Arrow Season 1 Episode 16: Dead To Rights – TV Review

I write a review of what might be one of the best Arrow episodes so far.

“Awesome action, some great twists and an epic conclusion with only a few flaws make Dead to Rights a great episode to watch and one of the best of the season so far. 

Full Episode Spoilers Inside!

So, here we are again. Dead to Rights is the latest Arrow episode and is certainly a very interesting one. But before I start this review I’d like to take a moment to apologize for the fact that there will be no Comics Haul Today – I only picked up one comic, Age of Ultron #1, and didn’t feel like that on its own deserved a whole post. But never fear, for next week I will be picking up a record (for me) of five titles, Batman #18, Wolverine #1, Fearless Defenders #2, Secret Avengers #2 and Age of Ultron #2. I will include Age of Ultron #1 in that haul as well. But for now, here’s my review of Dead to Rights.

Wow, what an episode that was. This could potentially be one of the most important Arrow episodes in the season plot wise, much like The Odyssey was, which I, until Monday – saw as the best episode in the show to date. But Dead to Rights, written by Comics King Geoff Johns, proves that he can write for TV as well as he does comics, with episode 16 being absolutely cracking. The episode itself follows up on last week’s reveal that Moira Queen wants Malcolm Merlyn dead so she can withdraw from the Undertaking – whatever it is, with the help of family friend (played by the same actor who was businessman from The Dark Knight that was responsible for Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne having to take a trip to Hong Kong) – Frank Chen, and hires China White, who has already appeared in the series along with Deadshot, who has been hired as the hitman to take Malcolm down at an awards ceremony.

Geoff Johns has written a wonderful episode here and I would love to see him write more Arrow in the future. He gives Tommy his most important performance to date and comes up with one of the best side plots as well, all tying into the final act that keeps you watching right the way to the very end. This is the episode where Tommy learns about Oliver’s identity, which was a reveal that I didn’t see coming, and was surprised by it. I know the fans aren’t going to be as united behind this as they were behind the Felicity reveal, as Oliver only revealed his identity to Tommy as Arrow because of the assassination attempt on his father by Deadshot, and Ollie needs Tommy’s trust to help his father. I’ve got the feeling this is either going to go either one of two ways here in the aftermath of Dead to Rights, whether Tommy will join up with Ollie and his band of Robin Hood esque Merry Men, or throw his lot in with Malcolm – which is admittley less likely given his reaction to where he witnessed Malcolm ruthlessly kill two attackers.

This book also boasts a strong flashback sequence as well which reveals more details about Ollie’s time on the island with Slade, leading to one of the best lines of the episode.

Oliver:“My father was a pilot and used to do his own maintenance.”
Slade:“So you’re hoping aircraft maintenance is genetic?”

Dead to Rights also manages to throw in references to Laurel’s future as Black Canary, and in a big reveal, sees her mother (Alex Kingston) make an appearance, claiming that her sister may still be alive in the aftermath of all the big drama happening in the showdown at the Awards Ceremony. This was an interesting cliffhanger – but I felt it wasn’t really needed to end the episode, and was probably the only bit about the episode that I disliked, along with Ollie’s fight with China White – I felt that could have been put together a lot better. And it’s also hard to imagine Alex Kingston in a role that isn’t River Song now. The same for John Barrowman as Malcolm, I’m still having trouble thinking him as Malcolm and not Captain Jack Harkness. It’s certainly nice to see a few familiar faces in this episode though, along with the actor who played Frank Chen, whom I already mentioned played another businessman in The Dark Knight. 

VERDICT: 4.5/5

A great episode, much better than Dodger and on par with The Odyssey. A very important episode for Tommy, this episode is only slightly let down by the end reveal and the fight between Arrow and China White.

ARROW SEASON 1: Pilot, Honour Thy Father, Lone Gunman, An Innocent Man, Damaged, Legacies, Muse of Fire, Vendetta, Year’s End, BurnedTrust But VerifyVertigoBetrayalThe Odyssey, Dodger, Dead to Rights, Coming Soon: The Huntress Returns, Salvation, Unfinished Business,

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5 comments on “Arrow Season 1 Episode 16: Dead To Rights – TV Review

  1. Tommy is definitely gonna separate himself from Ollie, I feel, given how strongly he feels about the Vigilante (remember when he got all pissed at Laurel that she’d been keeping her dealings with him a secret, and how he thinks that Ollie has betrayed his trust?).

      • Indeed not. Tommy is in a very awkward position right now. His best friend has been terrorising the wealthy people of the city and his father apparently is a stone-cold killer. Not a good place to be.

      • Yeah, the fallout of this episode will be very interesting to watch. I personally hope that one of the future episodes (Probably not the Huntress Returns) deals with the regaining of friendship between Oliver and Tommy – but I don’t think it’ll be as easy as that. His arc has just gone from not-so-important to very important with Dead to Rights – and would love to see more Tommy-centric episodes.

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