ARROW S2 E09 'Three Ghosts' Review; "Leaves Other TV Comic Book Adaptations In Its Dust"

The midseason finale of Arrow delivered an origin story for The Flash, the return of Deathstroke and plenty of other great moments which will leave us all anxiously counting down the days until the series comes back in January. Hit the jump for my (spoiler-filled) verdict of "Three Ghosts"!

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By Josh Wilding - 12/13/2013

Well that was quite something, eh? This year, Arrow has consisted of nothing but top notch episodes, although like "The Scientist" before it, "Three Ghosts" is easily one of the best yet and certainly a fitting way to end the first half of season two. Not only does it wrap up some of the ongoing storylines, but the midseason finale also sets the stage nicely for both what's to come and the pilot episode for a certain well-known member of the Justice League! That's right, those mentions of Central City's particle accelerator did indeed end up paying off, but not quite in the way we all imagined. Instead of using it as a way of giving Barry Allen a "realistic" origin, Arrow remains faithful to his comic book roots by simply using that as a means of setting off the storm which results in the lightning strike that gives him his powers. It's safe to assume that the event will have also powered up a few of the other residents of Starling City, and I for one can't wait to see how it plays out in The Flash's series next year.

Talking of the Scarlet Speedster, Grant Gustin plays him to perfection here. He may be a little younger than some fans would like, but that quickly proves to be irrelevant as he delivers such a likeable and entertaining take on the character. After these two episodes, there's no doubt that the actor can hold his own in a solo series, making it all the more frustrating that we now have to wait until next Fall to see him in action (as a result of the CW's arguably quite sensible decision to no longer use a future episode of Arrow as a backdoor pilot). Still, it will undeniably be well worth the wait! Talking of waiting, we've all patiently sitting on the edges of our seat to see The Arrow don a mask, and the brief glimpse we get of it at the end of "Three Ghosts" is very satisfying indeed!

Of course, there's a lot more to "Three Ghosts" than just Barry Allen, and the finale also pays off in plenty of other ways. On the island, we see the ramifications of Ollie injecting Slade with Mirakuru, and it's clear that his split second decision to save Sara instead of Shado will be what leads to the man known as Deathstroke turning on his former friend. The island segments of Arrow remain as engrossing as ever, and it's clear that there is still plenty of story to tell when it comes to that five year period Ollie was missing. The use of Shado and Slade as hallucinations back in present day Starling City is an interesting one and they ultimately lead to a huge pay off thanks to the surprise appearance of Colin Donnell as Tommy. It should also be intriguing to see exactly where they go with Roy being injected with Mirakuru, especially as he's never been portrayed with superpowers in the comic books.

As you might expect, the action scenes are all top notch and the use of Cyrus Gold (who we seemingly get a glimpse of taking one step closer to becoming Solomon Grundy in this episode) once again proves that Arrow has one of THE best stunt teams in television. If you got chills from Tommy's return, then expect to be squealing with delight at the sight of the one-eyed Slade Wilson delivering his chilling speech about destroying The Arrow and all that he cares for. Between this, everything else mentioned above and the ongoing story with Ra's Al Ghul and John Barrowman's Dark Archer, there's an awful lot of pieces in the puzzle that is season two of Arrow. However, it shows absolutely no sign of becoming a mess as a result. Instead, the hit CW series remains a thoroughly enjoying and satisfying watch each and every week, leaving certain other small screen comic book adaptations in its dust. If you're not watching, use the Christmas hiatus to catch up!





