Arrow "Midnight City" (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
It's been a rocky couple of episodes since the mid-season premiere, with Ollie still presumed dead by those he left behind, Brick furthers his siege on Starling City strategically pushing the mayor into making the Glades his personal playground.
After the reveal that Maseo saved Oliver after his fall, bringing him to a secluded shack where Tatsu "somehow" brings him back to life. The trio struggle with the events that led Maseo to join the League of Assassins and furthers the Hong Kong backstory... specifically how Ollie and Maseo saved Tatsu from China White.
While I kept the reveal that Tatsu was alive out of my last review, I was delighted to see her back! Delving into the funny pages again, for those who don't know, Tatsu eventually becomes the superhero Katana. In the comics Katana wields a blade called the Soultaker, the comic book version of Maseo died at the hands of his brother Takeo who used the Soultaker to kill him. Maseo and Takeo both professed their love to Tatsu, and her decision to marry Maseo caused Takeo to leave behind his family and join the Yakuza, this of course leads to setting Tatsu and Maseo's home on fire, sealing the fate of their two young children.
Even though Tatsu disarms Takeo, she hears Maseo's voice emanate from the Soultaker telling her it was already too late for their children and to save herself. After fleeing from what remains of her family, Tatsu furthers her training under Master Tadashi, eventually adopting the name Katana and joining the Outsiders.
I hope when Ollie come back home he brings Tatsu (and hopefully Maseo) with him. In more recent comic arcs, Katana operates as a member of the Birds of Prey... notable since Black Canary is the de-facto leader of this all lady group of heroes.
Back in Starling, Brick tangles with the newly formed team of Arsenal and Black Canary (though Laurel doesn't fully adopt the name yet). Laurel is clearly green, nearly losing her life on many an occasion. Caity Lotz appears as a guest in the opening credits, via a computer program Laurel uses to make her voice sound like Sara's while talking to her father. It was a bit heartbreaking watching her have to play Sara, knowing that Laurel was forced to suffer her sister's lose alone without her father's support.
While I'm glad that Laurel (finally) dons the Canary mantle, I feel her presence was more of a nuisance than an addition to the team. Roy's training clearly keeps him alive while facing down Brick's men while Laurel should have spent a few more months with Ted Grant before joining the ranks of Starling City's masked community. I get it, and I realize it would be unrealistic if her skills matched Sara's right away, but I couldn't help but cringe overtime I saw her fight. I want to like Laurel as Canary (what with it being canon and all) but here's hoping she'll refine her skills over the course of this season.
While I missed seeing any presence of a certain emerald archer, I didn't feel as let down as I did not seeing much of Ollie last week. Perhaps it was the circumstances of how his partners were left behind, but this episode saw all of Team Arrow step up to preserve the legacy started with the Arrow.
Can we focus a bit on Brick? I don't know about you but I am loving how his character is being fleshed out! Vinnie Jones is absolutely imposing. In true Arrow fashion, his meta-human origin is cut from this adaptation of the character, instead he's just a damn near indestructible criminal mastermind. This guy feels like Arrow's Bane, physically imposing with a right cross that hits you like a ton of bricks (pun absolutely intended) with a savvy criminal mind that keeps him just a step ahead of any hero. He's a force to be reckoned with and I'm hoping that the show runners have plans to keep him in the series long after his arc concludes.
Overall... though Arrowless... I enjoyed "Midnight City" and anxiously away Oliver's return! Here's hoping he'll be enough. Malcolm Merlyn is still trying to get a resistant Thea to leave Starling, Ray Palmer's A.T.O.M. project is gaining steam, and a new threat tied to the League makes his presence known at the episode's end... makes you wonder what they have in store for this truly unfortunate city this time.