Tonight’s Arrow saw a lot of characters finding “Salvation,” but for some, that came with consequences.
Team Arrow is functioning normally after the whole McKenna/Helena debacle, and it seems like Felicity is now fully on the dark side, aka Team Arrow! For real! We knew it wouldn’t take long. As Team Arrow is discussing their next target, Oliver multitasks and does some fancy-looking pull-ups shirtless. Felicity, you ogle Ollie as much as you want, honey. I approve (hell, I was ogling him as well… I think I may have rewound that scene a few more times than may be healthy… No shame!).
Oliver sets off to take down his target, but someone else got to him first. Who is this mysterious kidnapper with a List of his own?
While Felicity worked on figuring out who else might have had a grudge against the target, Ollie didn’t want to go home or call it a night so he plans to move on to the next person on The List. Diggle stops him, though, and makes him take a break. That’s right, it’s time for a bromantic heart to heart: Diggle’s taking Ollie out to dinner! Too. Cute. How do I get an invite to these dinners? No, seriously: I want an invite.
Meanwhile, Thea and Roy have certainly wasted no time in getting to know each other. We see them getting hot and heavy in Roy’s place in The Glades, and it did not look like it was going to stop anytime soon… until one of Roy’s "friends" shows up to deliver a package and remind Roy about some sketchy job they were planning for the next night. Turns out the package was a gun, and Roy and his friends were planning on robbing a liquor store. Obviously, that doesn’t sit too well with Thea because she thinks Roy has the potential do more in life than just commit crimes. However, he thinks his only option is crime. Thea – frustrated and hurt – doesn’t want to see her new guy wasting his life, so Roy empties the bullets out of the gun. He won’t actually be armed, but the store owners will think he is. All I could think as I watched him empty the gun is, That decision is probably going to bite him in the ass. And oh lordy, was I right. But we’ll get to that.
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Remember how last week, Laurel and her mother were trying so hard to convince Quentin that Sarah was still alive? It worked better than Laurel thought: she comes home from work to see her mom and dad playing nicely together! They’ve set up their own Homeland wall of clues, and are diving deep into their investigation. Plus, they’re getting handsy with each other… Be careful what you wish for, Laurel! The surprising thing is, it turns out Laurel never truly believed Sarah was alive. She actually wanted her dad to help her mom see reason and accept Sarah’s death, like they have. Instead, they suck her in and get her to believe there might be validity to their theory. Poor Lance family – you know there is no happy ending to this saga and yet you can’t turn away. It’s like a particularly grisly car wreck.
Back at the bromantic dinner for two, Diggle begins his lecture to Ollie. Diggle thinks Oliver has been spending too much time recently (i.e. since McKenna’s departure) doing vigilante things and not enough normal things, and he doesn’t like Oliver’s new plan to be alone. Diggle knows that a person can’t live happily like that, but before he can truly make Oliver see reason, they need to press pause on the lecture: a Gossip Girl type blast is sent to any phone registered in The Glades for the website gladesbetrayed.com! Team Arrow’s missing target is murdered live, via a video stream on the site, and now Oliver knows who stole his target, and that this mysterious murderer is planning on continuing his streak with others who corrupted The Glades. All during this scene, all I could think of was, whoa, now the entire Glades population has seen murder! Live! That’s scary, creepy, and all-around utterly disturbing.
When another victim is kidnapped by the guy who dubs himself “The Savior of The Glades,” back in the Arrow Headquarters Oliver pressures Felicity to find the location of where the video feed is broadcasted from. He wants to save the victim even though it’s someone he would target, because Oliver gives his victims the chance to change and right wrongs, whereas this vigilante is just a killer. The only information they could find on him was through the NSA: The Savior is a digital savant so skilled that he hacked himself right off the radar. When Oliver tries to give Felicity tips on her computer skills, she rightly shoots him down. Don’t tell her how to do her job, Ollie! She finally gets an address, and Oliver goes off, de-Hooded (since it is the middle of the day, plainclothes is much less conspicuous than emerald green leather and a bow and arrow).
