[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]
Arrow returned from hiatus with ‘Blast Radius,’ an episode largely built for the purpose of generating intrigue surrounding what’s to come. In that case, it was the confrontation between Sebastian Blood and Arrow. In many ways, ‘Tremors’ is the same kind of episode as the mid-season premiere; it’s intent is to set the stage for much larger events. But this time around, the actions seen here have a more immediate and lasting impact on the characters and the expansion of the Arrow storyline. They are, in many ways, the small but significant movements preceding a major seismic event.
Of course, the title ‘Tremors’ also has to do with an arms dealer breaking Bronze Tiger out of prison to steal a prototype of the earthquake machine that nearly leveled the Glades from Malcolm Merlyn’s home. It’s not entirely clear why Bronze Tiger was the man for the job, as it seems like breaking into Merlyn’s house and retrieving the device was so easy it’s a wonder some looter hadn’t absconded with it before, but as flimsy as the excuse is, getting Michael Jai White into some hand-to-hand combat with Arrow makes for a pretty good time. Besides, in keeping with the idea that bigger things are around the corner, the pay off for Bronze Tiger winds up being Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai Robinson) showing up to recruit him for her special “squad.”
The crux of the episode, however, primarily concerns Oliver attempting separate interventions (or at least the first stages of one) with Roy and Laurel – who are both suffering from the influence of very different, but potentially destructive substances. After losing her job with the DA, and then finding out she could be facing disbarment as a result of her substance abuse, Laurel is first taken to an AA meeting by her father, but when that blows up, she finds herself at Verdant, only to face Ollie’s decision that she be sent home in a cab. After stumbling into her apartment, we are left with Laurel facing the blurred visage of her sister Sara.
Naturally, with the mirakuru coursing through his veins, Roy has become Oliver’s number one priority, as his increased strength and the volatility that comes along with it make him as big a threat as a prospective asset. There’s a lot of familiar eager protégé tropes thrown around, while Oliver attempts to train Roy’s mind to control the weapon that his body has become by having him hit bowls of water, or practice hitting a wooden dummy, but it results in Roy proving himself in the field after Oliver reveals his identity and implores the angry boy in the red hoodie to do the right thing for the sake of Thea.
Calling forth the name of love to soothe the savage beast may have been a gawky way to solve the problem, but it did kill two birds with one stone, in terms of (temporarily) addressing the anger issues of flashback Slade and present-day Roy. Besides, since Arrow is pulling a Parenthood and making a mayoral candidate out of Moira – which brings about the welcome return of Colin Salmon – it’s easy to afford them some awkwardness with regard to pulling Roy Harper onto Team Arrow.
Arrow continues next week with ‘Heir to the Demon’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: