Midnight City continues keeping Oliver Queen to the side and doesn’t provide much by way of interesting story.
ARROW EPISODE 3.11 “MIDNIGHT CITY”
Director: Nick Copus
Writers: Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski
Original Air Date: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Starring: Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey
Previously on Arrow 3.10: Arrow didn’t appeared too much and Black Canary became a legacy character.
NOT MUCH GOOD HERE
The first half of Arrow season three made for some of the most interesting episodes that have aired to date. Midnight City seems like a step backward into some of the narrative and acting problems the show experienced in its first season, not at all like the gritty street-level vigilante stories that the show has become.
Writer Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski have relegated the titular Arrow (Stephen Amell), to a secondary storyline that really holds more revelations about Maseo (played with great restraint by Karl Yune), than Oliver himself. Maseo’s dedication to Tatsu comes across at first glance as dedication to the league and although this storyline is not the most interesting, learning more about Maseo’s character is certainly compelling viewing, although I cannot help but feel that it is more due to the strength of Yune’s performance than the weak dialogue that permeates Midnight City.
The A-storyline of Midnight City revolves around Laurel (Katie Cassidy), cementing herself in the mantle of the Canary despite the fact that each team member expresses reservations about her stepping into the role. Yes, Mericle and Sokolowski have Diggle (David Ramsey, always the most interesting man on screen), Roy (Colton Haynes), and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), all say that they don’t think it’s a good idea, the narrative falls apart when all Laurel has to do is shout them into submission.
Further to this point, in previous arcs Roy has had to repeatedly prove his worth before Olive een agrees to train him, much less let him into the field. The entirety of Midnight City feels like it is bound to fulfilling Kati Cassidy’s contact. Perhaps if she were a better actress who didn’t constantly feel like she is phoning in her performance episode after episode it would mean more. On top of this Laurel wields her sister’s bow staff like someone who has never seen a weapon before, much less handled one. She stands out in a cast of actors who are physically capable in the scenes of combat, which makes for an uncomfortable viewing experience overall.
Perhaps Laurel’s weakness throughout Midnight City could be forgiven if the character of her father – Captain Lance who is played with great aplomb by Paul Blackthorne – were treated by the writers with more respect. Lance is a great detective and the fact that by this point in the story he still doesn’t know that Sara is dead is insulting, really. Laurel and Felicity even go to the point of feeding Sara’s voice recordings through a computer in order to deceive Lance further, almost instantly erasing the notion that either of these women are heroic. Toward the end of the episode Laurel shows up as the Canary with a completely different body type in a completely different costume and Lance still mistakes her for being Sara and in this move Mericle and Sokolowski have rendered him stupid and useless. It’s really too bad.
There are several fight scenes during the course of Midnight City, of course, and Canary gets her butt handed to her in all of them. Even Roy manages to execute some useful moves and to learn a lesson about failure. Roy gets one of the nicest emotional beats of the episode when he a Diggle share a drink and reflection. Unfortunately, the scene is all too brief in the sea of this messy episode.
By the end of Midnight City all of team Arrow is inexplicably fine with Canary Laurel joining them in spite of the fact that she has at no point proven that she is talented, capable or could in any way b considered an asset in their mission against the underworld. Oliver hasn’t had much to do and viewers are ultimately left with an empty feeling.
Hopefully this is not a herald of Arrow episodes to come.
THE BOTTOM LINE: REWATCH SOMETHING BETTER
Midnight City is a confusing episodes with some character moments that feel very much out of place in the overall shape of the show. Decisions with heavy plot implications ring false and cheap. Viewers would probably enjoy rewatching some earlier episodes in the series than sitting down with this one.