The stuff with Tockman was the most interesting angle of the episode, particularly because he’s such a great villain. He’s more of a foil for Felicity than for Oliver, giving her quite the challenge and upstaging her at every turn. He even disables her computers, which only confirms her fears that she’s becoming obsolete. She’s finally given her turn to shine by the end though, taking a bullet for Sarah and knocking Tockman out by using his own virus against him and blowing up his cell phone. It’s nice to see some depth given to her character, because as the show’s roster grows it feels like she’s been slowly pushed out. Now all they have to do is give Diggle something to do other than sit around the Arrow Cave looking bored.
The only downside to Knepper’s performance is that he’s not given a ton of screen time. His presence is definitely felt throughout the action sequences, as he’s constantly breaking into Felicity’s security system and taunting Team Arrow via bluetooth, but we don’t get to see much of him in action. Making matters worse is that his back story is touched on but never fully explored. I get that this is (ironically) due to time constraints, but the episode would have benefited from showing us more of what Tockman’s illness (and his sister’s) really means to him.
This is the show that continually hammered us over the head with a terrible character like Count Vertigo, but couldn’t spare a bit more screen time for the Clock King. Hopefully since they kept him alive at the end of the episode it means we’ll see him again in the future. In the comics, his character has been wrongly diagnosed with MacGregor’s Syndrome, so perhaps that’s an angle they can explore somewhere down the line to bring him back.
The island story takes a bit of a backseat this week, which is good because of everything going on in the modern timeline. There is a great little reveal about Sin as well, which was not really needed but does add a bit of depth to her relationship with Sarah (which, to be honest, I’d completely forgotten about until they brought it up).
Back to the Lance family, unfortunately, their family dinner devolves quickly into soap opera territory, as Laurel continues to act out and blame everyone for her problems. Imagine my excitement then when Oliver confronts her after she storms out, calling her out on her ridiculous behavior. Thankfully, this prompts her to later apologize to Sarah and attend and an AA meeting, meaning that we can hopefully put these past few bad weeks behind us and finally move forward with her character. She wasn’t this unlikable or unsympathetic in the first season, and now that all of the dust around Sarah’s reappearance seems to be settling, we can move on and bring back a little of her bite.
The best part of the episode came in at the very end, finally bringing Oliver and Slade together in the modern timeline. We still don’t know what happened between them, but if the ominous music or Oliver’s panicked expression when he hears Slade’s name come out of his mother’s mouth are any indication, it will surely be exciting to watch it unfold.
All in all, “Time of Death” was a well paced episode of Arrow with plenty of action and character moments. It ran the risk of falling victim to a few melodramatic beats, but smartly avoided going down that rabbit hole. The writers are finding great ways to balance the show’s human side with the superhero side, and judging by how things are falling into place, it’s going to be full steam ahead for the rest of the season.
- Ted Kord references! I kept waiting for more Easter eggs or some shots of any Blue Beetle tech, but at least they’re laying the groundwork for his appearance sometime in the future.
- That shot where Oliver slides down the stairs to shoot an arrow at those goons? Awesome.
- Oliver and Detective Lance have two great, personal moments this week. The first is touching, the second kind of awkward and funny. Anyone else hope Lance finally finds out the Arrow’s identity later this season?
That’s it for now. I’ll see you guys in Starling City next week.