Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great joy to once again talk about Michael Jai White as Ben Turner, aka Bronze Tiger. If ever there was an instance of ideal casting in the Arrow series, it would be White as the claw-wielding mercenary. Not only does he bring the proper physicality in the action scenes (White is trained in martial arts and holds seven black belts), but his performance both inspires serious intimidation and creates an unmistakable aura of “anti-hero” cool.
I complained about White being underutilized earlier this season in “Identity.” And while Turner is still mostly restricted to enforcer once again, it’s nice to know that the Arrow writers know what a good thing they have and plan to keep him around for future endeavors (more on that later). And while Turner’s method of escape raises some serious questions—a sort of Kamikaze human is sent in as his jailmate and sacrifices his body by pulling out Turner’s metal claws from under his skin—I’m okay with chalking it up to comic book logic (also—eww
Meanwhile, Oliver-as-Arrow attempts to train the Mirakuru-afflicted Roy on how to control his newfound strength. As expected, Roy proves to be a less than cooperative trainee. Frustrated with the Arrow’s Karate Kid-esque drills, Roy is antsy to get out in the streets and learn on his feet. Thus, when the Bronze Tiger threat rears its head, Arrow has little choice but to let Roy accompany him on his late-night mission. (In a nice bit of fan-service, Arrow commands the future Red Arrow to grab his red hood.)
Just as Arrow predicted, however, Roy remains unable to control his strength or aggression, nearly beating a minion and—a bit later in the episode—the Bronze Tiger himself to a pulpy death. Only by pulling down his hood and telling him to “think about Thea” is Oliver able to finally calm Roy down. And so, add Roy to the ever-growing list of people who know Oliver’s secret identity. (I swear, one day, Laurel will be the only person in all of Starling City who doesn’t know.)
Elsewhere, Moira goes on what she believes will be a date with Walter, her estranged husband who was imprisoned by Malcolm Merlyn last season. Instead of a warm reconciliation, however, she discovers that Walter has ulterior motives; namely, he wants her to run against Sebastian Blood in the upcoming election for mayor. Despite Moira’s claims that she has been vilified in the wake of the Glades explosion from last season, Walter and his companion insist that there are people who still side with here and want to see her back in the public life.
Though eventually Moira, after delegating with her children, accepts the offer, I’m kind of inclined to agree with her immediate reaction. Since Moira was released from jail, we’ve seen nothing but scene after scene of crowds yelling at or denigrating her. There’s been no real indication that anyone would support a woman who just only was acquitted of genocide. Though I love Susanna Thompson as Moira and am glad to see her becoming a more active character again, the logic of this plot development baffles me. That being said, I do look forward to see what Moira plans to do with the lone OG who knows of Thea’s true parentage (can’t have the question of bastard children hanging over an election time, after all).
This week’s Island flashback is yet more set-up material for the inevitable Oliver-Slade fallout. It begins with Oliver’s reluctance to talk to Sara about Slade’s altered state. (“Don’t treat me like I’m other people,” she says, grabbing a seemingly random Aaron Sorkin phrase out of the air.) Oliver eventually reveals that he desperately wants to tell Slade the truth about Shado’s death. Sara counters—rightfully so—that such an admission will not benefit anyone. Then, as if on cue, the two discover that Slade is planning to use the Island’s weapons to blow up Ivo’s ship. In response, Oliver steps forth and, just like he will later do with Roy, calms Slade down and convinces him of a different plan: invade the boat and take it by force.
Of course, Arrow just wouldn’t be Arrow without the flurry of final act reveals. Just when I was concerned it would be another stretch before we see White as the Bronze Tiger again, who should show up at his prison cell but Amanda Waller. In a move that can’t but recall Nick Fury’s offer at the after-credits sting of Iron Man, Waller tells Turner about a special “unit,” or squad, she’s putting together. And lo, the comic book fans, they did squeal in excitement.
The other big moment of the episode is, of course, Oliver revealing himself as the Arrow to Roy. I was hoping this revelation would happen sooner rather than later—mainly because it would get to be a bit absurd for Roy to spend so much time with Arrow and not once catch even a glimpse of the features under the hood. The next step is then, of course, introducing Roy to Team Arrow (a nickname Oliver quickly dismisses but Felicity embraces). And thus begins a new chapter of the team with a new team member.
Oh, I almost forgot—there’s more of Laurel drinking and being generally out of control throughout the episode. After taking a step forward with her character in the past few episodes., Laurel seems once again delegated to questionable side character, though at least the writers are providing Katie Cassidy with the opportunity to break loose and do some always fun “drunk” acting. That said, here’s hoping Laurel’s descent ultimately has a worthy payoff.
After two weeks of solid, if somewhat standard, episodes, “Tremors” represents Arrow’s return to excellence. And while the Moira-as-mayoral candidate plotline still requires some massive logic leaps, it’s nice to see that the show—far from resting on its laurels after the temporary shelving of the Brother Blood plot—is all too eager to keep juggling its numerous plots in the air. Although I fretted about the writers juggling the abundance of subplots and intertwining stories earlier this season, the current stretch of episodes has done much to show that the Arrow staff deserves our trust.