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‘Arrow’ Season 2 Episode 12 Recap: “Tremors”

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We begin, where many lives end, in prison. Of course, this isn’t any prison, this is Iron Heights, the Arkham Asylum stand-in that has just as iffy a reputation for keeping their prisoners imprisoned.

Some random criminal checks in, and sets off the metal detector, to which he responds that he has a bum knee. The guards pat him down (“the old-fashioned way”) and lets him on his merry way. Reason #1,326 why Iron Heights is pointless. Get an X-ray machine already.

The man arrives in his cell, the new bunk-mate of one Ben Turner (Michael Jai White) AKA Bronze Tiger AKA Wolverine rip-off AKA kind of the worst. To save his son, or for some indecipherable reason, he’s there to establish a meeting for the Bronze Tiger outside the gates. Turner’s kind of perplexed how he’d make that work, until the man pulls out Bronze Tiger’s claws from his body, like literally. Um, OUCH. Reason #1,327 why Iron Heights sucks: the guard comes by, shocked at what Turner has done, so he promptly kneels down and turns his back on the dangerous inmate, who promptly SNIKT’S him.

At Arrow’s Sanctum Sanctorum, Arrow has Roy Harper slapping water in a bowl, as infuriating for him as it was for Ollie back on the island. Of course, Roy has super powers, and destroys the bowl and table with one punch when he loses patience with the Karate Kid “training” techniques and Arrow’s cryptic nature. It’s hilarious that Roy can’t tell who Ollie is, even with the mask. While Arrow doesn’t reveal much about the Mirakuru and his past with the serum, he tells Roy how it ended with his friend: “I shot an arrow through his eye.” I wonder who he’s talking about?

Over at Isla Nublar, Ollie’s still consumed with guilt for his “hand” in Shado’s murder. Sara teaches Ollie an invaluable lesson: “Love is the most powerful emotion, and the most dangerous.” What a gem, and it means: don’t tell the truth. Kids, what lesson is always hammered into us on TV? Lies ALWAYS end badly. This one ends with an Arrow through Slade’s eye, and a revenge plot that will take this show by storm in a couple episodes.

Moira Queen’s love life is more exciting than mine, impressive since she had a hand in murdering 500 people. People do like the dangerous ones. She’s been invited to dinner by Walter (Colin Salmon), her ex-husband. Thea’s enthused for her, but down on Roy, and that’s all I want to say about that.

Speaking of other things I don’t want to talk about: Laurel opens her door to find her distraught father, who walks in uninvited. Whew. He’s not a vampire. The place is a mess, to which Laurel explains, “I can’t afford a housekeeper without a job.” What a winner, this one. She’s been drinking, but hey, she has a job interview with her former bestie at her old law firm (which I learned was called CNRI), Joanna De La Vega (who is not related to Alexa). Joanna conveniently has her own firm now, because those are easy to start. Daddy implores her to go out to dinner with him, and they agree to meet up tomorrow. I have to say, I’m kind of worried about Katie Cassidy. She even looks like a drug addict now, and not in a TV show way. Katie Cassidy = METHOD actor?

This episode is stuffed with cheesy, hilariously bad lines (and some clever ones), but Ollie’s reaction to Diggle’s inquiry as to Roy’s tutelage is everything. “NOT WELL!” Ollie screams, waking up neighboring counties as he completes some obligatory angry, badass, shirtless pull ups (drink!). Felicity pipes in that Iron Heights has had an alert: Ben Turner has escaped. She hacked the Iron Heights system because of its poor reputation with this sort of thing (“Iron Heights holds more secrets than prisoners”). She also, thankfully, makes fun of the Bronze Tiger moniker (“Tigers aren’t bronze”). I love how a show is on the nose about its own silliness. Yay sense of humor!

Speaking of the ill-named, BT meets up with the guy who freed him, who is of course, a nameless foreign rich white dude who has a job for him. Apparently, he needs to acquire a weapon, something that can kill thousands. The episode is called “Tremors,” and worms and Kevin Bacon are (unfortunately) nowhere to be found, so it’s obvious that this criminal wants the Bronze Tiger to steal Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake device. It’s kind of annoying how this is treated like a reveal later, but I suppose some people might’ve been left guessing.

Moira arrives for dinner with Walter…and Mark Francis (Nicholas Lea), who is some sort of political analyst. He refers to Moira as a “lioness defending her cubs” in regards to the whole Undertaking situation. A lioness? We got lions, (bronze) tigers…AND can bears (OH MY) be far behind? Big Bear, suit up! Sorry, Jon Standing Bear.

It’s clear that this isn’t a date at all, but business, as Mark and Walter laughingly want Moira to run against Sebastian Blood for Mayor. I kinda thought he had already won or whatever, but apparently his financial policies will hurtle Starling City into bankruptcy in 8 months. It couldn’t be the massive financial implications left over from an earthquake that destroyed a neighborhood and the weekly tolls of destruction? Moira finds the idea as preposterous as she and everyone should. Of course, the only person she could beat is a guy ACTIVELY killing people. At least she’s stopped (for now).

Photo: The CW

Dinner time with the Lance’s! And it’s about as fun as cancer. Quentin thinks Laurel could do for a day-old pastry at AA/NA, a development that predictably pisses Laurel off. Did he really think ambushing her with AA would help the situation? Quentin offers his aid; she “doesn’t have to do this alone.” (drink/go to AA every time someone says that one). But Laurel runs off, sinking lower into her lonely tunnel of alcoholism, and un-ironically drinks her face off in response.

