Arrow Season 3 Episode 18 Review: ”Public Enemy”


“I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but after this episode, the show will literally never be the same again,” said Arrow showrunner and executive producer Marc Guggenheim earlier this week in a CW interview about last night’s episode. “Let me say it again because it bears repeating: the show will never be the same.” He wasn’t kidding, as last night’s Arrow truly changed everything for our favorite emerald archer and his team in an episode that lived up to its title, “Public Enemy”.

As someone who has read ton of comic books, seen several superhero films and TV shows, whenever you have the superhero’s identity revealed to his/her entire city, you want it to be as epic as possible. Arrow succeeded in that because you could feel that Oliver and his team had literally no way of getting out of this situation. Ra’s al Ghul has completely made it impossible for Team Arrow as he–like Oliver perfectly put it–turned Starling City into a weapon against them.

I will be honest though that it’s painful to watch Captain Lance going back to being the character he was in Season 1, except his mission against the Arrow is even worse this time around. It’s 100% understandable why he is so angry and focused on taking down the Arrow forth both personal as well as professional reasons. But I do agree a lot with Oliver when he (as the Arrow) asked why he would suddenly just start killing again like that. It’s overwhelming to see so much anger and hatred from one person that honestly needs to give the Arrow a bit more trust and actually think it over again when he sees someone in an Arrow costume kill people suddenly.

I do appreciate that we got an explanation to why Lance hadn’t figured out that Oliver was the Arrow because I’m getting a little tired of the villains having to tell the good guys the heroes’ real identity. However, I do accept Lance’s deal, with the fact that he always had an idea that Oliver and the Arrow were the same person, but that he didn’t have a reason until now to have to go against the vigilante. I’m still mixed and not sure how to feel about this whole storyline at all, but I enjoyed the intensity and danger of it.

As much as I love Celina Jade and loved her as Shado, I’m not sure if I can appreciate that they revealed that Shado had a twin sister. It was definitely nice to have her there and to see that big moment when Oliver told her the truth about what happened to Shado and their dad, so that Mei could get that closure that she wanted. But overall, it felt really awkward and sad because it was like a tease for us. I do agree with what has been said over this season that the flashbacks in Hong Kong haven’t really worked as well as one had hoped; sometimes they do and sometimes they do not.

One of the best parts of this episode was the glorious return of Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross), who really helped lighten the dark mood of “Public Enemy” a little bit. I really hope that this incredible darkness that Arrow is filled with right now will be decreased heavily for Season 4, because when you see someone like Donna pop up and actually lighten things up again, you get reminded that the show didn’t use to be this overwhelmingly dark. Her interactions with Ray were just the best, and like her daughter, she totally knows how to be inappropriate from time to time.

As things starts to get to the point of impossible for Oliver, we see him turn himself in, in exchange for full immunity for the whole Team Arrow crew. The speech that Quentin gave him in the van was where you could really feel that what we have come to known about this show is now becoming something new. But as if things weren’t shaken up already, Roy decides to suit up as the Arrow and take the blame for everything so that Oliver could walk free. Why do the biggest cliffhangers always happen at time when the show is about to go on a break again? So frustratingly good!

I’m both stoked and terrified for how different this show is going to be when we come back, because is it going to be a good change or a bad one? Only time will tell, but this was one of the stronger episodes of the season, and April 15 needs to get here quickly.

Arrow will be back with its remaining episodes on Wednesday, April 15, 8/7c on The CW with the 19th episode titled “Broken Arrow”.

[Photo via The CW]

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