Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along to see how he fares.

This week, super powers officially become a thing on Arrow, Barry Allen makes his long-awaited first appearance, and a lot of arrows go into a lot of legs.

As a thunderstorm rages outside, a hard-to-see, but very large man rips open the big metal doors of a Queen Consolidated warehouse and tosses a couple guards around. It's finally time for super powers!

At QC HQ, Moira and Ollie crash a board meeting, which Rochev is not at all happy about. The CEO and ex CEO coming to a board meeting? How very dare they.

Actually, she's worried that Moira going all power suit on the company again will be terrible PR. She gives Ollie a stern talking to, but then just kind of sidles away while Moira is presumably still hanging out in the board room. Doesn't seem like much of a resolution to the problem.

But Ollie's got other stuff to worry about now, anyway. Dig alerts him to the break-in at the warehouse and Team Arrow heads off to survey the damage. Officer Lance gives them the lowdown: He thinks the one guy who came and caused all the havoc was more like three or four, with a forklift or some other heavy machinery.

The security cameras only caught the one dude, though, and he super-punched a CGI box at the camera before it could get a good shot of him. His power is he can magically make stuff a cheap special effect!

Based on the previouslies, this guy is almost definitely Brother Blood's goon Cyrus, who felt "stronger" after a drug experiment. He's not exactly Solomon Grundy, but who cares, let's call him that.

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who up to now we've been seeing walk around in the rain because that's pretty much how exciting Barry Allen is, struts in and announces the intruder was really just one guy. Ollie and Lance ask who the heck this young feller is, and he says, "I'm Barry Allen," like that would mean anything to anyone other than the audience.

Arrow Barry Allen

After a lengthy pause, he finally explains that he's a CSI with the Central City Police and his department is working on a similar case involving super-strong dudes.

He also knows what the guy stole: a centrifuge. Lance doesn't know what that is because Starling City cops never take science classes or watch PBS, I guess, so Smoak and Barry make a love connection while they explain it to him in tandem.

Barry offers up further proof the thief was just one guy and Lance tells Smoak, "You may want to fill in our mutual friend on this." But, ha-ha, he's sitting right there, you former detective, you! This is something you should have figured out sometime last season!

Flashback Island. Sara, Shado, Slade and Ollie are striking out to find the submarine. S. The letter S.

Slade's having a rough go of things, what with being horribly burned, so they stop. Ollie has just enough time to explain how much of a a creep he is to Shado (the whole thing about banging his true love's sister) before they get moving again.

At present-day Queen Consolidated, Smoak has dug up some traffic-camera footage on her Amazing Tablet with Windows 8TM Technology. It shows Grundy carrying the centrifuge, and it genuinely looks like spray-painted cardboard.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

Sometimes I love you, Arrow production values.

Barry comes in and awkwards around for a while before saying Smoak told him he could set up a mobile lab at QC.

Casa Queen. Ollie decides that the way to get Moira back into the Starling City citizenry's good graces is by throwing her a big party so she can wave her wealth and freedom in everyone's face while the city's poorest people try to rebuild their already terrible lives from the rubble of the earthquake they all think she helped cause.

Ollie may need a decent PR person to figure this stuff out for him, is all I'm saying.

Back at the warehouse, Barry investigates the area around where the stolen centrifuge was under a black light. (I'd make a joke about something psychedelic here, but Barry's much too boring for that.) He scrapes some dirt away from a footprint on the floor and runs it through a machine that shows Grundy walked through sugar on the way there.

As it's processing, Barry spits a bunch of Arrow theories at Smoak. They make her crazy uncomfortable. She asks why he's so interested. He Piano Musics back to her that his mom was murdered when he was 11 and the killer was never caught.

Whoa, dude, wait for the second date, am I right?

Meanwhile, over in the C plot that doesn't really matter, Roy and Thea meet Sin in the alley behind Verdant. One of Sin's artist friends has gone missing.

Malcolm Merlyn shows up at Casa Queen for some old-fashioned intimidation. He says he wants to see his daughter, Thea, talks some more about Nanda Parbat, and kind of shrugs off having killed his son.

Smoak and Barry tell Ollie about the sugar on the boot and how they've deduced that Grundy must have stolen a truck from an old sugar refinery. Like magic, Smoak's computer starts pinging. Grundy, who they can now identify by the truck, apparently just robbed a blood bank.

Ollie and Dig head off to deal with Grundy, but before they do, Ollie asks Barry about the similar case in Central City. Barry answers, in effect, "I am a liar." Ollie asks Dig to check into him.

Arrow chases the sugar truck down on his motorcycle. Grundy's driving it with a full face mask on, like he's the f**king Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

Arrow manages to at least partially jam an arrow into Grundy's leg, but Grundy punches Arrow through the passenger-side door and leaves him in the dust.

Ollie goes back to the Arrowcave, where Smoak patches him up. He says he's seen dudes with super powers before, back on the island. It's what the Japanese super soldier serum Ivo came to Flashback Island to look for does to people.

After reavealing a huge spoiler (Ivo is dead), Ollie says the centrifuge and the blood make it seem clear someone wants to make more of the serum. The third ingredient they'd need is sedative. He gives Smoak the mangled arrow he jammed into Grundy's leg and asks her to analyze the blood to figure out which sedative.

Flashback Island. Proto-Team-Arrow finally finds the sub somewhere in Middle Earth or maybe a Myst game.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

In the warehouse, Smoak and Barry's very boring relationship progresses as they analyze Grundy's blood. The writers go entirely out of their way to make them exactly the same awkward character and it is terrible. Smoak is fine on her own, but we sure don't need two of her.

