Arrow: “Midnight City” – Looking Ahead

The clock is striking twelve in Star City – that’s right, we have an official name change now – and with the Arrow nowhere to be seen, Brick’s plans to take over the Glades are well underway. Though our heroes won’t go down without a fight as Arsenal and the new Black Canary take to the streets on their first night out. Meanwhile halfway around the world, Oliver Queen has returned from near death; but what new dangers await him?

So let’s grab our bows and aim a little closer at this week’s episode “Midnight City”, and see what awaits our heroes in the upcoming conclusion to this Arrow midseason trilogy.

Episode Theme: Trial By Fire For Those With Heart:

The main theme of this episode is all about how those with enough heart can overcome any lack of training; but must do so in a trial by fire moment. Ray Palmer has never fought at all; but must do so when Felicity is threatened. Laurel Lance might not have any field experience; but she must push forward if she wants to protect those she loves and honor her sister. Roy Harper might have been trained by the great Oliver Queen and lived on the streets his whole life; but he has yet to learn how to lead. All of these characters have something to overcome; but it is because of their heart and perseverance that they will indeed overcome.

Arrow Midnight City Canary BrickThe tag team of Laurel and Roy is definitely a powerful one, if not physically then emotionally. Roy might be realistic in pointing out Laurel’s lack of experience and misplaced grief; but he is also the only one who really supports her at first. He knows Laurel is driven by the loss of her sister, which actually parallels greatly with Roy since he’s dealing with losing Oliver – a man who was becoming like a brother to him. This past season we saw how both were left heartbroken, guilty and alone, and commiserated together.

Laurel’s form is sloppy and she might be a little too attached to one weapon type when another might be better suited to her; but Roy sees her dedication and continues to watch her back. Though while doing all this, Roy has to take the lead and experiences the weight of loss when a plan fails. After his failed attack on Brick leads to one of the hostages getting killed, he’s crushed and this time their no mirakuru to blame it on. They have a lot to learn and are still acting as a separated duo rather than a team; but when Brick forces the Mayor’s hand, their true test begins in a make-or-break trial by fire showdown with Brick.

Remember The Dead, Fight For The Living:

When Felicity left last week after sabotaging Roy and Diggle’s attack on Brick, Team Arrow took the hit pretty hard. With their eyes and ears gone, all they had left was a little bit of strength. So if Team Arrow has any chance of stopping Brick, they’d need their more than just their eyes and ears back; but their soul as well. When Palmer admits to Felicity that he did originally see his ATOM suit as a tool for Avenging his wife, but now sees it as a way to protect those still in his life, Felicity realizes the truth behind Oliver’s quest and how it continued this long. Oliver might have started to finish his father’s work; but it soon became a crusade to protect those still here.

Felicity might have been the first to jump ship; but she is also the one to bring everyone back together with renewed hope and spirit. After Arsenal and Black Canary’s failed hostage rescue, they felt a level of defeat that neither had experienced before. It was that moment that instilled in them that Oliver was truly gone and they can’t do this without him. Though as Felicity was the one to leave the mission, she is also the one to give their mission new meaning by continuing Oliver’s legacy not for him; but rather for themselves and everyone they care about.

Arrow Midnight City Roy and Laurel 2

The Arrow might still be gone; but Team Arrow operated as a well-oiled machine toward episode end as Roy and Laurel found themselves in a true trial by fire against Brick and his men. Yes, Roy saved Laurel once or twice; but she also saved him towards the end of the fight making them even. Say what you will about Laurel; but she has fire and her final lone confrontation with Brick was EXACLTY what her character needed. She’s not the Canary (aka Sarah Lance), she’s the Black Canary and does things a little differently.

She might not be able to fight Brick like the others could; but she has guts and finds the one place Brick isn’t as ‘impenetrable’ – a knee to the crotch. Laurel faced off against an incredibly powerful foe and is the first person of Team Arrow to survive an encounter with him WITHOUT fight assistance. Yah, let that sink in for a second. As I said last time, Nyssa told Laurel that she reminds her that ‘the hardest steel is forged in the hottest fire’ and Laurel’s forging has already begun. She won’t be the Canary we loved; but the Black Canary we come to love.

Nothing To Fear Except Hidden Agendas – Verdant’s DJ Spy:

CALLED IT!!!!! For those of you who are just finding my Arrow articles for the first time, then let me explain. Way back when we first met Verdant’s new DJ – Chase – I knew he had to have some sort of deeper purpose. Sure he could have been an audio villain; but with Pied Piper already set to appear in The Flash, that wasn’t going to happen. So I hypothesized that this DJ was only getting close to Thea in order to get to Malcolm in order to get revenge for the destruction of the Glades and/or violating League conduct since they’re related. Two episodes prior to this the League learned that Malcolm was Thea’s father and that Oliver put Malcolm under his protection. So it just makes sense to send someone undercover to spy on his daughter – the only person Malcolm would really show himself to.

