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‘Arrow’ Review: “Tremors”

Arrow Tremors Review Roy Harper Bronze Tiger
The CW

Arrow’ season 2 lets loose its twelfth episode of the year with “Tremors,” as Oliver’s efforts to train the headstrong Roy are interrupted by the reemergence of Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), while Laurel spirals further out of control and Moira Queen finds herself in a surprising position with Walter.

Previous ‘Arrow’ episode “Blind Spot” saw Laurel tasking Oliver’s alter-ego with looking into Sebastian Blood for her, while Roy used his super-strength to fight crime on his own, with disastrous results, so what does the twelfth episode of ‘Arrow’ season 2 bring? Will Oliver stick with his newfound partner?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’ season 2′s latest installment “Tremors”!

Guards at Iron Heights prison introduce a new prisoner into their facility, placing him in the same cell as Ben Turner, better known as “Bronze Tiger.” The prisoner immediately provides Bronze Tiger an address, noting that he was paid to smuggle in the villain’s claws…underneath his own skin. As Bronze Tiger escapes, Oliver shows Roy the water bowl training technique, though Roy’s patience quickly wears out, even as Oliver reveals he knew someone injected with the Mirakuru, whom he once had to kill.

Back in the past tracking Slade, Sara reminds Oliver that it won’t do him any good to confess the truth about Shado’s death, before they break off to search for the cave. Meanwhile in the present, Moira finds Thea reclining at home, and reveals that she’ll be having dinner with Walter that night. Elsewhere, Officer Lance pays a visit to Laurel to explain how they’ve always been bonded since their family went missing, and asks her to dinner the next night.

Oliver laments that his training with Roy continues to flounder, before Felicity learns that Bronze Tiger has escaped from prison. Meanwhile, the villain meets with a buyer at the address given to him, learning that the man wants him to steal an exceptionally dangerous item: the Unidac earthquake device that Malcolm Merlyn used on the Glades. Later on that night, Oliver trains Roy further, before Felicity gets a hit on Tiger’s whereabouts, and Oliver reluctantly agrees to let Roy tag along with him for some field work.

Moira sits down to dinner with Walter and an unexpected guest, who suggests that Sebastian Blood’s economic policies could likely bankrupt Starling City, before Moira realizes they want him to run against the Glades alderman. Elsewhere, Lance tricks Laurel into attending an AA meeting instead of dinner, which causes her to storm off and as she refuses to admit anyone could help her.

Oliver leads Roy through the Merlyn mansion on a tip, as they hear Bronze Tiger’s crew entering the garage downstairs, Oliver races down and attacks Tiger, while Roy goes for the driver, mercilessly pummeling him given what the earthquake machine did to his friends. In Roy’s anger, Bronze Tiger manages to escape in the truck, while Oliver is forced to pull Roy off the accomplice. A while later back at the lair, Oliver provides Felicity a watch to help identify the accomplice, continually worrying he needs to find a way to reach Roy. In the past, Oliver recognizes calculations on the cave walls, and realizes that Slade intends to use Edward Fyers’ missile launcher to destroy Ivo’s boat.

Roy urges Thea to leave town with her family, growing agitated at her confusion, and nearly hurting her in the process. Elsewhere, Laurel meets with her old co-worker Joanna for a potential job interview, before Joanna reveals that a partner in her firm has seen that Laurel will be brought up on disciplinary charges, and potentially disbarred. Meanwhile, Walter arrives to the mansion and assures Moira that voters love a good redemption story, something Thea surprisingly corroborates.

Roy arrives late to his latest round of training, though Oliver chastises him for attempting to bring Thea into the matter, given how hard the Arrow works to protect those he cares about from his true identity. Roy grows angry and attacks Oliver, vowing to save the city on his own, something that later convinces Diggle Roy might be beyond saving. Just then, Thea calls to reveal that Laurel is upstairs making a drunken spectacle of herself, for which Oliver suggests she go home, calling an unseen figure for assistance, while a mysterious man watches from the bar.

