The Uprising answers the question of when Oliver will return to Starling City and forces Malcolm Merlyn to examine the way he has been conducting himself.
ARROW 3.12 “THE UPRISING”
Director: Jesse Warn
Writers: Beth Schwartz and Brian Ford Sullivan
Original Air Date: Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Starring: Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey
Previously on Arrow 3.11: Canary 2.0 got in the way a lot.
A MIXED BAG
Uprising is a strange episode of Arrow. It starts out with a lot of weak scenes and some of the worst lines of the series to date, which doesn’t speak highly of either director Jesse Warn or the writing team of Beth Schwartz and Brian Ford Sullivan, but in the latter half the episode really picks up and becomes quite compelling.
The trend of Canary (Katie Cassidy), and Arsenal (Colton Haynes), not living up to the Arrow’s (Stephen Amell), legacy continues. Team Arrow is not on the same page as they try to take down Brick (Vinny Jones), only to be interrupted by Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), and the tenuous peace that has been held between these two parties comes into question. The majority of Uprising centers around Team Arrow’s waffling about teaming up with Merlyn in order to take back the Glades.
The opening fight scenes definitely speak to Colton Haynes’ ability. Like Stephen Amell in the first season of the show, Haynes is really growing into the role of Roy Harper. The physical work that he takes on rather than pass off to a stunt double also serves to accentuate the fact that Katie Cassidy is far less capable when it comes to wielding a weapon – and it’s a little bit sad that Canary 2.0 is not a peer of her fellow vigilantes. Roy even gets the best scene in all of Uprising; pretty early on he meets with Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), in order to share intel and is immediately recognized from his hoodlum days. This was a really nice scene that Schwartz and Sullivan wrote that simultaneously manages to respect the characters history together and breathe a little fun back into the dark and gritty world of Arrow.
Malcolm Merlyn takes on the starring role in Uprising – to the point where he even gets the flashbacks in place of Oliver – and Schwartz and Sullivan do another great thing by making this character the most compelling he has been to date. An exploration of the time when Tommy’s mother died and Malcolm’s inability to be a functional parent really serves to humanize the villain of season one and make the extreme actions he has taken to protect Thea (Willa Holland), this season almost seem justified. The most upsetting thing about Malcolm’s prominence in Uprising is the fact that he winds up in the Arrow Cave – AGAIN – and the team has still not even discussed moving locations.
How many people have to know they are located beneath Verdant for that to happen!?
For her part, Thea is sadly unaware that she is at the middle of a drama between so many characters. She does get a good scene with Roy that almost makes viewers wish they were a couple again – almost.
Uprising culminates in a rallying battle cry from Team Arrow to the citizens of the Glades to stand up for themselves and take back their neighbourhood. Led (somewhat inexplicably given their track record), by Canary and Arsenal and backed up by Diggle (David Ramsey) – and it’s always great when we get to see him out in the field – and Wildcat (J.R. Ramirez returns to the role with great aplomb), they engage Brick and his thugs in an all out street war. If you can get over the fact that this is an incredibly irresponsible thing to do, enjoy Arsenal delivering the “You have failed this city.” Line and ignore Canary’s deplorable fighting abilities the rumble makes for some dramatic television.
At the end of this large altercation Oliver finally – and quite heroically – returns to Starling City and delivers a Superman-grade speech to the bloodied citizens that cements him as their guardian. Oliver and Merlyn also have a heated discussion about the morality of the ends justify the means mentality that has driven Merlyn for so long.
Uprising concludes with a scene between Felicity and Oliver. It starts out on a bad note with a lot of the same romantic overtones that have coloured Felicity’s character in recent episodes, while simultaneously stripping her of all the qualities that made her one of the most special and reliable characters in Arrow history, but ends with Felicity deciding where she wants to stand in relation to Oliver and how much she is willing to give up for him. Emily Bett Rickards does such a great job with the scene that it holds a lot of promise for their relationship going forward.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD EPISODE
All in all, Uprising was definitely entertaining and intriguing and is one of the first episodes since the midseason premier that really feels like it’s building toward something further along down the line.