Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
The episode kicks off in the midst of a well organized heist at KORD Enterprises (Blue Beetle comin’ to town?). At the helm of the heist is “The Clock King” as played by Robert Knepper (Sam Sullivan of Heroes). Like any heist in the DC Universe, something goes awry; bullets are fired, people are hurt, foot chases incur and the bad guys escape… for now.
We switch gears a bit to see an excellent sparring session between Dig, Ollie and Sara in the Arrow-lair/cave/shelter/dungeon (take your pick.) It was a good feeling to see them all training together. After Dig hit Sara in the face, there was something unnatural about the way he rushed to make sure she was okay. Right after that moment, they all compare their gunshot, knife wound and shrapnel scars, with even a quick aside to Felicity’s wisdom teeth scarring. So to see the level of physical trauma they had all been through, only to stop when someone lands a hit during a sparring session didn’t make much sense to me.
The flashbacks to the island serve as a mechanism to add depth to the history of Deathstroke, Arrow and Black Canary. In this episode, it seemed to me a little bland and tiresome, except for the one moment where Sara met Sin’s father. With so much going on in the real world sequences, it seems as if the writers are trying to continue a story that has lost its luster, especially since Oliver isn’t the same man he was in Season 1. His survival was important to get him to Starling City, but the island scenes aren’t doing as much as they were in the beginning. Honestly, I’d like to see more about Sara’s time with the “League of Assassins” and Nyssa Al Guhl. Hearing Sara’s references to “spear” wounds was interesting, and it would serve well to grant at least an episode of flashbacks to that training process.
I’ve been waiting for Detective Lance and Oliver to bury the hatchet for almost two full seasons now. There was a time during the “welcome back from the dead” party where the both of them had a very real moment together. Who could blame Lance for hating Oliver for living when he thought his daughter had died? So to see him recant his fury, and then awkwardly apologize flowed perfectly. Paul Blackthorne and Stephen Amell have gotten much better on screen since they have cooled their jets. Alteregos, as well as their super sides, are more engaging when they work as a team.
True to the DC Universe form, a lot of the reasoning behind super villains is a sick family member. Truer to the source material, Tockman’s reasoning for running these crimes was to get money for his sick, invalid sister. It’s nice to see them stick close to home. As a bonus surprise, do you remember George Clooney’s pleas in “Batman and Robin” to cure Alfred of McGregor’s syndrome? Honestly, those moments of Alfred Pennyworth laying in his bed, and an empathetic Bruce Wayne sitting at his bedside saying, “I love you, old man” was one of the best parts of that entire franchise. Having just the sickness brought back as a catalyst for a new villain in this series was a really nice piece of fanfare.
So… the dinner… was one big giant ball of awkward. It couldn’t have gone any other way. Both Laurel and Ollie’s eruptions were well founded. Hats off to Stephen Amell for really stepping into his element in this episode. He has been notoriously wooden in recent moments that needed a more human touch, and thankfully, the advice he gave Laurel in the hallway felt sincere, not forced. The dialogue was delivered in an authentic way, and as long as the elements from that dinner “stick” in the latter parts of the series, it will stand out to make it much stronger. The ending dialogue between Laurel and Sara at the bar, however, is a whole other story.
Team Arrow took a strong step forward this episode, especially when Felicity earns her first gunshot scar by saving Black Canary’s life. It’s difficult to not get excited when they all go out on a mission together, although I can’t help but feel cheated that Roy wasn’t present this episode. There is room enough for the entire team, and I look forward to the writers of “Arrow” bringing the team into a functional force to be reckoned with. And while Tockman didn’t have all that big of a presence this episode, I get the sense we haven’t seen the last of him.
In spite of a few missteps, “Time of Death” seems to be doing its part to bring “Arrow” back on target. While Team Arrow was working some bugs out of their system, the Lance family was cleaning the skeletons out of theirs. An unhealthy dose of cheesy dialogue mucked up the flow a bit. If the things that took place this episode put to rest the emotional quicksand “Arrow” has been stuck in through recent episodes, the series will be all the better for it, especially with one heck of a cliffhanger!
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