Damn, Ollie has to kick in a lot of doors to try and find The Savior and his victim before it’s too late. Oliver’s got some rage at being unable to find them, and Felicity is feeling it. After some technological cloak and daggers, Felicity gets the correct address. Ollie does some hardcore parkour across the tops of buildings, but the address turns out to be an empty lot. They’re too late: The Savior kills his victim.
Felicity freaks out, and Oliver looks like he wants to break a few bones. But Oliver isn’t actually mad at Felicity, he was just frustrated. Felicity, however, is blaming herself for not being to catch the bad guy in time. It’s the first time she’s lost on Team Arrow. Oliver is more used to it, and knows it’s just the price of what they do. But Felicity takes it as a sign that it’s better to be alone, since she can’t exactly go home and tell some guy about her day. Clearly, Felicity and Oliver don’t understand that that problem could be fixed simply by being with each other!
Meanwhile, Moira is worried about Malcolm’s desire to find out who ordered a hit on him – because, duh, that would only lead him straight to Moira! She meets with Frank, the only other person who collaborated with her on the kill order, to tell him that Malcolm is looking for answers. I feel like Moira is going to frame Frank for trying to kill Malcolm. She’s totally getting information from him about how he paid the Triad so she can use that against him, right? She even tells him, “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my children, Frank.” Boom, that’s her warning right there. Frank is done-zo.
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After her disastrous date with Roy, Thea goes to Laurel for relationship advice. HA. Sorry, that’s the funniest joke I’ve ever heard. Apparently, since Laurel has dated “a bajillion bad boys,” she is the perfect person to advise Thea on how to deal with her Roy situation. Laurel tells Thea to run, but come on: there’s no way Thea’s going to dump those cheekbones, or that jaw line, or those eyes, or… sorry. Got sidetracked. Colton Haynes, guys! This.
After failing to convince Thea to ditch her criminal beau, Laurel gets some information from the Chinese Embassy. Apparently, the mystery girl from the photo her mother found is in the states and Laurel gets an address. Could this really be Sarah? Laurel starts to truly hope again that she might find her sister alive. Hell, even I am hoping this might be true!
Unfortunately for all parties, the girl in the photo was just a random girl. This was a truly crushing blow for Dinah. But Laurel and Quentin already knew the truth. Even though they may have started to hope again, they knew deep down that Sarah was gone.
Thea does exactly the opposite of what Laurel warned her to do and goes to see Roy (that's mah girl!). They fight about Roy’s potential, and Thea gives up, saying that he is just a waste. But before they can truly hash things out, The Savior attacks them! I knew that bulletless gun was going to be a bad idea. Roy can’t save himself, and Thea gets knocked out. He gets a syringe full of sedative in the neck – the needle alone must have been torture for the guy who almost passed out at the sight of one last week – and now we know The Savior’s next target: Roy Harper, Glades gangbanger.
At Verdant, Tommy turns up the news to see a familiar name as The Savior’s target: the boy Thea asked Tommy to hire at the club. Side note: I love this one random reporter that’s always giving the news. He’s the same one from the pilot, and every other time major news breaks in Starling City. This dude has the monopoly on broadcast journalism.
Thea rushes to Verdant to tell her brother and Tommy what happened, and Oliver now knows Roy is Thea’s friend. He sets out to save him, and Tommy knows just how he’s going to do it. Time for the hood to come on.
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Things are not going well for Moira, either. Malcolm called her up to deliver some “good” news: a member of the Triad was going to give up the name of whoever hired them to kill Malcolm for a reduced jail sentence. I love how Moira tripped a little when Malcolm revealed that. She is freaking out, and rightfully so. Time to think of Plan B!
