‘Arrow’ Proves That Old Habits Die Hard

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Stephen Amell in Arrow Season 2 Episode 7 Arrow Proves That Old Habits Die Hard

[This is a review of Arrow season 2, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]


As Oliver Queen states in the updated voiceover before every episode, he has to “become something different.” Of course, if you’ve been following along with Arrow that line is now in reference to Oliver’s recently adopted no-kill policy, which came about after Tommy Merlyn died thinking of his best friend as nothing more than a murderer. So far this season, the new guidelines for Starling City’s number one vigilante have yielded positive results beyond the series’ protagonist simply not killing all his adversaries anymore; it has also helped Arrow form a bond with those who had once relentlessly tried to hunt him down, namely, Officer Lance.

With all of the focus the series has placed on Oliver’s decision to start leaving his enemies breathing (perforated, but breathing) it comes as no surprise that this rule would wind up being tested. What ‘State v. Queen’ asks, then, is: Under what circumstance is it okay for Oliver to go against this new course of action? Will he refuse to take a life no matter what, or is there a breaking point? Well, now, after The Count (Seth Gabel) threatened to kill Felicity in front of Oliver, we know the answer to those questions. What the fallout from Arrow killing The Count will be, however, brings about a whole new set of questions that will hopefully play out as the season continues.

There is a great deal going on in ‘State v. Queen,’ and the episode does some heavy lifting to try and split the narrative and the drama between Starling City’s Trial of the Century, and the not-so-quiet return of The Count – who seems to have recovered from the unpleasant state he was left in last season. While Moira’s trial finally manages to give Laurel something to do by placing the entire case in her hands, after ADA Adam Donner (Dylan Bruce) falls ill with the same Vertigo-related symptoms plaguing Diggle, the trial itself went by in a flash (sorry, that’s next episode), and, as a result, the whole storyline never felt as though Moira’s freedom or her life were ever really on the line.

Seth Gabel in Arrow Season 2 Episode 7 Arrow Proves That Old Habits Die Hard

But rather than use the outcome of Moira’s affair with Malcolm Merlyn to generate real trial-related dramatic tension, the ADA’s magic bullet was primarily used as a tease, building up to the multi-level reveal that not only is Malcolm Merlyn still alive, and that Moira owes her newfound freedom to him, but he also knows himself to be Thea’s biological father (putting her brief flirtation with Tommy last season on a whole new level of icky). As far as how the writers played their cards, in terms of when and where to create drama, it would seem the one-two punch of Moira’s verdict and Malcolm’s appearance trumps Trial of the Century quite well.

Overall, ‘State v. Queen’ was perhaps too busy for its own good, packing in multiple storylines that might have been better served had they been handled separately. Despite being a bumpy, table-setting entry in what has otherwise been a fantastic second season of Arrow, the episode was bolstered by the shocking events of its final act, and even managed to successfully integrate elements of the island flashbacks into the present day storyline.


Arrow returns Wednesday, December 4 with the highly anticipated episode ‘The Scientist’ on The CW. Check out a preview for the episode below:

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  1. Not the best show this season, but last 1/2 of it was great. I kinda liked the Count, I’m sad to see him go. But, evidently people can come back on this show (by using the Lazarus Pit?)… *ahem, Merlyn.

  2. That was a crazy episode!

    AND JOHN BARROWMAN’S BACK!!! I knew he didn’t die!

    Sad to see the count die, he was a good, over the top villain that i would’ve like to see guest star every now and then.

    Sad we have to wait 2 weeks and then 2 more episodes before the midseason break. that sucks, i don’t want to wait until next year!

  3. didnt anyone consider that “CYRUS” in the last sequence who survives the drug is Cyrus Gold a.k.a. SOLOMON GRUNDY??!!

    • A little exerpt from the Wiki page about Grundy. Notice the Amazo-Grundy part towards the end. Interesting thought Roshan that may have som emerit based on that…..

      The miniseries depicted a young Cyrus Gold brought to life in the present by The Spectre and The Phantom Stranger. Their goal is for Gold to identify his killer within seven days so that he can rest and thus destroy Solomon Grundy. Etrigan is trying to take him to Hell, instead. Gold has a habit of getting killed. No matter how much damage is done to his body, he resurrects as a complete Solomon Grundy, driven to kill. Killer Croc attacks him, then Bizarro attempts to be his friend. He attacks Green Lantern Alan Scott and Harlequin in their house, destroying it, temporarily destroying the power battery as well. He seemingly kills Poison Ivy. He then kills Amazo, who rebuilds himself as “Amazo-Grundy.” Ultimately he is brought down by Frankenstein just as he realizes that he was his own killer. Finally, he is brought back to life as a Black Lantern.

