‘Arrow’ Explores The Power Of Confrontation

Published 7 months ago by

Stephen Amell in Arrow Season 2 Episode 19 Arrow Explores The Power Of Confrontation

[This is a review for Arrow season 2, episode 19. There will be SPOILERS.] 

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For an episode that jumps dramatically from more grounded, humanistic elements like Officer Lance recognizing the immense emotional burden the Arrow is under to the freewheeling sci-fi craziness of S.T.A.R. Labs, ‘The Man Under the Hood’ still manages to hit enough beats to offer a busy, sometimes ungainly, but still entertaining episode of Arrow.

With the battle against Deathstroke and his mirakuru-enhanced army on the horizon, ‘The Man Under the Hood’ progresses that portion of the plot in mostly satisfying ways, allowing Team Arrow a chance to engage with Slade in a manner that goes well beyond making menacing faces at one another, and issuing pointed threats before tearing off in an Italian sports car. The confrontation in Arrow HQ makes for a great set piece that demonstrates Slade’s incredible abilities, and heightens the overall sense of danger with regard to Deathstroke’s plans for the former guests of Iron Heights he freed not long ago. In other words, if Oliver, Sara, and Diggle can be tossed around like rag dolls by a single (highly trained, sure) man with mirakuru in his blood, the thought of a dozen or more being let loose on the streets of Starling City becomes a frightening proposition indeed.

But the episode isn’t just about the confrontation between Slade and the man who tried to kill him five years ago. There’re several more threads involving confrontation (and the possibility of confrontation) woven through the plot. Through these various situations simmering in the background, Arrow succeeds in finding room for nearly every character to have a moment – either big or small – but there are questions of just how substantial some of them manage to actually be. For example, the episode is peppered with plenty of tiny Arrow-centric character moments, and yet the writers still attempt to shoehorn in a considerable amount name-dropping by introducing Danielle Panabaker’s S.T.A.R. Labs employee, Caitlin Snow, and using her appearance to initiate a somewhat clumsy conversation about the still-comatose Barry Allen, forcibly expanding the universe of a series that has yet to even air its pilot.

Manu Bennett in Arrow Season 2 Episode 19 Arrow Explores The Power Of Confrontation

Beyond some well-staged action set pieces and some in-network product placement going on, ‘The Man Under the Hood’ also manages to factor in Laurel’s response to finding out the Arrow’s true identity. Laurel’s arc has been something of a rough spot over the course of the season, and considering her willingness to blackmail a superior to get her job in the D.A. back, the decision she makes with regard to that knowledge comes as something of a surprise – at least in terms of where the narrative seemed to have been taking the character. In that sense, the speech given to Laurel by her father winds up working to reframe the Lance family dynamic in terms of accepting what’s become of Sara – and by extension, Oliver – with the added drama of everyone keeping the secret from one another.

While the Quentin-Laurel conversation works to move the characters forward by establishing their level of involvement with regard to Starling City’s vigilantes, Laurel’s easily won battle to set her father free is another unfortunate example of certain ungainly elements sprinkled throughout the episode.

It’s a busy episode to be sure, and while all the beats didn’t necessarily strike the right tone, it still managed to work in several great action sequences that included a terrific takedown of Slade, and the supposed death and ressurection of Isabel Rochev. There were also a handful of smaller, well-executed moments like Laurel’s decision to keep Oliver’s secret and Thea’s painful recognition that the stasis in her life she’d worked so hard to achieve has ostensibly been destroyed.

Those moments will likely have a greater impact later on, making any perceived awkwardness of the episode worthwhile – at least in terms of laying the groundwork for some potentially important character arcs to come.

_____

Arrow continues next week with ‘Seeing Red’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below:

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  1. finally they made Laurel know everything and be self aware. makes her character less annoying. and man anytime slade comes on screen its just too epic.

    • Agreed…loved the part where Arrow unloads those arrows at slade; and he just deflects them with his sword. Totally bad azz !!!

    • Unfortunately they let Thea take Laurel’s place as the show’s self-absorbed, whiny, annoying character without wasting any time. We can’t catch a break, can we?

