Okay, after three false feints on the ending and months of speculating how we were going to have The Flash introduced to us, I can safely say bravo Arrow, bravo. After last year’s “Year’s End” I really did not know how big they could go with the mid season finale. Luckily, “Three Ghosts” manages to take everything that last year’s finale did well and build upon it. What this season has managed to do so well is focus on the characters and build upon the pre-established relationships. In this episode ,everything in the present somehow relates to Oliver’s failures in the past, whether it be the return of Mirakuru or Ollie’s second chance with Slade. Everything is coming back to haunt Ollie just like Ebenezer Scrooge, but now, with clear definition of purpose it looks like The Arrow will be back on his feet and saving the city moving forward. Oh, did we mention Barry got full on speed forced in the only way we know how? So let’s dive in because things just got super complicated.
So let’s start of with the big reveal, Slade is not only alive and eye patched but he is Brother Blood’s boss, and he is aiming to destroy everything Ollie holds dear. Yes, the combination of Mirakuru and Shado getting a bullet to the back of the head seemed to be the impetus for our favorite merc deciding to have a full on vendetta against Ollie, although I am sure there is still more to come that led to our new evil Slade. I have to say I really love this development in terms of the story implications as it not only gives Ollie a chance to confront his greatest mistake in the form of betraying Slade, but it also gives everyone in Ollie’s life a possible window into Ollie’s experiences on The Island. Manu Bennett did a great job of displaying multiple sides of Slade this week and I really can’t wait to see how present day Slade reacts when he is finally face-to-face with Ollie. Of course, this does raise the question of how long Slade can remain in the shadows manipulating Blood, and furthermore who is giving him the resources to back Blood. I doubt that Slade has the financial standing to do this which means we possibly have an even bigger Big Bad in the pipeline whose name is not Al Ghul or Merlyn.
The main struggle of this was Ollie dealing with the ghosts of his past, each giving him a weird message about his role as the Arrow and what it means to be Oliver Queen. It is true that Ollie has sort of been struggling to find himself this season as he no longer is killing the villains as indiscriminately as he was before, but now he can hopefully move forward and develop into the Arrow we all know and love. It was a nice wrap around in having Tommy be the one to tell Ollie to embrace his inner hero and the fact that he is not a failure, although it sadly helped to display just how much Colin Donnell is missed each week. I kept wishing that Laurel had died instead of Tommy, because a lot of her material this season has been seriously lackluster and even her material this episode was kind of lame. Luckily, Ollie will have a real chance to make up for his mistakes with Slade by taking care of Roy who it seems has gained Slade’s healing factor and who knows what else since being injected with the Mirakuru.
As for this weeks big guest star, Grant Gustin continued to do well as Barry Allen, but there was not any real development in terms of personality other than seeing him fanboy all over Ollie. I kind of expected Barry to have more screen time this week, but I guess with the episode being so jam-packed, some things had to fall by the wayside. No worries though, as Barry will be getting his own series complete with all that speed forcey goodness. Yes, if there ever is a Flash movie there is now a real, modern, gold standard for how Barry getting his powers should be done. It was not just the ground work of the storm and the particle accelerator, but the entire sequence, leading up to seeing Barry’s new found power course through his veins. It was everything I wanted as a Flash fan and I can’t wait to hear the background noise about a mysterious Flash saving Central City. Hopefully when we see Barry next time he will have some sort of serious material, as well as bring some of his Central City cohorts along for the ride.
The only part of this week’s episode that managed to disappoint me was the lack of action between Ollie and Grundy, who was looking a lot more Grundy-like once those chemicals spilled on his face. This, coupled with the pacing of the Roy getting kidnapped and injected plot, made it feel a little bit like a force or scramble to make up for the lack of action. It felt like this should have occurred early in the episode rather than right as all the big reveals were happening, it really disturbed the pace the show had going up to that point. By contrast, when Slade woke up and devastated Ivo’s crew the pacing and staging was surprisingly brutal and powerful. Hopefully, when we see present day Slade fight he will have a lot more control over his powers and strength. Also, I am calling right now for a Diggle vs Slade fight, it is going to happen, and it will be awesome to watch go down.
Overall it was a fantastic episode with some high quality reveals worthy of being an Arrow midseason finale.
Final Grade A
+Major ramifications from all of the reveals
+The Island plot is tying in rather nicely this season
+The ghosts were a fun plot device, especially the Tommy appearance
+THE FLASH ORGIN WAS AWESOME
-The Roy getting kidnapped plot felt kind of last second
-Laurel still really useless
-So Felicity is Jewish? That would explain the comic relief and why I like her character.
-So how old is Slade supposed to be because he is rocking the gray like he has had it for a while.
-“Barry, are there any side effects?” “Hallucinations and sweating excessively. Are you sweating excessively?” Yes Barry, the sweating is something to worry about.
-Pretty sure I called this entire Brother Blood plot line sans Slade over the summer. Arrow writers if you are lurking here Hi.