What I Watched Today: Arrow (season 3 episode 5)


A training montage, a whole lot of Felicity (including our first real look into her past), a shocking reveal/tease at the end and a major villain from DC Comics, I don’t want to say ruined, but let’s just say corrupted. All in all, there really was a lot packed into this episode, including developments in Oliver and Thea’s relationship and a step forward in Laurel’s training.

First up, we have to talk about Felicity. You can’t talk about this episode and not talk about Felicity because it really is her episode. Her mother is a central part of the episode, as is her relationship with Ray Palmer, she gets all of the flashback scenes and she even takes out the villain, who came from her past, not Oliver’s. Frankly, I could complain about all of the tears in the episode or the lack of action (which is probably part of the reason behind the three-pronged training montage that started the episode), but Emily Bett Rickards does a great job of carrying this episode. As far as her past goes, it was definitely nice to finally get a look at where she comes from (both through her mother and the flashbacks) and how the character hasn’t always been exactly the way that we’ve always known her. It’s a good way of giving the character even more depth. Now, the villain. Brother Eye. Honestly, as much as I freaked out for the O.M.A.C. reference earlier this season, i think I would have preferred the didn’t do Brother Eye. Brother Eye may not be the most mainstream of villains in the DC Universe (though it’s weighed heavily in a lot of the past Crisis stories and the current Futures End story), but I still feel like it’s too big a concept to do justice in one episode. And using him to rob a bank, even the National Treasury, is just insulting. That’s never what Brother Eye has been about. Who knows though, maybe we’ll see more of Brother Eye and they’ll actually do the concept (it’s hard to call it a character) justice.

Now, I can’t not talk about that last scene. It was clearly a dream, so I have doubts that it was actually Roy’s memories and was more likely a hallucination or something similar that can be attributed to the lingering effects of the mirakiru. If it is reality though, well then that’s just going to be disappointing. Firstly, the mystery behind Sara’s killer should be something that lasts the entire season, and when it is revealed, if Roy is the actual culprit, for whatever reason, then just…AGH!!! With such a wide array of characters to choose from in DC lore, using someone established in both the comics and the show to be one of the good guys in this role would be just stupid and wasteful. Once you go there, there is no way to believably repair his relationship with the rest of Team Arrow, even if he was being controlled somehow. It would make more sense to reveal Thea as Sara’s killer in all honestly, and I think that would be just as stupid of a choice.


What I Read Today: Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir


The canon/non-canon nature of this Dark Horse limited series is a little bit nebulous as far as I know. I haven’t heard an official stance from Disney/Lucas as to where it stands. Here’s the issue, one, it’s a Dark Horse comic and it came out before what I’ve understood to be the first piece of new canon material since the Disney purchase, that being the “A New Dawn” novel. That lends credence to the idea that this series is no longer canon. The counter to that though, is that the series was based off of un-produced scripts for episodes of The Clone Wars cartoon which, it is my understanding, is considered part of the official Star Wars canon. It’s that connection to the Clone Wars, and the fact that Darth Maul has always been a character that intrigues me, that made me want to cover the series here.

Now, this isn’t exactly how I wanted to loo at this one. I had planned to look at each individual issue, but the volume I got didn’t separate the story by issue, so instead I’m taking more of a short form look at it as a whole. The first thing to say is that, for a story based on scripts from The Clone Wars series, there isn’t a whole lot from the characters typically seen as the “stars” of that series. Obi-Wan Kenobi is in it for a bit, but really plays a very small part in things. What is far more central to the story is the conflict between Darth Sidious; championed for most the story by Count Dooku and General Grievous, and Mother Talzin, championed of course by Darth Maul. The most interesting aspect of this conflict is seeing both sides trying to maneuver and outmaneuver the other. It is very strange however to see Darth Maul as not only the protagonist, but kind of as the hero of the story, and an oddly sympathetic character. He is the kind of character that seems like he should be really important, and who believes himself to be very important, but in the end, in the grand scheme of things, he just really isn’t. Throughout out everything he is being manipulated by Mother Talzin to and, to hear Darth Sidious tell it, he’s manipulating both Maul and Talzin throughout not just this story but their entire lives. Now the disappointing part. The story is so focused on this conflict between Sidious and Talzin, that I don’t feel like we actually get to learn all that much about the book’s title character, other than the barest tidbits about his origins which anyone who has read the “Darth Plagueis” novel will already be familiar with.

All in all, it is a pretty fun and interesting story, and if you’re interested in Star Wars in general, The Clone Wars specifically or Darth Maul even more specifically, then you will probably enjoy this. The downside though, is that knowing it was originally meant to be a part of The Clone Wars cartoon, I can’t help but think it would have been far more entertaining had it actually been produced as episodes for the TV show. That really is just a minor gripe though.



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