‘Arrow’ Season 2 Recap, Episode 12: ‘Tremors’
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, there are no Graboids or Kevin Bacon, but there is another earthquake machine and Michael Jai White.
A real sweaty guy gets booked into Iron Heights prison for robbing a convenience store across from a police precinct and is immediately thrown into a cell with Ben Turner, a.k.a. Bronze Tiger. Already this week's episode is straining credulity. How in the world would he/his employer know that he'd get put in with Bronze Tiger?
Then the grossest thing that's ever happened on Arrow happens. The sweaty guy gives Bronze Tiger an address and says he agreed to do what he's about to do so his son can be set for life. Then he starts pulling the knives out of his skin. Then he pulls Bronze Tiger's brass-knuckle/claw thing out of his chest. This makes him much sweatier. And bloodier.
How'd they get that stuff in his skin to begin with? He doesn't have stitches or scars or anything. Is that why they hired him? He can put the weapons in his skin, but only once?
A guard hears the commotion (it's actually fairly quiet) and comes to see what's happening. He finds the sweaty guy unconscious or maybe dead on the floor. The guard checks the guy, Bronze Tiger slits his throat and he grabs the keys, because escaping from prison is a cake walk as long as you have keys!
In a warehouse somewhere in Starling, Arrow trains Roy by having him slap water in a bowl, just like Shado showed Ollie. Roy's getting really impatient with it all, even though he was super eager to train last week, so he smashes the bowl. Arrow says this is how Roy put a guy in the hospital last week. Roy's all like, "How do you know that?" even though Arrow is very clearly Ollie. I mean, look at this:
He's got the exact same facial hair and everything. That's beyond even Clark Kent's glasses.
Arrow says he knew another guy who had to learn to control his mirakuru rage, and that ended with him putting an arrow in his eye.
Speaking of, Ollie and Sara search for Slade on Flashback Island. Sara thinks it's probably best if Ollie keeps quiet about the whole choosing-her-over-Shado thing, because "love is the most powerful emotion, and that makes it the most dangerous." She must be a Huey Lewis fan.
Officer Lance goes to visit Laurel at her apartment, and she's a mess after losing her job and being professionally disgraced and shown by everyone to be crazy and wrong about Brother Blood even though she was right. But hey, she does have a job interview coming up, at her old friend Joanna's firm. Remember Joanna? The friend who worked at CNRI and didn't have a name for like 10 episodes, and who just left with no real explanation a few episodes after that? She's back!
Officer Lance says he misses Laurel and he invites her to dinner. That turns out to be a ploy to get her to go to an addiction support-group meeting. She is not pleased.
Arrowcave. Ollie anger-exercises out his frustration with Roy while he explains what happened with Slade to Dig and Smoak. With that out of the way, Smoak explains she got a notice that Bronze Tiger escaped Iron Heights. She also throws shade at Tiger's code name because comic names are dumb, you guys!
Bronze Tiger goes to meet the guy who broke him out of prison, and he is in every way a poor man's version of Donald Pleasance as Blofeld. He wants to steal an earthquake machine, even.
Back in that old warehouse, Arrow continues trying to train Roy. Roy remains impatient and rarin' for a fight. Arrow keeps repeating that Roy's got to learn how to channel his power and his anger into something positive, because clearly that's getting through. Roy begs Arrow to take him out vigilante-style for one night.
Meanwhile, Moira is out meeting with her ex-husband, Walter Steele, and another business bigwig named Mark Frances. Apparently Steele and Frances have been working with "the party's" mayoral election steering committee But WHICH party, Walter? Here's a hint: They hate spending, particularly Sebastian Blood's approach to it. They hate it so much that they want to run Moira, a woman who was acquitted of mass murder, maybe, five weeks ago, against him.
Roy's big opportunity comes when Dig and Smoak call Arrow to report that Bronze Tiger killed an architect to get plans to Malcolm Merlyn's house. Roy hoods up and they head out. Roy's really got to work on his detective skills. He finds a picture of Tommy Merlyn and asks Arrow about it. Arrow gets openly emotional. He notices that Arrow knows his way around the house. Put two and two together, man!
Eventually, the crime-fighting duo head to Malcolm's garage, where they indeed find Bronze Tiger in the midst of stealing a prototype of the earthquake machine that leveled The Glades last season.
Now, let's think this through for a second.
This machine being in the garage means that either Malcolm already had one of these things in his house last season and all that trouble he went through to get the ones he actually used was totally unnecessary, or the cops seized the machines after the disaster and then just put one right back in Malcolm's house. Either way, it's just sitting there in his garage! In clear view! All Bronze Tiger had to do to get to it was destroy a keypad! You'd think it'd at least be taken as evidence, right? Or, you know, maybe be destroyed since it's been proven to kill lots of people?
Anyhoo, Arrow and Roy fight Bronze Tiger and some goons for a while. I'll say this: It's a much better fight than last time Bronze Tiger showed up, but Michael Jai White still isn't being used to his full potential. At all. Tiger gets away with the machine while Roy does that thing he does where he beats a guy nearly to death.
Ollie stews in the Arrowcave while Smoak gets on trying to figure out who the goon with Bronze Tiger was.
Flashback time again. Ollie and Sara find some trajectory calculations scrawled on the wall of the cave with the Japanese soldier corpses, and Ollie says they look familiar.
Eventually he figures out that Slade made these, and he's going to use Fyers' missile launcher to blow up the freighter. It's Good Slade Hunting over here.
Old terrible detective Roy goes to Verdant and tells Thea that she has to leave town with her mother and her brother. Thea basically only gets out "What?" before Roy gets all agitated, grabs her by the arm a little too hard and ducks out of there.
