Arrow: 311 “Midnight City” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
Following the events of last week’s episode, things are growing ever more chaotic in Starling City: Brick is gaining control of the Glades, Laurel is now running around pretending to be her sister, Team Arrow as it previously existed is gone and Oliver, while he might still be alive, is still very much absent from his city.
He is also suffering from fever dreams involving Felicity and Ra’s al Ghul’s sword, and as he wakes up we get an idea of what happened, as Tatsu tells him that it was the extreme cold on the mountain and his own will to live that allowed him to survive, but he is still extremely weak. He thanks Maseo for bringing him to Tatsu even though the two of them are no longer in contact, and warns him that Ra’s al Ghul will see what he did as an act of betrayal and will likely kill Maseo for it. Maseo, on the other hand, reminds Oliver that it is Starling City he should be worrying about, as without him things will likely have gone from bad to worse.
And surprise surprise, he’s bang on the money: as we head back to Starling, Laurel is still trying to fill her sister’s thigh-high boots, and not doing particularly well. She manages to distract a mugger long enough for his victim to flee, but doesn’t do particularly well in actually apprehending him, until Roy shows up, stops the criminal and tells Laurel that they ‘should talk’, meaning that he and Diggle are going to have words with her. She defends her decision by telling them that now Oliver is gone, the criminals of the city need someone to be afraid of, and they were definitely afraid of the Canary.
While all this is going on, Felicity is back at Palmer Technologies and Ray is desperately trying to get her to help with sorting out his robot suit, but she doesn’t particularly want to see another dude she has a crush on get himself killed, so she understandably refuses. However, at a meeting with the mayor and the city’s aldermen everything goes wrong when Brick and his men bust in and kidnap the aldermen, even though Ray puts up a decent fight.
Laurel, who was also in the meeting, and Roy manage to track them down to one of those alleys located between industrial buildings there seem to be so many of in the Glades, and after a quick bust-up in which Laurel gets her ass handed to her by Brick, he manages to escape with the aldermen, killing one to make a point. He then manages to set up a meeting with the mayor, Captain Lance and other members of the SCPD during which he demands that the police evacuate the Glades entirely.
This causes Felicity to rejoin the team, along with Ray’s helicopter, and they track Brick and the bad guys down to yet another abandoned warehouse where they manage to rescue the surviving aldermen, although they do allow Brick to get away. In the aftermath, even though the aldermen are now safe, the mayor still orders the police to evacuate the Glades as Brick has essentially targeted every legislative body member and they won’t be safe unless they hand the Glades to Brick and his gang. The information is even more raw as it is delivered through a conversation between Laurel, in full Black Canary get-up, and Captain Lance, still unaware that his youngest daughter is dead. So, a minor win for the good guys which just so happened to be part of a major loss for the city: things really are going to hell without Oliver.
Speaking of whom, Tatsu’s hut is attacked by members of the League of Assassins, and together she and Maseo manage to take them all out: when Oliver again points out that Ra’s al Ghul will have Maseo’s head for his betrayal, Maseo cuts himself on the neck to convince him that Oliver attacked him and escaped, then heads back to Nanda Parbat alone, leaving Tatsu to help Oliver complete his recovery.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Maseo manages to set up a meeting with Chien Na Wei, agreeing to hand over the Alpha virus in exchange for Tatsu. It goes down in a typically gaudy nightclub, and as Chien Na Wei has the virus tested she, and Oliver, both discover that it is a fake, and a big old gunfight breaks out. Fortunately all the important parties manage to get away, and Tatsu is reunited with her family: however, when Oliver questions Maseo about the fake virus, he states that he didn’t know it was fake, and that Amanda Waller must have switched it. Oliver is suitably upset by this, as Maseo was willing to risk the lives of millions of people just to save his wife, and Maseo responds that he would do anything for his family: an attitude that clearly rubbed off on Oliver, considering some of the things he has done for his family in the past.
Finally, Felicity agrees to help Ray, seeing that without Oliver the city needs someone to protect its citizens, and hands over a vital piece of technology without which the A.T.O.M. suit would not be possible. And after a few conversations about leaving Starling City, Thea manages to convince Malcolm that they should stay and fight the League if they should come looking for them: something which is almost definitely going to happen, particularly considering that Chase, the super-douche new DJ for Verdant also happens to be a spy for the League of Assassins, informing Maseo by phone that Merlyn is staying in Starling City.
Keeping the Brick storyline running over three episodes while Oliver is gone is an interesting idea, and a new one for the show: however, with all the different insane threats the city has seen in the past, Brick doesn’t seem smart or dangerous enough to pose such a monumental danger. However, one thing the Arrow team are very good at is teasing viewers, and there was plenty of that going on in “Midnight City”.