      Maybe we’re lucky and she really left for good?

  2. Good episode, I think they handled the Laural knowing very well, it makes since why she didn’t tell him she knows. Thea needs to get off her High horse IMO, get over it girl and move on. to be honest I’m a little disappointed with how they handled Isabel, I was hopping they’d stay closer to the comics it is a much better story than a jaded ex lover seeking revenge against the family he chose over her. and even if she turns out to be Ravager that means they either burned a great character like Isabel Rochev making her the alias of Rose Wilson, or they burn Rose Wilson and turn the Ravager into Isabel, but i digress. one other point of contention, i somewhat understand Oliver’s shame when it comes to the cure and Slade, but it makes little to no sense to me why he would not tell them of the cure for the sake of saving Roy, that seems like a pretty weak plot hole to me, not that i won’t enjoy watching Roy tear it up next week.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen a few scenes in different episodes like that. It just gives me the impression that the writers are changing or writing episodes not too long before they air. I know that on some shows they have an over arcing idea of what each episode will be about and then different writers work on it and whatever. Any reference to a possible cure was glossed over in previous episodes or it went something like:
      Man Under the Hood Writer: Okay, so then Ivo mentions the cure.
      Other writers: The what… Did you say cure?
      Man Under the Hood: Yeah, the cure… for the Mirakiru…that we’ve been hinting at the whole season…
      Other writers: Umm… that has never happened…is there a reason why this hasn’t come up before?
      Man Under the Hood writer: Well.. I was in Cancun but.. you guys didn’t get my email? Well anyway, Felicity starts working on it, considering that she’s also a chemist, like we’ve also been hinting at…
      Other writers: WTF? Wait… so… if he knew that it was possible to cure it.. why wasn’t he interested in that when Roy got infected? He’s letting that guy run around with superpowers that only include being relatively indestructible and highly irrational and there was a cure for that the whole time?
      Man Under the Hood writer: Yup… and the boat, ‘Amazo’, it actually transforms into the robot…like we’ve been hinting at the whole season
      Other writers: *Facepalm*

  3. Great episode! That shot of Deathstroke catching Sara by the neck was SOOOO epic!

    • I disagree. I think it COULD have been epic, but Slade’s arm was out way too early for that to be believable. Its like he was sitting there waiting for it to happen.

      Otherwise, the episode was great. Very well choreographed fight scenes (other than what I stated above) and Laurel is becoming much cooler than she was before. Solid A score this week.

      • Well Slade is a master tactician. He would know Arrow’s moves. ;)

        • And he knew that Sarah was going to jump into his open hand?
          ….
          That would be pretty damn cool..

    • Totally agree…it was super :)

  4. It seems like every time they make one female character less annoying (Laurel) they go on to make another one just as infuriating (Thea). Like come on people stop making Oliver the absolute worst at covering his ass, he could have simply just told Thea “Hey I just found out this Merlyn stuff with you too.” They can kill off Thea in all honesty because her character hasn’t truly added anything to the story arc outside of being a quick fix to keep roy (who I think they’ve kinda botched too) from going off the deep end which it seems he does in this next ep.

    Despite that little rant this show is still one of my favorites. I watched the two latest AOS ep. because I heard it had gotten a little bit better and I wanted to see how the tie in to Cap worked. Yet after switching back to watch Arrow afterwards it is pretty safe to say that Arrow is Superior to AOS in every facet. Even Arrow’s corniest lines come off better. Action Sequences are top notch and the constant back and forth between Slade and Oliver has made for a great season.

    • I think that by adding Deathstroke was a huge boatload of WIN for this show. One of the biggest reasons I tuned into the show was because they added him in.

    • Lol.. I find it amazing how you can start ranting about arrow and praising the show afterwards, yet u still find room to crap on agents of Shield when this has nothing to do with show.

      • Maybe because they’re the two big superhero shows on TV right now and he was stating what he found bad about Arrow then praising the good parts and comparing them since he saw two episodes from each show back to back?

        Your superpower isn’t common sense or reading ability, is it?

