Arrow 1.18 "Salvation" REVIEW

TV REVIEW: Going Underground

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Episode 1.18
Writers: Wendy Mericle and Drew Z Greenberg
Director: Nick Copus

THE ONE WHERE: Another vigilante launches a crusade to clean up the Glades –and Roy becomes one of his targets for urban renewal. The Lances discover that their lead on the missing Sarah is a dead end.

THE VERDICT: You won’t find The Savior in the DC back catalogue – for once Arrow resists the urge to rummage in the comic book toybox, giving us a bespoke threat instead. He’s a patchily sketched character, to be sure, and not much of a presence when we finally encounter him, but his very drabness reminds us he’s an anonymous everyman figure, a workaday citizen turned to vigilantism by a randomly cruel stroke of fate. Think Michael Douglas in Falling Down , or the real life Bernhard Goetz, New York’s infamous subway vigilante of the 1980s. And of course the show has run with the idea of rival vigilantes before, most successfully with the Huntress. No, Joseph Falk is simply there as a fractured mirror to be held up to Oliver – a warning of where his obsesessions could lead him, without all those crucial moral checks and balances in place. He’s the one who ultimately gives Oliver the salvation of the title, the realisation that his solitary, focused existence is desperately unhealthy. The fact that Falk targets Roy feels a wee bit of a plot convenience, mind. Would he really switch from his Queen-style vendetta against the city’s corrupt and powerful to take down a fairly innocuous gangbanger? It just seems an easy way to knit some narrative strands together. Elsewhere the sub-plot involving Lance’s missing daughter feels spectacularly inconsequential, an arc that hasn’t brought out the best in guest star Alex Kingston. Still, there’s an impressively physical rooftop action sequence to lift the episode at the midway point, complete with some truly eye-popping leaps.

DID YOU SPOT?: Dinah says she’ll be catching the red-eye to Central City – “Should be home in a flash.” Given that Central City is home to the Flash, DC’s scarlet speedster, this is not so much a pun as a punch in the mush.

TRIVIA: If Yao Fe’s daughter brings some cool martial arts moves, it’s no surprise – actress Celina Jade is herself the daughter of kung fu star Roy Horan, who shared the screen with Jackie Chan in 1978’s Hong Kong actioner Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow .

Dig: “Oliver, you’ve been spending a lot of time under that hood the last couple of weeks.”
Oliver: “Keeps my ears warm.”

Read all our Arrow reviews.

Arrow airs in the UK on Sky1

Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.