OLIVER IS VISITED BY GHOSTS FROM THE PAST — After a fight with Cyrus Gold AKA the Acolyte (guest star Graham Shiels), Oliver (Stephen Amell) is drugged and left for dead. Determined to cure him, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) makes a risky decision. The cure causes Oliver to hallucinate, and what he sees forces him to confront his past. Meanwhile, Barry (guest star Grant Gustin) continues to help Felicity, and their connection grows stronger. The Arrow asks Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to look into Gold, but when the stakeout on Gold goes bad, someone is killed. Roy (Colton Haynes) is captured and tortured by Brother Blood (guest star Kevin Alejandro). John Behring directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kresiberg and teleplay by Geoff Johns & Ben Sokolowski.
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bazinga85 - 12/13/2013, 6:04 AM
Great review, Josh. Definitely the best episode yet!
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:06 AM
I have never seen an hour of TV get so overrated now haha. Jeez people are just freaking out about this thing. It was awesome, but please it took 1 and a half years to finally get a really really good episode.
GetsugaTensho22 - 12/13/2013, 6:07 AM
I'm just blown away by how Objectively awesome the episode was.
Now i LOVE Arrow, and as a fan i really love loving the series, but objectively, some of the flaws tend to stand out.
That wasn't the case with this episode, and it fired on all cylinders!
ndwwrestler2 - 12/13/2013, 6:09 AM
This show has come so far. I never thought after the first episode that I would be so hooked on this show, and that this show would've improved so much.


This is the best Comic Book TV show by far right now. I'm not going to write off A.O.S as a complete bust, but they will need to improve FAST.


I'm a bit torn about the Slade situation, On one hand we get to see the Deathstroke we all know and love, but at the same time, I enjoyed the Han Solo/Luke Skywalker Dynamic that him and Oliver shared.

I hope Arrow lasts a long time.
DC4everLantern - 12/13/2013, 6:10 AM
Deathstroke!!!!!
TheWolverine08 - 12/13/2013, 6:10 AM
This episode was beastly. Arrow is paving it's way to being one of the best comic book tv shows.
batcheeks8 - 12/13/2013, 6:10 AM


thenerdicon4 - 12/13/2013, 6:12 AM
@Dougie, that is your opinion, I have thought every episode this season have been great. You just seem like a hipster who hates seeing everyone love something so you automatically have to hate it.
Sumitsjc - 12/13/2013, 6:12 AM
It deserves it..What an Amazing episode Just can't wait to see Deathstroke action in Present time.
BboiBlack - 12/13/2013, 6:13 AM
Arrow is to Shield as DCcinematic Universe is to MCU.
Avenger32 - 12/13/2013, 6:13 AM
I firmly believe this version of green arrow and the flash would be very fitting in the justice league movie. I was skeptical of grant gustin, but the guy proved to be a very likable character. The final minutes where he gains his powers still gives me chills.
batcheeks8 - 12/13/2013, 6:16 AM
Hey.. it's good that DC fans (and comic book fans in general) finally have something from DC that is universally loved.. right :)
soforizo - 12/13/2013, 6:16 AM
GliderMan - 12/13/2013, 6:16 AM
Green Arrow shouldn't be in Justice League
[frick]ing epic show
AlternateNo4 - 12/13/2013, 6:17 AM
do you really think he chose sara? hm. i actually rewound it and it seemed like he just ran in front of sara because the gun was already pointed at her. i feel like if he'd pointed the gun at shado first then ollie would've saved her instead.
deepee3 - 12/13/2013, 6:17 AM
Manu Bennett should be the man to replace Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in future X-Men related films. He is perfect.
brilaneb - 12/13/2013, 6:18 AM
Bottom line, Arrow is setting the new standard for how comic book characters should be portrayed in television and on the big screen. Smallville was fun to watch back in the day but it was so cheesy and hokey. This is the way to go and I hope whoever is making the Daredevil and Defenders are taking notice!
Dmon - 12/13/2013, 6:18 AM
@dougieisrollingthejays Everyone has their opinion but to be honest yours sounds like you watched a few episodes last season made up your mind about the show and then skipped to this episode. If you had seen every episode this season I don't think you would be saying that. Because this season it has been consistently solid.
henchmen - 12/13/2013, 6:21 AM
superotherside - 12/13/2013, 6:22 AM
Great review.

Josh What do you think about Gustin playing Flash in movies? I think he would be great and it would make more sense than putting another actor in there.
cjkalel - 12/13/2013, 6:27 AM
Awesome show hope it has longevity
NoMore - 12/13/2013, 6:29 AM
The title of the article: "how to start (again) a Marvel vs. Dc".