  5. This was an awesome episode. Had a lot of twists and turns. The article is right about the clumsy way they talked about Barry. It just seemed forced and Caitlin Snow seemed bored. I loved that they named dropped Dr. Light. Hopefully we will either see him in The Flash or in Arrow.

    Another solid episode by Team Arrow.

    • @H,

      Hell, Agents of Shield doesn’t have anything to do with Agents of Shield.

  6. Solid Episode, yet again.

    Thea is now the new Laurel. Laurel is less annoying. Deathstroke is as cool as ever..but still just being teased.

    Loved the Flash stuff. Killer Frost and Vibe….hopefully.

  7. Loved the fight scene in the Arrow Cave, Slade and Ollie fighting with the sticks was a beautiful thing to watch. When Slade flipped him and knocked him out and ended with “Don’t forget who taught you how to fight, kid” was the cherry on top of that scene.

    • When Slade was just walking around while the 2 STAR labs employees were just running, and said “The longer the chase, the slower the kill” was very badass and very Jason Voorhees like

    • @eric,

      I know right. That was a classic line. LOL. Next season Ollie is going to need some serious help.
      I’d like to see Nightwing show up (along with millions of other viewers) and a tech based hero like Black Lightning.. wielding actual black lightning. Another good character would be Richard Dragon. He could enter to train Ollie and crew. He fits in because of his connection with Bronze Tiger.

  8. Loved some, hated some.

    Arrow had like 20 seconds after he knocked both Slade and the girl where he could have stuck 10 arrows in Slade’s face while he was unconscious and ended it all.

  9. Thought the review this week was a little harsh.. It was an extremely busy episode, and for 40 minutes of television I thought it was handled very well. Especially how Laurel handled her newfound knowledge of Oliver.

    The one exception to this being how Laurel lawyered her father out of prison, I think ‘ungainly’ is the appropriate word.

  10. Can someone explain to me why Arrow, who is getting about 2.5mil avg viewers this season (a drop from last season) is such a huge hit and guaranteed a season 3 (and probably a 4th and 5th). While Agents of SHIELD, despite decreasing viewership, (is still getting 5.5mil and above) is still questionable for a season 2 renewal?

    Is it just because of the whole Marvel thing that AoS has double the viewership? Is it because Arrow is on the CW? Why don’t more people watch Arrow if it really is as good as we all say it is. I love both Marvel and DC and I want both shows to continue for a long period of time, but Arrow is also on the down trend in terms of ratings.

    Arrow is such a sick show, but the downward trend is puzzling. I live in Canada btw.

    • On this topic, my question is this…..

      Why does Screen Rant find the need to point out when AoS ratings drop so low, but yet when Arrow hits its lowest of the season (like it did this week) its not even mentioned.

      I am guessing it isnt a Screen Rant thing, its a reviewer thing, but still, we should be equal opportunity bashers, not just half way bashers.

      • It’s because one is on the CW and the other on ABC. Another thing Arrow is a much better show all around.

        • Except it isn’t. Take out Slade and the show is an unwatchably bad pseudo soap opera in tights aimed at the typical CW YA demo. It’s DC concerned that they wouldn’t be able to do the actual character Batman justice in a live-action tv show, but they still want a Batman-substitute to pander to the small, but excessively vocal, portion of their fan base that wants all comic book characters to be comparable to Batman, and passionately believe that all comic book properties should be “adult” oriented and treated as srs bsns.

          That they are on different networks is irrelevant. Nobody whines that the Walking Dead is on AMC when talking about ratings, or that Game of Thrones is on HBO. Like what you want to like, but enough with the pretentious posturing; the truth is: it isn’t a BETTER show, it’s a DIFFERENT show… one that isn’t “better” to an awfully large percentage of the tv watching audience. If Arrow was a more popular show (which it stands to reason if it was a BETTER show it would be) it would draw more viewers, not consistently approach series low ratings week after week.

          • “Except it isn’t. Take out Slade and the show is an unwatchably bad pseudo soap opera in tights aimed at the typical CW YA demo.”

            Except…..it is.

