TV Review: Arrow - Season 3 Episode 12 "Uprising"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 12: "Uprising"
Synopsis: Still operating without Oliver and determined to stop Brick, Team Arrow is forced to weigh Malcolm’s offer to help shut Brick down as Malcolm has a personal vendetta to settle with the antagonist. Roy and Laurel point out that the team could use some help to save the innocents of The Glades, but Felicity is adamantly against it.
In Starling City: In the last few episodes of ARROW, we have seen Arsenal and Canary have to develop their skills quickly to combat the rising threat of Brick in The Glades. Meanwhile, Oliver has been recouperating under the watchful eye of Tatsu. Intent to return to his home, the still weak Oliver leaves the cabin but who knows how effective he will be as he returns to Starling City.
All hell has broken loose in The Glades, something we have not seen since the first season when Oliver was just developing his alter ego. Arsenal and Canary try their best to take down thugs as they appear which surprises Sin who spots the pair and thinks Sarah Lance has returned. Even with intel from Captain Lance, there are just too many tormented in The Glades for just two heroes to battle. Thea and Malcolm continue their training now that they have decided to stay in Starling despite the growing threat of Ra's Al Ghul. Malcolm tells his daughter she must be willing to kill those who attack her no matter what. Malcolm says he never saw himself as a killer until he took the life of the man who murdered his wife.
Arsenal meets Captain Lance who immediately recognizes him as Roy Harper despite his red costume and domino mask. Finally, someone sees through the cheap disguise even though this opens up the question as to why Lance never recognizes Oliver. Anyway, Lance gives Roy all of the intel on Brick to try and locate the villain. Back at the Arrow Cave, the team wades through the old evidence to find any sort of connections with one popping up: Brick used a gun in two crimes, one of which was the murder of Rebecca Merlyn. As the team digests this turn of events, Merlyn watches from the video camera he planted, stunned at the news.
Oliver trudges through the wilderness, making slow progress, but calls out Tatsu who has been following him to make sure he is okay. Oliver discusses the need to defeat Ra's Al Ghul and asks Tatsu if she can help him improve his sword skills. Tatsu declares the only way to defeat a man like Ra's is to think like him, hinting that Maseo would have those skills as a student of the League of Assassins. Back in Starling, Thea comes across Malcolm sharpening a sword and reveals he learned that he has not avenged his wife's death. Thea implores her father to seek help, but Malcolm feels he has a chance to set all of his wrongs right and kill Brick.
The team contemplates what this reveal means and whether they can leverage Merlyn in the fight against Brick. In the interim, they track Brick's crew using walkie talkies to the SCPD station in The Glades. Taking out the power, Arsenal and Canary infiltrate the station and begin taking out the thugs one at a time. Brick fires flares at the pair who are quickly rescued by Merlyn in his Dark Archer guise. Brick escapes and the team reconvenes at the Arrow Cave where the former nemesis offers a deal to team up and eliminate Brick. The team argues their options with everyone favoring in the team up, including Roy who learned how Merlyn saved Thea during The Siege. The only person who cannot fathom it is Felicity who believes Oliver would not be okay with this. They decide to put it to a vote. Diggle then reveals they voted against joining forces.
Tatsu and Oliver make it to a road where Oliver gets a ride and one last time implores Tatsu to come back to Starling with him. Tatsu tells Oliver he must still find what he needs in himself to beat Ra's before they embrace and go their separate ways. In Starling, Thea meets Malcolm at his home and pleads that he is more than a killer but he refuses and says he has not been that man for a long time. The team debates if they made the right choice in not teaming with Malcolm. They instead find Ted Grant and Sin to see if they will join the fight against Brick.
Confronting Brick and his crew, Arsenal, Canary, and a whole bunch of Glades residents step up to fight their adversary. The fighting fills the street with hand to hand combatants as Ted Grant goes toe to toe with Brick. Ted barely makes it away before Arsenal shoots an arrow into Brick. As Brick runs, Malcolm confronts him in an alley and the two clash. Laurel tends to Ted while Arsenal fights when a very familiar arrow shoots into a thug. Malcolm holds Brick at gunpoint and accuses him of killing his wife and Brick doesn't remember her at first before admitting she was his first kill and she was weak. Just before taking the kill shot, Oliver returns and says killing him will not balance the scales.
With Brick in custody, Captain Lance and all of Starling City witness the return of The Arrow. Broadcast on television, Oliver proclaims the residents of Starling have endured in his absence but he has returned and will never leave again. Lance runs into Sin who tells him the woman he sees in the black mask is not his daughter. Malcolm goes to Thea and admits he did not kill Brick for her but they are interrupted by Oliver who explains his absence as being in jail out of town. Malcolm says he wants to be better for Thea but Oliver says Ra's will return and he wants Malcolm to train him to prepare to kill him.
Oliver returns to the Arrow Cave and apologizes to the team for being gone so long and is proud of the work they did while he was gone. Oliver tells the team he is working with Merlyn and Felicity is in shock that he would ever agree to work with him. Felicity steps out for some air and Oliver follows and she explains how she hoped that he would be alive and it may have changed him for the better. Felicity then tells Oliver, based on his decisions, she does not want to be a woman he loved.
Flashbacks: 21 years ago, Malcolm Merlyn comforts his young son, Tommy. Promising he will always protect him, Merlyn answers the door to find two police officers informing him of the death of his wife. At her funeral, an associate informs Merlyn that the police have a person of interest in custody and leaves the grieving husband the photo of the suspect. Merlyn follows the suspect to a night club where he threatens the guy who turns on him and beats him and walks away. Merlyn reaches for the gun and kills the man before returning home to clean his bloody clothes and packing a bag to leave town. He says he needs to leave town to do something with his anger despite it meaning he must leave Tommy alone. Merlyn arrives in Nanda Parbat and meets a young Nyssa Al Ghul and asks her to allow him to train with the League.
Review: As a conclusion to the story arc from the past three episodes, tonight's ARROW was damn satisfying. We learn about the origins of how Malcolm Merlyn became The Magician and how Arsenal, Canary, and the rest of Starling teamed to defeat a foe in Oliver's absence. Despite being serial in nature, ARROW has tended more towards enemy of the week episodes this season versus the overall Deathstroke story that took up the bulk of last year. Ra's Al Ghul has felt like an afterthought this year while the mystery of Sara's death felt underwhelming, but now that Oliver has returned from the dead and all of the plot elements are coming together this season is finally feeling like it has hit it's stride. With less than ten episodes to go, here is hoping that ARROW can keep up with the pace of the last three we have seen.
Next on ARROW: "Canaries" airs February 11th, 2015: Oliver is thrown by the changes within Team Arrow. He's used to calling the shots but sees that the team has evolved in his absence and tensions quickly escalate in the lair. Oliver is furious that Laurel has been going out as the Black Canary and tells her to stop risking her life, but when Vertigo (guest star Peter Stormare) hits the streets again, Laurel goes against Oliver's wishes and tracks down Vertigo who hits her with a full dose of the drug.