Reviewed: by Tyler Olson
***The review below contains minor spoilers.***
Since the very premiere we have been teased with the sins of Oliver's father, and this episode we finally found out what he did, and what the Undertaking is all about.
Instead of island flashbacks, we were treated with flashbacks to the days just before Oliver and Robert's disastrous voyage. It appears that Oliver's tactics with the scumbags isn't too much different that what his father and his friends did, but with one big difference – Robert felt guilty over the death he caused. When Robert admitted that he did bad things, I expected more than this; he wasn't even responsible for the Undertaking. At first I thought that Robert would be happy with what Oliver is doing, but now I'm not too sure.
While Malcolm is the one who spawned the idea of the Undertaking, Dr. Brion Markov (who becomes Geo-Force in the comics) apparently is the one responsible for its creation, which, fitting in well with his Geo-Force identity, involves earth quakes. There is a problem with this idea, is the Glades anywhere near a fault line or anything that could cause a large enough to destroy the neighbourhood so it appears like a natural disaster? How about the rest of the city? Anything powerful enough level 24 square blocks will still devastate the rest of the city too.
Actually, he sounds very much like Ra's Al Ghul. This isn't the first time that similarities between the Malcolm and Ra's showed up, so it is very likely that this Merlyn served and trained under the League of Shadows / Assassins after this wife's death, which is amazingly similar to the comic book version of Merlyn. Could we be seeing ninja assassins in future episodes?
All of Malcolm's speeches were amazing, although his conversation with Robert about his wife was definitely the best. John Barrowman absolutely hit all the right notes to sell the character and the emotional impact the death had on Malcolm. I already had a huge amount of respect for Barrowman's talents before, but now I wonder why this man isn't a bigger star. I still wish he would get the chance to return to Doctor Who every so often.
We've known for a while now that Moria didn't like the Undertaking, but now we know she's been against it from the very beginning, and those feelings my have been partially responsible for Robert's death. I think we can now safely remove her from the list of villains in this series, and just mark her down as someone who is forced into doing dark things to protect the ones she loves.
The list's origins were also brought to light, and it isn't what many of us expected. No, this wasn't a list of the criminals who were part of what Robert, Malcolm, and friends did to the city, or even part of the Undertaking; they were, and always have been, their targets. In a way it reduces the evilness of the names on the list, but it also makes what Oliver is doing with it feel so much more justified.
The flashback may have given us viewers answers, but the present is what gave the characters answers, and finally brought most of them to the same level us viewers have been at for a while.
Oliver and Felicity's hunt for Walter was phenomenal! I loved the whole idea of Felicity infiltrating a secret gangster casino, especially since she did it so well... for her experience anyway. Sure it didn't go perfectly as planned, but I don't think it had anything to do with her performance, they just need smaller earpieces. Did anyone not laugh at her comment about Oliver in her ear? I also loved the action during her rescue, although it was nothing compared to what happened in the bigger rescue afterwards.
There has been some insanely impressive action sequences in this series, but I don't think any of them can compare to the fight that left a trail of bodies behind him in Blüdhaven (that's right, they actually ventured out of Starling City). While it would have been even more amazing if it was all done with one free-motion camera, it was still jaw dropping. It was definitely the first epic superhero-style fight of the series, and likely what fans have been waiting for. I really hope this was just the first of many.
This fabulous rescue did have two holes in the plot though. The biggest one was how Oliver managed to listen in to Malcolm and Moira's conversation. The scene before ended with Ollie comforting his sister, so how he got dressed, then followed her to Malcolm's, was definitely missing. We also missed how he got to Blüdhaven. Did he call in a favour from another of his contacts? If so, wouldn't they wonder why he was dressed up as he jumped? Thankfully those two holes didn't really take much away from the episode, it just would have been better if they were briefly explained.
We also got an amazingly well acted scene with Malcolm and Oliver at the hospital. If Malcolm only knew what Oliver knew that point, I'm sure that one of them would not have left that hospital alive. Ollie must with he never saved Malcolm, not only because what Malcolm is planning, but also what happened to his relationship with Tommy because of it.
I think it is official, the light-hearty Tommy we knew is gone. What a shame. I especially enjoyed his light-hearted remarks. When Laurel approached him I was thought that Tommy was going to spill everything, but instead he just gives her a reason to abandon him for *cough* greener pastures. I know many fans haven't been sold on Laurel and Oliver being a couple, but after seeing them in the past, I think it will work out very well... if he actually lets his guard down.
After the other breakup last week, I expected that Diggle might be done for the season, so I am glad that Oliver and Diggle's time apart wasn't long. Although, I expected something more emotional during their reunion, or a major commitment from Oliver to make things right. I guess the rush to save the city is enough for now, but I hope that more happens between them in the coming episodes to make his previous departure more significant.
The big season finale is almost here! I just hope that they don't mess these next two episodes up by making them too dramatic.