With each new installment of Arrow ratcheting up the tension and making the standoff between Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson more and more precarious, a week without a new episode can feel like an eternity. Has it really only been thirteen days since Deathstroke kidnapped Thea Queen and dropped a bombshell on Laurel by revealing that Oliver is the Arrow?
Really? Because man, the days have felt long.
Well, here’s the good news. Arrow’s back tonight with an all-new episode, and it’s a doozy. Called “The Man Under the Hood,” it picks up where that amazing Deathstroke episode left off, with Thea angry at Oliver and her mother for lying and Laurel wrestling with what to do with this news. That’s where it starts, but over the course of its 48 or so minutes, it goes in some mighty interesting places. Here are a few things to watch for.
A Few Central City Cameos
Okay, remember way back when DC, WB and The CW announced that they were developing a new Flash series and it was going to spin off of Arrow? The plan was to introduce Barry Allen about a third of the way into the season and then have him return later in full-on Flash mode in an episode that would serve as a backdoor pilot.
Well, if you watch the show, you know that the first part of that happened. Barry made a memorable appearance in a two-part episode that served as the mid-season finale. In fact, it was such a memory episode and was so well-received that The CW decided to order a standard pilot for The Flash, requiring the producers to alter their plans.
This is a good thing. A standalone pilot shows a level of belief in the series and should allow for more visibility. However, the downside is that we’re no longer getting a Flash episode in this season of Arrow. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t be dipping into that world. “The Man Under the Hood” features the appearance of one Caitlin Snow and one Cisco Ramon, two STAR Labs employees who are probably familiar to most DC Comics fans. As played by actors Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes, they’ll also be regular cast members on The Flash, should that show get picked up as a series.
But it gets better, Flash fans. You don’t even need to wait till tonight to see them in action. Check out an exclusive clip featuring Snow and Ramon in this week’s “DC All Access.”
Plenty of Deathstroke Fallout
Getting a bit deeper into spoiler territory here if you’re behind in episodes, but if you’re up to speed then you know that the last new Arrow, aside from giving us some awesome Deathstroke action, also left things pretty shaken up. Officer Lance is now in prison for refusing to betray the Arrow. Queen Consolidated no longer belongs to the Queens. Thea now knows she’s Malcolm Merlyn’s daughter and that both her mother and brother knew this and kept it from her. Roy Harper is still doped up on mirakuru and has left Thea and the team. And of course, Laurel now knows Oliver’s secret. While not all of these threads will be wrapped up here, some of them are continued, and the results are not what you’ll expect. Trust us.
One Heckuva Quentin Lance Scene
Speaking of one of these threads, can we all just take a moment and give Paul Blackthorne the credit he deserves for providing one of the most likable and down-to-earth performances on TV week after week? He may not have the showiest role on the series, and as the father of Laurel and Sara, he’s not what you’d call one of Arrow’s male “heartthrobs.” But man, the guy can act. His Quentin Lance has evolved from the Arrow’s biggest adversary to his most reliable ally when it comes to the Starling City PD. That sort of transition can ring very false if not well written and acted, and as far as the performance goes, that’s all Blackthorne.
This episode features a few key Quentin Lance scenes, including one that’s a real defining moment for the character. Look out for it.
Some Key Contributors
Give Blackthorne credit for the acting, but as mentioned, the writing is key as well, and it’s little wonder this episode has such a tight script. It’s written by Andrew Kreisberg and Keto Shimizu from a story by Greg Berlanti and DC Comics’ own Geoff Johns. As you may know, many of these guys are also behind the Flash pilot, so it’s not entirely surprising that this episode features Flash characters. Or that it’s a solid episode overall, since these guys have a record of knocking it out of the park.
What’s the Deal With Isabel? Well…
Look, we’re not going to lie. We’re BIG fans of Summer Glau. We love the way that she’s capable of playing characters who are likable and quirky, as well as ones who are hard and unwavering and seems to be able to switch from one to the other in a blink of an eye. As much as we love Stephen Amell and the character of Green Arrow, we got a wicked little thrill out of seeing Glau bust out some kung fu and throw down with Oliver in the previous ep. While her character, Isabel Rochev, has been a bit of an enigma since her introduction, we now know what side of things she’s on, and we find out more details about her in this episode. Again, they’re not what you think. (And yes, we’ve seen those photos of Glau wearing a certain costume that surfaced online, too.)
All this, plus plenty of action, a few comic book cool references—particularly in the STAR Labs scene—and another solid cliffhanger. “The Man Under the Hood” airs tonight at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW, and as always, we’d love to hear what you thought of it. Leave your comments down below!