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TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 12 "Unchained"

02.04.2016

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: "Unchained"

Synopsis: The team faces off against a formidable villain nicknamed The Calculator. Meanwhile, Nyssa makes her move and Roy Harper returns to Star City.

Review: The interesting thing about Arrow this season is that there have been a handful of episodes that sidestep the main Damien Darhk storyline but still progress the narrative of the series. In the last few seasons, these episodes have detracted from the overall story but tonight's episode does a really admirable job of bringing back a bunch of old characters like Nyssa Al Ghul, Malcolm Merlyn, Shado, Roy Harper, and Tatsu/Katana while introducing a new villain in The Calculator who has a surprising connection to the main characters of this show. All of this comes coupled with new wrinkles in Oliver Queen's mayoral campaign and the after effects of the Lazarus Pit on Thea.

The episode opens with the unexpected return of Roy Harper who has returned to Star City to steal various pieces of technology on behalf of a brilliant bad guy calling himself The Calculator. Roy's identity was compromised and The Calculator threatened to reveal who he was unless he gathered the components that Felicity surmises will be used to take down the Internet. Faking Roy's death and retrieving the electronic contact lens being used to track him, Team Arrow communicates with the hacker who plans to flood Star City, killing thousands of citizens. All the while, Thea is suffering in bed as Damien Darhk's temporary halt of her bloodlust begins to wear off. Thea is happy to have Roy back but knows it is temporary. Her father pleads with her, as does Oliver, to do the right thing but ultimately the decision lies with Thea who has to face the death of another or she will die herself.

Felicity is also dealing with some issues at Palmer Technologies where she is due to unveil a new powerful battery cell that The Calculator is planning to steal. Felicity takes a front seat as she and The Calculator go head to head using masked voices. Team Arrow inflitrate where his network is set up and find that the only way they can take it down is to destroy the entire facility. Roy volunteers to manually detonate the C4 and risk his own life. Oliver says he cannot risk his friend's life again, but Roy is adamant. Shooting the explosives, Roy escapes in a massive detonation and halts The Calculator's plan at the last second. Felicity also manages to erase any blackmail documents the villain had using a virus. All seems to be well, for now.

But there are other issues facing our heroes this week. Oliver has a new opponent for the mayoral race. The mysterious new candidate, Ruve Adams, is actually the wife of Damien Darhk and presents a direct confrontation from the HIVE leader. Could this election be the new beginning her husband promised her a few weeks ago? Time will tell. At the same time, Felicity overcomes her presenting issues and unveils the Palmer Technology power cell. As the crowd applauds her, The Calculator is visible in the crowd. When he approaches Felicity, it is revealed that he is in fact her father. I did not see that twist coming, but it was a good one. Back in Nanda Parbat, Nyssa Al Ghul escapes and faces off in a nearby forest against Tatsu/Katana for a special lotus flower. As Thea falls into a coma, Nyssa offers Oliver the flower as a cure to save his sister, but only if he agrees to kill Malcolm Merlyn.

In the Lian Yu flashbacks, Oliver is tortured by Baron Reiter who demands to know why he wants the maps he retrieved several episodes back. As Oliver is electrocuted, he succumbs to a hallucination of his former lover and friend, Shado. She tries to guide Oliver back to a better place, one that requires him to admit to Taiana that he killed her brother. Of course, this admission pushes a rift between the two and once again doesn't seem to do much for the main storyline. 

Overall, this was a really strong episode that pulls together a lot of dangling plot elements from this and past seasons. I am concerned that the Thea subplot is dragging on a bit and I am now starting to wonder if maybe she is the one whose grave Oliver is standing over in that recurring future scene. Or, it could just be the writers are having a fun time widening the list of candidates that could be in that coffin. Whoever it may be, strong episodes like this are what makes it hard to give up on Arrow. I hope that this Malcolm Merlyn subplot doesn't pull too far from the main storyline but I am looking forward to seeing how the Thea arc will come to a close.

Final Verdict:

Next on ARROW: "Sins of the Father" airs February 10th: Oliver receives an offer from Nyssa that is hard to refuse. Meanwhile, Thea continues to battle the blood lust, Malcolm steps in to help his daughter, and Laurel has a heart to heart talk with Nyssa.

Source: JoBlo.com

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