Review: ‘Arrow’ S04E12 – ‘Unchained’

By February 4, 2016

On this week’s episode of Arrow, we learned that the vegetables in Nanda Parbat are exceptional, Malcolm is a wise, albeit evil, man and Ollie needs to take a page out of Elsa’s book and let it go. Let’s take a closer look at ‘Unchained,’ shall we?

A sticky fingered thief is running amok in Star City and stealing anything techy he can get his hands on. And, of course, it’s up to team Arrow to stop them. Only, just as Thea is about to grab him, she passes out and he gets away. Turns out, because she’s been holding in her bloodlust and not actually killing random folks, the spell that the Lazarus Pit wove is turning on her. Basically, if she doesn’t kill to sate the bloodlust, it will take her instead. When Oliver questions why it took so long to manifest itself, Thea finally comes clean and admits that when Damien Darhk tried to use his magic mojo on her, it didn’t work. Instead, it took away her bloodlust. Cue the making a deal with the enemy to save stupid Thea, again idea! Really, at this point, the only redeeming quality that Thea has is that Malcolm Merlyn is her father. (I’d be happy with more John Barrowman, as I’m sure we all would). Just as Ollie is about the meet with Darhk, he gets the call that they’ve discovered the whereabouts of the bad guy. In a bit of a shocking turn of events, he chooses to not make a deal with the virtual devil and comes to the rest of the team’s rescue. Thea falls into a coma and the prognosis isn’t good… that is, until Nyssa shows up with a proposition. (More on that below).

In other news, it turns out that our master thief/villain of the week is none other than Roy Harper. He’s back in Star City because he’s being blackmailed. If he doesn’t steal the components for a device that can be used to wipe out everyone is the city, his identity will be exposed and there goes the Roy Harper is Arrow and he’s dead ruse they’ve all got going on. Oliver manages to trank Roy and they find out that he’s being threatened by a guy that calls himself the Calculator. (Yeah, I’m with Felicity on this one, cause that’s a stupid name). Roy once again dons the Arsenal costume and helps defeat the Calculator by almost sacrificing himself. Good thing he’s still full of mirakuru, eh?

We also got to see what’s going on with Nyssa in the dungeons in Nanda Parbat, when she is sprung by one of her loyal followers… subjects… friends… I have no idea, really. Turns out she has a number of loyalists in the castle (?) and they need to move quickly, while the demon is otherwise occupied watching over his dying daughter. They go in search for lotus, which leads them to Japan and a random run-in with Tatsu. Yup, the same Tatsu that nursed a virtually dead Ollie back to life last year. She’s the guardian of the lotus and the two fight it out before coming to an agreement. I’ve got to say, this was the weirdest and most superfluous cameo, like, ever. And that’s saying something, given that this show has a tendency to drag everyone out of the woodwork at one point or another. Nyssa then heads to Star City (gotta love those direct flights directly from Asia!) and makes a deal with Oliver. In exchange for the lotus, which is supposed to cure Thea, all he has to do is kill Malcolm.

The annoying as crap flashback sequences this week consisted of Reiter torturing Oliver about his tattoo from John Constantine and the maps he risked everything to get, before getting killed by Shado. Yup, Shodo, who is dead and has been for a long time, made an appearance tonight, as a figment of Ollie’s imagination. (So, no, Reiter is not actually dead) She’s there to tell him he needs to forgive himself and stop carrying the weight of the world and all of his choices on his shoulders. There was also some cryptic stuff about him being in love with the scuba instructor and their relationship being built on a lie. He comes clean to her about killing her brother.

So, this was a pretty solid episode. Although it was chock full of rather random cameos, it was nice to see Roy back in action. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I kind of miss Colton Haynes. While Roy was never my favorite character, over the years he kind of grew on me. His scene with Thea at the end, where she wished a normal life on him, was lovely and touching. If they would get rid of Willa Holland and keep Colton, I would be okay with that. This is probably just my intense dislike of Thea talking, however. I’m not sure that the addition of Tatsu had quite the same effect, though as I thought it was kind of forced. I guess it makes sense that she would be close, since she did save Ollie when Ra’s killed him there last year, I just don’t think it was necessary. And don’t get me started on Shado, Not only was that completely useless and unnecessary, it really didn’t make any sense. As you know, I hate the flashbacks and think they’re completely nonsensical at this point. And why does Oliver need to fall in love with every woman her comes into contact with?

Overall, I think this episode was good for what it was, which was basically filler. The reveal the Calculator is in fact Felicity’s father was a nice little twist. I’m interested to see what happens with that storyline and what direction they plan on taking it. At this point, I’m assuming that he doesn’t know that she’s Overwatch, although if she learned her hacking abilities from him, which it looks like she might have, there’s no telling what information he’s managed to acquire. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what his motivations are and if he truly is a bad guy, or just testing the waters.

Make sure to check back for updates—right here on Geek Nation.

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Erin Parisien
Erin is a writer, a comic-book geek, a movie nerd and a pop culture junkie... all long before it was cool! She's the senior Editor and a writer over at and can always be found behind a keyboard, because it's all about the words. Follow her @erin_the_novel over on twitter.