Arrow S3.18 "Public Enemy" review

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Phew. They didn’t kill Felicity.

“Public Enemy” proves to be a strong episode. Crucially, there’s a credible conflict at its heart. Lance’s vendetta against Oliver feels personal and is all the more powerful for that. Starling City’s raspiest cop has seemed a little sidelined this year but here he finally comes into his own – he’s rarely had a scene as emotionally loaded, as genuinely startling, as the one where he strikes Oliver in the police van (“You have the right to remain silent!”) and Paul Blackthorne clearly relishes the chance to bring some real rage to the character.

Lance blames Oliver for the escalation of masked madness in Starling, and it’s a persuasive argument. When he tells Oliver that “Saving people isn’t your speciality” and tots up the deathcount from Tommy to Moira it’s hard to shake the feeling that he may just have a point. There’s also a really interesting dynamic as Lance tackles Laurel only to have his ass handed to him by Nyssa – “Don’t hurt him,” says his daughter, even as she makes no effort to help him. You can feel the bonds of family straining almost to breaking point.

Arrow Trivia

Director Dwight Little has some big-screen genre form. He helmed 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers and 2004’s Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid.

There’s some well-handled action material, too. The rooftop fight at Magnusson Plaza is effectively staged, its combatants captured as whirling silhouettes, and the lengthy police chase sequence that follows is allowed to build and to breathe, something that’s not always true of the show.

Elsewhere it looks like my fretting about Arrow’s handling of the Atom was unfounded. The introduction of nanotechnology can only be setting him up for some miniaturisation-based superheroics – yes, it’s a deviation from the classic comic book lore of dwarf star matter and a shrinking lens but it works perfectly within the storyline. Looks like they’ll beat Marvel’s Ant-Man to the punch yet.

Good to see Charlotte Ross back as Donna Smoak, even if she’s not quite as entertainingly OTT as her last appearance. Less convinced by Celina Jade’s return. Nothing against her as an actress, but the sudden revelation that Shado has a twin sister in Mei is a true groaner, undoing all the intriguing possibilities of her surprise sighting in the market last week.

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD on Thursday nights, and in the US on Wednesday nights.

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WritersMarc Guggenheim, Wendy Mericle
DirectorDwight Little
The one whereWith the Mayor dead, Lance turns the full force of the SCPD against Oliver. Meanwhile Ray faces some perilous experimental surgery courtesy of Felicity

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Available platformsTV
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.