You know, for an episode that marked Oliver’s return, very little about it had to do with Oliver. Here’s what you need to know for Arrow 3.12 “Uprising”: Oliver made his return to Star City. This was also the least surprising thing about the episode. Brick has been arrested, due in part to the city standing up for itself. Brick was revealed to be the man who killed Rebecca Merlyn. Merlyn and Team Arrow were on the same side, kind of, for an entire episode. Once again, I have to start off by noting that I’m really enjoying an Oliver-less Arrow. That’s a big deal when you consider the high esteem I hold for Stephen Amell’s portrayal. Granted, I’m bound to gush any time they put John Barrowman front and center. It’s almost not fair to judge any of the other actors when you have an entire episode of Barrowman scene-chewing happening around them. One does not simply give Barrowman focus, rather he takes center stage and owns it for the entirety of the episode. It was nothing short of glorious. I also enjoyed the twist on the flashback sequences. Twice this season we’ve seen them employed to examine the history of someone other than Oliver. And, yet, both times we could see the start of strands that would lead directly to him becoming Arrow. Flashback sequences can very easily become tired, cliché or overused. Thankfully, the writers have found ways to always make them relevant, and perhaps even more so when they’re not focused on Oliver directly. Felicity’s history makes her current role even more poignant, and Merlyn’s history makes his much more complex. This season might have started out with Oliver’s journey, but it has become clear that this story is about more than Oliver. A hero never goes on a journey alone, and their actions don’t happen in a vacuum. I’ve enjoyed watching Team Arrow move to the fore, proving that Oliver’s mission can, and will, continue, regardless of whether or not Oliver is the one leading the charge. Arguably, the mission was never just Oliver’s, reclaiming the city from disease and rot was always bigger than one man. He took on a mission greater than himself, and his sacrifice has not been for naught. Unfortunately, the ripple effect is not without consequences. Perhaps the most interesting part of this episode was seeing Merlyn act like a “good” guy and Felicity treating Oliver like one of the “bad” guys. Obviously this is due in large part to Oliver’s need to be trained by Merlyn. But, if you zoom out a bit, there was an interesting bit of characterization going on. I think we witnessed a kind of humanization of Merlyn, the realization that he’s more than just a two-dimensional villain hellbent on destruction. He became sympathetic. At the same time, Oliver returns, swoops in to save the day and then asks his enemy to become his mentor. It’s not hard to see why Felicity feels the way she does. Granted, the writing for these kinds of scenes has never been one of the strong points on Arrow. Some of the fan feelings toward Felicity, and “Olicity,” have suffered as a result. But, again, if you zoom out there is something happening that is bigger than a few scenes of poorly written emotional dialogue and/or Felicity’s never ending stream of tears. I’m not ready to declare that we’re witnessing the redemption of Merlyn. I have a feeling Oliver’s return from the dead, even metaphorical, didn’t end with his return to Star City. I anticipate that the pairing of Ollie and Merlyn, a very particular dance with the devil, could end poorly for more than just Ra’s Al Ghul. The Good: Young Nyssa’s casting was so spot-on. The resemblance was uncanny. That young lady was also easily the best of the child actors. Despite her brief time on screen, I found myself convinced that she was not someone with whom you wanted to do battle. It’s no secret that I have nothing but love for John Barrowman. Having an entire episode centered around Merlyn was a huge win for this show. I’m not sure if it can be considered a “good” thing, but I massively underestimated Merlyn’s role in Oliver’s story. What is good is just how pivotal Merlyn has become. Tatsu pronounced “Ra’s” as “Rai-sh.” Batman: The Animated Series pronunciation FTW! (Seriously, I cheered out loud… B:TAS can do no wrong in my book). That final line by Felicity was just “kick you in the guts” powerful. It seemed a bit clunky until the “I don’t want to be a woman that you love” closer. The Might Be Good: There better be a Katana adventure on the horizon. At this point Tatsu is being criminally under-used. We all know that she’s more than potions and mysticism, so let’s cut to the chase already! There is so much more to come from Merlyn. The positioning leading up to the finale makes me giddy. Okay, the city can rise up against a foe as a united force thanks to the work of The Arrow. It worked this time, again, but I hope this doesn’t continue to be the go-to pay off. City v. Brick, City v. Mirakuru Warriors, City v. Earthquake machine… notice a pattern? The Bad: Merlyn’s 90’s hair has to top this list. Because, well, you saw it, right? He was a flannel shirt and a copy of Pearl Jam’s Ten away from being 100% cliché. I really wish the writing was better for the emotional moments. So many of those lines would fall completely flat if the actors delivering them weren’t so damn committed. Credit to Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards for making that ending as poignant as it needed to be, because it could have been a train wreck. If Ted Grant is dead, I will be pissed! Arrow 3.12 "Uprising"0.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.