TV Review: Arrow (4×12) “Unchained”

Nyssa’s Vendetta

Nyssa finally decides to breaks free from captivity and begin her war against Malcolm Merlyn, the new Ra’s Al Ghul, instantly turning the keep of the League of Shadows into a civil war.

Half an episode later, Nyssa has traveled to Japan, where she engages in battle with Tatsu, the Japanese assassin who’s husband was murdered by the end of last season. After a two minute sword battle, Nyssa realizes she’s evenly matched with her opponent, and offers to strike a deal to acquire an unknown object called the “lotus.”

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Thea’s Bloodlust

As the episode opens, Oliver and Felicity chase a burglar with near perfect synchronized jumping, and when she has him cornered on a rooftop, she suddenly passes out, leaving the thief to escape and Oliver struggling to save her from falling. Diggle suggest to Oliver that this is a side effect of her bloodlust, considering she’s been bludgeoning her way back to normalcy cold turkey since the last time Malcolm Merlyn allowed her to slaughter anybody. As expected, Oliver beats himself up about not trying hard enough to help his sister, to the point that even his friends make fun of his guilt complex a little bit.

When Oliver comes back to see Thea, she’s already talking with Malcolm Merlyn, who reveals a new rule about how the bloodlust works: if she doesn’t kill for it, it will kill her as its “host” for lack of a better term. Just as Thea tells Oliver about her encounter with Darhk, he gets a call about the burglar showing himself again. Of course, any random baddie that is encountered with twice isn’t just a nobody, so Oliver chases him down by rooftop, pulling his mask off to reveal that Roy, our former Red Arrow / Arsenal, has returned to town. So that’s why there were so many stunt flips going on, you see. 

In order to help Thea, Oliver plots to have Damien Darhk somehow stun the bloodlust once again, so he tells Darhk’s wife of his request for meeting place as the Green Arrow.

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Roy is Back in Town, Roy is Back in Town

Felicity is quick to get back to work at Plamertech after her accident as the company’s fate is in the hands of one presentation about a power cell. One of the board members not so politely suggests that she allow someone else to do the presentation, poorly choosing to suggest they put “their best foot forward.”

When attempting to figure out what’s up with Roy returning to the city to steal bombs, Felicity discovers it may be used in a plot to compromise the exact same supercharged battery being developed by Plamertech in an attempt to destroy all existing data on the internet somehow. When Roy breaks into Holt’s lab back at the company building, Team Arrow takes him out with a tranquilizer, only to be discovered that Roy isn’t alone. In fact, he may be controlled by someone remotely.

As it turns out, Roy was being blackmailed by a villain who was calling himself “The Calculator,” and didn’t want to put Oliver, or anyone’s, identity at risk by asking for help.

When he visits Thea, they barely have a moment to rekindle even platonic conversations before she begins suffering from a coughing fit, and her wound from Ra’s sword begins to reappear.

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Felicity vs. The Calculator

Felicity breaks into the backdoor server of this Calculator man through the high tech contact lens they found on Roy eye, and she finally meets her match in both technology and in snarking back at an adversary in this week’s villain. She eventually comes to the revelation that The Calculator plans to use this Web-Nuke to break down all the essential electrical grids of Star City.

She appears back at Star Labs searching for one of Ray’s old devices called a Battering Ram, and Holt is so impressed by her change of attitude that he stops everything to give her an inspiring rant about how much the company needs her.

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Photo: Liane Hentscher/ The CW

Luckily for Team Arrow, Oliver ultimately decided that a deal with Damien Darhk wasn’t worth an easy way out to save Thea, as he makes a cheesy entrance to take out The Calculator’s mercenaries when Arsenal, Canary and Diggle are surrounded. The only way for the episode to reach an explosive finale is to plant C4 and run like hell, a task which Roy volunteers for and comes out the other side with barely a scratch. I was under the impression that he’d lose a limb, but maybe they’re saving that Arsenal plot for another day. Of course, this isn’t the last of what we’ll be seeing of The Calculator, as he somehow gets a seat at Felicity’s presentation of the Palmertech Power Cell battery, and just so happens to be right next to Oliver. Oh, wait a minute, this guy is her dad. Just like everyone predicted he would be.

Meanwhile, just following her saying goodbyes to Roy before he leaves Star City again, she’s rushed to the hospital where Oliver finds her in a coma. When suddenly, out from the shadows, Nyssa appears, offering this lotus she effortlessly tracked down to Oliver. It is a means to cure Thea of the bloodlust, but she’ll only offer it on the sole condition that he kill Malcolm Merlyn.

Flashbacks 4.12

→ Oliver, in the hands of the mercenaries, is being interrogated by taser about the maps he tried to take. Luckily, he’s rescued by a familiar face. You know, Shadow. I absolutely remembered her name before they said it out loud.

→ As he is being rescued, Shadow tells him that she’s only an illusion that he’s seeing in his mind. 

→ Shadow / Oliver’s hallucination attempts to show him the light, and also lecture him on his feelings for Tiana, the woman he saved from the mercenaries. She gives him an odd looking stone with runes on it.
→ Ultimately, all the flashback sequences this week add up to a straight up hallucination for Oliver, and when he awakens in his cell with Tiana, he comes clean about killing her brother, Vlad. Tears ensue.

Rating: (6.5/10)

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Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!

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At the end of every week, Evan and Allyson meet up to chat about the weekly happenings on our podcast TYF DC Debrief, available on several platforms! You can join the conversation with us every week on Twitter @EvGriff42 @AllysonAJ and @TYFOfficial

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Boston, Massachusetts: Evan is a 23 year old college graduate with a degree in English and Journalism. He's had a lifelong passion for film, games and reading things. A living movie quotation machine, and obsessively analytical, Evan will always give an honest and fair opinion with an insertion of wit where appropriate. (Who are you kidding? It’s always appropriate.) Additionally, he is an aficionado of the superhero genre, old video games and (yes, subjectively) awesome movies.