            Take out Slade and it’s still as good as it was during season 1, it’s just that the stakes have been increased this season. Could’ve been any villain of their choosing but they went with Deathstroke and Manu is just killing it.

            It’s one of the most watchable shows on TV right now. The soap opera parts only come in when they have poorly written romantic scenes, of which there aren’t many this season.

            It’s aimed at the “typical CW YA demo” but coming from the UK, where there’s no such channel as The CW in existence (it airs on Sky1, the same channel that gives us 24 and Strike Back amongst others) and most of the Arrow fans I’ve seen, talked to and personally known are at least 30 years old, well, wave goodbye to your attempt at an argument.

          • I hate the fact that the walking dead is on amc because I don’t get it. Groot your argument is pretty weak. You just don’t want to admit arrow dominates A0S.

      • @ Doom3524

        Guess again my friend.

        The answer to your question is simple: Screen Rant is, always has been, & always will be pro WB/DC. Screen Rant has always been critical of Marvel every chance, they get (unless they absolutely can’t because they’ll look completely stupid), while at the same time they heap praise upon praise upon anything WB/DC does. If you need further evidence just look at the rating & praise Man of Steel gets by the staff of this site, while the rest of the world calls it what it is, a piece of garbage. Another example would be all of the worthless, non-news articles written on this site regarding Batman vs. Superman, just to drum up web hits for themselves & that ridiculous sequel.

        I think it’s high time we all realized that Screen Rant is in this business for one reason & it certainly isn’t the fans, it’s for web hits that generate dollars. The more flame wars they start with they’re ridiculous articles the better they like it. It’s called war profiteering, & nobody, & I mean NOBODY does it better than Screen Rant; which is why you can’t trust them & must read them understanding their pro WB/DC slant bleeds through everything they write.

        Screen Rant = pro WB/DC, WB/DC slant everyday, all day.

        The ONLY on on this ite worth anything is Rob Keyes

        • Kevin…

          Good thing you aren’t in the slightest bit biased yourself; otherwise, your rant would come across as just so much immature blubbering…mmhmmm, good thing.

          BTW, check out their ratings of “Green Lantern”, “The Avengers”, and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”…and then, turn your brain back on.

          • @ Archaeon

            What you call “bias”, I call fact. And if you’re insinuating that I am pro Marvel, I am not. They haven’t made a good film since Iron Man 1 and The Avengers.
            If you’re as smart as you appear to be, and don’t work for Screen Rant, then you have no choice but to agree with me as the evidence is overwhelmingly in my favor.

            By the way, I did say “unless it makes them look absolutely stupid” . I think you missed that caveat in my reply. Not criticizing Green Lantern, and not giving high marks to Tha Avengers & Captian America: The Winter Solider would have made them look exceptionally foolish.

            @ TheFutureEmbrace

            I do believe that the vast majority of “trolls” on this site are from Screen Rant itself. How else can you drive up web hits unless you have at least one flame thrower in every article comment section; and why do most of these “trolls” only show up in WB/DC articles? For more web hits. Again, don’t lose sight of the REAL goal here, making money.

            To both of you I can only offer this, I am not an enemy of anybody, including you two, however I am for truth and integrity, neither of which can be found in any quantity on this website.

            • Kevin quit being butt hurt. That man of steel comment is your opinion. Agents of fail sucks and you need to accept that. See I can be a troll just like you.

              • @ Cyborg6971

                I stand firmly by what I said.

                Agents of Shieild “sucks” is your opinion, just as my Man of Steel was garbage was mine. Nobody’s opinion is greater than anybody else’s, that’s way it’s an opinion. Nobody is butt-hurt at all, just stating facts, take them for what you will.

            • Kevin…

              Since your “facts” are simply OPINIONS expressed with a need-to-be-right, delusional attitude, I find it incredibly easy to ignore the rest of your ranting…and NO, there is no need nor any legitimate reason to agree with you or your obvious biases. BTW, I neither said nor implied anything about preferring Marvel. YOU did.

              Feel free to stand by what you said…I too will stand by MY words. We simply will NOT agree.

              • @ Archaeon

                Why are you so intimidated by somebody that is trying to reason with you? I’m NOT attacking you. I’m stating obvious facts about this site.

