Arrow is back! Here’s what you need to know from the first episode of 2015 “Left Behind”: Oliver is dead-ish, still. Dig and Roy are doing their best, and it’s not bad. But even together they’re no Oliver. Laurel is doing her best to impersonate her sister, but needs more work. Star City is, understandably, a mess in Oliver’s absence. Roy is more determined than ever to become Star City’s savior. Felicity has all the sad. “Brick” Brickwell has arrived and is largely responsible for the aforementioned mess. Merlyn is much more nefarious than I think anyone has given him credit for being. Katana (nee Tatsu) can bring people back from the dead(?). In general, this felt very much like another “reset” episode. Arrow didn’t return with a bang or a whimper, but more of a sneer. To be clear, the opening of the show went off big time, including a massive shootout and car chase sequence. The action was there, and it was big. But, overall, the entire episode reminded me a bit of how I felt after “Corto Maltese.” This was another episode in which Oliver’s presence was felt more than it was seen, and it was another episode in which Malcolm Merlyn took center stage. Come to think of it, “Left Behind” actually bookends “Corto Maltese” very well. In my review of “Corto Maltese” I said that, “[my] suspicions are that this episode laid the groundwork for changes whose full impact won’t be realized until a few episodes down the line.” Fast forward to “Left Behind” and I think some of those realizations just became much clearer. Notably, the fact that Merlyn is playing chess while the rest of the world is playing pinochle. Malcolm is playing a completely different game, and he’s beautifully orchestrating everyone. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he had a hand in Brick’s arrival (which, admittedly, did seem to come out of nowhere). Up until this point I had kind of written Merlyn off as a threat whose time had come and gone. After “The Climb” and “Left Behind”, I’m reconsidering my position. I’m quickly coming around to the opinion that Merlyn poses an even bigger threat than Slade Wilson. I now find myself questioning if Merlyn didn’t expect the destruction of The Glades to fail. His thinking seems just so far out ahead of everyone else that I feel like we’re only just now beginning to see his machinations truly unfold. Is it possible that everything Malcolm has done to this point has just been prelude to a much more ambitious plan?? And that is why I feel like Arrow returned with a sneer, and a disarmingly handsome one. I’m an admitted Vinnie Jones fanboy and I cheered when he appeared on screen. But, in the grand scheme of things, Brick is no match for Merlyn. Brick is dangerous but will ultimately be yet another “boss” that will need to be dispatched as Team Arrow works their way towards a showdown with Merlyn. I can’t deny that The Glades are in trouble, but the real threat in this episode was 100% Malcolm Merlyn. That’s not to say that the episode lacked emotion. There was plenty of whimpering, mostly courtesy of Felicity. I have to give credit to Emily Bett Rickards here. Felicity’s reactions were much more sincere and believable than they probably had any right to be given the show’s history with such scenes. However, in spite of any/all emotional moments, they were basically filler or set up scenes for John Barrowman to chew through. Ergo, no bang, no whimper, just a sneering Malcolm looking over the pawns in his game. The Good: Up to this point Hong Kong has been interesting, but not quite as compelling as what happened on the island. That all changed this episode. Maseo bringing Oliver’s body to, a very much alive, Tatsu brings Hong Kong crashing directly into the present day. I’m almost at a loss with regards to what happens next. I used to think Malcolm was disposable. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s rapidly approaching Lex or Joker levels of nefarious. Dig in the green hood was awesome. Dig’s reasons for not wearing the hood were even better. John Diggle, he’s such a badass that not even a mask or hood can contain all the awesome. Felicity is the show’s humanity, its moral compass. She always has been and this episode made that point even more clear. The Might Be Good: I’m still holding on to the theory that there is a connection between Mirakuru and the Lazarus Pits. Tatsu is Japanese and, based on the closing moments of the episode, apparently has a trick or two that can bring people back from the dead (or nearly dead?). Assuming that Tatsu is familiar with the League, Ra’s and the Pits, and that Mirakuru is Japanese in origin, it seems possible that there is still a connection between the two. Although, I admit that I’m the theory relies more on hope than anything else. Laurel is ridiculously unprepared to carry the mantle of Black Canary. But, based on various interviews, this is intentional. Laurel’s education is only just beginning. Katie Cassidy has finally begun growing on me, and this transition finally seems to be doing the character justice. I’m looking forward to watching it happen, and I’m anxious to see how her particular version of the Hero’s Journey plays out. I still love what Ray Palmer brings to the show, but I’m worried that they’ll go a bit too Iron Man and not enough Atom with him. I think Brandon Routh is great, and there’s no denying the appeal of RDJ’s Tony Stark. But Routh isn’t RDJ, nor should he be. So I’m hopeful we won’t lose the things that are great about Ray because the writers feel compelled to make The Atom into Iron Man. The Bad: Overall I thought the episode worked and I really don’t have many complaints. Except, I think Roy went an entire episode without doing a single flip. He did his usual Parkour craziness, but I demand at least one flip per episode when Roy is in the hood. So, get with it writers! One flip per episode seems pretty easy; we can work on more later. Arrow 3.10 "Left Behind"4.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (3 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.