Thea, Roy and Sin investigate Sin's artist friend's apartment. Roy finds a brochure for a Sebastian Blood blood drive (why in the world he didn't just call it a Sebastian Blood Drive, I do not know, that's no-brainer marketing). Blood's cop henchman, who's staked out outside the apartment, calls Blood to tell him some meddling kids are snooping around. Blood shrugs it off before hanging up and revealing what we already knew: Grundy's working for him.

At Queen Consolidated, Barry and Smoak are yukkin' it up over a news report about the new S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator that I assume will eventually turn old Barry into the Flash. Smoak cracks a joke about earthquakes. Too soon.

Ollie storms in like a bull in a China shop and confronts Barry with some information Dig has dug up: There's no "similar" case in Central City, he's an assistant rather than a CSI, and it was his dad who was convicted for murdering his mom. Barry reveals he's on the trail of the Real Killer, some super-powered guy who burst into their house in "a blur."

Smallville Superman, no!

Barry apologizes for lying and leaves. Ollie says Barry did lie about who he was. "And what do we do every day?" Smoak asks. SMOAK BURN.

Casa Queen. It's time for Moira's "rub everyone's faces in it" party, and attendance is sparse. But at least Roy showed up in a patently ridiculous bow tie.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

I don't know if that's just terrible costume design or some kind of commentary on Roy being a low-class guy trying to look swanky. If it is, it's pretty brilliant.

Roy gets a call from Sin. She has found her artist friend, dead. Roy lies to Thea about it for no good reason. The cops say the guy overdosed, but he routinely donated blood, so that seems unlikely. Roy goes and snaps a picture while Blood's henchman-cop shoos him away.

At the party, Ollie reveals to Smoak that he has invited Barry so they can dance and be awkward together and junk. Looks like playing that murdered mother/wrongly imprisoned father card paid off!

After some stink-eye action between Rochev and Moira, we return to Flashback Island. Somehow Ollie, Shado and Sara manage to get Slade to the submarine. He's still looking pretty rough, but the weird clay that was on his face is kind of washed off now. The group starts looking around for the super-soldier drug and quickly finds it.

They decide to give the stuff to Slade to save his life, even though it might kill him. Slade out-awkwards everyone in this episode when he apologizes to Shado for "not telling you how I really feel." Ollie administers the stuff to Slade and Slade flips out.

At the warehouse, Barry's on the phone, being chewed out by his boss for skipping town and faking being sick. He leaves, but before he can, he tells Smoak that the sedative Grundy had in his blood was ketamine and they awkward at each other some more.

Smoak uses Barry's info to track Grundy to an ARGUS disaster shelter. Ollie heads off to take on Grundy again. Smoak warns him that Grundy is basically made of concrete. Then Dig notices Roy's warning arrow in the alley wall.

Arrow goes to meet Roy. Roy shows him the photo he took of Sin's friend and all the blood coming out of his eyes. Arrow tells Roy to stay away from the case; Roy flips out. Arrow tries to end their working relationship, Roy yells that he'll keep being a vigilante. Arrow shoots him in the leg.

Malcolm pays Moira a visit. After casually saying he killed some security guards, he asks about Thea. Moira says Malcolm can't go anywhere near Thea or come back to the Queen house or she'll sic Ra's al-Ghul on him. Malcolm reacts to the name like he smells a fart.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

Moira explains she looked up Nanda Parbat on Wikipedia or whatever and found out about Ra's, so she alerted him that Malcolm was still alive. Ra's wants him dead, so now Moira has some leverage over him.

Arrow goes to the ARGUS shelter, and what do you know, Grundy is there, throwing crates around like they're ping pong balls. Somehow, Arrow manages to pin him against a wall for a second so he can hilariously ask about the super-soldier stuff. Grundy, rather than discussing his birth on a Monday, says he got the serum from his "brother."

Grundy breaks free and Arrow shoots arrows into both of his feet. I was sure his arrows didn't penetrate Grundy's super-hard skin, but whatever. Maybe he's a tenderfoot. Arrow punches him a lot. Grundy breaks free and tosses Arrow around for a while. Arrow ends up in a pile of debris with some needles in his leg while Grundy stomps away.

Arrow Episode 2.8: "The Scientist"

Flashback. Slade's bleeding out of his eyes now, just like all of Brother Blood's acolytes. He dies. Ollie tries to beg him back to life, because that's a thing that works. Ivo and his men burst in with guns.

In the present, Smoak and Dig find Ollie unconscious with the needles still in his leg. Smoak can't figure out what the stuff in the vials is, so Dig starts to call 911. Smoak stops him.

Meanwhile, Barry shows up at the Starling train depot, which looks like it's part of your college's student union. The last train has gone for the night, but that turns out to be a good thing. He takes a tranquilizer dart to the neck and wakes up in the Arrowcave, where Smoaks asks for help reviving Ollie.

Final thoughts

I'll give Arrow this: Even though he's really young, they got Barry Allen right, all the way down to the backstory. Too bad Barry Allen is really boring.

If I had to describe this episode in a word, that's probably the one I'd use. Boring. This despite a major character death (at least seemingly so) and the introduction of a whole new element to the show, super powers. But there are long stretches of this one that feel like filling time (what was the purpose of that C plot, exactly, other than to let the audience know something it already knew about Brother Blood?).

This was the first part of a two-parter and it felt like it. Hopefully they'll step things up for the mid-season finale next week.

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