A DEATH IN THE FAMILY.
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Picking up after the surprising twist of Arrow’s season premiere, Ollie, Roy, and Felicity enter the Lair to find unexpected visitors; Laurel and a very dead Sara Lance. It’s a move that came out of nowhere, surprising not only Sara, but the viewers as well with her brutal death. It was a decision that really set the tone for Season 3. Ollie was already struggling with being both Oliver Queen and the Arrow, and Sara’s death can only mean more hard decisions and identity crisis for our Emerald Archer.
The episode’s plot shifts between the death of Sara in present and Ollie’s training in Hong Kong in the past. A heartfelt “call to arms” moment is held between Ollie and Diggle on the roof where Sara died, juxtaposed with an equally sorrowful moment between Felicity and Roy in the Lair. The Dig/Ollie conversation is interesting because of how apt Ollie was to sideline Diggle because of the pending birth of Dig’s daughter. The death of Sara seemed to override that protective sensibility in the name of justice.
Switching gears, we pick up with Ollie in Hong Kong being trained to be an “operative” by Maseo on behalf of Amanda Waller. His target? Tommy Merlyn. Checking an email for most people is run of the mill stuff, but as Maseo puts it, “Dead men don’t check their emails.” An alert triggered by that very act is what brought Tommy to Hong Kong in the first place, and it seems that Waller would rather have Ollie shoot his best friend than be compromised. Rightfully so, Ollie rails against the order, refusing to kill.
Let’s all take a moment to be excited for how Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Ray Palmer is. Countering Sebastien Blood’s dark and slimy political feel and Slade Wilson’s ruthless and unflinching presence, Ray Palmer has a young and reckless vibe that is endearing and fun to watch. He plays a more believable and entertaining version of a man with endless finances better than Stephen Amell has ever done with Oliver Queen’s playboy side (or Christian Bales rendition of Bruce Wayne). Spending $1.2 billion to buy the company Felicity works for, and speaking the way he does makes his character very likeable.
The antagonist (and murder of Sara) is a villain named Komodo. Essentially a black copycat of the archer Ollie was in Season 1, killing those he felt needed killing. Where the battles between Ollie and Malcolm Merlyn were always tense and had a sense of danger to them, the fight between Arrow and Komodo seemed almost comedic. They essentially spent 30 seconds jousting on motorcycles while shooting at one another, with Ollie taking an arrow to the chest, allowing Komodo to escape.
The standout of the episode is the exchange between Felicity and Oliver in the Lair. “I don’t have the luxury of falling to pieces… if I grieve, nobody else gets to.” The words are spoken by Oliver after Felicity asks how he can be so cold. The conversation works so well because it highlights why the current abundance of DC and Marvel films and shows is possible. We believe that heroes will be there to make the tough decisions that we can’t.
Seeing Laurel’s hardcore interrogation hospital skills was fantastic. I’ve gotten used to her being a strict DA’s assistant in the courtroom, but to see her go all Jack Bauer on a criminal in the hospital was surprising and pretty kick ass. All for nothing though, since Komodo put yet another arrow into his chest. The promotion of Quentin Lance from Detective to Captain is one that works well to give space for the Arrow to operate. I am glad that the heart to hearts between him and Laurel haven’t stopped, and it was difficult to know he was the only one throughout the episode that didn’t know his daughter had been murdered.
“Sara” showcased how real the stakes are for Team Arrow, and Caity Lotz will be missed as we move forward. The Hong Kong timeline was underwhelming. The ending fight scene left more questions than answers, but the excellent performances from the core cast members more than made up for it.
Who do you think killed Sara? The League of Assassins? Tommy or Malcolm Merlyn? Nock your questions and fire them at the comment section below!
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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