Arrow and Roy are training when our boy in green gets a call: the Bronze Tiger triggered an alarm at Malcolm Merlyn’s mansion. Arrow grudgingly asks Roy for help: “Do you have one of your red hoodies?” Roy’s response is CLASSIC: “Do you even have to ask that question?” No, he doesn’t, but we’re so happy you did, Oliver.

The duo arrive after Bronze Tiger and nameless henchman have loaded the earthquake device into the truck. Ollie has his hands full with the (maybe?) adamantium claws, while Roy doesn’t stop pummeling the face of the other poor dude, as Bronze Tiger drives off with the machine. Nice going, Roy. Of course, if Arrow hadn’t lost another fight, he wouldn’t have to blame other people. Of course-r, Roy’s anger problem is clearly only getting worse under Ollie’s “tutelage.”

Yonder at Skull Island, Slade’s apparently intending to blow up Dr. Ivo and his freighter, as revenge for murdering Shado. I’m cool with it, except it means they can’t escape the island (BUT WE KNOW THEY DO!). So Sara and Ollie have to stop him, yada yada. We know Ollie won’t tell the truth to Slade, because he admitted as much to Roy in the last scene. Get better, Island.

Laurel’s job interview goes about as poorly as possible: not only does she NOT get the job from her best friend Joanna, but she learns why. The Bar is opening up an investigation on Laurel due to her recent transgressions. Next time we see Laurel, she’s hammered at Verdant, begging for olives at the bar. It’s embarrassing, but at least she can make a comment about being barred from the bar, on the same day the Bar is barring her from work. Anyone else thirsty? Dark periods are always the worst, even for characters you like; I can’t really put into words how lame it is to watch a character spiral downward when she really didn’t have much leeway to begin with.

43.6% of Starling City’s citizens believe that Moira was justified for her actions in defending her children. 43.6% of Starling City’s population are idiots. Walter argues that they need a high profile name to beat Sebastian (why not this guy). Thea walks in, learns the plan, and hey, doesn’t think it’s that crazy (Thea’s also crazy). Walter’s cliche response: “From the mouth of babes.” Since Thea is an adult, I’m guessing he said that because she’s hot. We get another scene where Moira seeks advice from her daughter, not trusting the man she married or ran a billion dollar business with, or Mark Francis fancy pants, but the keen and telling advice from an 18 year old who’s run a club for three months. How much do you wanna bet Thea’s going to be her campaign “manager” or something we’ll all want to repress?

Roy and Arrow bicker about Thea, because Roy feverishly told Thea to skip town (she didn’t). It comes to blows (not the good kind), and Roy throws Ollie through another table, and tells him he isn’t going to stop going after the Bronze Tiger. How often is the sidekick more powerful than the hero (…Kato, Willow)? The Bronze Tiger is about to make the transfer to Miles Armitage, or whatever the nefarious dude’s name is, when Arrow arrives. In moments, the Bronze Tiger has his claws at his throat, because that’s how great the Arrow is. Instead of killing our hero, he waits for a commercial break, the bane of every villain’s existence. When we’re back, Roy arrives, and beats the pulp out of the Bronze Tiger. Miles activates the machine, because WHY NOT?!, and the clock is ticking, the earthquake machine is locked in so much steel, and Roy is the city’s only hope. Of course, he can’t stop punching. Until…

…Arrow reveals himself to Roy. Hey, it’s me, Ollie, your girlfriend’s brother you hate (I knew this would come fast!). This snaps Roy out of it, and he breaks a hole through the truck, and Ollie drops an explosive in the vehicle, blowing up a machine that has the capacity to destroy a city. I feel like that could’ve ended terribly, but whatever.

Back at base, Felicity and Diggle are worried about Roy knowing the truth. He is, after all, a loose cannon™. But, as we all learned on not-Atlantis from philosopher Sara, love is the most powerful emotion. Arrow couldn’t save this city, but Oliver could. lol.

Ollie uses this same advice on Azkaban, where he talks Slade down from blowing up the freighter. He has a better idea: to take it over. Now, they’re pirates!

Meanwhile, Moira agrees to run for Mayor (of course she does), but explains the real reason for her hesitancy: the truth behind Thea’s genes could come out during an election. To make sure the truth doesn’t come to life, she essentially asks Walter to murder her OB doctor, the only one who knows (not the only one who knows).

Then, the episode gets awesome: Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) pays a visit to the Bronze Tiger in prison. She has an offer for him: to join a team she’s putting together. No, not the Avengers. This is “more of a squad.” SUICIDE SQUAD TIME! That has to get your nerd juices flowing. With Flash already happening, and a Birds of Prey episode planned, could the CW be considering a Suicide Squad spin-off? While I get that Bronze Tiger is an original member of the team in the comics… he’s super crappy on Arrow, so I could be more excited about him being the one to get the ball rolling. Not that Deadshot is much better. Bring on Captain Boomerang! Or King Shark. Harley Quinn? Yeah, Manu Bennett’s awesomeness aside, I don’t see how this is anything but a Major Disaster if they do decide on making a spin-off. But hey, Deathstroke can make up for a lot.

In the Bat Cave, Roy is introduced to “Team Arrow” (don’t call it that), meaning Dig and Felicity. Felicity adorably does indeed call it that.

Has Laurel reached her bottom yet? Well, she does hit the floor of her apartment…and while losing consciousness, sees her sister huddle over her. I’d be terrified and drink more, but hopefully this snaps her out of it, and the two of them can leave the show. We won’t find out until next week…when the Gods bless us with another Spartacus alumni on Arrow (her not Her or her?).

Grade: B