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REVIEW: Arrow 3×18 “Public Enemy”

Written by Scott Swartz

Usually, Arrow saves the big long action scenes for the finales, but this week we got a special treat as the hunt for The Arrow was on. “Public Enemy” was meant to appear as epic in scope and larger than life, luckily it was secretly a more intimate tale between Captain Lance and Oliver Queen. The frenemy relationship which we have watched develop over the course of three years finally came to a head and it managed to yield a ton of interesting developments in Oliver’s story. For a very long time Oliver has hidden behind his one get out of jail free card that we saw in the first season. This time however Oliver was without a plan and supremely outmatched by Captain Lance who now apparently has all of the facts about Oliver’s time on the island with Sara. The episode set up some major changes for the series and set us up for a tantalizing week off.

So it’s kind of hard not to talk about the opening set piece to the episode as Oliver was exposed and hunted by the police along with Laurel and Roy. Arrow has always been good at deleting exciting action scene, but the hunt was really something else as we rarely get to see Oliver be the hunted in his own city. Seeing Oliver, Roy, and Laurel attempt to outrun the cops really got the blood pumping, and having Diggle be our eyes in the sky was a nice way to get everyone involved. What made this scene work as well as it did was the fact that Oliver was truly unprepared for everything that went down, and since Oliver always tries to have a contingency for every situation it was incredibly jarring for him to be so off kilter.  We have seen Oliver not be prepared before in terms of Slade just showing up, but he always knew he was the good guy in those situations. With Oliver being hunted by the cops it put an entirely different spin on the situation which was extremely appreciated.

In the grand scheme of things this was never truly Oliver’s episode as Captain Lance took center stage and rocked it in all of his scenes. Paul Blackthorne has been extremely underused throughout this season and this episode made me wonder why when he can be so good all of the time. Whether it be yelling at Ra’s, arguing with Laurel, or straight up bitch slapping Oliver, Blackthorne delivered an incredible amount of emotional resonance to all of his scenes. I was especially thrilled with the final scene with Oliver in the prisoner transport, it was the perfect chance for Lance to let loose and make Oliver realize that despite everything he has done for the city, he has left a path of destruction and heartbreak a mile long. The show sadly forgets about just how much pain Oliver has brought into these peoples lives, and Lance calling him on all of it was exactly the perfect move.

While Lance was absolutely killing it for the majority of the episode we were forced to suffer through some unnecessary relationship drama between Felicity and Ray. I was cool with all of it right up until the moment that Ray said “I love you” and Felicity chose not to reciprocate. Not because I have anything against them being together, but rather because there was way more important material happening around them and this was completely useless in the long run. I mean this material would’ve been okay in a filler episode or one that was so not heavily dependent on the main plot, but even Felicity says to Ray there are more important things going on. The only good part of this entire side plot was that Ray has invented nano-bots and that puts him one step closer to being a full on Atom.

As for our big ending moment it certainly does create a nifty get out of jail free card if Roy somehow manages to successfully take the fall for Ollie. Roy has had a great arc throughout the  season and for him to finally step out of the mantle of sidekick and rise up to protect those he looks up to is a nice capper. Hopefully he wont end up dead or beaten up in prison as there are plenty of people looking to get revenge on the Arrow and Roy would be a suitable way for Ra’s to continue pressuring Oliver. It does not however remedy the fact that Lance basically outed Oliver to the entire city so now he either needs to fully own up to being the Arrow or have Barry time travel to rewrite all of history again. I am left to wonder how the city will react if and when Oliver finally comes out and what it will mean for our favorite vigilante as he has constantly lived by the theory he can’t be a symbol of hope. I am just so excited to see how this all plays out in the end.

Overall a really strong episode.

Final Grade B+

+Excellent material for Blackthorne

+Roy’s sacrifice

+The big chase scene

+Ra’s once again exerting his power

-Flashbacks kind of lame

-Ray and Felicity material useless in the grand scheme.

Extra Thoughts

-Everything about Matt Nable’s performance as Ra’s continues to grow on me. His sarcastic clap being a real winner, but I can’t wait till he truly lets loose again.

-Laurel has balls of steel to make that jump without a grappling hook, it shows how much faith she has in Oliver. Side note her poker face is awful when Lance tells her he knows Ollie is the Arrow and she really should have warned Oliver.

-So apparently after getting knocked unconscious by Ray last week, Roy decided the perfect revenge on Oliver was to go have sex with Thea. Don’t know how that tracks but I am surprisingly cool with it.

About the author

Scott Swartz