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REVIEW: Arrow 3×12 “Uprising”

Written by Scott Swartz

It’s amazing how there can be so many great aspects to a single episode and then the last few minutes can leave you just scratching your head. That is the exact feeling I had in watching “Uprising” as so many beats that I wanted to be hit happened, and yet that ending kind of left me disheartened. I mean we had a vigilante team up, sweet action, Ollie coming back and giving his speech, but it just felt like everything was wrapped up so neatly and without any type of real mess. It’s like the writers knew all of the beats up to a certain point and decided “we will figure it out soon”, and that just feels sad considering how great the rest of the episode was. I mean we finally got to see Merlyn’s backstory and how he made his way to Nanda Parbat. So lets dive in.

You know for a big Merlyn episode I was really excited for just how much of his material happened to work. From getting to see how kind of a father he was to his decent into a vengeful and murderous soul, Merlyn’s backstory added a lot of great detail to the character. I mean we had had Merlyn tell us why he went dark side but seeing the ramifications of his actions was so much more engrossing. Of course once Merlyn found out he had killed the wrong man it was only a matter of time until he confronted Brick, but it was the events leading up to this confrontation that made it so worthwhile. For one Merlyn realized that he would need a distraction to get Brick alone and exact his revenge, so for him to ask for a temporary partnership was extremely satisfying. Add on the fact that Diggle straight up told Merlyn that the moment team Arrow chooses to align with him they will have crossed the line. That is definitely going to create an interesting dynamic considering Ollie has decided that training under his enemy is the only way he will stand a chance against Ra’s.

You also had a lot of great material leading up to the big fight as team Arrow tried to figure out a way to stand up to Brick’s crew and retake The Glades. Watching Roy continue to take command of the team in Oliver’s absence as been one of the great joys of the past few weeks as he has a clear plan for how to save the city. Recruiting Wildcat and Sin to assist in raising an army to fight back against Brick made the most sense as both have been MIA for a large time and both are rather useful characters. Once the big brawl broke out we got to see a lot of great action as Roy and Laurel raided The Glades precinct in an attempt to take down Brick and the big brawl at the end had some fantastic moments. Watching Brick wield a shotgun that shoots flares was something I did not know I wanted, but I knew from day one I wanted to see Ted kick someone’s ass as Wildcat. The big brawl mostly lived up to it’s billing as a stall until Oliver returned to the city and that is where everything kind of went of the rails.

Oliver’s return should have been a lot cooler I just don’t know how else to put it. I mean he fires one arrow into the crowd and suddenly everyone is excited he is back, we do not see Ollie until he confront’s Merlyn and that is the big reveal. Ollie could have taken a few guys down and saved Laurel and Roy, but no one Arrow and everyone decides to bail back to The Quiver even though the job is not done. The team should have been way more guns ho about finishing the mission but instead all of the bad guys just straight up surrender before the cops even arrived. It was just weak in comparison to Oliver’s speech about the city defending itself and standing up against Brick. That speech was amazing and totally the perfect way to cap the fight off, but for the fight to end so abruptly was just so jarring for me as a viewer and it just made things feel so out of place.

If the fight was the only piece that was out of place I would be cool with it, but we also had all of the Felicity material where she seemed to be the only one not taking crazy pills. Oliver’s decision to team up with Merlyn seems both logical and illogical at the exact same time as it would be similar to if Ollie teamed up with Slade. I doubt Merlyn has fully let go of his vendetta against Ollie, but more to the point adopting Merlyn’s ways would mean regression rather than progression for Ollie as a character. We literally spent an entire year on Ollie being forced not to kill Slade and yet hear we are in pretty much the same position with Ra’s and Ollie is suddenly cool with breaking his promise to Tommy about not killing anymore. I understand that Ra’s is a cold blooded murder, but if Ollie does indeed kill him that will make him no better than Ra’s. Then to cap it all of you have Felicity telling Oliver point blank that she is done with him as he is going back on all of the principles he is supposed to believe in. That is just some bullshit as we know Ollie will eventually find a way to stop Ra’s and surely won’t become tainted by Merlyn.

Overall it was a fairly strong episode.

Final Grade B-

+Great fight scenes

+Oliver’s speech

+Malcolm flashbacks

-Final fight ends abruptly

-Ollie is going back to being a killer

-No one else calling Ollie on his bullshit plan to team up with Merlyn

-Brick fizzled out as a villain

Extra Thoughts

-Within one episode Lance figured out that Roy was Arsenal and Laurel is most likely the Canary. Great to see him finally doing detective work.

-I really missed Sin and Ted, hopefully this isn’t their last appearance .

-There was a police station in The Glades! How has no one ever referenced this in the two massive terror attacks before?

-So is 90’s Merlyn a huge Travolta fan or do they only have the one flashback wig on budget?

About the author

Scott Swartz