TV - Arrow Season 4, Episode 7

Arrow

Steve Taylor-Bryant joins the Brotherhood and reviews this week's episode, with a difference...

This week's Arrow is different to the rest of the season thus far, and every season on reflection, and so requires a different kind of review. Gone is my blow by blow detailed recap of what you've just seen for yourself. Gone is my usual comment on how good Stephen Amell is. Gone is my 'but X person steals the show' this week. Gone is my highly professional and not at all creepy musings on the beautiful Caity Lotz...

Caity Lotz
Hmmmm Caity Lotz...
You see there was a story this week and, while it's probably an important one involving Thea's bloodlust and John Diggle's brother and their relationship, it was blown out of the water by some of the most incredible fight scenes I've ever seen committed to a television screen. Long running television series use different directors on most episodes and you might notice the odd small change in style or lighting but continuity is king and the director has to allow his or her episode to fit the ongoing narrative. It's a good system. It's worked for decades and allows new directors a chance on a popular show with experienced guys to handle the heavy lifting. Then, just once in a while, magic happens and a director comes in and changes the ball game, raises the bar and breathes fresh life into a project. This week was one of those moments.

James Bamford is well known to the cast of Arrow as their fight coordinator but makes his debut behind the camera with spectacular style.  Fighting is what he knows and so that is what he concentrated on. The fight scenes in comic book shows have always had to be pretty good to match up to the CGI effects of the motion picture big brother but fights are normally a means to an end and not the main part of an episode. That changes with Brotherhood and, dare I say, possibly makes any other episode that follows really have to try harder than maybe is fair on an episode? Bamford puts cameras in the action, up close and personal, and you can feel the body blows and smell the bloodshed. He has action happen off camera and then leap over and into shot from a low perspective that is hard to fault and really adds a tension to all the scenes that hasn't so much been missing so far, it was just we didn't know we needed it.

It's not often I mention a director when talking television, it's certainly a role I'm going to look at harder now and, unfortunately for those that come in next, I'll use Bamford as the line I judge from. Fight coordinators aren't always the first thought on a network or studio's mind as director choice, neither are stuntmen but, if you are making a stunt or fight heavy product, it now seems a simple choice to pick the likes of Bamford, a choice I really didn't see coming and has invigorated my viewing of a show I already loved.

Images - IMDb/The CW