    • I had considered this as well. Wonder if he survived the serum on a Monday…

  4. Amazing episode!
    I knew Malcolm wasn’t dead, and I’m glad he’s not. I wonder if the same holds true in some weird way for Tommy?

    Why doesn’t Oliver just take Felicity already? The attraction is obvious, and I think it’s both ways.

    IMO, still the best show on television right now, and my favorite. The up coming break is a bummer, but I understand it.
    Great job again show runners, keep up the great work!

    • How long is the break for is it known and love the name btw!

    • It’s been noted that Felicity will take a liking to Barry Allen when he comes on the show in 2 weeks. Maybe this will be the trigger for Oliver to realize how Smoak-ing hot and perfect she is for him… Sorry couldn’t resist! :)

    • I was sad to see Tommy go; that said, the set is becoming more and more crowded. I’m not sure how he’d fit into the story now. There was so much going on in this episode that I only just now realized Isabel was never shown; along with Lance.

  5. I liked this episode a lot. Resolving Moira’s trial, the return of both The Count and Malcolm Merlyn, and the “reveal” about Thea’s parentage (that I guessed during the first season) all contribute to “Arrow’s” strong second season. The downside is that the writers are spinning so many threads, that some of the stories I want to see more of (like the continued development of the Oliver/Isabel/Felicity triangle, or more of Diggle and his wife) was ignored. Plus, I want more of Caity Lotz’ “Black Canary.” All of which suggests to me that the greatest danger that “Arrow” faces is trying to tell too many stories. And, yes, it’s just been announced that Katrina Law will be joining the show soon in a key role.

  6. I was kinda tired of the Count and his cheap Batman Begins Scarecrow impression but whatevs, good episode.

    • I didn’t like him either, he seemed like a weird version of the Joker to me.

      • When the count stole the television signal and did the whole “everyone is now addicted to vertigo” thing I couldn’t stop thinking of The Dark Knight when the Joker sends a video of him with a kidnapped fake batman, and to the people that are wondering if that’s deathstroke and if he will appear later in the season how can you not have realized that until now??

  7. I know it he was not wearing the mask but in the promo for the next epidsode, was that deathstroke??

    • I have a feeling Slade is going to turn into Deathstroke and Oliver will have to confront him which explains the mask stuck to a post on the island.

    • I expect Deathstroke might appear at the end of this season.

  8. Not a bad episode. I hate courtroom proceedings on scripted television because they are extremely inaccurate. Writers must not know the concepts of relevance or leading questions. And the return of Malcolm was a cinch once the League of Assigns was established. “There are places in this world where death is an illusion…” yeah a lot of Lazarus Pits (or Tahiti depending on which universe you reside in). All that aside, I am having one big problem with this season. I was glad to see Oliver move away from killing and more towards non-lethal methods. It lead me to believe there would be more collaboration with Felicity on gadget arrows. And there were some at the beginning of season. I don’t expect arrows with giant boxing gloves on the end, but they need to develop something more consistent for incapacitating bad guys.

    • Simple – Taser arrows, two prongs instead of an arrow head with a small Queen or Wayne (Easter Egg) tech capacitor to hold the 50,000volts


      One down but not dead (or significantly perforated) bad guy…. not so good against anyone wearing body armour though, unless he hits them in the head….. Ouch!!

  9. I thought this episode was a step back compared to rest of the season. But hey Merlyn lives, good stuff.

  10. A lot happening in this episode. The Merlyn reveal was awesome. No mention of Tommy though; I wonder if Merlyn knows/ how he will react upon hearing about his death?

  11. Still funny how he just offs those Russian prison guards without a seconds notice in the last episode x’D cause killing outside of his city isn’t realllllyyyy killing you know ><
    Second season has been awesome so far though! A bit sad to hear that flash won't have his pilot through arrow, although a standalone pilot is going to be great, still integrated universe on its way =D

    • Yeah that was kinda bothering me while it was going on. They’re shooting these guards without batting an eye, yet he hesitates to kill a despicable villain? One of this season’s rare missteps IMO.

