Stephen and Grant Gustin cover this week TV Guide magazine. I have added scans to our gallery.
Arrow and The Flash have staged mini-crossovers during the past year — Barry, Cisco and Caitlin made their debuts in the second season of Arrow, while Felicity and Oliver have appeared in The Flash’s first season. But during the Dec. 2 episode of The Flash and the Dec. 3 episode of Arrow, there will be a full-fledged crossover event between the CW DC Comics shows.
“If there is anybody who is watching only one of the shows, [this is an opportunity] to sort of check out the other,” Arrow and The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday ahead of a fan-screening of the crossover episodes. “You don’t always get that opportunity … but I really feel like there are so many similarities between the shows, as much as there are differences. This was such a great opportunity to give the best of everything we do on both shows: it has great Arrow stunts, it has great Flash humor and heart. We’re just really excited.”
The episode kicks off with a flashback to the night of siege when Ollie, Felicity, and Diggle are rushing through the street to pick up the cure before Slade gets to it. On their way there, however, they decided to make a pit stop to save a cute redhead who’s being attacked by one of Slade’s mirakuru-powered soldiers. The damsel Ollie saves is immediately taken with the Arrow and picks up an arrow he left behind and stares at intently.
We then return to the present day where Quentin and Ollie are checking out the body of a man who was killed with an arrow with a spade-shaped point and dropped off in this location dressed in an Arrow costume; it’s Isaac Stansler. [ASIDE: Where does one order novelty arrows like that? Is someone actually making a living off of this or did Cupid just make these tips on her own?] Having seen the end of last week’s episode, we know Cupid, a.k.a. Carrie Cutter (played by Supernatural’s Amy Gumenick), is behind it, but Quentin and Ollie don’t. All they know, based on the arrow and staging of the body, is that the killer wants Ollie’s attention.
Over at Queen Consolidated, Felicity realizes that she definitely has a type when she walks into Ray’s office to remind him about his upcoming press conference and finds him shirtless and working out on a salmon ladder. As he’s getting cleaned up, Ray asks her out to dinner. And before you get all excited, it’s not a date. Still pursuing his co-generation idea from two weeks ago, he’s meeting with the owner of minerals needed for the project and the owner’s wife for dinner and wants Felicity to ease the boredom. Initially hesitant because she wants to keep things platonic and professional and because she’s still not over Ollie, Felicity says no, but quickly changes her mind once Ray shows her the expensive dress he bought for her to wear to the dinner. I’ll admit it: I’m an Ollie/Felicity shipper. But I can’t help but be excited by the prospect of Ray and Felicity getting together because they have such a great chemistry and Ollie had his chance and gave it up.
Flashback — Hong Kong
This week’s flashbacks find Ollie and Maseo tracking down someone who can lead them to China White. Unfortunately, their source dies while running away from Ollie. Before the chase, they saw that he had an envelope on him, but when they find his body the envelope has disappeared, which means he hid it while fleeing. Ollie says he didn’t see where he hid it, but Maseo insists that he did, but just doesn’t remember it.
Later that night, Ollie is still trying to remember what he saw, but ends up playing a game with Maseo’s son. In the other room, Maseo is begging his wife, Tatsu, to help Ollie with his memory problems, however she refuses because she believes Ollie is trouble. But, Maseo needs her help. If he helps Waller capture China White, his debt will be paid and he and his family will finally be able to return home. Tatsu finally gives in and decides to help Ollie, but not before telling him to stay away from her son. With Tatsu’s guidance, Ollie is able to remember where the source hid the envelope.
Arrow, never one for subtlety, decides to dig into the whole “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” rule of life regarding family as it explores Felicity’s weak relationship with her mother. Ollie and Thea also get in on some of the thematic action as well as they are still trying to navigate their new relationship. While the whole “learning a lesson about the importance of family” at the end feels rather cheesy, it definitely feels earned for a show that used to avoid cheesiness like the plague in its earliest days.
Stephen Amell’s TV show, “Arrow” is in its third season, while the comic book spinoff from “Arrow,” “The Flash” is setting ratings records for The CW. Amell’s fans have also lobbied for him to play Green Arrow in DC’s upcoming Justice League film.
The actor talked with Speakeasy about life as a comic book icon.
We are now 50 episodes into Arrow’s run. Given such a momentous occasion, I decided to rewatch the pilot before tonight’s episode and was surprised by the parallels between the pilot and tonight’s episode. For one, tonight’s episode does remind us of how much Arrow resembles Batman. Secondly, tonight’s episode does contain a homecoming—that of Thea’s, who, like Oliver when he returned from an island, is hiding something. Lastly, Laurel is still angry over Sara’s death. Yet, with all of these similarities, it’s still clear just how far Arrow has come; Laurel is moving away from being a problem-character, CW’s patented soap opera storylines have receded to the background, and while the presence of the League of Assassins may remind us of Batman, it doesn’t work against the show because in the past two years Arrow has really come into its own.
With strong performances for nearly the entire cast, “The Magician” is a strong episode that, through the returns of Nyssa al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn, takes advantage of the rich world Arrow has built in the past two years, while also giving this season the dramatic kick it needed.
FLASHBACKS – HONG KONG
Let’s just get the flashbacks out of the way really quickly and get to the good stuff!
Malcolm Merlyn is returning to the scene of his most horrendous and heinous crime: Starling City.
The season-one big bad left the town behind after Moira (Susanna Thompson) relayed word back to League of Assassins leader Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) that Malcolm (John Barrowman) had, in fact, survived the Undertaking—the very event that violated the League’s code of honor, making him an enemy to Ra’s. But he’ll return during Wednesday’s episode of Arrow, and it won’t be long before Oliver (Stephen Amell) discovers that the Dark Archer is still alive. It should come as no surprise that Oliver suspects Malcolm had a hand in Sara’s (Caity Lotz) death.
