Title: Arrow: “Next of Kin” Review
Release Date: October 26th, 2017
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
“Next of Kin” was a pleasant reminder that The CW’s favorite bow-wielding superhero show can still produce an episode that doesn’t have me rolling my eyes and growing for every second it’s on screen. For the first time all season, Arrow manages to delivery passable content, albeit with sprinklings of annoyances.
For now, it seems that Arrow is sticking to its guns with the Oliver giving up the mantle to be a father storyline – something we know will be over by the time the crossover rolls around in episode nine – and its resulted in a bit more, much-needed development for both William, and Oliver’s relationship with him. While there are still plenty of scenes that make me dislike William’s attitude, “Next of Kin,” Oliver, and his son find aid from the most unlikely of places, Felicity Smoak.
While she is obviously the most suitable person for the situation at hand, helping William pass his Math test, she wouldn’t be the first person I (and many fans) would have liked to help resolve the situation that Oliver wasn’t able to solve. For the past couple seasons, Felicity has been the worst character in Arrow, hands down. She’d constantly get mad at Oliver for ridiculous reasons, do things that contradicted many of those arguments with him, spouting tech jargon that doesn’t even make sense, and even going from crippled to walking in a manner of a couple shows (deus ex machina).
Yet, Smoak had great chemistry with William in this episode, more so that either of them has had with Ollie in recent memory or even more so than we saw of even William and his own mother (which wasn’t much timewise to be fair). Alongside that, her role in the other main plot wasn’t overbearing either, serving as a supportive role instead of telling people what to do. Diggle took the helm as the lead for a good part of the episode with Oliver, as things started off difficult for our favorite driver/bodyguards second iteration as the man in the green hood.
The tremors storyline that was introduced in the beginning of the season has not been my favorite, but “Next of Kin” certainly made strides to improve it a bit. While we still got the same conversation between Dianah and Diggle that has been done literally every episode, sometimes multiple times per, since the start of the season, the episode also features a conversation between Oliver and John that helped remind me why I loved their friendship in the earlier seasons.
From how it was approached – with both men saying that it feels like the other one used to be on the opposite side of the brooding going on – to an actual call back to the Royal Flush gang in season one, the conversation was great. The show also features some more growth continuity wise with its camera work in its limo fight scene. Instead of its typical quick-cut action scenes, the fight between Diggle and Onix is one of the best I’ve seen in the show. Like last weeks continuous tracking shot in the kitchen, the camera follows the two from inside the limo as they fight outside it, then inside it, continually tracking for one long take.
Aside from that fight scene though, Onix and her crew were terrible Villains of the Week, featuring no personality other than the hoorah we betrayed our comrades for wealth. Their method of attack, blinding their victims, wasn’t just annoying for Team Arrow’s eyes, it hurt mine as well.
I could also care less about Arrow’s other current antagonist, Samandra Watson, still. Not only has her characters typecast been done to death on the show before, but it was also done much better acting and motive wise when it was Quentin Lance hunting the Hood or Green Arrow.
“Next of Kin” ends on two interesting notes. The first is that Olicity (Oliver and Felicity) are back together. Felicity and her relationship with Oliver, like I said earlier, has been one of the worst things that have ever happened in the series. I have my fingers crossed that based on what we saw from Felicity this episode, and the negative feedback fans have given regarding her and her relationship with Oliver, that the relationship won’t be as bad this time around.
The other is that Diggle is taking drugs to stabilize his tremors. So far throughout the series, John Diggle has been the moral compass of the show, sticking to his army values and training. So to see him go down this path is harrowing and worrisome, but far more interesting than the tremors storyline.
Verdict: “Next of Kin” wasn’t a bad episode, featuring plenty of callbacks and character reversions to things from the better previous seasons, but there are plenty of things that still worry me about what it sets up for the future. Olicity was good this episode, but I’ve been burned before. Diggle’s story could also be hit or miss. Either way, at least there are things to be interested in, as opposed to rolling my eyes about.
- Felicity + William chemistry
- Story from season one helps move plot
- Limo fight scene and camera work
- Samandra Wilson
- Olicity reunion scares me