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Arrow: Muse of Fire

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#1 NeuralClone

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:27 PM

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Oliver meets a kindred spirit: the daughter of a mobster who has her own desire for vengeance. Meanwhile, Tommy turns to Laurel for help.

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#2 NeuralClone

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

I think this was the first episode I didn't really care for. It doesn't help that I didn't like the actress playing Helena.
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#3 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:07 PM

Somebody please explain to me why Oliver wasn't either sharing a hospital room with his mom, or in one down the hall? Because in that situation, if a loved family member, let alone my mother, was injured in that kind of attack; and I ran off and left her wounded in the street...no matter WHAT reason I gave I would be lucky not to be getting admitted to the same hospital. In fact, IMO, they had the wrong character get disinherited and cut off...

Speaking of Merlyn....Him being John Barrowman's son...very interesting. I found that plot twist and his problems from being cut off money wise far more interesting then the whole Oliver drama. In fact, I would say that of all the characters on this show...Oliver Queen is the only one I truly hate. The way he's been treating his family, it's truly disgusting...and it is almost making me not want to watch the show.

And how can a human, unless given genetically altering drugs, be fast enough to chase down a motorcycle? Come on.
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#4 Christopher

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

The people who cast the actresses on this show seem to have rather different tastes than I do, but I didn't mind Jessica de Gouw as Helena; if anything, she was more appealing than Laurel. And the story was fairly good, though the script, by comics writers Geoff Johns and Mark Guggenheim, seemed to feature something I've heard referred to in comics criticism as "Johnsian literalism," a tendency to make everything text rather than subtext. Well, okay, that term refers more to Johns's tendency to build each storyline rather blatantly around a core idea or make everything symbolic of it, but I was reminded of it here given how blatantly everyone just came out and said what they thought and felt in pretty blunt terms.

I loved the reveal that John Barrowman's mysterious villain is actually Tommy Merlyn's father. What a great misdirect! Those of us acquainted with the comics have been aware that Merlyn was the name of the Green Arrow's archnemesis and have expected that Tommy would go down that path, perhaps in a reprise of the Clark-Lex relationship from Smallville. But now it turns out that Tommy is actually the son of the real archvillain Merlyn, the mastermind of the whole evil schmeer. (And Torchwood fans can appreciate the appropriateness that a character named Merlyn is played by an actor who previously portrayed an immortal who sort of lived backwards in time.) That's my favorite kind of surprise revelation, the kind that in retrospect seems like it should've been obvious all along. I mean, who else would GA's archfoe be but Merlyn? But we were thrown off by Tommy's presence.

Also, having Tommy be the archvillain's son means that he no longer seems quite so purposeless a character. Although it's still unclear what they're going to do with him, and they have yet to make his scenes with Laurel interesting. At least taking away his wealth is going to force him to undertake an arc, go through some changes, and hopefully that can make him at least slightly interesting at long last.

My main problem with the reveal that Merlyn Sr. was Barrowman was that the attempt to keep it secret with the fencing mask failed totally because that was so recognizably Barrowman's voice coming from inside it. That was a scene that felt like it was written by people used to writing comic books -- because the device would've worked on the comics page where you can't hear the voices.

I'm disappointed that Tahmoh Penikett's character was killed off so soon. And I'm disappointed that we only got to hear one line's worth of Kelly Hu's glorious voice. Hopefully she'll be back next week and have more to say.

LotS, Oliver couldn't have outrun the motorcycle in a straightaway, of course, but he was able to cut across blocks on foot while the motorcycle had to follow the streets, so he had a shorter path to cover. The staging of the scene made that pretty clear, I thought. And even so, he could only almost keep up with it.
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#5 Bad Wolf

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:41 AM

Okay.   John Barrowman doesn't look nearly old enough to be Tommy's father.   Otherwise I loved it.  I've seen some complaints about the actress playing Huntress but I think she's fine.  She's not a superstar or anything but she's fine.
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#6 Themis

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:40 AM

Not familiar with either Merlyn or Huntress from Green Arrow comics - after my time reading, I guess.  (Wasn't Huntress a character in Batman?  Is it the same character??)  In any event, mostly what Christopher said and this show continues to intrigue.
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#7 Christopher

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

^Yes, Huntress/Helena originated in the Batman comics, but then, so did Deadshot. Felicity Smoak is from Firestorm, Deathstroke originated in Teen Titans, and the Royal Flush Gang are originally Justice League villains. The Chinese proto-Arrow in the flashbacks is named for a character introduced in the 52 crossover miniseries. So they're drawing from all over.

This is technically the third live-action version of the Huntress; the first was played by Barbara Joyce in the infamously bad 1979 Legends of the Superheroes special on NBC, and the second was played by Ashley Scott in the short-lived 2002 Birds of Prey TV series, which went with her original incarnation as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman (from an alternate universe in the comics), although in the show she went by Helena Kyle instead of Helena Wayne. In animation, she was a recurring character in Justice League Unlimited and was played by Amy Acker; that show went with the modern Helena Bertinelli version. The Bertinelli Huntress also appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Tara Strong.