“Episode four is really a referendum on whether or not Malcolm Merlyn lives and it’s a choice that Oliver gets to make,” Amell tells EW from the Vancouver set. “We get to see how much he follows his moral compass in episode four. There are things that Oliver blames Malcolm for that extend far beyond the fact that he may or may not have killed Sara. You get back to Tommy [Colin Donnell] and the whole chain of events that devastated Starling City. He’s really at the center of everything that’s happened that’s bad on the show since its inception.”
Malcolm’s return to Starling also coincides with Nyssa (Katrina Law) coming to town to find out what happened to Sara. “Oliver and Nyssa disagree about their tactics, but when she returns to Starling City, they very much have a common goal, and that’s to find whoever killed Sara Lance,” Amell says. “How Nyssa and Oliver are dealing with Malcolm and want to deal with Malcolm, that’s where they come to blows in the episode.”
“Everything that’s happening with Sara and Nyssa’s involvement is all leading to a much bigger conflict which is really the crux of our first nine episodes,” Amell continues. “By the end of episode four, there is a ticking time bomb in the form of the League of Assassins that is over Oliver’s head. Oliver is so protective of his process and his city that by the end of episode four, he makes enemies with the League.”
Another challenge that comes with Malcolm’s arrival is keeping his pledge to be honest with Thea (Willa Holland). “When Oliver learns that Malcolm is alive, one of the people he has to tell is Thea and that certainly creates some tension,” Amell says, noting that Ollie is unaware that his sister not only knows that information already, but she’s been under his tutelage for the last several months. “If that happens, that’s a ways down the road.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
Arrow had quite a few balls in the air tonight. In addition to Oliver, Roy, and Diggle’s trip to Corto Maltese to bring Thea back and track down a missing a A.R.G.U.S. agent, there was also movement forward with Laurel’s storyline and Felicity and Ray’s new working relationship. With so much going on in tonight’s episode, it’s should come as no surprise that some things didn’t work as well as others. But that’s okay because while the A.R.G.U.S. plotline felt rushed and rather underwhelming, the episode took its time developing Laurel’s subplot, which was both compelling and poignant.
FLASHBACK — Thea and Malcolm
Last season was tough on Thea. Not only did her mother die, but she found out that her brother, Oliver, and her boyfriend, Roy, were constantly lying to her and keeping secrets from her. This is where her mind’s at in the opening scene, a flashback to her getting into Malcolm Merlyn’s limo the day after Slade’s siege on Starling City. Thea tells Merlyn that she wants to go away with him because she believes he’s the one who can teach her how to never feel this kind of pain again—the pain that comes with betrayal and loss.
Later, we are shown Thea’s first day of training under Malcolm’s tutelage. Her first lesson: learning that while pain may be inevitable, suffering from it is optional. Malcolm demonstrates this truth by pouring boiling water on his hand without flinching. To Thea’s horror, he then takes her hand and proceeds to pour hot water on it.
What’s left of the Queen family will be reunited this week as Oliver (Stephen Amell) travels to Corto Maltese—also the name of Wednesday’s Arrow episode—to track down his missing sister, Thea (Willa Holland). The youngest Queen heir left Starling City at the close of season 2 with her real father, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), otherwise known as the Dark Archer, Ollie’s sworn enemy whom he believes to be dead.
Joined by Diggle (David Ramsey) and Roy (Colton Haynes), Oliver sets his sights on being open with his sister in hopes of bringing her home. “They didn’t end off on a very good note, but if you remember they had that scene in the mansion in the aftermath of Moira’s [Susanna Thompson] death,” Amell tells EW from the Vancouver set. “Oliver was pretty open and honest and loving towards his sister. She took that with her. There isn’t a huge amount of residual bitterness, which is surprising because of how cataclysmic the events were the last time that they saw one another. Their dynamic is always going to be big brother-little sister, but Oliver is very much dealing with Thea on an equal playing field and trying to be as honest with her as possible. How honest he’s going to be is really the crux of the episode.”
Unfortunately, Thea won’t afford him that same level of honesty. Amell teases that Oliver is still unaware of Malcolm’s involvement in Thea’s life—let alone that evil daddy dearest has been training his little sis into a formidable fighter. “He doesn’t know where she’s been,” Amell says. “He doesn’t know who she’s been with. He comes out of this episode not really knowing or understanding what she’s been up to, despite the fact that he’s found her. He just wants her to come home, that’s it.”
There is a slight sense that something is amiss, but Team Arrow’s focus will be elsewhere as Diggle is enlisted to help A.R.G.U.S. track down Mark Shaw (David Cubitt) in Corto Maltese. “Diggle’s there at the behest of Lyla [Audrey Marie Anderson],” Ramsey says. “She asks him to go there to find an A.R.G.U.S. agent, who could have gone rogue, but has certainly gone of the grid. There are some dealings that he has that threatens A.R.G.U.S. and his family, so he has a vested interest in getting to the bottom of it.”
Meanwhile, back in Starling City, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) will be taking up her new position under Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh)—but fear not, she’s still on Team Arrow. “She’s very exhausted with her dual jobs, almost dual personality, too,” Rickards says. “She’s been promoted to an executive assistant position there. She gets to work with Mr. Hunk. It’s been pretty flirty. Their IQs are accentuated by each other. He’s very brilliant and sort of awkward, but he’s running a business, so he’s a go-getter. She’s definitely an asset to him. They balance each other out, but also bring each other up with their IQs.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.