One of the big problems that has been cited with Arrow and pretty much all the other CW shows is the heavy reliance on soap opera drama. Really though, it’s the CW, the teen network, and everyone knows teens subsist on angst, drama, and horniness.
That said, so far Arrow has been managing to walk a deft line of soap opera dramatics, squeezed into the trappings of telling an actual story. This episode also brings to what was one of the great moments of last year, Stephen Amell taking his feud with Stardust (Cody Rhodes) to the squared circle in WWE’s Summerslam event of last year, and upping the whole theatrics with super-heroism.
Cody Rhodes does a fine job as the villain (untitled villain so far, I don’t think WWE will like it if he goes by the name of his in-ring moniker of Stardust, but hey, maybe they worked out a deal with DC), and actually shows off some decent fighting chops as he takes on Arrow and his crew.
The A-story with Cody is largely by the numbers and is meant for those who enjoyed last year’s Summerslam and wanted a rematch on Arrow. The other plots (Mayor, Diggle, Flashback, Felicity, Fletchlings [that’s what I am calling the Arrow Team]) all progressed incrementally and fairly significantly, but it was all place-setting for something bigger down the line.
This was actually a pretty good choice in narrative story-telling since this allowed the Stephen Amell/Cody Rhodes fight to play out without being overshadowed by any earth-shattering revelations, but did not fail to allow the stories to progress.
A pretty fun episode all in all, but probably the weakest of this young season (but not for bad reasons).