***The review below contains spoilers.***
By Tyler Olson
Of all the mid-season finales so far this year, Arrow's was by far the most impressive.
After taking some time off, the flashbacks have returned, and they brought gifts. The deeper reveals into Oliver's past, and the island itself were great treats, but the Deathstroke vs Yao rematch easily stole the show. I am disappointed that the fighting was broken up this time though, but due to the amount of others involved in the fight this time, it probably would have been too difficult to film otherwise.
The present day stories were equally fantastic, but in different ways.
Oliver's Christmas Party was a great way to continue advancing the characters, while giving Oliver the perfect opportunity to be thrown into the overprotective big brother position with Thea and her boyfriend. It is a shame that it Diggle arrived to pull Oliver away since that could have become the best brother/sister moment in this series.
Walter's story had some massive advancements too. I didn't mind Walter's investigation, but using the information he found in any way is a huge mistake, and sadly he didn't realize that. I still can't believe that Moria is accepting what happened, warnings or not. I doubt they can still consider her part of the cities bright and shining future after this, but the safety of her husband may still keep her in line. It sounds like that future is getting close too, and from what we know, it may create a huge shift in the story, if it actually happens. Who knows, this may be what creates the Justice League.
Felicity is probably going to be looking for a new job after the events with Walter. I am sure she will panic when she finds out her boss is gone, but I have a feeling that things will still work out for her. It isn't like the writers are going to kill off a fan-favourite... right? Perhaps she can be the personal IT department for the Green Arrow.
That's right, he finally has his name, and it was given to him from the least likely person. Having Oliver called the vigilante, Arrow, Hood or Hood-guy all the time was getting silly, so I hope that Green Arrow will take off in future episodes. With a catchy name like that, all it takes is for the criminals to start referring to him by that name and the police and media will soon follow. I'm impressed that it only took nine episodes before he got his title though, after all, how long did they call Clark Kent the Blur on Smallville.
The main villain this week was the Archer, and what a masterfully brilliant villain he was. At first he appeared to be just another bland two dimensional baddie, like the others that have plagued this series, but the traps, the fight, and the huge reveal, all made this character so much more. Now that we know who the Archer is, I wonder if we will see him in this form again, or if he will take on new identities as the series progresses, while revisiting past ones to throw Oliver off his true identity.
The reveals, the relationships, and the return of so many villains from the past, easily made this the best episode so far, but add in the twists at the end, and I don't know how they are going to top this episode in the new year. The only bad thing about this episode is that we have to wait a month for the series to return.
Reviewer's Rating: 5/5