Arrow Midnight City Chase DJ

Well BOOM! That is exactly what happened as we saw in this episodes shocking end. Chase appears to be either a member or an informant for the League of Shadows as he is seen calling Maseo to inform him that Thea Queen and her father Malcolm are indeed staying Star City. It’s a shame that Thea was so adamant to Malcolm about staying and not being afraid, because she doesn’t even know where the real threat is about to come from. Hopefully Thea’s words will help inspire Malcolm to be the powerhouse fighter we saw Season 1 who tackles his problems head on. One of the upcoming episodes even foretells an Arrow Dark Archer team up, which I’m fairly certain will be in response to Chase’s cover being blown and a small army of League members coming to Star City to not only settle the score with Malcolm; but also finish the job Ras started on Oliver.

Oliver – Resurrected Or Resuscitated?:

According to Maseo – and a lot of fans – , Oliver was ‘brought back from the dead’; but if you ask his former wife Tatsu, she tells a different story. Oliver is in pretty awful shape, probably the worst he’s ever been in; but he wasn’t dead. In talking Tatsu tells Oliver that he shouldn’t thank her alone; but rather the snow, cold and his insane will to live.

Arrow Midnight City lives

Yes Tatsu used some herbs to restore Oliver back from near death – and Maseo’s “back from the dead” comment could just be a figure of speech – but it looks like no otherworldly or Lazarus-like means were used beyond that. Now we could always find out later on in a flashback that Tatsu lied and Oliver really was dead and brought back by some crazy unsafe means – like what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did with Coulson – but there’s no reason to even think like that right now. All we can say for sure is that Oliver’s alive, in bad shape, dreams about him not having gone, and now has the League of Assassins after him.

Maseo’s Grief:

What could have happened to Maseo that made him not only abandon his former wife; but also not even make him able to look her in the eyes. The look of despair on his face is heart-shattering, especially when you see him rather sit outside in a blizzard than indoors with Oliver and Tatsu. So what happened 3 years ago that we’re missing? Well this week we got two very important puzzle pieces added, and it looks like our hypothesis from last week is pretty on point.

In the flashbacks we learn how Oliver and Maseo head to a triad-run club in order to rescue Tatsu; but Maseo has devised other plans. He has already made arrangements with China Wine to trade the Alpha for Tatsu. What Maseo doesn’t know is that the Alpha he briught with him was a fake, switched out by Waller who grew wary of his plan. Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu escape the Triad Club in one piece; but my fears still lie in the fate of their son.

“The line between grief and guilt is a thin one… Sometimes death is preferable to the agony of life”

As far as Waller knows, Maseo was going to betray her and we’ve seen the lengths she’s gone to get the job done and force people’s hands. Did Maseo’s actions in stealing the alpha force Waller’s hand and make her kill his son. I don’t know if Waller is that cruel – but then again she probably is. We’ll have to see what plays out; but this could certainly explain why Maseo shoulders all the blame for what happened.

Rather than return with Oliver and Tatsu, Maseo decided to continue his self-imposed exile by slicing a large gash in his neck to make it seem as though Oliver fought him and won in order to escape. Whether or not Ras will fall for it is another story since he did run Oliver through before kicking him off a cliff. Maseo could be walking into his own execution; but something tells me he’d honestly be okay with that.

Easter Eggs:

  • On Star City’s news broadcast, Arsenal was referred to as “The Red Arrow” – a name he had in the comics for a short while – but also important because when Oliver does return he might be referred to as “The Green Arrow” since now the city acknowledges two separate Arrows of notice
  • The “hard light” comment by Palmer is actually not unheard of in the comics as Green Lantern and other like heroes powers are used in a similar fashion
  • Brick’s location was Kent St. Yes, that is probably the closest we’ll have to anyone named Kent on this show *cough* Superman
I know it's not in the comics; but I really like these two together

I know it’s not in the comics; but I really like these two together – there , I said it

The Mayor’s hand has been forced again and she has no choice but to submit to Brick’s demands and remove all cops from The Glades. This leaves only Quentin and Team Arrow to fight Brick and his mob; but will Quentin learn of Sarah’s true fate? We always though Laurel was overreacting about her father’s heart condition; but hearing Quentin tell her “I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to you [Sarah]”, was extremely painful.

I know he’s the title character – and an awesome guy – but I’ve genuinely loved how the show has progressed in these two episodes without Oliver Queen in Starling. Each character has gone through so much. Take Roy for example, who has now become a leader. Even Diggle acknowledges this by sharing a drink with Roy like he and Oliver always would. Diggle would always look after Oliver and try to pick him up after a tough battle; and now Roy has started to fill those shoes. He even stood up to Malcolm without even flinching – so much respect! Hopefully this dynamic doesn’t revert when Oliver returns – which judging by the preview looks like it might be next episode, unless that Diggle in the suit again.

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