Welcome back to the Arrow Round Table.
This week, we focus on Arrow Season 2 Episode 7 and that means chatter about the return of Malcolm Merlyn, the real secret Moira has been keeping, the end of the court case and sparks flying between Oliver and Felicity.
Join staff writers Kate Brooks and Carissa Pavlica - along with our friend Hank Otero of Hank's Entertainment Site - and join in the conversation by adding your own thoughts in the comments. Your participation makes these conversations come alive.
Pick a lady to talk about. Laurel's storyline or Felicity's storyline.
Hank: Laurel was actually not bad in this episode but Felicity's my favorite, so I'll go with her. Felicity never fails to surprise me, it's still amazing what Emily Bett Rickards has managed to do with her one little guest spot. Felicity brings out a kind of tenderness in Oliver that we don't see with Laurel, Sara or even Shado.
I know she's crushin' on him big time but from his end, it seems almost brotherly. He wants to protect her, keep her safe. Yes, the Olicity fans want to see them together but like he told her when discussing Isabel, in his line of work he doesn't want to fall for someone he truly cares about. I loved the fact that the first time he kills this season, was to protect Felicity. That was a real nice touch, I think.
Kate: Felicity. Mainly because I love Felicity and everything she has brought, is currently bringing, and will continue to bring to this show. Both as a the brains in the trio as well as the one who has helped Oliver grow and open up. Felicity is a stand alone character, she can own the scene or she can play a damn good part of it. Her whole charcter and storyline is helping this show progress, even the parts that have nothing to do with romantic feelings towards Oliver.
Carissa: Since we have two takers on Felicity, I'll go ahead and tackle Laurel. She really got a raw deal this week and it was completely inappropriate for the District Attorney to put her in charge of the case. However, it does give her yet more to tear apart at her psyche and rip what little self respect she had left down to get to that new awakening we've been talking about. I thought the scene between she and Oliver after she cross-examined Moira was really powerful, and one of the best they've shared.
What did you think of the final run of The Count?
Hank: All I can say is, good riddance dude. I've said it many times, The Count and The Huntress were the two characters that did not work for me last season. Though I loved Seth Gabel in Fringe, his cartoonish, over-the-top portrayal of The Count felt completely out of place in the Arrow-verse to me. Gabel knows his performance as The Count was polarizing among fans, but he's said he "wanted to take a risk with the character and dare to fail." Unfortunately, it seems to have been a major fail, otherwise he would have made it out alive.
Kate: I think he got what he deserved and I loved the fact that he killed him for Felicity (too morbid?), or just the fact that he killed to protect someone he truly cared about.
Carissa: I didn't enjoy Seth Gabel as The Count at all. Someone pointed out in the comments that he would have fit very well on the 1960s version of the live action Batman program, and I couldn't agree more. Killing him was one of Oliver's shining moments.
What surprised you more, the outcome of Moira's trial or the reason behind it?
Hank: Without a doubt, the reason behind it. I've been hoping John Barrowman would appear at some point, but the Arrow writers always find a way to surprise us, don't they? This season has been excellent so far, but with the return of Merlyn, it's nearing perfection!
Kate: Both. The reason behind it more so, quite frankly I don't enjoy the reason why. Ugh. Merlyn. Ugh.
Carissa: I'm with Kate on this. Ugh - more Merlyn. I love John Barrowman but Merlyn started to lose his villain charm by the end of the Arrow Season 1, and now he's going to be playing Moira like a fiddle again. Oh well, it's her own fault for not coming clean with her children when she had the chance. I knew the trial was rigged after she was so defiant on the stand and the jury stood by her.
Oliver and Thea told Moira they would forgive her anything that came out during the trial. Do you think they will forgive her for what she withheld when the details of Thea's birth are revealed?
Hank: Hank: That's a tough one, it will probably take some time for Ollie but Thea's going to freak out... Don't you think? Looking forward to this new storyline.
Kate: I guess my first question would be, has Moira known all along that she was Merlin's and not Queen's. If yes, then I am not sure Thea can EVER forgive her. Moira and her secrets, man, I tell ya. DRRAAAMMMAA
Carissa: I don't think she's going to be easily forgiven and I think the secret will come out quickly. Arrow hasn't been dragging things out, and now that Thea's life is going well, it's the perfect time to send her into a spiral to see how strong she has become. As soon as someone seems settled, the rug is pulled out from under them to make sure their strength is the real deal.
Something that struck me as I was thinking about this was how hurt Thea will be when she realized Tommy was her brother and that not only did she crush on him for a while, but she never got to really know him as a brother. That loss will really be a crushing blow.
Grade the episode and state your reason.
Hank: B+, only because there was too much of The Count for my taste LOL. If he were removed altogether, I'd probably have given it an A.
Kate: A+!!! On the account of Felicity and Oliver action, from beginning to end. These two make a great team, hell all three of them make a great team but the two of them make my shipping heart cry, in a good way. You know, I hope they continue to build them up this season and next before we see a possible relationship. I love love love them!
Also, A+ for Laurel this week, normally I cannot stand her but I believed she felt guilty having to grill Moira and reveal her dirty secrets. As Laurel said to her in prison it was a "family matter" and so I, too, felt bad for Laurel. ANOTHER A+, our trio reunites on the island! Or is reunited because technically, it was in the past.
Carissa: B-. There were some really great moments with Oliver, Felicity, Laurel, Thea and Roy - and then the island scenes. But I really struggled with The Count, the trial and the return of Merlyn. At least two of the annoying parts are over, and only one will be left to traumatize me in the future. All the positives will surely outweigh one Merlyn.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.