June 29, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue
I finally caught up on DVR’d episodes of Arrow today and there was one scene that had me absolutely livid. This:
What you’re seeing here is Malcolm Merlyn played by John Barrowman catching, yes catching an arrow that was shot at him by the the hero of the show.
Now, I admit it’s been many years since I’ve taken a physics class, but this is simply preposterous. Let’s look at the factors involved:
1. The Mythbusters Argument: Mythbusters busted the myth that one can catch an arrow in flight in a 2008 episode entitled Return of the Ninja. If Adam and Jamie say it’s a myth, IT’S A GORRAM MYTH! To be fair, their expert “Arrowcatcher” was able to catch an arrow if it was fired directly at his chest and below full strength. And yes, I’m sure you can find videos on YouTube of people catching arrows under similar conditions.
However, the scene depicted above is with Oliver Queen (Green Arrow, Hood, Vigilante, whatever name you want to call him) and do you really think he’s going to fire an arrow at the main villain of the show in the epic conclusion of the season at less than full strength?
2. Arrow Velocity: Even if you consider that the compound bow that Queen uses for most of the season was busted earlier in the episode and he’s using a simple wooden bow in this scene, the arrow he lets fly still has to be travelling a minimum of 100 feet per second. And this is the Green Arrow we’re talking about. He spends all the time he’s not out slaughtering bad dudes doing shirtless gymnastics in dark rooms.
So, do you really think that Queen is gonna to get less than maximum velocity out of an arrow even with a substandard bow? Ok fine, let’s say he gets 100 fps. I may be a bit off on my math here, but I’m pretty sure that still leaves Merlyn with a window that’s about 2 one hundredths of a second long to capture the arrow. That’s a pretty hellacious reaction time even for the Dark Archer himself.
3. They’re just humans: I feel the need to point this out since this show is based off a comic-book superhero, but both Queen and Merlyn are human. Well-trained archers and fighters, but still basically normal humans. They have no special powers. Maybe their reaction times are well above average, but good enough to catch an arrow?
Especially twice in one episode?
Oh yes, the creators of the show liked the trick so much they had to use it not once, but TWICE! I feel supremely insulted by the writers of the show that they would expect me to buy this gag.
Ok fine, I’m sure it says something about my taste that I watched the entire season in spite of the rigid and awkward acting, terrible music, and requisite “Hey, let’s have a conversation in the entry hall of the mansion!” scene that happened in every episode. I suppose if I was going to complain about this show there is plenty more I could grumble about, but for some reason THIS is what tipped me over the edge.
Then again, let’s be honest, I only watched the show for requisite Shirtless Stephen Amell scene in each episode. That’s not hyperbole, the producers clearly focused all their efforts on Shirtless Stephen, maybe knowing that that’s most of what the show has going for it.
But still! Just because your viewers like eye candy doesn’t mean they lack intelligence or a basic understanding of physics.
Writers take note.