HITTING A BRICK WALL
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Arrow finished off 2014 with one hell of a cliffhanger… literally. Oliver’s head-to-head battle with Ra’s Al Ghul ended with our hooded hero stabbed multiple times and kicked off a cliff. It was a pretty cruel way to leave us as we entered into the break, but it also ensured that this was one of the most highly anticipated episodes of the show so far. With Oliver largely relegated to appearing in flashbacks and a powerful new foe for our Starling City heroes to face, “Left Behind” was more than worth the wait.
It was obvious that Oliver would somehow return to life at some stage, but I like how it’s being handled so far. At the start of the episode he certainly appears to be dead, and it isn’t until later in the episode that he gets “resurrected.” It’s not immediately obvious exactly how he has returned to the land of the living, but it’s something we’ll surely learn over the next few weeks. Maseo being the one to retrieve his body was a nice touch, and it fit perfectly with his pledge of loyalty to Oliver in the flashbacks. Tatsu also showed up here and it looks like she’ll be nursing Oliver back to health. Her appearance here obviously means she wasn’t killed all those years ago, but we also see that something has transpired between her and Maseo that has split them apart. All of these little pieces should add up to form quite an interesting story in present day and in the flashbacks.
Back in Starling City, the remaining members of Team Arrow were struggling to fill the void Oliver has left. It’s only been three days since Oliver left, but a powerful new villain has already risen up. Vinnie Jones has been perfectly cast here as the seemingly invincible gang leader Brick. In the space of one episode, Brick has shown himself to be cunning, ruthless and an extremely formidable fighter. His fight with Diggle was one of the highlights of the episode, and it was telling that without Roy’s intervention, Diggle could have been in serious trouble. As it stands, Brick has an army of villains under his control now and he won’t be lying down anytime soon.
Malcolm Merlyn had an interesting week as he turned up here and there to deliver bad news. He even took a trip out to the scene of Oliver’s “death” to get some proof that Oliver had failed. It’s always hard to tell exactly how genuine Malcolm really is in certain circumstances, but he seemed a little bit too smug when he informed Felicity, Diggle and Roy of his findings. Things took a turn later in the episode when he informed Thea that they had to leave the city forever. Malcolm always has a scheme in place, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Emily Bett Rickards was great in portraying Felicity’s denial and eventual acceptance of Oliver’s fate. Her talk with Ray about not wanting to lose another friend was very touching. Ray is fast becoming a great presence on the show, and while Felicity’s words definitely got through to him, it’s inevitable that he will be suiting up himself pretty soon. Speaking of suiting up, Laurel has decided that it’s time to take up the mantle of her fallen sister. It’s been a long time coming but we finally got to see Laurel in full Black Canary mode, and I thought the costume really suited her. With Diggle, Felicity and Roy stepping down for a little while (I doubt it’ll last an episode), it could be left to Laurel and Ted Grant to clean up the streets.
Arrow’s midseason break was made to feel like an eternity following the events of “The Climb,” but “Left Behind” definitely didn’t disappoint. Giving Oliver some downtime allows some of the more underused characters on the show to step into the spotlight for a while, and it was great to watch Diggle and Roy in action together. Vinnie Jones’ Brick is sticking around for a couple of episodes, so it looks like we’re set up for an epic showdown between Starling’s remaining heroes and Brick’s army of thugs. It surely won’t be long before Oliver gets back on his feet though, and then we’ll have to see how Ra’s Al Ghul reacts to that…
How did Oliver “return from the dead”? Was he somehow still alive, or was it magic, Mirakuru or a Lazarus Pit? Let me know on Twitter @Oldsnake24 or in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
88/100 – Great
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