The beginning of "Midnight City" has a case of the sads. Let's be honest; Arrow has had too many cases of the sads lately. The show itself seems sick of its gloomy tone, which is probably why by the end it goes completely crazy. Let's talk about that.
The Flashdance in the Flashback
Ollie and Maseo have traded the (fake) alpha for Katana, and they've been found out, and all hell has broken loose, and also, this happens in a disco. Oh, and Ollie has his most astonishingly ugly hair yet. I spent the entire flashback sequence arguing about how Ollie's newly-styled wig made him look. I maintained that he looked like a member of the Partridge Family who had been rolled in musk oil. I was told he looked more like a benign David Koresh. You decide.
The point is, there is a fight in a disco, and Ollie fires a gun while sliding down the bar and then spinning off of it, and I know that Maseo's newly reunited family is not long for this world, but no one could care about that while watching that scene. Do yourself a favor. Rewatch that fight scene while listening to Abba's "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)." You won't be disappointed.
The Re-United Arrow Team
You know that you are not doing well as a superhero when the main villain, the guy who has just ordered the murder of a room full of people on a whim, pities you too much to kill you. That's what Brick does to Laurel during a disastrous attempt to rescue three aldermen. To put that in perspective, that is like Eddie Fyers from the first season giving Oliver Queen a pat on the back and a lift home. It saddens me. It saddens us all.
What does this situation need to improve? Felicity. She quickly gets over her distaste with superheroing. Instead of moping, she marches into Ray's office, and demands the keys to his helicopter, promising she won't crash it. He says that he would feel a lot better about that promise if she knew that helicopters don't have keys.
But they do, and Felicity and Friends go careening through the sky to rescue the aldermen. (Is it me or is this the only show ever to have multiple alderman plotlines?) This is what the show has been missing. I like well-trained vigilantes and all, but pristine marksmanship can't compare with the desperate, chaotic thrashing that this team goes through. There's nothing more entertaining than watching Roy and Laurel get thrown around like feces in a monkey cage while Digg just barely keeps a helicopter aloft and the hostages run as much from their rescuers as from their attackers. At last, Laurel earns enough respect that Brick tries to kill her. He fails. Just barely.
And it doesn't matter anyway. The mayor of Star City abandons the Glades to Brick. Which, amazingly, is not the looniest decision of the night. The most insane decision of the night is the entire Arrow team giving Laurel a voice synthesizer so she can imitate her sister's voice to convince her dad that her sister is still alive. Look. I like Quentin Lance. But after the way the show has built this up, his heart better explode out of his chest the second he hears the news about Sara. I'm talking a reshoot of the chest-burster scene from Alien here. I want to see his heart leap out of his chest like it's an East German refugee driving a train through the Berlin Wall.
You Were Right, Show-Runners. You Were Right and I Was Wrong
Merlyn and Thea are gonna make a stand against the League of Assassins. Why not, Thea argues. After all, she's had a full seven months of training. Why shouldn't she and her mass-murdering father stand a good chance against a huge, secret cabal of trained killers?
That's in keeping with the spirit of this episode, which was about how you keep fighting even when you know you're not up to the fight. I've been fighting that fight for a long time, but at last my opponent was too strong for me.
Arrow, you win. I groaned over every second of this storyline. I literally didn't know what people were saying, because it hurt me to listen to them. But when you revealed that the smug, boring, baby-faced DJ in Thea's club was actually a member of the League of Assassins, it was like seeing the face of god. You made me feel things I didn't even know I could feel.
You know what? Stop the rest of the story. Stop it forever. I don't care about these people anymore. The person who cared about them was another Esther, in another world. Don't show me any more of the Arrow team. Just show me what the Ra's Al Ghul League of Assassins School for DJs is like. Is that where Skrillex comes from?