Arrow Season 1 Episode 13: Betrayal – TV Review

I review the thirteenth episode in CW’s TV series Arrow, entitled Betrayal, and I’m pleased to say that it’s one of the best so far.

“An awesome episode with a great cliffhanger, Betrayal  is another example of how this show is really improving.”

Full Episode Spoilers Follow! 

Wow, that was a big episode, and a real key advancement in plot development. First, we have a murderer being released from prison, and flashback to the Island where we discover that Ollie is being helped by a mysterious stranger, Slade Wilson. Who is Slade, though, and what is a Deathstroke mask doing in his possessions? In the present, we also see Laurel get kidnapped as a way for the murderer, to get to Ollie – and Diggle also investigates Ollie’s mother, and suspicions are raised about just how innocent she may be.

So let’s start with the first plot thread, the main storyline and the murderer Cyrus Vanch. He’s an interesting character, who doesn’t go act quite as over the top as the Count did last episode and poses a simple one-off bad guy for Arrow to face. He doesn’t seem to be that much of a threat though, and I think it is here where the problem lies. Arrow’s villains have been consistently weak throughout the whole series, to the point of which I can’t name any without research apart from John Barrowman’s character, the Count and Deathstroke. It’s a shame as whilst I think Cyrus is going to be a one-off, he really should have been presented more as a threat to Ollie. Even though he does kidnap Laurel in an effort to lure Arrow towards his house, Arrow is of course going to save Laurel when you see him team up with her father. The final showdown is done brilliantly though, as this time it’s Arrow’s turn to convince the Laurel’s father not to become a murderer, whilst he was the one doing the convincing in Vertigo.

Now we move onto our second plot thread, the island. In perhaps what is one of the most game-changing flashback sequences so far, we are introduced to the first person that Ollie meets who is actually willing to help him since Yao Fei, Slade Wilson. Now, comics fans will know that Slade is Deathstroke and that he will inevitably turn on Ollie at some point, but for non comics fans – I don’t think they’ll see the plot twist coming. The mid-season trailer that I posted recently showed really promising things in store for Ollie’s adventures on the Island and I’m really looking forward to see where things go from here on out.

And oh, the ending scene of the episode. That is just literally amazing, and it’s a conflict we’ve been wanting to see build up for the first time since we learnt that Moria Queen might have something to hide. I loved the way they ended on the dramatic note, with Arrow breaking into Moria’s HQ and declaring; “Moria Queen. You have failed this city!” 

I can’t wait to see the resolution of this episode, and I know that American viewers will have already seen it – but I will have to wait until Monday to watch the next episode of Arrow as I’m UK.

However, whilst this episode is probably one of my favourite so far, it is without its flaws. I know this is a superhero drama where it is a requirement for the leading character to have a mask, but really, how long is Laurel going to go without discovering Ollie’s identity, which should be blatantly obvious especially as they’re long term friends. But regardless of all its flaws, Arrow is certainly an episode that ends on a dramatic note and is one of the best episodes of Arrow so far.

VERDICT: 4/5

Still plagued by the show’s weak weekly villain, Betrayal is nonetheless an interesting episode with a great cliffhanger, some great action sequences, has strong character development and flashbacks, and some interesting twists.

Arrow Episodes: Pilot, Honour Thy Father, Lone Gunman, An Innocent Man, Damaged, Legacies, Muse of Fire, Vendetta, Year’s End, BurnedTrust But Verify, Vertigo, Betrayal Coming Soon: The Odyssey, Dodger, Dead to Rights, The Huntress Returns. 

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