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TV Review: “Arrow” – Season 3 Episode 3: “Corto Maltese”


By: Kyle Shultz

Arrow Season 3 title card

As far as islands go in the DC Universe, the island of Corto Maltese is full of secrets, suffering, and sometimes adventures. It’s also one we hear about a lot in the DCU, it’s been mentioned in both Burton’s Batman, Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Green Arrow & crew went there off-screen in Smallville. It was even mentioned in Arrow back in Season One when Deadshot was first introduced into the show in “Lone Gunman”, needless to say this illustrious little island has a pretty big existence no matter what adaptation it is featured in.

Given the title to this episode, that’s where our adventure takes place. This episode was a nice change of pace after the past two episodes dark & moody themes. This episode was very much like last seasons “Keep your Enemies Closer”, in that they took a small vacation from Starling City & had to deal with some ARGUS stuff. Though, really the whole reason behind the adventure was for Oliver to bring back Thea (who was living on the island under the name “Mia”, a nod to the second Speedy Mia Dearden) to Starling City, so he can deal with things better & have some family back home. In this process, the flashbacks showed us what happened to her between the 6 months she was gone. Right off the bat, I didn’t think she would grow too much into this badass version of herself, but seeing in the flashbacks at what great lengths Malcolm will go through to train his daughter into this warrior, and seeing what she is now, she really did go through a lot in a very short amount of time. I’m really pleased with how they’re evolving Thea into a really interesting character, because when she was first introduced I thought she wasn’t going to amount to much in this show, but in the past two seasons her character has really grown. Even though Thea is not a character from the comics, I can’t see anyone else playing her except Willa Holland.

 Thea - Corto Maltese

Aside from the action in this episode, I think some of the best parts were the scenes where Thea interacted with Ollie/Roy. Oliver & Thea discussing what happened to him on the island has been something I’ve been waiting for since Ollie came home from the island. I was glad to finally have her to some extent, know what happened to him. Roy is really different as well, with him taking on this role of being Arrow’s partner he seems a lot calmer than he ever has been. I can’t wait to see Thea realize what not only her brother does for a hobby, but her ex-boyfriend; that will make for a real interesting conversation. Like I said starting off, the only other thing I cared for in this episode was the action. It seems like this episode originally started off as a “Let’s go get Thea & bring her back home” centric theme, but having ARGUS in the mix just came off as forced to me, & it seems that they kind of don’t really know what to do with Diggle this season. I know something amazing will happen with Diggle later this season, & I’ll be eating my words when it does, but right now with how things are going, Diggle just seems useless. I like Diggle; he is a good character, he has been in the past, although it just seems he is lacking in this season. Maybe when Laurel steps more into the hero boots, it won’t just be Wildcat giving her fighting tips? That could be interesting.

Speaking of Laurel, things were for sure eventful for her back in Starling City. She finally started fighting crime…sort of. Really, her character in this one episode has been more interesting than any of her other episodes in the entire series. In the wake of Sara’s untimely death, Laurel’s filled with this “angry at the world” attitude yet she cannot do anything about it, so when she hears from a woman at her AA meeting that her boyfriend has been beating her, she decides to try to teach him a thing or two…which fails miserably. There are some rocks in the road that pave the way to being a Vigilante; Laurel has a lot to learn. Which we will obviously see sooner rather than later now that Ted Grant has begun teaching her how to box, seriously the comic book fan in me is screaming in joy. This is one story arc I cannot wait to see unfold. I honestly loved that they had her go to Ollie first & just have him turn her down, that will make for a good discussion when he finds out she is getting trained by someone else.

 Laurel Asks Ted Grant to train her

On the Felicity/Ray side of things, not much really happened. Their scenes were really used for the comedic relief of this episode, not saying that is a bad thing. The dynamic between these two is really fun to watch. I can’t wait to see more scenes involving these two, though next episode looks to be less Felicity-filled as she will be in The Flash visiting Barry. Which will make for some really good scenes. I cannot wait to see Felicity’s banter with Barry, Caitlin, & Cisco in a full 42 minute show & not just in a scene or two.

This episode offered a nice break from things back in Starling City, though I think that this episode could’ve focused more on the Thea/Malcolm dynamic than the ARGUS situation that seemed more forced than anything. Like every episode of Arrow, “Corto Maltese” offered some cool action pieces while switching things up with Oliver actually using a gun (Roy’s reaction was priceless, as was Oliver’s remark) & a montage of Oliver building makeshift bow & arrows. Next week looks to bring more drama & action in the form of the League of Assassins.

Overall Grade: 8/10


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