                BTW…What else would you be implying that I’m biased about if not Marvel? For a fan boy such as yourself, that would be the next logical step I suppose. Sad.
                I am no fan of Marvel’s kids movies, nor am I fan of WB/DC horrible DC movies. I’m a comics fan that finds people like you that are SO passionate about these movies & sites like this rather humorous.

                Thanks for the chuckle.
                Have a nice night.

                • Kevin…

                  Two things: First, you should look up the definition if you are sad enough to think you are being intimidating…”laughable” is a word that better describes what I thought of your original comment and your response. Speaking of which, my second point is that I’m glad you merely chuckled…it gives me a tiny hope that you might learn something. For my part, I actually laughed out loud after reading such an arrogantly silly comment.

                  Have a pleasant weekend. :)

                • Kevin…

                  THAT was your best response? Really? You should definitely review the meaning of “intimidation”… You are not, in the slightest. ” Laughable” is a much more fitting word for you.

                  Goodbye, poor, sad Kevin…Sleep well in puffed-up dreamland.

                  • @Archaeon

                    First of all, how many “Archaeons” are there on this site & why did both of you respond?

                    Secondly…

                    Son, are you really THAT dim, or are you just fooling around here? Seriously. Only a person that is fearful or intimidated responds with insults the way you do. That, my friend, is psychology 101. I teach that to freshmen.

                    I’ll forgive you this time.

                    Insults are the lowest form of arguing, used mostly as a self-defense mechanism for low self esteem or insecurity. Why you would have these feelings toward a faceless name on a computer screen is beyond me, but I suggest you seek professional counseling in exploring it. In the meantime, I’m done with you, and this conversation.

                    Have a good life.

                    • Kevin…

                      You said you are done…I’m fine with that, as I hate trying to discuss with hypocrites (the WHY for that term will come momentarily), BUT I do wish to close out our back-and-forth on my own terms.

                      First, both postings above are from me…when I posted the first comment, it did not show up, even after a couple of screen refreshes. I merely typed up my thoughts again, more succinctly, hoping to get my response out. It worked…much later, my original comment DID show up, making it seem as if I had posted two separate comments, instead of one repeated. A teacher of psychology would perhaps have noticed that the two said the same thing and were from the same name with the same avatar, something two posters would likely not have done…or don’t logic and empirical evidence have any place in the field of psychology anymore?

                      …and now, to the hypocrisy: Questioning my intellect while “teaching” me about the worst way to argue with someone, not only invalidates your argument but also lowers you well below whatever point you THOUGHT I had reached…something else a “teacher” of psychology might have more carefully considered.

                      In any event, whether you even ever read this or not, I hope that someone else, if they perhaps considered you well-reasoned and clever in your response, thinks better of that assumption and LEARNS.

                      Now, I too am done with you, having said my piece. I do need any forgiveness from you…YOU, however, might try to forgive yourself.

                      Good bye.

                    • Sigh…my kingdom for an EDIT feature.

                      I, most certainly, do NOT need any forgiveness from you, Kevin.

          • @Archaeon

            +100 my friend. Well said.

        • Oh GIVE. IT. A. REST.

          Were you born this deluded or did it happen through years and and years of hitting your head?

          Screen Rant post articles about the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost EVERY SINGLE DAY. That doesn’t make them pro Marvel or con DC, just pro comic book movies. They have overtly critical of the perceived unorganised way WB/DC have started constructing their movieverse, whilst praising Marvel’s format. Because it is good.

          I really have to wonder whether you’re trolling on purpose because no on can be so blind.
          Not to mention that there are different writers on here, so each comic book movie article written by a different person is of course going to have a little of their personal opinions mingled in with it.

          Your statement makes me fear for our species. It really does.

          Go back to studying the magic bullet theory.

        • Absolute nonsense, yet it keeps being trotted out by people who have their own preferences and get upset when the reviewers don’t agree with them.

          • I know, right? People like Kevin scream “bias” when it suits them and then resort to nothing but ridiculous attacks, troll tactics and insults and yet they’re still allowed to post their BS freely while others get wrongfully censored for hitting out at them?

