Arrow: Dead to Rights Season 1 Episode 16 Review

Photo Credit: http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2013/02/arrow-writer-geoff-johns-previews-dead-to-rights-5-reasons-to-watch-the-best-episode-yet.html

Arrow delivered an exciting, compact, comic-book-y episode that reminded us why we watch superheroes to begin with.

Moira’s plot to get Malcolm killed took center stage this week. Foes returned and came together as China White recruits Deadshot, who apparently lived through his last encounter with Arrow, to do the shooting. I do love this little villain team-up, and Deadshot’s new eye is pretty sweet. This show is best when it embraces its comic book roots, which these scenes surely did.

But Moira isn’t the only one Malcolm is terrorizing as he visits Tommy on his birthday, interrupting a dinner he had planned with Laurel, Oliver, and Oliver’s new girlfriend McKenna.

So Oliver takes Tommy out to dinner to try and celebrate again, while getting information on the triad’s whereabouts.

The focus remained on Malcolm’s assassination, as just halfway through the episode the event in which his murder would take place began. Tension was built in a sweeping sequence showing everyone attending preparing for the night.

Malcolm’s speech was littered with strong moments including a brunette China White making her way through the crowd and Moira catching a glimpse of Tommy, knowing the fate of his father.

Then all hell broke loose as the fire alarm was set off so Deadshot could do what he does best. But Malcolm is smarter than that. He takes Tommy and heads for his panic room. Attacked by the triad on the way up, Arrow jumps to their rescue, bringing down henchmen and ultimately, a showdown with China White. Their fight was brutal and carried a a heavier weight to it than any other action sequence the show has done yet. They are interrupted by McKenna before Arrow has a chance to kill her. He escapes though, shooting a fire extinguisher, classic superhero tricks.

Meanwhile, Malcolm takes out a few henchmen in front of his son, and almost reveals the costume he wore when he defeated Arrow earlier in the season. But then Deadshot takes his chance, and pumps a few bullets in Malcolm’s chest. Arrow catches up just in time to save Malcolm’s life, but not before revealing his identity to Tommy. I have to say, my jaw legitimately dropped at this. After this exciting, superheroic conflict, a shocking twist is the cherry on top. Now Oliver’s best friend knows his identity. This is how you do a superhero series.

The island had some more Oliver/Slade interactions as they discover a huge weapon. There were only a few scenes here, and they didn’t necessarily fit, but Slade Wilson is still a ton of fun to watch.

The cliffhanger of Laurel’s mother entering the picture was kind of out of nowhere though, and an iffy moment to end this otherwise spectacular episode.

Still though, this was easily the best episode of Arrow yet. It was tense and full of superheroes and villains. This is what I’ve been hoping for since the pilot. And of course, now is when the show goes off the air for a few  weeks. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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