On paper, this hour should have been a terrible episode. After all, season one was ripe with outings that featured standalone villains-of-the-week that contributed absolutely nothing to the show’s mythology. So imagine my surprise when Time of Death turned out to be a pretty solid effort from the Arrow team.
While, the Clock King never really felt like much of a physical threat, the manner in which he overpowered Felicity on an IT level and immobilized the Arrow cave was excellent. It also helps that Robert Knepper’s performance was spot-on; the guy was captivating on Prison Break, and he managed to imbue a similar creepiness into the proceedings. Here’s hoping he makes a return appearance down the line and the writers afford him some genuine character development.
But the highlight for me this week was undoubtedly Laurel. Katie Cassidy did a stellar job and managed to singlehandedly restore my faith in the character. Two scenes in particular stood out. The first was the marvelous verbal confrontation between Oliver and Laurel, played to perfection by Stephen Amell and Cassidy. It was immensely satisfying to watch Oliver unload so much of his pent-up frustration on his longtime love, as we’ve rarely seen Amell so vulnerable. Both he and Cassidy knocked it out of the park, and the scene was made even better with the realization that both Oliver and Laurel had valid reasons to be furious at one another. Neither of them was completely right (Laurel’s been terribly self-destructive, and Ollie was a downright ass for going back to Sara), so I genuinely appreciated everything about this complex faceoff.
The second gem of a scene was Laurel’s apology to Sara. The speech was Cassidy’s shining moment on the show so far, and it was enormously moving. Hopefully, Laurel acknowledging the darkness and the downward spiral she’s been on since her sister’s death will signal a new direction for the character. It was tremendously affecting to see the two sisters move past their differences and cement their bond once more. I honestly can’t wait to see how their relationship will evolve, particularly with Oliver smack-dab in the middle. Outstanding.
And just because Time of Death wasn’t juggling enough plot points, we also got some wonderful material with the ever-awesome Felicity. Emily Bett Rickards has been astounding this year, and it was a joy to watch her come to terms with the fact that she probably couldn’t be Oliver’s “girl” forever. Her jealousy of Black Canary was subtle and realistic, culminating with her doing the saving for once and getting a scar in the process (talk about fitting in). Plus, I loved Ollie acknowledging her importance at the end. Now if only he could pay similar attention to Diggle. The dude’s been completely sidelined this season.
Of course the moment that truly elevated the hour was the cliffhanger. Slade Wilson in Oliver Queen’s House? And was he actually in a meeting with Moira frickin’ Queen? Talk about a jawdropper that I certianly did not see coming. I love that Arrow burns through plot at such a rapid pace, as part of me was sure Ollie and Slade wouldn’t even meet until the season finale. Props for one heck of an unpredictable twist that has me waiting with baited breath.
Bits & Arrows
– Awesome training sequence with Sara, Diggle and Ollie battling with staffs. Then they bond over scars as Felicity feels left out. Brilliant.
– Epic little moment with the plane being shot out of the sky and crashing in front of the island trio.
– Quentin apologizing to Oliver was a long-time coming, and it felt like a truly earned development. I can’t believe how much I like the character this year (he was my least favorite in the show’s debut season).
– Could Felicity start kicking ass sometime soon? If Sara keeps giving her tips, then it might be kind of cool.
– The Lance family dinner was just fantastic. I particularly enjoyed Dinah Lance revealing she has “someone” and shattering Quentin (and Laurel’s dreams) in the process. And Laurel realizing that Sara and Ollie were together? Downright harsh.
– Did Sara really think bringing Oliver to dinner would be a good idea? This felt a bit too much like a plot contrivance to me.
– Felicity frying the Clock King with his own cellphone was badass.
– A drugged-up Felicity was so very amusing.
– Sara’s the new bartender at Verdant? That’s pretty perfect. AND she can analyze blood? I keep waiting for them to reveal that she also because a master-chef on the island.
– Although I saw the Sin reveal coming, it was fascinating to see the dying man on the island give Sara a picture of his daughter. It adds a wonderful layer to the two’s current dynamic.
– Parachutes? I gotta say, I’m liking where this is going.
– Lovely moment with Laurel finally attending an AA meeting with Quentin.
Sin: I love when people come back from the dead – juices my zombie fetish.
Felicity: Basically he told our system to commit suicide… and it did.
Sara: It’s kind of hard to get a job when “International Assassin” is the highlight of your resume.
Sara: Why are you here?
Laurel: Because I realized that I went on that boat with you too. And I’ve been slowly drowning for all of these years. And after every heartbreak or setback or loss… I sank deeper into the dark water. And so when I saw you – so beautiful and so alive, I realized that I’m not those things. but not anymore…so please, please don’t hate me Sara. Please.
Dust to Dust by The Civil Wars
An entertaining and remarkably poignant hour of Arrow.