Even after finding out the girl in the photo was not Sarah (even though she was wearing Sarah’s favorite hat), Dinah is still convinced she can find her, reasoning be damned. Laurel catches on to something, though, that might explain why Dinah was so adamant about Sarah being alive: Dinah knew Sarah took her hat with her onto the Queen’s Gambit with Oliver, because Dinah knew Sarah was going off with Laurel’s boyfriend! Dinah breaks down, because if she had stopped her daughter, she would still be alive and her other daughter wouldn’t be betrayed. Their family would still be together. Tears were shed by all the Lances that night, and they finally all accepted Sarah was gone.
Dinah packs up her things and gets ready to leave now that her mission is done. Her plans are to take “the red eye to Central City. Should be home in a flash.” Is Dinah making a reference to the DC comics city that is home to Barry Allen, aka The Flash? Or is this just a tongue-in-cheek Easter egg? Either way, Laurel hugs her mother goodbye, and makes sure Dinah knows that Laurel doesn’t blame her Sarah’s death. She forgives her. But is she really telling the truth? The look on her face as they hugged did not look like Laurel meant what she said.
Back to the action: determined to save his sister’s “friend” Oliver went straight to Felicity to figure out who The Savior was and stop him for good. Turns out, The Savior’s wife was murdered by corrupt gangbangers in The Glades, and that’s his motivation for “cleaning up the city.” And Felicity hit the jackpot: he was using the old abandoned subway line in The Glades to get around! That’s why she couldn’t get a lock on him before, and why Oliver didn’t find him above ground. He was under it! He sets off to save Roy, but he better hurry: Roy doesn’t believe he should live, and he tells The Savior to kill him. You could tell Thea’s words truly affected him when he spit them out to the camera recording his death: “No one’s going to miss me. I’m just a waste.” No, you’re not! Don’t give up, Roy! THIS!
Oliver swoops in and shoots a mini arrow next to Roy’s bound hand, and while Ollie distracts The Savior with small talk, Roy uses the arrow to hack away until he’s free. That small talk Oliver traded with The Savior? Yeah, this dude thinks he’s the same as the Hood, but he’s completely misguided: The Hood gives second chances. And when he gives The Savior a chance to let this go and stop killing, he doesn’t take the out, so Oliver kills The Savior! Roy is left with his own tidal wave of relief, and he realizes maybe he doesn’t actually want to die.
Back at Verdant, we – and Oliver, and Team Arrow – are treated to a beautiful reunion between Roy and Thea. These two crazy kids have some deep feelings for each other, and Oliver realizes the guy he just saved is more than just Thea’s “friend.” Also, thank you Felicity for pointing that out awkwardly to her older brother!
Interestingly enough, Roy kept the arrow that saved him. Is this foreshadowing an alliance between Roy and Oliver like in the comics? Maybe he has seen a way to make his life meaningful, a way to live without committing crimes: cleaning up the city rather than making it dirty. But first, we need to see Roy and Oliver meet formally! Alas, we’ll have to wait for that moment – but I’m sure it will be epic and totally worth it.
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After the craziness dies down, Oliver heads outside for a quiet moment but is interrupted when Laurel shows up to Verdant. Side note: I love the moments where we see Oliver almost roll his eyes and slump his shoulders with a sigh before jumping into his upbeat and carefree façade for his family and friends that don’t know his secret. When he turned around to say hi to Laurel, you could clearly see that shift from weighted down and deeply emotional to lightweight and cheerful. Subtle, but necessary for him to keep up appearances. Laurel has a heart to heart with Ollie, revealing her family struggles from the past week, and for a moment, you can forget all their history and see the connection between these two. Could this be foreshadowing of Ollie and Laurel getting back together? I have to say, Oliver’s smile when she said yes to getting dinner or coffee and Ollie realized he truly did want to not be alone anymore looked pretty real. Is that the first time he was truly open and honest with Laurel since getting back from the island? I think she recognized it too, and something shifted between them. Something good, and warm.
