We know the world we’re in; now it’s time to add some intrigue. After last week’s functional second episode, Arrow brought the thunder in Season Two’s third episode, “Broken Dolls.” We got a creepy-ass villain, raised stakes for Moira Queen, some parkour from Roy, some revelations from the Lances, and we find out a whooooooole lot about Black Canary without actually knowing anything. It’s very exciting. Oh, and some stuff happens on the island, too.
When we last left the Emerald Archer, he was surrounded by Laurel’s SWAT friends. He tries to tell her that they’re on the same side, to which she tells him to lower his weapon. He does. This is surely the end of Oliver’s crime fighting activities! Oh, wait – Black Canary smashes through the window and saves him by using a device that emits a banshee-like scream. They skedaddle, and then she leaves without giving much of an explanation. This troubles Oliver. Obviously he’s grateful for the help, but he’s skeptical, and rightfully so.
Elsewhere, a young woman has been murdered, her mouth filled with a preservative and her body dressed and propped up like a porcelain doll. The SCPD don’t want Officer Lance to get involved, because he’s seen it before. It’s the MO of a baddie named Barton Mathis, aka “The Dollmaker,” played by the always creepy Michael Eklund. It seems that when the earthquake happened, a percentage of the criminals locked up in prison got out, including Mathis. Lance is upset, but, given his new reduced status, he’s been forbidden from being on the case, lest he get arrested for obstruction. Okay, I really think the Starling City Police Department has got their priorities wrong. Let’s devote all our energy to catching a guy who stops bad guys (admittedly, by killing them) and a good cop who’s trying to do his best.
Lance, seeing no other option, gets in touch with Felicity, knowing she works with the Hood. Oliver agrees to help, putting the search for Black Canary on hold for the time being. They meet on a rooftop, and Lance explains his change of heart, knowing that the city is getting too rough for people not to act when they can. Quite the turnaround from Lance last year, but given how the city is in ruins, he can’t really afford to be on a high horse.
Lance then goes to see his daughter, who has just yet again been around broken glass and gunfire. She’s still doggedly gunning for the vigilante, whom Lance now thinks should be called “The Arrow” instead of “The Hood,” and is upset that her father is okay with him now. He knows she blames him for Tommy’s death, but (and this an excellent point) a guy with a bow and arrow can’t do much to stop a collapsing building. Who’d have thought Quentin Lance could be so level-headed?
Arrow goes with Lance to see the Dollmaker’s lawyer (named Tony Daniel. Comics reference.) who, under duress, tells them that the psychopath is likely at the Bisque Museum, because it reminds him of Germany where they invented porcelain dolls. What a terrifying individual. They check it out and in room 52 (another comics reference), they see a telephone. It rings and the Dollmaker tells Lance that he’s too late. He’s found a new victim, and she’s dying as they speak.
They figure out, thanks to Felicity’s computer whizzery, that the chemical compound was manufactured by Metamorpho Chemical (another comics reference) and that they also create a specific skincare product that makes women looks particularly porcelain-like. Felicity volunteers to be used as bait to draw out the bad guy, which works, except Lance and Arrow are unable to catch him before the police arrive. Arrow gets away, but Lance is, of course, arrested.
Elsewhere, Moira Queen gets ready for her hearing. People don’t seem to be too fond of her, what with the 503 people dead and her playing an implicit part in that, and the judge is denying bail and the D.A. is seeking the death penalty. Oliver vows that they’ll fight it, and Moira’s lawyer seems to think once the truth is aired out, people will be lenient on her. However, Moira doesn’t want her family to know all her deepest and darkest secrets and is fully prepared to take whatever punishment is doled out. Ever the cold-blooded mother, that Mrs. Queen.
Roy has been on assignment from Arrow to find out what he can about Black Canary. He eventually tracks down a friend of hers, a young punk named Sin. She runs for it and Roy gives chase, which leads to one of the best needless parkour scenes on television. Eventually, he chases her to a clock tower where he gets walloped upside the head. When he wakes up, he’s zip-tied and Canary demands to know if “they” sent him. He can’t quite get around to saying anything because his phone buzzes and he gets a text message from Thea saying that Laurel has been kidnapped. Canary says to untie Roy and goes a-running.
Yes, it seems the Dollmaker has kidnapped both Quentin and Laurel. He’s going to do is doll routine on Laurel while her father watches. Sadistic. However, just as the deadly goo is about to hit her mouth, Arrow arrives and fires his namesake at the tubing, saving Laurel’s life. He frees Lance while the Dollmaker runs off. The policeman says to do what he has to do to stop him.
He doesn’t have to do much, because Black Canary is there to smack him six ways from Sunday with her awesome metal bow staff. Oliver fires two non-lethal arrows at the guy, hitting him in both shoulders, and saying the Dollmaker’s going back to jail. However, Canary throws her own blade, hitting the bad guy in the chest and killing him. Then, she’s gone.
Laurel is shaken up, understandably, and is baffled as to why Arrow would save her after she tried to take him down. Then she FINALLY realizes that it wasn’t his fault that Tommy died and actually it was hers for not getting out of the Glades when she was told, by both Oliver and Quentin. So now she’s probably gonna be all guilt-ridden and sappy for the next several episodes.
The episode ends with Canary being visited by a hooded figure, but it’s not the one we think. It’s a guy in a black ninja outfit, not unlike that worn by Malcolm Merlyn as the Black Archer. She’s told that Ra’s Al Ghul (!) wants her to come back, but she says she has to stay. So that’s what’s been going on! She’s in the League of Shadows!
ON THE ISLAND
Shado stays with the Japanese soldier’s bones while Oliver and Slade go searching for the origin of the guys who attacked them. Slade warns again about Oliver making attachments. Slade slips and almost falls off a cliff, but Oliver saves him. I’m sure he’ll live to regret that decision. They get to the top of the mountain and look with binoculars to see a ship in the harbor. It begins firing missiles at the location of the cave. Oliver screams “Shado!” and goes running with Slade following after.
In an onslaught of explosions, Oliver is knocked out and only remains conscious long enough to see Slade writhing in agony from being on fire. When Oliver wakes up, he’s in a cage, near other cages, aboard the ship. The ship pulls away and we see the word “Amazo” on the back. Another comic book reverence.
After a weak week, we get a whole slew of stuff happening. Every character has a storyline set up for the season now, and that all but ensures we won’t have wasted people. It might now be too many characters, but I’m sure the writers will be able to figure everything out. They’re pretty damn great after all.
Now, let’s take a look at the next episode, “Crucible”: