Arrow 2.14 "Time Of Death" REVIEW

TV REVIEW: Tick-tock, tick-tock...

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Episode 2.14
Writers: Wendy Mericle & Beth Schwartz
Director: Nick Copus

THE ONE WHERE: Time-obsessed villain the Clock King stages a daring robbery at Kord Enterprises while Laurel begins a painful process of reconciliation with Sara.

THE VERDICT: Groan-making pun of a title aside, this is a clever, effective reinvention of one of the second-tier DC supervillains. Shorn of the clock-fetishising showmanship that fitted so well in the high-camp ‘60s Batman show, this grounded, faux-Nolan take brings us a man with an obsessional interest in the passage of time itself, executing crimes with a second-by-second attention to detail. Prison Break’s Robert Knepper brings a cold, academic quality to Tockman while allowing room for the flash of psychosis that sees him stabbing an accomplice with the minute hand of a clock (it’s a great moment where he calmly wipes his spectacles, his face laced with blood). Lurking in a room of monitors and keyboards like the ultimate bedroom shut-in, his ability to hack into the transmissions between Oliver and Felicity – and his power to bring the fight directly to the Arrow’s lair – makes him one of the more chilling villains we’ve encountered. Pity his plotline’s allowed to end with such a whimper, even if it does give Felicity a chance to prove her worth after an episode spent fretting about her usefulness (anyone else irresistibly reminded of Jaws when everybody started comparing scars? Felicity’s clearly the Richard Dreyfus of the gang…)

Clock King aside, this is an episode lathered up with the show’s soapier side. The Laurel storyline feels overplayed this week, though top marks to Stephen Amell for bringing genuine passion and conviction to such reality-defying lines as “I was concerned about your well-being when you were trying to get my mother the death penalty!”

Belter of an ending with Slade, though. Well played.

TRIVIA: The creation of France Herron and Lee Elias, the Clock King first fought Green Arrow in the pages of World’s Finest Comics 111 in 1960. He’s arguably better known as a Batman villain, menacing Gotham in the ‘60s live action show – brought to the screen by Walter Slezak in a clock-adorned topper – and in Batman: The Animated Series , rebranded as Temple Fugate.

DID YOU SPOT?: Tockman is a victim of McGregor’s Syndrome, the fictional disease suffered by Mr Freeze’s wife in 1997's Batman And Robin . Does this mean that Joel Schumacher’s Gotham is canon in the Arrow universe? Help.

DID YOU SPOT 2: There’s a poster for a Blue Devil movie on the side of a Starling City bus. Blue Devil is a stuntman turned superhero in the DCU. Where’s the Green Arrow movie, eh?

Oliver: “Sara, when you come back from the dead you get a party. It’s a Queen family tradition.”
Sara: “I don’t know how well that’s going to work with the Lance family tradition of holding grudges forever.”

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD

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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.