Arrow Review: The Dark Archer

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The holidays are often a time for reflections, realizations and, of course, resolutions.

Oliver set out to make things right with his family on "Year's End" by re-starting the annual Queen Christmas party that Moira and Thea stopped having five years earlier.

However, there was somebody out there who was not happy with The Hood and set out to make his holiday a little less merry.

Oliver's Christmas Party

However, let's face it, things were far from perfect before the guests even arrived for the party. The episode opened with one of Oliver's very first victim from the list, Adam Hunt. This time, Hunt faced a harsher fate than having $40 million taken from his bank account. The copycat archer killed Hunt with a couple of very fancy and intense arrows to the chest. Serrated teflon-coated titanium blades are more than just fancy, they're meant to make a statement. 

It's interesting that Laurel and Quentin both automatically knew that the person going around killing people wasn't the real vigilante. Even though Quentin obviously has the advantage of seeing the weapons, the way the victims were taken down, and other details only the police would be privy to, it was obvious that they both just had a sixth sense about this. As much as Quentin hates The Hood, he isn't too proud to reject his help and work with him. 

When Diggle and Oliver discussed the copycat, Diggle posed an interesting question.

Is this guy trying to frame you or call you out? | permalink

It was more like he was trying to lure Oliver out. Since we now know the copycat is the person who made the list, why would he be trying to kill people off of it? As Merlyn said to Moira, things were only getting worse and it was time to send in their "associate." Well... before I could ask who that associate was, Meryln was pulling off his mask.

For all the comic book fans, there was clear foreshadowing to this, but for the rest of us it was obviously slightly shocking. Just how much does Mr. Merlyn control? And how did he become some skilled with a bow and arrow? 

The dinner party scene was a little creepy the first time around, just because you know half the people at that table were criminals and had dark secrets. But once the episode finished and the Dark Archer was revealed, it was even more chilling to go back and watch. What do you think of Mr. Merlyn's coining of the term "Green Arrow" as The Hood's new nickname? Does he know that it's Oliver?

In the end, Oliver felt more defeated than ever despite having saved the five hostages. He has a new nemesis who - unbeknownst to him - is his best friend's father. Only time will tell when Oliver connects the Dark Archer with the list. Also time will tell us exactly how Oliver, pre-Arrow, was able to help his friend on the island. After all, wasn't that what he was alluding to when he told Diggle he'd faced much harder things on the island than in Starling City?

What did you all think of the mid-season finale of Arrow? Did it live up to your expectations? Where is Walter? Will you be tuning in in 2013?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (168 Votes)

The thing that irritates me the most is how this show is sold. Its just another crappy, super-sappy, teen melodrama. I call it "Arrow 90210." It sells itself as a superhero action/adventure, but it just spews childish who hurt whom's feelings and spends a few minutes of episode advancing the plot. The main story line moves so slowly that even if the show was a hit it would never be able to complete his history or revenge before getting cancelled. I was so bored by the fourth episode of the whining and droning from the characters I turned it off and never looked back. If you are comic book fan, or just a fan action look elsewhere, you will find none of that in Arrow.


I really like this show. I am not sure The Dark Archer will be Mr. Merlyn in the long run because remember on the first eposide Tommy was pretending to be out cold and saw Oliver kick the kidnappers butt. Tommy is up to something. Love Mr. Merlyn so evil! I agree with others more Diggs please. I really love the fighting on this show. Can't wait to see what happened to the "guys" on the island. I am a big Grimm fan and I wish this show was on NBC as a lead in for Grimm.


This shows is at best just ok. Which is the best CW/WB can be. The worst part is Stephen Amell's acting; it's horrible. I put him in the same bracket as Kristen Stewart, Ryan Gosling, and George Clooney. They have no facial expressions, express no emotion, and are absolutely dreadful to watch. The CW has all there shows looking like the 90210. Always disappointing.


@Neejan: you said everything I was thinking. i got the chills too!! haha cant wait for the next episode!!


★★☆☆☆TV @Neejan
" Things go just too smoothly and seem too obvious. The address sign of the building where the arrows had been shipped too looked incredibly stupid and obvious." Agree. Seriously lack of trust in the viewers intelligence. That or a clear warning of the direction of this show. @fortyseven Disappointing Agreex10 /;


We had a foreshadowing that Papa Merlyn would be a bad-arse with a more physical side when he was shown fencing... and fencing like a pro when he was arguing with Tommy. I kind of figured early in the episode Merlyn was the dark archer... he hsa gained ultimate control of the cabal because of a PHYSICAL intimidation, along with his ruthless drive and intellect.


I don't think Merlyn is going to return Walter, because I think he feels that Walter knows too much, so my guess is that he's going to execute him and then tell Moira it was an accident. She's gotten in too deep with the wrong people, that is for sure.
Though he's playing a despicable villain, I am LOVING seeing John Barrowman on the small screen again. He's just such an awesome actor! He certainly puts many other shows villains to shame.
Oh, and I agree with the person who said that the stunt double for the 'black arrow' was way too big physically to be Barrowman.


I believe Malcolm Merlyn had Walter kidnapped to guarantee that he didn't interfere with whatever he was trying to accomplish and to insure that Moira cooperated fully. He said that Walter would be returned in 6 months, once his plans were complete.


John Barrowman's yearly role as Robin Hood in all those pantos has really paid off! He's darn good with a bow & arrow!! LOL!!!


Am i the only one happy that the Merlyn from the comics is papa Merlyn, and not the adorable Tommy??

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Arrow Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

I think there should be a national holiday for whoever invented French fries. Or at least a statue in their honor.


So is this guy trying to frame you or call you out?