            Honestly, I only had to read the first two lines of Kevin’s response to Archaeon to know never to take him seriously ever again.

    • ABC is a bigger network than the CW, so the expectations are higher; in essence, the CW doesn’t need that many viewers (compared to ABC) to renew a show.

  11. It was an uneven episode. I think they are stretching the Deathstroke arc a little thin now. Next week’s episode seem like another filler and I hope this is the last season of the island flashbacks. After Deathstroke, there is no other compelling story left to tell.

    I don’t know why everyone is happy with the Laurel’s reaction to knowing Oliver’s secret and has suddenly became less annoying?

    Oliver has destroy her parents marriage, and cheated on her with her own sister. Yet when Laurel was expressing righteous anger at her sister, Oliver makes it Laurel’s fault which leads to Laurel apologizing to her sister who by the way still hasn’t apologized to Laurel for banging her then boyfriend. As the Arrow, he got her father demoted, arrested and beaten up. He got Laurel into trouble multiple times including losing her job which lead to her substance abuse, yet she thanks Oliver for always being there for her, hoping to become a couple again knowing he is still banging her sister.

    Instead of hugging Oliver, Laurel should become a super villian and empty a gun in his face.

    Why does everyone think Thea has become more annoying?

    Remember, Thea has found out that Oliver and her mother has lied to her. Its only been a few days, so she is still experessing justified anger. I’m glad she is sticking it to Oliver.

    Another negative about this episode was the revelation of Iris being Allen’s something. How the hell did Barry get a girlfriend while he was in a coma?

    • +1000

      THANK YOU!

    • @Raymond
      I would have to say that I’d have to disagree with you. Considering that this is CW, I believe that they feel that a level of drama has to underline each episode, but I was happy when that drama came from Oliver being unable to fully commit or share, not some of this lazily created conflict between characters.
      And frankly, despite her personal issues, when it was discovered that her sister was still alive, she should have been happy to see her sister return. Perhaps, it would have been better if her pain and anger was more subtle and personal, a private conversation between the two and such. So now that Laurel is all, “Wow, I know the truth, but I’ll handle it like an adult instead of flying of the damn handle like I always do,” people are happy.

      Enter Thea, “What? Merlyn, a domestic terrorist is my father from an affair that happened almost 20 years ago? Well, Oliver knew and there’s no reason why he’d keep that from me so.. he sucks!” BOOM, now she’s a wild card. Why trust the suspicious guy with an eye patch? Can you not see why they would keep the fact that Merlyn was her father a secret? Why is Oliver suddenly the guy who would never lie to you? You barely see him except when he sneaks off into the basement with his buddies every day and in the first season you were all, “You’re hiding things, you’re so suspicious…” Now he’s a saint?
      I didn’t like that Oliver condemned his mother for keep that secret either, it just feels as though these character conflicts are forced. Oliver, being a secret vigilante should be a little understanding because he hides things from his actual crime fighting allies all the time, but someone keeps a secret from him and he’s all, *Gasp* “You cheated on papa, who we’ve already established was a philanderer, and you hid who Thea’s father was! Why wouldn’t you tell us that? That kind of stuff comes up during dinner every night!! WHY!!!!????”

  12. Is it bad I want slade to win? :)

  13. If anyone is drooling for some more awesome Deathstroke action, I’d suggest checking out “Deathstroke : Arkham Assassin” on youtube. It’s tight.

    • Tight as in crap.

      • Costumes and dialogue was good. I even prefer this low budget YouTube DeathStroke costume to CWs costume
        Fight scene left much to be desired, though

    • I just watched that video and it was tight. Thanks for letting me know. It shows just how bad Slade is.

  14. I take it the two characters from the warehouse will be regulars on the Flash show? That’s kinda unfortunate, because I’m realy over the whole “any geeky/techy person on TV is a quirky Big Bang Theory reject” thing. Most geeks are normal people who don’t look like stoners with funny geeke shirts and they also don’t drop a video game line every other sentence. Can we please drop that worn out cliché just once?