"Dead to Rights", Arrow, China White, Colin Donnell, DC Entertainment, Deadshot, John Barrowman, Katie Cassidy, Kelly Hu, Laurel Lance, Live Action, Malcolm Merlyn, Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell, The CW, Tommy Merlyn
By: Kyle Shultz
This most recent episode of Arrow was epic on a grand scale, or as Stephen Amell said so much happened in “Dead to Rights”, it should’ve been called “Holy shit balls!” instead. It is by far one of the best & most exciting episodes of the season, which I expected with it being written by Geoff Johns, who has co-written for the show before in “Muse of Fire”. Fans of Smallville know that Johns’ episodes feature heavy nods to DC Comics characters & with this episode alone, we got quite a bit as well as some awesome twists, turns, & some revelations.
Not only were China White, Slade Wilson, & the main cast in the show, but this episode also featured Guillermo Barrera, Brutale from the comics, who had a really well choreographed & a well shot opening fight scene with Arrow, though sadly that ended quickly since Arrow had to kill him. That’s probably one of my big complaints about this show, is that they bring in these characters, these villains that can actually go toe-to-toe with Arrow, & in the end, the villain gets the boot & dies. So far, I’m still waiting for Constantine Drakon (who was in the pilot) to return, but I’m thinking he never will. I do have to hand it to them, at least when they bring a character back, like Deadshot, they do a great job at it. Deadshot was last seen in episode three titled “Lone Gunman” with an arrow in his eye, from what I’ve learned is that in the digital comics, they’ll explain how Floyd Lawton survived that encounter. I’ve yet to read the rest of them, but I own the first two printings of the Arrow comics, and I’ve read only the first one and it’s pretty good, I do need to invest in the rest of them.
In this episode we see that Lawton is just drinking & smoking his life away, he’s not an assassin anymore since Arrow beat him, & took his eyesight. I love that they added him into the story & show that he’s washed up now, living in Bludhaven, & that he really doesn’t care about his life. Until China White came in and gave him a new eye-piece, & this one looks even better than the first one, it’s more comic-oriented, & he even gets a full costume, which we briefly see, though it looked good. With Deadshot back, I hope he becomes a bigger force for Arrow, especially since after this episode, he’s back in the Assassination game, and he could go after our favorite Emerald Archer for some revenge. I thought the little nod they added in of Laurel’s sister in a photo looking at a bird, that bird happened to be a Canary, a Black Canary to be exact, was a fun little nod, but I’m sure fans are just yelling at the screen “Give her the fish nets already!!”
The one thing this episode focused on more than anything was Tommy & Malcolm Merlyn. Given the ending events of the previous episode, it’s not surprising that it does. As you saw in the last couple minutes of “Dodger” Moira Queen talks to China White & puts a hit on Malcolm. China White hired Guillermo Barrera to kill Malcolm, Arrow intercepted, killed Barrera; and so China White had to find someone new…someone whose game & expertise is assassination, who ended up being Deadshot. It’s also Tommy’s birthday in this episode, and when Malcolm came into the scene & that music score came in, I instantly got this small chill that ran up my back. John Barrowman is a great actor, & really throws himself in this role.
The relationship between Tommy & Malcolm reminds me a bit of the relationship between Lex & Lionel in Smallville. Both had this bitterness & hatred towards their father. In the scene where Malcolm comes in, he wants Tommy to be there at his award ceremony & Tommy retorts with “Did they run out of actual humans to give them to?” it just shows how much hatred he has for his Father, probably more so than Lex did with Lionel. In the award ceremony scene we get this great fight scene with Arrow & China White, certainly a better & more practiced fight scene than their first fight scene in China White’s first appearance. When the attack on Malcolm happens, he immediately runs to get Tommy and tells him that he has a “Panic room” in his office, which makes me believe that if things would’ve gone his way, Malcolm was going to tell Tommy about his secret & why he is the way he is, but Deadshot finally gets his sight on Malcolm & shoots him, more than once. Most of the bullets caught the vest Malcolm was wearing, which makes me think, why was he wearing a vest? Was he just being a cautious or did someone tell him that there would be an attempt on his life? Either way, as usual this show brings a lot of questions with little answers. The ending revelation of Arrow outing himself to Tommy to help his Malcolm caught me by surprise, as I’m sure it did a lot of people.
The hospital scene where Malcolm tells Tommy where he was for two years after his wife died was actually one of my favorite scenes. It shows these two characters reconnect. One hated the other, & the other just wanted to show that what he’s doing is for a purpose. In the scene we learn that Malcolm met a man in Nanda Parbat who helped him make sense of things & find a purpose in his life. Nanda Parbat is yet another nod to a location in DC Comics. Nanda Parbat has ties to a couple of characters from the DCU; those characters are Deadman, & Ra’s Al Ghul. As I’m sure it wasn’t Deadman that helped Malcolm “Find a purpose” it had to have been Ra’s, or at least fans would like to think it, maybe we’ll see Ra’s Al Ghul in the show sometime, not that likely but one can hope. The ending scene when Laurel’s Mom, Dinah Drake, comes in was another surprise, she’s the original Black Canary in the comics, and it’s likely she’s not that character in the show, though I’m sure they’ll do something surprising with her character, especially since she told Laurel that Sarah may be alive!! Yet another question that makes us think “How in the world could that be!!?”
Overall this episode was phenomenal, & I agree with Stephen Amell that it should’ve been called “Holy shit balls!” since so much happened. I’m excited to see The Huntress return in the next episode, but I’m not excited that the show will be ending it’s first season anytime soon, May better get here slowly!!