Something that is not good and warm is Frank… Malcolm as the Dark Archer killed him. That’s right, Frank’s dead. Moira framed him, just as I thought! The interesting takeaway though is that Moira doesn’t know that Malcolm’s the Dark Archer. Also, she literally walked away with Frank’s blood on her hands, and she breaks down. Moira really does feel emotion! This villain keeps getting more and more complex.
Back in Arrow Headquarters, Felicity is officially a goner for Oliver. The moon eyes she gives him when he puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her she can always talk to him about her day were totally warranted. Time to officially start shipping these two!
The moment is cut short, though, when Oliver realized the subway map looks familiar… it’s actually the cryptic symbol that is in the front of The List! Turns out, The Undertaking, The List, and basically everything shady is all connected to The Glades. But what does it mean?!?
And in our island flashback of the week, we meet Yao Fei’s daughter, Shado! Oliver and Slade Wilson’s attempt to trade the circuit board of the missile launcher for a boat off the island goes south when Fyers threatens to kill Shado instead. Since Oliver and Slade are good people, they obviously can’t let this innocent girl die, so there goes their way off the island. A fight ensues – natch – and we learn that Shado’s got some badass moves of her own! Even Oliver gets in some good hits. Their luck runs out, however, when Yao Fei gets shot, and he forces them to leave him behind. More bad news: Fyers stole the circuit board back while they were discussing their “trade.” They got played, but they decide to thwart whatever his plans are. Good thing Shado knows what he’s planning… and speaks English (much to Slade’s surprise)!
The best quotes from "Salvation:"
Roy: We don’t all have butlers. Some of us actually have to answer our own doors.Thea: The horror!
Diggle: You’ve been spending a lot of time underneath that hood these past few weeks.Oliver: Keeps my ears warm.
Diggle: You’ve been home for 8 months, Oliver, but I don’t think you left that island yet.
Felicity: Oliver, no offense, but I don’t tell you how to sharpen your arrows.
Diggle: You gonna hood up?Oliver: It’s the middle of the day!
Oliver: Where’s Diggle?Felicity: I asked him to leave me alone. In my loud voice.
Slade: Oh good. Small talk.
Oliver: Want to have dinner? Or coffee? I don’t know.Laurel: Why?Oliver: I don’t want to be on an island anymore.Laurel: Yes.
Oliver, to Felicity, pleasing Olicity shippers everywhere: If you ever need to tell someone about your day, you can tell me.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: The CW]
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The Man with the Iron Fists the directorial debut of music artist RZA is clearly a love letter to all of the Wu Tang frontman's passions. An old school kung fu movie infused with hip hop beats and a comic book aesthetic Iron Fists rarely makes a lick of sense but it's a collage of imagination — and that earns it a few points. Like a cinematic version of the backyard games we all used to play RZA casts himself as a Chinese town's resident badass who teams up with a cowboy to take down an army of ninjas assassins. The freeform style allows him to run wild rarely providing actual thrills but resulting in an action movie overflowing with heart. Bloody bloody heart.
The manic script for Iron Fists written by RZA and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever Hostel) interlocks a handful of colorful characters with varying degrees of success: The Blacksmith (RZA) a freed slave who hopes to earn enough bucks to whisk his love prostitute Lady Silk (Jamie Chung) away from the Pink Blossom brothel; Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) the brothel's owner (and local mobster); Silver Lion (Byron Mann) a murderous gangster out to overtake the city with the help of his magical metallic underling Brass Body (Dave Bautista); Zen Yi a.k.a. The X-Blade (Rick Yune) whose father was killed at the hands of Silver Lion and now seeks revenge; and Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) a mysterious British gunslinger taking residence at the Pink Blossom who may have ulterior motives. Iron Fists bounces between the plot threads without much worry — you never really know who is doing what or why. But if characters say what they're thinking with conviction then beat the daylights out of their opponent it's supposed to suffice. More often than not it does.
