Film & TV Reviews

Arrow Review: A Messy But Fun Ride in “Unchained”

by on February 4, 2016

While the episode spent a lot of time bouncing back and forth from story lines like a possessed rubber ball, it was still entertaining for the most part and had some really interesting moments. The flashbacks were once again more annoying than anything but I guess that is one thing that is not going away anytime soon so I’ll try not to harp on it too much. Actually, compared to last week’s entry, this was Oscar like material.Arrow-412-11-600x401

A new villain popped up, who goes by the name Calculator (Tom Amandes) and has a plan to unleash something called a ‘web nuke’ on the city. To this end, he has employed/blackmailed a certain skilled archer that has been AWOL from the show for a while, to help him collect the parts he needs to build this contraption. The big reveal ended up being just who the Calculator actually was which could lead to some real fun in the coming weeks.

Not as much fun was revisiting what could only be described as a civil war in the League of Assassins. Nyssa (Katrina Law) returns, doing a lot of what she usually does, that being scowling, killing, scowling some more and making demands. What she ends up asking of Oliver is quite strange and puzzling as I’m not sure why she can’t so this particular favor herself. Still, as it has to tie in to Thea’s failing health and as always on this show, last chance hail mary ideas, it kind of fits right in.

As usual, Oliver tries to take everarrowunch2ything on himself and blaming himself along the way for things that go bad in the episode. This is a character flaw we should all be used to seeing by now and although irritating, at least his friends call him out on it now and put him in his place. Nothing like friends telling you to stop acting like a jerk to bring you back to reality.

Yeah, I mentioned the irritating flashbacks already but this one even had Shado make a surprise appearance. It didn’t help, the flashbacks were still unimportant and a waste of time, but it was nice to see her again. Maybe they can bring back Deathstroke in a flashback and try and give him a better sendoff then they did during the actual show.

It was a pretty good episode though, all things considered. There were a lot of moving parts that needed to be kept in check and while it got a muddled a few times, for the most part they pulled it off. The identity of the person who jumped into the mayoral race was interesting and obviously is nothing but a sham, but at least that can help to drag Damien Darhk back into the spotlight. I miss that guy and all the menacing glee that Neil McDonough brings to the character. Let’s hope he gets back into the mix and stirs things up very soon.

Three and half stars out of five


- Good to see some old characters back on the show

- The Calculator could be an important villain

- Many story lines but they were pretty organized


- Calculator? Not the best name for villain

- Flashbacks or Oliver's personal blame game: Which is worse?

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Bottom Line

Although occasionally the episode was pushed to the point of going off the rails, "Unchained" managed to keep it all together and end up being a pretty good time. However, all the pieces are in place now so it's time to get Damien Darhk back in the mix and causing trouble.

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