Not since the final six of Season Two has Arrow managed this degree of intensity. “Public Enemies” made for quite the interesting episode, with more things to digest than you’d expect.
This episode picks up immediately where last week left off with Maseo picking off people in the Mayor’s office. The shot intended for Felicity gets taken by Ray. A few more drop, but no one we’ve gotten to know any better than the Mayor herself. Lance then begins the manhunt for the Arrow.
The manhunt itself begins once Ra’s leads Team Arrow right to where the SCPD is waiting for them. Cue awesome chase scene as cops are hunting all three of our masked heroes as Diggle does his best to guide them out. When this stage of the hunt proves fruitless, the SCPD is able to up its game when Ra’s kidnaps Lance with the sole purpose of ousting Oliver as the Arrow. Lance takes it public.
During all of this Ray is in the hospital with Felicity (and her mother) there with him. Felicity eventually saves him from a blood clot with some of his nanotech. He professes his love and she freaks.
Eventually, Oliver turns himself in to the police, which allows for a cool (albeit questionable in legal senses) sequence with him and Captain Lance. But then, the Arrow comes forward to confess, as Oliver sees his protegé lower the hood in front of half the police force.
It is excellent to see this level of intensity finally be in play in the show. In a city that’s gone through two terrorist attacks in as many years, it is nice to see a megalomaniac use the city as a weapon rather than a weapon on the city. With Ra’s doing a better job at leaving Oliver with nothing than even Slade did, it looks like this intensity is just the beginning.
Paul Blackthorne was probably the biggest standout of this week. He really sold Lance’s crusade, even when their may have been some leaps of logic. To me, it actually made sense. It is pointed out in the episode a few times, through quite subtly, that the Arrow didn’t kill these people. But he is responsible. In his mind, the Arrow is responsible for the ramped up crime in the city, and quite frankly he isn’t entirely wrong. The only clear wrong is Malcolm and the Undertaking. That was happening with or without Oliver. Interactions with Laurel (and Roy in trailers for next week) show that he doesn’t even blame them. They are victims too. He hammers all this home in the fight with Laurel and that speech in the police van.
Then there’s Roy. His final sacrifice was excellent. Yes, Lance knows the truth, but that is the point! Lance can’t oust Roy as the Arrow. If he reveals he knew he was Arsenal, then he is an accomplice for concealing his identity. Plus, it makes beautiful sense in terms of Roy’s character arc. He has been so tortured since learning he killed a police officer. This episode, and probably the next, bring that arc to an excellent head.
Not only was Donna Smoak fairly useless to the episode, but Ray’s entire storyline felt so tedious in the midst of the chaos and confusion facing Team Arrow. It was made worse by removing Felicity from being able to support the team at all.
Shado has a twin. I just can’t even describe how obnoxiously soap opera-ish that is. The only engagement I have with the flashbacks is for Maseo and Tatsu and they have been absent (except for the save this week) for too long.
Not sure why Lance was allowed to be in the van with Oliver given their history, but it did allow for a cool exchange. Legal system procedures tend to be a bit of a stumbling block for these shows, but dealing with “masks” isn’t exactly common in the real world.
Arrow delivered some high intensity sequences in “Public Enemy” as we ramp up for our final five.