ARROW S1E21 – “The Undertaking”

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Mike-EL

“The Undertaking” goes under the microscope in this week’s review!

Recap: Struggling to keep his relationships with Tommy and Diggle afloat, Ollie and Felicity continue their quest to cross off another name from ‘the list’, sending Felicity undercover in order to discover the whereabouts of Walter.

Mike-EL: Building on the momentum from last week’s excellent ‘Home Invasion’, tonight’s ARROW reveals more layers to the Queen family’s backstory and wraps up some long running plot lines going back to episode 1– but to say more would *spoil* things!

Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) continues to seem written by a separate staff of (failed) stand up comedians, Willa Holland (Thea Queen) is kept in the background and Colton Haynes (Roy Harper/Speedy) is absent from this episode (perhaps he’s on a reunion tour with the Backstreet Boys?). The rest of the cast shines in the most plot-heavy episode of the series so far.

We finally learn the secret of the Queen’s Gambit in the form of flashbacks to a pre-voyage story revealing Malcolm Merlyn’s connection to the Queen family. We may finally know the meaning of the list, but I suspect there is more to it than revealed here.

As usual, the action is edge-of-your-seat excitement as Green Arrow takes out more bad guys in one scene than Oh Dae-su in Old-Boy. A machine gun is no match for a man with a bow, and donning The Hood‘s green make-up is apparently done at the speed of thought.

One disappointing scene involves Oliver’s promise that he ‘has something’ to jump off of in order to arrive on a hard-to-reach rooftop; the tone and editing imply we are in for something big–perhaps an ArrowPlane? Instead we are treated to Green Arrow descending from a plane (barely visible in the distance) wearing…a parachute. Hmm.

This particular action scene takes place in Blüdhaven, implying we may catch a glimpse of Nightwing (the original Robin of Batman And… fame). Personally, I have no interest in this kind of thing. I enjoy seeing obscure characters from DC Comics brought to life on screen (Deadshot, Deathstroke, Ted Kord) but there is no benefit to given even MORE screen time to any of the cast from Gotham City. Leave Batman alone and build this series to stand on its own merits, or it will devolve into the fan-fiction pandering that Smallville did in its final five seasons.

Overall, this episode was one of the good ones.

4/5 Suns

G.I. Jolie: This week’s episode wasn’t the strongest, nor did we get any Island flashbacks which, after last weeks surprise capture, was disappointing as the parallels between Ollie’s life then and now have been the most cohesive they have ever been. What we do get is flashbacks from BEFORE the island which was pretty interesting. It’s amazing how some well placed hair extensions and a very close shave can knock about 10 years off of Ollie. Making him prettier (if that’s possible) and sleazier as he sets off on his voyage of betrayal with Laurel’s sister.

Though I didn’t get everything I hoped for out of this episode Arrow did manage to deliver on a plot point that I hoped they would be getting back to. So if you’ve been wondering where Walter has been for the better part of this season, wonder no more. Though you’ll have to suffer through a pretty poor evidence acquisition by The Hood, and an even sillier undercover attempt by Felicity Smoak in a pretty ‘cookie cutter’ underground casino.

The love triangle continues from last week’s episode and ends in tears, almost. Though it still wasn’t enough to keep me satisfied.

Underneath the sub-par harrowing adventure I’ve come to expect week to week, Ollie does uncover his mother’s secret dealings with Big Daddy Merlyn and it seems as though bigger things are coming as part of the before-the-island flashbacks included some ‘secret’ meetings in which the power figures of Starling City discuss the potential decimation of the Glades.

ruh roh meme

I sure hope Roy isn’t there when that happens, I want to see a sidekick next season. I also hope Ollie can patch things up with Diggle before it all [literally] goes down because Ollie is going to need all the help he can get. While Tommy’s father is at the bottom of all this future destruction, somehow I feel like Tommy will hold it against Ollie for having to [eventually] kill him, because that’s what Tommy’s character does.


About Mike-EL

Mike-EL is a Co-Producer and Founder of the Comic Book Syndicate TV series. He is an independent filmmaker, professional videographer and holds a PhD in Superhero Fun.