Arrow S3E12 – “Uprising” Review

(Warning: Full spoilers for Arrow follow. You have been warned.)


He’s back, bitches!

That’s right. It’s been two months, but Oliver Queen has now suited up as the Arrow once again. It’s been a long time coming, and the payoff was… a little underwhelming, actually.

In “Uprising,” Team Arrow finally stages their big showdown with Brick. They realize they can’t do it alone, so they get help from Sin, Wildcat, and the rest of the citizens of the Glades to fight off Brick and his men. In a scene very reminiscent of the big showdown with Slade at the end of season 2, a massive fight breaks out, and Oliver makes his big return, even though he doesn’t really do much.

But more on that in a minute. One cannot talk about “Uprising” without discussing Malcolm Merlyn. This was his episode, through and through. In addition to learning about his past and how he became a member of the League of Assassin’s, we also get some great character development from him in the present, showing that this monster who killed so many people is actually not such a bad guy. Sure, he may be more twisted than a yoga instructor eating a pretzel while playing Twister, but his heart is (kind of) in the right place.

It was really intriguing to see Merlyn get painted in a light other than “deranged villain.” I’m looking forward to his continued growth, especially considering he will now be training Oliver for yet another showdown with Mr. Demon’s Head. Seeing Oliver reduced to going to the man who has taken so much from him in order to train him was a surprising turn of events, and one that will definitely be milked for all of its dramatic value.

Speaking of Oliver, like I said earlier, his return was a bit anti-climactic. I expected him to return in a big way, have Felicity burst into tears, put a bunch of arrows in Brick’s men, take Brick down, etc. But no, he just showed up to convince Merlyn not to avenge his wife and then deliver an Independence Day-esque speech. Not that the speech wasn’t awesome, but I would have liked to see a little more immediate shock and awe at his return than wait until afterwards.

I’m a little sad to see Brick go, especially considering how easy it was to take him down. You mean to tell me that taking a bullet to the face and a few arrows to the chest didn’t phase him, but a few pistol whips and brass knuckled punches fucked him up? That doesn’t seem right. And on that note, am I the only person who noticed how stupid it looked when Brick’s gang and the Glade citizens were running at each other, and all of Brick’s men were holding shotguns? Did they forget they were holding shotguns? Were they prop guns? Were they out of ammo and just carrying them for intimidation? Unless there is a damn good reason why they didn’t just stand there while all of the unarmed civilians ran at them and blew them away, I’m chalking that up to the dumbest overlooked detail of the season.

Minor gripes and lack of payoffs aside, “Uprising” was still a good episode in Arrow’s third season. By far the strongest parts of the episode belonged to Merlyn, as his past was explored and his present expanded. His is slowly becoming a more interesting character, and I’m looking forward to how they continue his character arc. And of course, it feels good to have our titular hero back in the hood.

Jordan Barbeau

A simple man with simple tastes. Games, comics and movies are all I need to be happy.

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