Public Enemy sees The Arrow’s (Stephen Amell) troubles amped up another level, with the Starling City Police Department on his back in a serious way. As such, Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) reintroduces the anti-vigilante task force as he’s “determined to end it tonight”. An arrest warrant is issued for the Emerald Archer and each and every one of his accomplishes.
Elsewhere, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) saves the day and literally takes a bullet (okay, an arrow) for Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and winds up in hospital and in a bad way. It turns out that Ray has a blood clot, for which he conveniently has some shrinking nanotech that could help. The only issue is that the medical staff refuse to allow such a procedure to take place. Luckily Mama Smoak (Charlotte Ross) randomly turns up on the scene just in time to allow Felicity to begrudgingly inject Ray with his creation. Could this miniature tech lead to a more “Atom” Atom? Why, we’d certainly hope so. Rather than Iron Man-lite, maybe he can finally get to being Ant-Man-lite.
Over to the flashback moments of Public Enemy, and here we pick things up with Oliver Queen bumping into the presumed-dead Shado (Celina Jade). The thing is, Shado is still totally, totally dead. Yep, in a twist right out of a comic book, this “Shado” is actually revealed to be Mei, the twin sister of Shado. Riiiiiight, of course. This element of the episode highlights the importance of revealing painful truths at certain times, with the truth allowing pain to heal. And so Oliver confirms to Mei that, yes, both her sister and father are indeed dead as the proverbial dodo.
Flipping back to the present day, the mission to find The Arrow gets elevated even further once Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) has Captain Lance kidnapped. His reasoning? Why, being an obvious total bastard, he merely does it so that he can break the news to Lance that Oliver Queen is The Arrow. As a result, we see the search for The Arrow intensify when Lance holds a press conference to reveal that the man under the hood is Ollie. Lance’s logic is that (in true Batman style) Oliver Queen is responsible for the glut of masks, both good and bad, in the world by this point. From here on out, there’s almost a heist feel to the episode, with Starling City’s finest trying to hit Oliver Queen at any possible locale. Of course, the crew are hiding out at Diggle’s (David Ramsey) temporarily before Oliver realises that there’s only one thing that he can do to stop all of this: hand himself in.
With Oliver Queen having handed himself in, we get some brilliant back and forth between he and Captain Lance, particularly impactful when Lance actually strikes Ollie. Safe to say, Ra’s al Ghul has truly done a number on Mr. Queen, having successfully turned his own city against him in an attempt to get Queen to cave and agree to replace Ra’s as the top of the League of Assassins. But hold on, what’s that?!?! Why, that’d be a twist on the horizon, as The Arrow just so happens to turn up on the scene. Under the hood is Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), who is seemingly taking the fall for his mentor.
Public Enemy is one of the better episodes of the season so far and one that you really did not want to end. Key to the success of the episode is the manipulation of Ra’s al Ghul, always being one step ahead of Oliver and playing some dark game of cat and mouse with the man he sees fit to replace him. There’s also a few timely mentions of the deceased Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), not least Ra’s talking to Quentin about his daughter, and also Oliver playing the ‘Sara card’ when trying to convince Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) to assist him in taking down Maseo (Karl Rune). And yes, this is the episode where we finally get to see Oliver and Maseo properly throw down… well, until it gets interrupted, obviously.
The intensity of this episode is most impressive, with a high octane, chase feel to this latest outing. To add further to the enjoyment, there’s even a brief moment of Tatsu (Rila Fukushima) wielding her famed katana during the flashback moments of the episode. And then there’s the confirmation that Felicity doesn't actually love Ray Palmer and that all of her goo-goo eyes are still directed in the direction of one Oliver Queen. How that plays out, we’ll have to wait and see. But speaking of Ray, it does seem a little odd to see him essentially flat line only to them be completely, totally, honestly, really 100% recovered by the time Public Enemy comes to a close. Expect that tech to play a part in his hero development in the future, mind.
Another strong episode for Arrow, and there’s further big happenings on the very near horizon. From all accounts and snippets of interviews, it seems as if the next outing is going to see somebody die. Some corners suggest Roy, others suggest Digg, others dare to suggest Felicity (really?!?!), but this particular keyboard warrior is thinking that it could very well be Akio (Brandon Nomura), the son of the Yamashiros.
If these last episodes of Season 3 are anywhere near as gripping as the last episode of Season 2, you’d best get stocked up on fresh pants and stiff drinks.
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