Laurel goes to her sometimes-friend's office for her job interview, where she gets some bad news. Turns out Laurel's in line to get disbarred for the vague "conduct affecting (her) fitness to practice." Laurel ducks out of there Roy-style.
At Casa Queen, Moira and Steele meet yet again to discuss her political prospects. She thinks it's laughable, but Steele says 43 percent of Starlingites say her actions with Malcolm Merlyn were justified. Plus, she's got high name recognition. She makes the very valid point that Charles Manson won't win any elections any time soon, and he's a household name. Steele parrys back that people love redemption stories, but all he's got are two guys who came back from sex scandals (Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer) and someone who got bagged for insider trading (Martha Stewart).
Then Thea comes in and says she'd vote for her mom. That's what eventually convinces Moira.
This whole thing is just plain ludicrous, by the way. Let's say people didn't blame Moira for killing 500 people and destroying The Glades (as they definitely did just a few weeks ago). Even so, she's someone who caved to powerful interests who bullied her into going along with a plan that would harm the city greatly so she could protect her family. Is she going to put that on her campaign posters? I'm not sure if the writers are saying the voters of Starling City are just stupid or it's a meta-commentary on Rob Ford or it's just bad writing. I just don't know.
Roy and Arrow meet at the warehouse again, and the tune is the same. Roy gets anxious and paranoid, Arrow tries to growl him back down to Earth. So obviously nothing changes. Eventually, Roy pushes Arrow across the room and charges out to find Bronze Tiger.
Ollie, Smoak and Dig are in the Arrowcave trying to figure out what to do when Thea calls to tell Ollie that Laurel is making a spectacle of herself at Verdant. I'll say this: It's the first time she looks like she's had any fun all season.
Ollie and Thea ask her to leave and she drops the bomb that she's being disbarred. After Ollie takes her keys, Smoak says she has traced the goon from the machine theft to a dude named Milo Armitage (a.k.a. Not Donald Pleasance), who you may remember from Connor Hawke's run as Green Arrow. Ollie makes a mysterious call to someone who he says Laurel needs while a mysterious thug eyes her down.
Out at the docks, Armitage wires Bronze Tiger a cool $10 million for delivering the earthquake machine. Armitage reveals he's got a buyer for the thing, someone who apparently wants some bad stuff to go down in Markovia. Oh man, could Baron Bedlam be showing up on this show?
Arrow interrupts and shoots Armitage in the leg. He thinks Bronze Tiger has skedaddled, but in fact, Tiger gets the jump on him and stabs him in the back with his claws. Not that it matters; Arrow kicks out of the finisher like John Cena, and Roy runs in for the save, knocking Broze Tiger across the pavement.
Armitage sets off the earthquake machine, because what does he have left to lose, really, and a timer starts counting down from a minute. Then Arrow shoots at the shipping container with the machine in it and the door explodes, but doesn't open.
The show just expects us to run with Ollie having exploding arrows, and I am 100 percent fine with that.
Roy's still punching the ever loving crap out of Bronze Tiger, but Ollie needs him to help get the door open to blow up the earthquake machine, so Ollie pops off his hood, mask and voice modulator to grab his attention. He makes a pretty big assumption that Bronze Tiger is unconscious, but seemingly it's pretty safe.
After a pep talk, Roy punches a hole in the container door and Ollie drops in one of his exploding arrows. It all goes boom.
Then Roy and Ollie have a moment, in which Roy chooses to remember Arrow saving his life last season instead of shooting him in the leg like a dick.
Arrowcave. Dig and Smoak remind Ollie that Roy is kinda crazy. Ollie says that love is the most powerful emotion, so Ollie, not Arrow, had to get through to Roy. A theme emerges!
Flashback Island. There's Slade, preparing the missile launcher to fire. Ollie and Sara try to stop him; Slade pulls a gun on them. Ollie tells Slade that Shado loved him and wanted him to make it home. He says Shado would have died for nothing if the Amazo, their only way off the island, is destroyed. Slade backs down, but is still pretty upset. Ollie says he's planning to steal the Amazo.
Steele comes back to Casa Queen to nail down Moira's plans to run for mayor. Moira's got one more concern she can't shake, beyond the whole lots-of-people-blaming-her-for-mass-murder thing. She almost spent the rest of her life in prison so Thea wouldn't have to find out Malcolm Merlyn is her dad. What if that came out in the campaign? Her gynecologist knows about it. Then it definitely sounds like she's asking Steele to have her doctor killed.
Iron Heights again. Bronze Tiger is back in his cell, cooling it. Amanda Waller walks in so
she can vomit bad dialogue all over the place ask if he'll join the Suicide Squad.
I mean, look, that's cool, but this scene made me throw my shoe across the room and yell "F--k you!" at the TV. Imagine a real person saying this:
WALLER: Turns out I have a need of someone with your singular qualifications.
TIGER: For what?
WALLER: For a unit I'm putting together.
TIGER: What type of unit?
WALLER: Actually, it's more of a...squad.
WHAT THE F**K DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.
Ollie quickly introduces Roy to Team Arrow (though he denies that they're called Team Arrow) in the Arrowcave and things wrap up with Sara revealing she's alive to a falling-down-drunk Laurel in her apartment. You know, to help her get cleaned up.
Certainly finding out the sister you thought has been dead for six years, but who has been secretly alive, even after you sort of came to terms with it after your estranged mother visited the year before and started a goose chase, wouldn't drive someone to drink.
I wanted to like this one. I really did. Michael Jai White is always a welcome presence, but he barely got to do anything interesting, and that last scene with Amanda Waller was a complete disaster. The Moira running for mayor storyline is probably the most unbelievable story the writers have ever devised, and this is a show with earthquake machines. And while this episode was a big turning point for Roy, it all just seemed pretty rote and by-the-numbers.
At least Arrow had those exploding Arrows. At least there was that.