Out on the docks, Bronze Tiger’s buyer prepares to load up the earthquake machine, before Oliver arrives to intervene, on a tip from Felicity. Bronze Tiger quickly gets the upper hand, before Roy arrives to intervene, and the buyer prepares to detonate the device rather than report failure to his superior. Oliver desperately tries to open the container to disable the device, but finds his explosive arrows ineffective. With Roy busy pummeling Bronze Tiger, Oliver makes a desperate move in removing his hood to get Roy’s attention, urging him to channel his anger by remembering how Thea needs him. Shocked, Roy focuses long enough to punch a hole in the crate, through which Oliver destroys the device, while Roy remains astonished that the vigilante has been Oliver all along.

Back in the lair, Oliver remembers how Sarah had earlier taught him that love was the strongest emotion to reach someone, much as how Oliver managed to talk Slade down from destroying the freighter by reminding him Shado would have wanted them to get off the island. Slade shook his madness for the moment, as Oliver suggested they’d get Ivo back in time, and take his freighter as well to leave the island. Meanwhile back in the present, Moira summons Walter to agree to his proposal she run for Mayor, though they’ll need to keep quiet the OBGYN who knows that Thea isn’t her biological daughter.

Once again in prison, Bronze Tiger finds himself confronted by Amanda Waller, who offers him a chance to work off his sentence by joining a certain “squad” she has begun to put together. Elsewhere, Oliver shows Roy the lair and introduces him to Felicity and Diggle, while Laurel drunkenly returns home, and finds her sister Sara waiting for her.

OUR REVIEW:

For all its many successes, it seems as if ‘Arrow’’s second season has gone about righting a few wrongs from the past, or at least coasting on its laurels otherwise. 2014’s premiere “Blast Radius” fell into a similar trap with DC’s Shrapnel that it had with Firefly, simplifying an otherwise-engaging comic villain to serve a one-off purpose, usually with mixed results. The same could be said of the second season’s earlier approach to Bronze Tiger, pairing him with China White as a clawed thug whose menace barely lasted all of an episode before the character’s disappearance.

“Tremors” gets a chance to right said mistake, setting Michael Jai White on his own to steal a weapon of mass destruction with roots in the series history, though for the most part the characterization differs little from a man in a leather jacket who prefers Wolverine claws to guns, and provides at least some physical match for Oliver. It certainly doesn’t help that the circumstances of his escape don’t entirely add up (A prisoner smuggled in a disassembled claw under his skin, before prison guards…turn their backs on Bronze Tiger to investigate the cellmate’s bloody remains? Not a single radio for medics, or backup? And why would someone who’d failed in combat with the vigilante be the only man for this job? Would police really never have known that Malcolm Merlyn had a spare frickin’ earthquake device in his garage?), but we’re at least given a tantalizing tease of Bronze Tiger’s future with the Suicide Squad.

Of course, we’ve gone through two entire aggravating paragraphs without mentioning that Oliver finally took Roy Harper under his belt for training, exposing his true identity in the process, but considering the CW essentially spoiled the moment in the preview last week, we won’t feel too much guilt. It’s a nice moment too, one that neatly correlates with Oliver’s island revelation that the thought of those who love us can pull through any drug-induced rage, pinging off Sara’s eventual appearance to Laurel as well. No doubt the more interesting material of Roy’s inclusion of #TeamArrow and conflict with the present and past Slades will come into play with subsequent weeks, leaving “Tremors” in something of a thankless position to move the story along.

We’re also given the revelation that Moira might potentially run for public office, while Laurel continues to spiral out of hers, unfortunately scraping a few bottom barrels as far as TV tropes go. Moira naturally needed a new arc after escaping prison and being left with the knowledge of Malcolm Merlyn’s return (still pulling that it was all in her head!), though only TV logic could presume anyone in the city would take seriously the campaign of a wealthy socialite who’d been complicit in a plan to level half the city. We didn’t need another installment of Laurel spiraling further into grief either, though if the bottom-dwelling has brought back the present-day Sara Lance, so much the better.

An uneven installment, with plenty of exciting moments and teases for the future, but you’ll forgive us to suggest that “Tremors” felt more than a little shaky.

Well, what say you?  Did ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its latest installment? Were you excited to see Oliver and Roy working together at last, identities in the open? Give us your reactions in the comments, and join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ recap of season 2, episode 13, “Heir to the Demon” on The CW!

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