  12. So Malcolm Merlyn took a dip in the Lazarus Pit? If that’s the case did he throw Tommy in there as well?

  13. Well, it’s good to see the script writing crew isn’t slaved to the newly established idea of “no killing”.

    I like my heroes pragmatic.

    • Yeah I really like how they’ve approached this, way back from the beginning. First he was killing, then there was fallout from him killing, then he decides to stop killing (for a very good reason), and now he’s faced with a “kill or have someone you care about get killed” situation. I’m really impressed with how deep the writing and philosophical approach has been.

  14. Finally got around to watch season 2 after an up and down season 1. I am really impressed, i got hooked all because season 2 is so good.

  15. I’m glad the trial is over that could’ve ending 2 episodes ago. I’m also glad Malcolm is back and want to see what brother blood is up to. Solid episode not the best this season but I can say there’s been no duds yet.

  16. Could’ve done without the soap opera twist ending, but I had to smile when Malcolm returned. Might’ve been a trick of lighting, but he looked younger. ;) I’m not feeling the Oliver/Felicity relationship that’s clearly being pushed. He cares about her, she admires him; doesn’t mean they have to fall in love. The flashbacks were the more interesting part of the episode. Manu Bennett is a force to be reckoned with even when he’s playing a horribly wounded man.

    As an aside, Katie Cassidy is starting to look more and more like Tricia Helfer in the face. Every time they showed her, I had to stop and stare because she no longer looks like season one Laurel to me.

    • Also, I thought the secret would’ve been that Moira knows Oliver is a vigilante — and that she’d go to prison to protect him.

      • I thought the secret was that her and Malcolm conspired to blow up the boat.

        • Well that’s one but I think Thea’s parentage was the main focus.

  17. Okay, I had an amazing thought last night. In “Arrow”, they have mentioned S.T.A.R. Labs at least a few times, last night once. In last nights episode they showed Diggle suffering from an attack of Vertigo right after mentioning S.T.A.R. Labs and I started thinking, DIGGLE would make a great Cyborg! He’s tall, buff and stuff, AND we already like/know him as a character/actor. Red Arrow will eventually be Oliver’s actual “comic book side-kick” and Diggle will need a new role. What do you guys think?

    • It’s a definite possibility, also open the door for lots of angst for Oliver as for the transformation to Cyborg to work Dig would need to SERIOUSLY messed up by someone while out playing sidekick.

      Also opens the door for that existentialism that comes with cyborgs, Am I still me, Am I still human etc. and so forth.

  18. Stephen Amell just tweet out a picture of the Solomon Grundy poem. I guess that’s a close confirmation that cyrus is indeed grundy.

  19. It really sounds like he says “Thea isn’t my daughter” which would also make sense following the line about her lying to him over the years and would be good leverage to keep him somewhat at bay.

  20. Loved this episode!

  21. What if Malcolm went and got Tommy, and took him to the Lazarus pits or something and saved him? OR he used the serum that brother blood is working on, assuming it can bring people back from the dead?

    Tommy died thinking that Oliver was a murderer, it would be a pretty cool twist if he came back to stop Oliver in some way, or he’s been training with the League of Assassins.

    • Didn’t Oliver tell tommy that he DIDN’T kill his father right before Tommy died?

      • Hmm can’t remember….

  22. β€œHe had you and he was going to hurt you. There was no choice to make.” – Oliver
    Best Olicity moment yet. So what’s next for Oliver and Felicity? Clue: Everything becomes clear to Oliver in a flash.

  23. I am pretty sure they are not going to introduce Lazarus pits. I think what Merlyn meant is that he faked his death. “I learned to be very convincing”. So, no return of Tommy. Sad to here flash won’t be coming on arrow, but he is getting his own pilot, so that ought to be awesome. Plus we are at least getting him as Barry Allen until he becomes flash on his own show. :D

  24. 1st series was definitely better than the 2nd. I stopped watching it halfway through episode 14 of series 2. Won’t bother with it again.

    It’s become predictable and samey, character development seems to be stagnating at whiny, vindictive, rich, brats with the same old predictable apologies down the track. The only difference is that series 2 introduces more gore and the ‘secret’ group of ‘one’ has now become a free-for-all public club.

    It’s lost all of the 1st series appeal for me.

    I’ll stick with reading books until something decent comes along – preferably British.