the altruistic arrogance of Ray nicely.
Oliver’s reaction to their growing connection is well done, it’s very in character for him to retreat into himself and shut those around him out while struggling to keep his anger in check.
A lack of decent focus on Roy is really bringing this season down as he’s a great character but we know next to nothing about his feelings on his newish role as Oliver’s partner. Similarly a clumsy introduction to a DJ who serves as a new love interest for Thea doesn’t work at all.