Wednesday, February 26, 2014

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - Felicity Faces Off with The Clock King & the Lances Have a Dinner in 'Time of Death'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 2.14 Time of Death

Watching Oliver, Diggle and Sara spar, Felicity starts to feel left out; William Tockman aka The Clock King (Robert Knepper) infiltrates the computer systems in the lair and Felicty feels pressure to prove her worth and track him down; and Oliver throws Sara a welcome home party, but seeing the two together makes Laurel lose her temper on both of them.

I wasn't a big fan of the last episode's ending twist of Laurel not being that happy about Sara's "return from the dead." It felt like she was being oppositional and isolated for the sake of being those things not because they came from the natural progression of her latest story arc. And yet, that dynamic really worked for me in "Time of Death." It mostly works because she's not in that same headspace by episode's end. Needing that character to hit rock bottom in order to build her up again into something new felt like a necessary hazard for the season. It worked in this episode also because of that scene with Oliver yelling at her. He's been burning bridges with a lot of the supporting characters lately (his mother and now Laurel). Even though I don't belief in the Oliver-Laurel romantic endgame because it's been perfunctory whenever they try to do it, I appreciated how he gave her that huge push. And with her going to a meeting, I'm very hopeful that she is heading into a more meaningful story very soon.

But the episode's core story was all about Felicity. Team Arrow has been changing a lot in the second half of the season. First, Roy was let in on the big secret - though he hasn't really amounted to much in the episode's since then. More importantly, Sara is sticking around Starling City. She too is an attractive blonde with a skill set welcomed into this group. Plus, she can fight. You can see very easily why Felicity may be jealous of her. So of course, the episode's climatic moment would feature those two ladies facing off against the Clock King - with Felicity being the one to take him down, of course. The whole premise was very pleasant and naturalistic. Felicity and Sara will work a lot better as friends. Plus, both have a spot on Team Arrow - they're not competing over the same one. I'm also so glad that seeing Oliver and Sara together isn't a main source of contention with Felicity. Of course, she doesn't know the full extent of their relationship but she does pick up on some it, right?

Some more thoughts:
  • "Time of Death" was written by Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz and directed by Nick Copus.
  • Robert Knepper was decent as The Clock King. However, the show has still yet to completely master the art of the episodic villain. This one does feel more layered than past attempts but still isn't completely there. But, he's also not dead by episode's end meaning he could pop up again later.
  • None of those concerns stemmed from Knepper's performance though. He was good with what he had to do. He's an actor I want to see in some kind of regular role - and, despite his wanting to do it, I hope it's not on that Heroes revival.
  • Detective Lance thinking he and Dinah would get back together was just such an after-thought to this episode.
  • In island flashbacks, we learn why Sara is so protective of Sin. It's a story that didn't need that explanation but it didn't detract from the effectiveness of the episode.
  • The episode ending twist of Slade and Oliver coming face-to-face in the present storyline does intrigue me. However, there was no real buildup to that moment. The best twists are the ones that thematically turn everything on its head from the hour preceding it. This moment is crucial for the season-long arc. But also kinda tacked on at the end.