By: Andrew Kreisberg, Geoff Johns, Marc Guggenheim (story)

The Story: Shouldn’t the fact that you and your date end up sparring after dinner be a red flag?

The Review: I have a friend who has an obsession for instant noodles—you know, the bags, cups, and bowls of slippery Asian-styled soup.  Actually, that statement is somewhat misleading because in reality, my friend doesn’t care for the actual noodles so much.  I’ve seen her cook up a whole pot of the stuff, only to dump everything but the broth and drink the whole thing down, every last, savory, MSG-enriched bit of it.  It’s the culinary version of missing the point.

I can somewhat relate because as the show goes on, I find myself in the awkward predicament of liking nearly everything about it except for its lead character.  In fact, the closer characters get to Ollie, the less I like them.  I’ve noticed that lately, Ollie only interacts with the rest of the cast so as to get nagged by them.  He looks pretty tired of it, but he should keep things in perspective.  It can’t be half as tiresome as for us to needlessly watch him get nagged.

Another problem I find is the writing somehow takes a nosedive nearly every time Ollie has a scene with anybody.  Preachy lectures will do that, but soul-bearing confessions apparently have the same effect on this show.  Ollie’s dinner with Helena has some of the most stunted dialogue and forced delivery of the episode, only momentarily relieved by Helena’s affecting reveal of her dead fiancé.  After that, their interaction remains stubbornly heatless, despite Arnell and Jessica de Gouw’s attempts to generate some kind of chemistry, even until the end, when Helena gets to deliver such completely non-cliché, natural lines like, “I have been alone in my hate for so long…”

It seems appropriate that as Ollie begins a new, inevitably tumultuous relationship, Tommy and Dinah take a few big steps forward in their romance.  I dunno, I’m starting to really like their more effortless dynamic.  Take Tommy trying to convince Dinah to pick his take-out food over the stuff she had delivered.

“I don’t know,” she says doubtfully.  “This is a mushroom and olive pizza from Mario’s.”

“Ahh, that is damn good pie.”

“Alright, what do you have to offer?”

“Spicy tuna on crispy rice from Toro.”*

She gives an exasperated sigh.  “Damn you, Merlyn,” she curses, snatching the bag out of his hand.  It’s pretty cute, and after some of Tommy’s personal stuff goes down and he comes to her for comfort, I like that she brings it all back by suggesting they have some of the mushroom and olive pizza in her fridge.  “It’s already paid for, right?” he asks hopefully.


In the same way, I’m starting to find the relationships among the other characters increasingly convincing.  Moira and Thea’s bedtime-TV scene is not only sweet, but their discussion of Ollie’s crap is surprisingly sincere and thoughtful.  Detective Lance’s open resentment of the Queen family has taken on funny dimensions, if only for his street-sarcastic delivery (“Well, you know your family’s at the tippy-top of my list of priorities—”).  And I never thought I’d be that touched about Walter returning and making up with Moira, but I was.

The show’s even making some moves to step up its crime elements.  We actually get to see some of these criminals do their dastardly deeds in this episode.  Too bad it generally revolves around Untouchables stereotypes—you know, skinning restaurant owners, threatening to break their fingers, that kind of thing.  Starling City’s P.D. might act as if war between mafia and triad will be devastating, but so far, the threat seems distant and not very credible.

Conclusion: The show is developing a surprising amount of heart, although little of it benefits our hero.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: * Why choose, I’d ask Dinah.  Both sound delicious.

– “I can’t be able to explain to her that I left our mother alone and bleeding on the pavement because I’m fast enough to almost run down the attacker.”  Pretty smooth backdoor brag, Ollie.

– “Cop Docs—that’s where doctors run around fighting crime when they’re not all sleeping with each other.”  A nice attempt to emulate 30 Rock’s parody shows, but it pales compared to gems like God Cop, Bitch Hunter, and the unassailable MILF Island.