Edited by Christopher, 29 November 2012 - 08:49 AM.

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#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:32 AM

We're keeping a running list of characters and their comic book origins here: http://www.exisle.ne...y-now-in-arrow/


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#9 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:03 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on 29 November 2012 - 12:41 AM, said:

Okay.   John Barrowman doesn't look nearly old enough to be Tommy's father.   Otherwise I loved it.  I've seen some complaints about the actress playing Huntress but I think she's fine.  She's not a superstar or anything but she's fine.
Colin Donnell is 30 and John Barrowman is 45. So, yeah, it's probably pushing it a little. But I don't really care. That reveal was probably my favorite part of the episode. Everything with Oliver and Helena just put me to sleep. People have complained that Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy don't have any chemistry. At least they're believable as two people that have grown apart. Maybe not brilliant but adequate. Stephen Amell and Jessica De Gouw play off each other about as well as someone scratching a chalkboard. That and almost everything Helena said made me cringe. Dreadful, dreadful actress.

Edited by NeuralClone, 29 November 2012 - 01:08 PM.

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#10 Christopher

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 November 2012 - 01:03 PM, said:

Colin Donnell is 30 and John Barrowman is 45.

Like most CW series leads, Donnell is presumably playing a character significantly younger than he actually is. Tom Welling was 24 when Smallville began and he was playing a character who was supposed to be 15 at the time (since he spent three seasons in high school). John Schneider, who played his father, is only 17 years older than Welling.

Although, given that Oliver has been gone 5 years, I assume he, Tommy, and Laurel are meant to be mid-20s at least.
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#11 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

View PostChristopher, on 29 November 2012 - 02:45 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 29 November 2012 - 01:03 PM, said:

Colin Donnell is 30 and John Barrowman is 45.

Like most CW series leads, Donnell is presumably playing a character significantly younger than he actually is. Tom Welling was 24 when Smallville began and he was playing a character who was supposed to be 15 at the time (since he spent three seasons in high school). John Schneider, who played his father, is only 17 years older than Welling.

Although, given that Oliver has been gone 5 years, I assume he, Tommy, and Laurel are meant to be mid-20s at least.
I've always gotten the impression with Arrow that the characters are supposed to be fairly close to the ages of the actors portraying them. Mid-20s would make a lot of sense for Oliver, Tommy, and Laurel. Willa Holland is actually 21 instead of 17 (or however old Thea is supposed to be). But unlike Tom Welling, she's actually fairly believable as a teenager. Of course, casting a 24 year old as a 15 year old was pretty ridiculous on Smallville to begin with considering that Welling actually looked like he was in his 20s at the beginning of Smallville.

But yes, most CW shows tend to cast leads much older than the characters they're portraying. The only exception I can think of off of the top of my head is Supernatural. The characters have always been the same ages as the actors. Well, until the two "1 year later" jumps forward in seasons 6 and 8. That kind of messed that up... ;)
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#12 Cybersnark

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:48 PM

Conversely, it's entirely possible that John Barrowman's character is older than Barrowman himself; it's not at all improbable for a wealthy fifty-something to look younger than he has any right too.
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#13 Christopher

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:56 PM

^Yeah -- he is immortal, after all. ;)
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#14 NeuralClone

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:06 PM

View PostCybersnark, on 29 November 2012 - 06:48 PM, said:

Conversely, it's entirely possible that John Barrowman's character is older than Barrowman himself; it's not at all improbable for a wealthy fifty-something to look younger than he has any right too.
Well, yes. ;) Just because someone looks young doesn't mean they actually are young (and vice versa). It's one of the reasons I don't have an issue with Barrowman playing Tommy's father. That and it's far too good of a plot twist.
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#15 Orpheus

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:43 AM

View PostNeuralClone, on 28 November 2012 - 09:37 PM, said:

I think this was the first episode I didn't really care for.

Whoa, that's really a comment I wasn't expecting when I opened this thread.

Allow me to explain. I have essentially zero comic book history. I was willing to like the show from its premiere, but by ep 4, I had to admit it was losing me. "Too comic book-y" I believe I told someone around ep 5-6, referring to its ethos, implied ethics [an entirely separate discussion] and character motivations. I did try to keep up to date [with limited success] via DVR, and it wasn't a torment, but neither was it something I really looked forward to.

Last week, I felt it took some interesting and promising turns, but this week, I was surprised to find myself actually caring what happened, and caring about the people, for most of the episode. So yeah, different strokes, but while I didn't expect anyone to agree with my experience, your reaction, right at the top of the thread, really surprised me.

