Arrow Season 1: Episode 21: The Undertaking – TV Review

I review the twenty-first episode of Arrow‘s first season, The Undertaking, with spoilers.

Arrow S1x21 “The Undertaking”

Arrow S1x21

We’re near the end of Arrow’s first season, and with a promise of things only getting better and better from here on out, and the heading towards a ground-breaking season finale with cliffhangers expected both in the present and on the island, it’s no surprise that the quality is improving. Whilst there might not have been any flashbacks in The Undertaking to the Island, the first major talking point of Episode 21 is that it gave us some interesting flashbacks to before Ollie arrived on the Island, showing the first schemes of Malcolm Meryln (John Barrowman), and the disagreement that he had with Ollie’s father that ultimately led to his death.

The plot itself is heavily advancing now, with the tension ramped up really high for Episode 22. We get a lead on Walter’s whereabouts (it seems as if the show has finally remembered to bring this guy back into the picture), and also witnesses Felicity getting a chance to impress when she heads to a Casino undercover, because Ollie can’t go there as Arrow or himself. This was a pretty action packed episode, and we even get a trip to Bludhaven, which fans of the comic series will know is Nightwing’s old stomping ground Pre the New 52 reboot. I’d love to see Nightwing make at least a cameo on the show as Dick Grayson is quickly developing into one of my favourite DC characters, but I don’t think that’s likely for now.

Whilst we’re getting some serious plot advancement here, The Undertaking once again reminds us that this was heavily influenced by Batman Begins, with Malcolm’s mantra about the whole destroying the city in order to save it resembling Ra’s al Ghul’s strategy for Gotham City. However, the cliffhanger at the end of the episode was pretty impressive, and it really leads you wanting to stick around for the next episode, particularly as for US-based fans, it’s later tonight.

Felicity is on strong form again here and really manages to continue to impress, but now that they’ve found Walter, will she continue to stick around and support Ollie, whose conflict with Diggle had an anti-climatic ending, or leave? That doesn’t stop her from delivering some funny one-liners though – with this, which was easily the best line of the entire episode: “It feels really good having you inside me. And by you I mean your voice, and by me I mean my ear. I need to stop talking. Right now.”

 The Undertaking may be one of the best episodes to date. A focused plot, some great action and an awesome hallway fight that will remind you of the prison-fight sequence in Watchmen, really goes to show how this series that although might not have had the most perfect start, is really starting to become more and more consistent. Five out of the last  seven episodes, not including The Undertaking have been really spectacular, which of course has me in high hopes for the last two episodes of Arrow. It’ll be interesting to see the inevitable showdown between the Dark Archer and Arrow, and I can’t wait to see the direction that this series takes particularly when going into the next season.

So in short, a focused plot, less Lance-family drama (despite the Ollie/Tommy/Laurel love triangle being present), and some great action scenes along with the rediscovery of Walter, really allow for an interesting viewing marred by only a few minor flaws that can easily be put aside.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

ARROW SEASON 1:  S1x01: Pilot, S1x02:  Honour Thy Father, S1x03: Lone Gunman, S1x04: An Innocent Man, S1x05: Damaged,  S1x06: Legacies, S1x07: Muse of Fire,  S1x08: Vendetta, S1x09: Year’s End, S1x10: Burned, S1x11: Trust But Verify, S1x12: Vertigo, S1x13: Betrayal, S1x14: The Odyssey, S1x15: Dodger, S1x16: Dead to RightsS1x17: The Huntress Returns, Sx18: Salvation, Sx19: Unfinished Business, S1x20: Home InvasionS1x21The Undertaking,  COMING SOON: S1x22: Darkness on the Edge of Town, S1x23: Sacrifice

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