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REVIEW: Arrow 2×08 “The Scientist”

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Written by Scott Swartz

I am gonna keep my totally normal fanboyish screams to a minimum if only to be really calm, but hell that was a good episode. Yes, “The Scientist” not only managed to be a good primer and introduction to Barry Allen as a character, but also superpowers being introduced to the Arrowverse. The episode managed to take many elements that would have seemed out of place in Arrow up to this point and presented them in a believable fashion. Not only were the powers cool and brutal, but all of our side characters are given a solid amount of spotlight, with Moira even getting a big moment. All of this is building towards the midseason finale next week, but the writers have firmly place the ball on the tee, now they just have to whack it out of the park. So let’s dive in and fore warning, there are going to be Flash puns!

I have to say my biggest concern going into this episode was Barry himself, as if you were to list my top three heroes The Flash is commonly in spot one or two depending on the day. I can safely say that for the most part, Grant Gustin managed to do our favorite CSI agent justice. The meticulous nature, Barry’s sense of duty, his jokes about always being a step behind were all classic Barry out of costume. His demeanor around Felicity when probing about The Vigilante, as well as their overall back and forth was as adorable as I thought it would be. The two definitely made for a strong pair. However, what really stood out was Barry’s description of the night his mother died. Gustin managed to really capture the emotional needs of Barry describing the events, and helped to firmly cement why Barry relies so heavily on facts and evidence. I also, as a Flash fan, liked the twist of the blurry killer whisking Barry twenty blocks from his house. It is a nice innovation on Barry’s origin especially considering how often Barry is portrayed as not being present for the actual murder. My only qualm with Gustin’s performance is I feel he did not capture Barry’s sense of right and wrong. Though none of the dialog helped to reflect it, Barry views the world as black and white, so his hero worship of the Vigilante is slightly odd, especially because Ollie had been killing people for the whole first season. Hopefully this will be fleshed out as time moves forward.

As for the rest of the team, I felt that some parts played out better than others, with the Roy material being surprisingly weak. Roy has always been one to take risks, but the more he helps Sin, the more I feel he is going to get himself killed, especially with Brother Blood’s dirty cop now hot on Roy’s trail. This material felt a little soft and unnecessary up until the point where Ollie put an arrow through Roy’s leg. I have to say that took me completely by surprise in two ways: the fact Ollie seemingly let his rage get the better of him and that he injured his informant for doing his job. Roy may be a lot of things, but he has always wanted to make sure the people come first. Ollie seemingly did not get that when Roy said he would get help from his friends and it kind of brought down the mood. I guess Roy needs to go back and reevaluate what he thinks about the Vigilante.

Moira, surprisingly managed to get some really strong material this week, part of it being from having Malcolm to play off of and the other part being a badass. When this storyline of revealing to Thea that Malcolm is her father was introduced I was wary because I did not want Moira to be weak and give in to the demands. Turns out I was completely wrong on what she would do, as not only did she choose to not tell Thea, but she managed to get in contact with Ra’s himself and put a hit on Malcolm. I guess Malcolm did not use Ra’s Lazarus Pit after all since he is on Ra’s s**tlist and all. Ra’s has got to be wondering what it is about Starling that makes all of his enemies want to flock there. Major props to Moira for finally being something more than a punching bag, I just hope this is not the last we see of Malcolm, because John Barrowman is always fun to watch chew scenery.

On the island front something amazing happened, and no I am not talking about Slade getting his powers.Ollie actually informed Felicity and Diggle about where he knew the serum from which by my recollection he has never actually done. Low and behold Ivo will indeed get the serum to work, and he will also be killed. And Ollie kills everyone involved in the project. I guess Slade is not going to make it out of this alive since Ollie said everyone who took the serum and survived he killed. More to the point, Manu Bennet was awesome tonight as he teetered between life and death, even being on the brink did not stop him from being a badass. I hope Ollie eventually informs his friends about all of his adventures on the island; that way the team will at least be prepared if another blast from the past shows up.

Overall a very good episode.

Final Grade: B+

 

+Grant Gustin is pretty much pitch perfect for Barry

+The Island material was fantastic.

+Moira has balls of steel

 

-There is still room for improvement and fleshing out with Barry

-Roy getting an arrow to the leg was kind of out of left field.

 

Extra Thoughts

-So how did Moira get in contact with Ra’s? Cell phone? Skype?

-Solmon Grundy’s costuming was pretty creepy, I especially liked how the mask made it look like a skull

-Seriously though Starling city PD, since when does bleeding from the eyes mean you OD’?

-Barry standing precariously by chemicals while lighting strikes in the background gave me the biggest case of superhero origin blue balls ever.

About the author

Scott Swartz