Good work on starting wars, Josh!
princevegeta31 - 12/13/2013, 6:33 AM
It was a great episode indeed!!
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:35 AM
reall hope they tie arrow to the DCCU. its good enough I think.
charlie2094 - 12/13/2013, 6:35 AM
Great review, completely deserves it, was a fantastic episode, this entire season has been brilliant! Great show, can't wait to see what they do with Deathstroke and Solomon Grundy/Cyrus...love the way they're setting up Barry, can't wait for that show
BatManiac - 12/13/2013, 6:36 AM
Arrow is the best comic book show to date.
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:39 AM
In reply I think the show is good but not great. This season is better, but it is far from amazing. Better the AoS yeah. Marvel's Netflix shows will pretty much be the deciding factor of if marvel can make it on the small screen. Sure they can make money on the small screen, I mean AoS is the 4th most watched scripted show, but can they make a show as good as arrow? Who knows. Until then I'm just glad we have both shows to tide us over until the next superhero movie comes out.
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:39 AM
@Batmaniac except for TIH and Walking dead.
Arrowhead77 - 12/13/2013, 6:40 AM
Dougie is smoking too many Jays if he thinks this was the only good episode in a season and a half....seriously, this show is great!
Polygame - 12/13/2013, 6:41 AM
You know what would be insane eventually?...Cavill or Afleck making a brief cameo.

Even just passing by in the background would be a bomb.. :)
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:43 AM
The more I think of it, there havn't been a lot of good superhero shows. Me ranking them I go

1. Walking Dead
2. The Incredible Hulk
3. Arrow
4. Smallville (I mean cheesy but fun)
5. Adventures of Superman
6. AoS
7. batman
8. Flash?
9. Wonderwoman?
10 Blade?
I mean after those first three there aren't a lot of great ones.
soforizo - 12/13/2013, 6:44 AM

I don't even think it was the best episode of Arrow, because the 1st half was just setup. But that 2nd half rocked and made the episode a classic!

Starting with Cyrus Gold rampage on the cops [what Bane should've been like in TDKR], Deathstroke speech, Deathstroke beating Dr. Ivo's men, Oliver vs. Cyrus and finally Flash's transformation. Simply put that finale had a lot of payoff over story lines going back to February of last year.
BatManiac - 12/13/2013, 6:46 AM
Arrow IS the best comic book show, and yes, by that I mean its better than The Walking Dead.
Tainted87 - 12/13/2013, 6:46 AM
This season has a lot of seeds planted.

-Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen
-Isabel Rochev and H.I.V.E.
-Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S.
-Slade Wilson and Mirakuru (on Lian Yu)
-Slade Wilson and Brother Blood (in Starling City)
-Cyrus Gold and Solomon Grundy
-Sara Lance and the League of Assassins
-Barry Allen and the Flash

Can't wait till January.
Arrowhead77 - 12/13/2013, 6:47 AM
@dougie. Weren't Hulk and Batman Tv shows on in the 60's? You cant compare today's Tv shows to them. 60's Hulk better than today's Arrow or AoS is crazy, bro!
Masterpace - 12/13/2013, 6:47 AM
I wouldn't say he choose Sara...why would he cover Shado when Ivo was pointing his gun at Sara...that wouldn't make sense but I guess it's obvious Slade will find out that Ivo gave Oliver a choice...BTW: I would pick Shado...and if in writer's minds it Sara was Oliver's pick then I think it's weird cause he was trought a lot more with Shado...Sara was just his girlfriend sister.
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:47 AM
why are so many shows taking a break over the rest of the year?
TheWolverine08 - 12/13/2013, 6:49 AM
I can get on board with the idea of Arrow being the best comic book tv show. I'm happy I jumped on this season.
dougieisrollingthejays - 12/13/2013, 6:49 AM
@Arrow 60s hulk was one of the greatest shows ever! Sure the action wasn't as good, but I remember the hulk that was a real guy! Thor episode was awesome too. That show is amazing.
Dmon - 12/13/2013, 6:50 AM
@dougieisrollingthejays I love the Walking Dead, it and Arrow are the only two shows that I watch live instead of DVRing but this season Arrow is better. Walking Dead this season has been boring compared to previous ones. I don't know what TIH is so I can't comment on that.
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