Just surprised, you understand. We're all good.

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It doesn't help that I didn't like the actress playing Helena.

Yeah, gotta concede you that point.

Well, maybe not. I give "damaged goods" a lot of leeway, based on personal experience.

But as I recently told Mme OdJ "Rocking the Liv Tyler look is incredibly cool, but not quite rocking the Liv Tyler look can put you in dangerous territory fast." Sorry, I rarely judge female characters but their looks, but she looked enough like Liv Tyler (or maybe Mme OdJ trying yo look like Liv Tyler) that I kept hoping that is some scene, some lighting, she'd carry it off.

View PostLord of the Sword, on 28 November 2012 - 10:07 PM, said:

Somebody please explain to me why Oliver wasn't either sharing a hospital room with his mom, or in one down the hall?

Now you see, your problem is that you're not damaged enough, I can TOTALLY see doing that.

In fact, I did in my misspent youth! A U-haul truck, big enough to have separate cab & tailer, took a wide right turn from the left lane in Allston-Brighton (urban residential, heavily college populated) taking the front of my mother's car off in the process (I was driving her home from an eye doctor) After [cavalierly] asking if she was okay, I left her and the car in the intersection to chase down the truck (no superheroic moves needed: a truck doesn't have much acceleration, esp in city traffic. To this day, I understand what I was thinking "He's not getting away with this!"

The look on his face when I leaped up on his running board a block from the accident and rapped on his window was priceless. You don't get many win-wins like that. But though my mother was *thrilled* (and amazed) that he didn't get away, the tale plays out as "my crazy son abandoned me to chase the truck" when she tells it. Does it matter that I caught it? Not so much. I *thought* I could.

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Speaking of Merlyn....Him being John Barrowman's son...very interesting. I found that plot twist and his problems from being cut off money wise far more interesting then the whole Oliver drama. In fact, I would say that of all the characters on this show...Oliver Queen is the only one I truly hate. The way he's been treating his family, it's truly disgusting...and it is almost making me not want to watch the show.

I found it very interesting, too. I wouldn't call it "more interesting" than Oliver's situation, but perhaps more interesting than Oliver's situation to date, because this ep made Oliver's plot much more interesting to me, partly because of the Merlyn plot. As intended, I think.

View PostChristopher, on 28 November 2012 - 10:11 PM, said:

The people who cast the actresses on this show seem to have rather different tastes than I do, but I didn't mind Jessica de Gouw as Helena; if anything, she was more appealing than Laurel.

You and me both, brother. But comparing Helena to Laurel's chemistry with Oliver is damning with faint praise. I'm actually rooting for Laurel and young [Tommy?] Merlyn now. That's a tad more plausible.

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And the story was fairly good, though the script, by comics writers Geoff Johns and Mark Guggenheim, seemed to feature something I've heard referred to in comics criticism as "Johnsian literalism," a tendency to make everything text rather than subtext. Well, okay, that term refers more to Johns's tendency to build each storyline rather blatantly around a core idea or make everything symbolic of it, but I was reminded of it here given how blatantly everyone just came out and said what they thought and felt in pretty blunt terms.
I won't disagree that I've noticed a lot of that in this show, but one counter example did stand out (favorably) in this episode. When asked "Why are you crying?", she answered "I don't know" which seemed a bold departure from the usual exposition (even if she did immediately offer *an* explanation)

I don't mind the explicitly expository dialogue. In this ep, I liked being told "Yes, this is on the writer's mind and is not just a potential explanation that you see. Maybe that highlights a failing in the writing, but it at least fills in its own potholes IMHO.

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I loved the reveal that John Barrowman's mysterious villain is actually Tommy Merlyn's father. What a great misdirect! Those of us acquainted with the comics have been aware that Merlyn was the name of the Green Arrow's archnemesis and have expected that Tommy would go down that path, perhaps in a reprise of the Clark-Lex relationship from Smallville. But now it turns out that Tommy is actually the son of the real archvillain Merlyn, the mastermind of the whole evil schmeer. (And Torchwood fans can appreciate the appropriateness that a character named Merlyn is played by an actor who previously portrayed an immortal who sort of lived backwards in time.) That's my favorite kind of surprise revelation, the kind that in retrospect seems like it should've been obvious all along. I mean, who else would GA's archfoe be but Merlyn? But we were thrown off by Tommy's presence.
I loved that even *without* the benefit of the backstory. It just seemed more satisfying to this newb.

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and they have yet to make his scenes with Laurel interesting. At least taking away his wealth is going to force him to undertake an arc, go through some changes, and hopefully that can make him at least slightly interesting at long last.

Agreed on the "cutting off his money". Disagreed on him and Laurel. I found that part resonant and engaging. Then again, I probably resonate with "wanting the girl" that badly, and "knowing that she's seen all my disappointing moments as a friend", more than most.

