Arrow, Season 3, Episode 18, ‘Public Enemy’ Review

The following is a review for Arrow, Season 3, Episode 18, “Public Enemy.”  There will be spoilers.

As Ra’s al Ghul turns Starling City against The Arrow, Oliver finds himself backed into a corner where he must decide what The Arrow truly stands for, and which direction he should choose when there are only two options remaining.

Although Season 3 has been a far cry from much of what was accomplished in Season 2 when it comes to writing and story arc, there has been a noticeable slow and steady climb to a place where the payoff is beginning to have value.  This is especially the case with this episode, possibly due to the fact that it was one of the few episodes this season that one of the showrunners, Marc Guggenheim, shared a writing credit.

One of my biggest complaints so far has been there is little consistency or sense to character motivations or decisions, with many decisions being made with no apparent justification outside of moving the plot forward.  Although that feeling is not yet entirely absent, it is now restricted mostly to Captain Lance, who is mostly distraught and confused as he tries to process Sara’s death.  A pill that was harder for him to swallow because of how long everyone refused to tell him about the even that occurred in episode 1.

As a result, Lance has gone all in on attempting to identify and apprehend The Arrow, restarting the Vigilante Task Force, publicly condemning the actions of The Arrow, and blaming him for all the crime and copycat vigilantism that has happened since he arrived 3 years ago.

The Flashbacks are still too short, too abstract, and seemingly unrelated, but they are getting so close to the time of Oliver’s return to Starling that there hopefully isn’t much more to draw out on that end.  The connection to Shado, Maseo, ARGUS, and other elements are definitely interesting, but would almost be better explained through dialogue without a flashback unless we are going to get it in more than 20 second snippets.

Ray Palmer’s arc (although increasingly resembling Iron Man, in a not casual way) is also getting far more compelling.  It appeared that his character was being altered to merely have an armored ATOM suit, but when his blood clot is treated with his experimental nano-bots, a lot of opportunities are presented that have me itching to see where else they will take his character.

After Ra’s exposes Oliver’s identity to Quentin Lance, the Captain reveals it to the entire city, marking a drastic change from the status quo.  This is the type of thing that seems almost as definitive of a blow from Ra’s as the time that he stuck a sword through Oliver’s chest and pushed him off a cliff.  Seeing as to how Oliver seems to have fully recovered from that, it will definitely be interesting to see if this new development is handled in a similar way.

After Oliver turns himself in, Roy steps up and attempts to clear Oliver’s name by also turning himself in as Arrow (although Lance already knows he’s Arsenal).  That doesn’t seem like enough counter evidence to change public opinion after Captain Lance announced Arrow’s identity as Oliver Queen on public TV, but it could be the beginning of some interesting developments.  It’s possible Roy also won’t be the only person to pull a stunt of this nature, muddying the water as much as possible as to the true identity of The Arrow.

The resounding question the season is closing in on, though, is “Was it worth it?”  Has Oliver done anything to actually improve Starling City, or just make things worse since returning and picking up the bow.  Oliver doesn’t only need to answer this question for himself, but all of Starling City needs to answer this question.  Has The Arrow made Starling City a better place?  With only a few episodes left, we’ll know soon enough.

The next episode of Arrow, “Broken Arrow,” will air April 15th at 8/7c on The CW

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