What Iron Fists lacks in coherency it makes up for in absurdity. RZA pumps up the volume on every element of the film from costumes that shoot daggers to flamboyant overacting evildoers to Jack Knife taking the goriest route to defeat an enemy (in this case using a knife gun to rip up a heavyset man's insides). Taking a page from mentor Quentin Tarantino's book anything can happen in this Eastern martial soap opera and everything does happen. It's money shot after money shot the rapid pace reminiscent of channel surfing — likely the way most kung fu fans stumbled upon the type of films that inspire Iron Fists back in the '70s and '80s.
Not every moment pops — unlike Liu and Crowe RZA doesn't exactly light up the screen when given the freedom to go crazy. Blacksmith is a muted mumbling character who doesn't throw himself into a fight the way a kung fu movie demands from its lead. Behind the camera the fight scenes are choreographed similarly to how the movie is structured: randomly with the occasional inspired moment. But the inventiveness of the mechanics keeps Iron Fists working. A scene with two twins using contortion to throw and kick and punch their way through hoards of bad guys is a joy. Seeing Crowe (obviously not an expert in martial arts) lay down a few moves is pure fun too.
The Man with the Iron Fists isn't as expertly crafted as Tarantino's Kill Bill but it has more mind-boggling oddities. RZA unleashes his passion into the film so even when the story or action isn't working something else on screen is.
The story of Lust Caution begins in the midst of WWII in Asia as the Japanese have a stranglehold on key areas of China including Shanghai and Hong Kong. The iron-fisted Chinese who are collaborating with the invaders are led by Mr. Yee (Tony Leung) a cruel and ruthless man who delights in the torture and murder of his fellow countrymen who are fighting against the Japanese occupation. When a patriotic band of college students (made up of four men and two women all part of the drama school) decide to strike a blow for Chinese freedom by assassinating Mr. Yee it falls to Wang (the mesmerizingly beautiful Wei Tang) to infiltrate his home and heart to pave the way for the killing. But as her compatriots--including handsome Kuang played by American-born Chinese rock star Lee-Hom Wang who loves her from afar--bid their time waiting for the moment to strike Mr. Yee and Wang enter into a torrid affair that begins to consume them both. Think of the Hitchcock classic Suspicion shift from Europe to Asia add in intensely explicit sex scenes and a completely unexpected ending and you have Lust Caution--a film that is soon to be considered a classic as well. Veteran actors Tony Leung and Joan Chen lead a fine cast of actors who together create this completely believable glimpse into Chinese culture during the dark days of Japanese occupation. Both give intense performances--he as the powerful emotionless Mr. Yee and she as his vapid shopping and Mah Jong-obsessed wife. But the most amazing performance is that of newcomer Wei Tang the Miss Universe finalist who makes her film debut in Lust Caution. Her fantastic face slim body and almost ethereal presence seem to blot out everyone else when she is on the screen; you can’t help but look at only her. Her transformation in the four-year span of the story is masterful. As she goes from a naïve young student to a mature woman whose physical obsession with a man she despises begins to overwhelm her. The ingénue proves that she is much more than just a pretty face. In fact she deserves an Academy Award nomination for her often subtle always fearless performance that is at the heart of the film. Ang Lee has a unique cinematic ability to begin a story very specific to a time a place and a culture and end with a universal tale that resonates across all societies and peoples. He did it beautifully with Sense and Sensibility Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as well as Brokeback Mountain and he’s done it again masterfully with Lust Caution. This newest film is an intense look at how war often causes an individual to make the ultimate sacrifice for the common good yet it also explores another underlying theme: the idea that there is a never-ending battle between the sexes for emotional dominance within a sexual relationship. Ang Lee’s deft hand is evident in every frame including the incredibly explicit (and often violent) sex scenes that have given the film its NC-17 rating. But this is not pornography; every scene is necessary to the story showing us that using sex as a means to an end (no matter how noble that end) is a very dangerous game to play especially during wartime. Look for Ang Lee’s name to come up on the Academy’s list again this year as awards season kicks into high gear. He deserves every honor for this emotionally disturbing masterpiece.