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My main problem with the reveal that Merlyn Sr. was Barrowman was that the attempt to keep it secret with the fencing mask failed totally because that was so recognizably Barrowman's voice coming from inside it. That was a scene that felt like it was written by people used to writing comic books -- because the device would've worked on the comics page where you can't hear the voices.

I didn't recognize Barrowman's voice, but it was too young. I did have a moment's confusion over which voice went with which figure.

However Barrowman isn't much younger than me (and graceful aging often accompanies affluence esp in old money). Only my youngest offspring isn't post-college [the ex wouldn't hear of him taking the advanced admissions he qualified for, and then kept him around for company vs insisting he go straight to college]

Then again, due to the well-known power Lil wields over my mind, I'll take Barrowman any way I can.

But to me, Barrowman's billing as "Sharp Dressed Man" was a huge -er- flaming -er- arrow pointing at a hidden name significance. Unless they booked ZZ Top.

#16 NeuralClone

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:02 AM

View PostOrpheus, on 30 November 2012 - 01:43 AM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 28 November 2012 - 09:37 PM, said:

I think this was the first episode I didn't really care for.

Whoa, that's really a comment I wasn't expecting when I opened this thread.

Allow me to explain. I have essentially zero comic book history. I was willing to like the show from its premiere, but by ep 4, I had to admit it was losing me. "Too comic book-y" I believe I told someone around ep 5-6, referring to its ethos, implied ethics [an entirely separate discussion] and character motivations. I did try to keep up to date [with limited success] via DVR, and it wasn't a torment, but neither was it something I really looked forward to.

Last week, I felt it took some interesting and promising turns, but this week, I was surprised to find myself actually caring what happened, and caring about the people, for most of the episode. So yeah, different strokes, but while I didn't expect anyone to agree with my experience, your reaction, right at the top of the thread, really surprised me.

Just surprised, you understand. We're all good.
Believe me, I was surprised I walked away from the episode with that impression as well. The show isn't perfect but I've largely been really looking forward to it each week and it's quickly become my favorite new series this year. Perhaps I just need to watch this episode again. At the moment though I think this one was the weakest episode they've done so far. Other than the actress playing Helena (which I admit is a huge blow against the episode for me regardless of anything else since she's integral to the plot), I found a lot of the dialogue and delivery of said dialogue to be far more stiff and/or forced than usual. I also had difficulty getting drawn in by the mob plot. Mob stories have been done to death and this one wasn't particularly special as far as mob stories go. It was the first time I've felt like the show has dragged. I guess I just had higher hopes for their casting of the Huntress and was rather disappointed when the actress didn't live up to my expectations. Maybe she'll grow on me.

Despite my issues with the Oliver/Helena story and everything related to that, I actually liked the Laurel/Tommy story (also surprising for me) and most of the other subplots in the episode. My favorite moments centered around Tommy being cut off by his father and the reveal of Barrowman's character being Tommy's father. Both of those developments create a ton of potential for future episodes and I'm looking forward to seeing how they impact things. And pretty much any scene featuring Thea is usually a win in my book as well.

Edited by NeuralClone, 30 November 2012 - 02:03 AM.

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— Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black, "Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion"

#17 Bad Wolf

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:27 AM

I don't care how old they actually ARE.  I'm saying that John Barrowman does not LOOK old enough to be Tommy's father.  He just doesn't.
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#18 NeuralClone

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:50 AM

View PostBad Wolf, on 30 November 2012 - 03:27 AM, said:

I don't care how old they actually ARE.  I'm saying that John Barrowman does not LOOK old enough to be Tommy's father.  He just doesn't.
I was agreeing. :p ;) And whatever the case, maybe Tommy is adopted! Ok, that's unlikely but I thought I'd throw that out there.
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#19 Christopher

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:59 AM

View PostOrpheus, on 30 November 2012 - 01:43 AM, said:

But as I recently told Mme OdJ "Rocking the Liv Tyler look is incredibly cool, but not quite rocking the Liv Tyler look can put you in dangerous territory fast." Sorry, I rarely judge female characters but their looks, but she looked enough like Liv Tyler (or maybe Mme OdJ trying yo look like Liv Tyler) that I kept hoping that is some scene, some lighting, she'd carry it off.

It didn't occur to me to make the Tyler comparison.


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But to me, Barrowman's billing as "Sharp Dressed Man" was a huge -er- flaming -er- arrow pointing at a hidden name significance. Unless they booked ZZ Top.

Sorry, but his official description was actually "the Well-Dressed Man."
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#20 Orpheus

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

That makes more sense. I must've conflated it with the ZZ Top song unconsciously as I typed, and then noticed the coincidence consciously once it was on the page. That makes me feel much better, because I'd struggled not to go into a writing rant on the adj 'sharp' vs the adv 'sharply'.

I'm sure you understand.



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