ARROW: Season 3, Episode 4 “The Magician” Review

With another episode of Arrow in the books, team Arrow is still trying to find Sara’s killer, and Oliver has made some new enemies.  The addition of several characters—both new and familiar—helps keep the show fresh while still propelling the story as we search for who killed Sara and why.

This episode has the most effective story telling we’ve seen yet this season.  The first episode seemed to shuffle the board, while the next few worked to re-set all the pieces.  Now we are starting to see everything played out.

The changes they’ve made to both Thea and Laurel have been noticeable.  There were a few slides this episode, but neither of them really bugged me like they have in the past.  There are a couple elements that seem to have become big frustrations, such as everyone’s refusal to tell Captain Lance that Sara is dead.  It’s uncomfortable, and it’s going to end poorly!

There are also a few fight reoccurring choreography trends that are somewhat concerning.  Namely, Roy flipping off the hoods of cars.  There have been several times this season where Roy is about to get in a fight, and it seems like his first instinct is to run to the nearest car to do a flip off the hood.  It looks impressive, but it’s very impractical.

There was also a moment where there was some 3 way combat occurring, but the choreography didn’t really make sense with the conflict that was occurring.  I appreciate the show setting up some creative action pieces to keep the excitement up, but it’s distracting when the action doesn’t make any sense.

Oliver’s backstory in Hong Kong is also back, after taking an episode off.  It’s effectively establishing some additional context around what was happening when he was on the island.  It’s adding some additional backstory and providing some cool parallels with the current timeline, but as I’ve been concerned about in other reviews, it’s starting to erode the significance of some of the things Oliver had to learn in Season 1 when he first got off the Lian Yu.

There were some cool easter eggs, like the incorporation of Ferris Air from Green Lantern lore into the plot (not the first time Ferris has been mentioned in Arrow or Flash).  Another was more obscure, and I might just be making things up, but some fans have theorized that Thea Queen might become the sometimes villain (sometimes not) known as Cheshire, and there was a moment where her hair gave her a strong resemblance to Cheshire.

It sounds like this season is positioning a war between team Arrow and The League of Assassins.  Nyssa al Ghul is back in the fold again, and we get our first look at Ra’s Al Ghul.  The involvement of the League could be huge, since it is so far reaching in DC lore.  The League of Assassins could be an even bigger threat than Deathstroke and his army was last season, but this season can’t exactly end with Star(ling) city being turned into a war zone for the third time.

Despite some minor nit picks, the show is continuing its strong start, and headed to what should be a climactic 3rd season, especially with a few Flash crossovers, the first of which is only a few weeks away.

Catch Arrow Wednesday nights at 8/7c on The CW

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