Following up on the premiere’s gut-wrenching ending, Sara did a great job of showcasing the aftermath of our Canary’s death while laying down the pieces for a promising season.
Sara was an especially captivating exploration of Oliver’s psyche. It was fascinating to see Ollie come face to face with his own mortality after Sara’s demise. Stephen Amell’s performances might have been a bit wooden when the show debuted (although I always felt that suited the character’s journey), but he’s truly evolved into a nuanced performer. He expressed so much this week with so little dialogue, and that proves what a great handle he has on the character. I was particularly impressed by the funeral sequence which placed Team Arrow in a very relatable setting as they bid their warrior friend goodbye.
Katie Cassidy was also excellent this week, beautifully conveying the rage and pain of a sister left behind. The hints of her becoming a vigilante herself were finally introduced as she took matters into her own hands first by almost breaking off a witness’ arm in the hospital, and then carrying through with almost killing Komodo (had Ollie not removed the bullets). Most intriguingly, Laurel didn’t tell Papa Lance about his daughter’s death in fear of harming his health. There’s a cool symmetry here as a year ago, Lance didn’t tell Laurel about Sara’s return to protect her as well.
Unfortunately, much like The Calm (and the majority of season one), we got yet another villain-of-the-week. This week’s baddie was yet another archer, who goes by the name of Komodo. The character didn’t leave much of an impression (that often happens when you don’t get any dialogue), and it’s a pity that he’s saddled with what looks like a carbon copy of Malcolm’s Dark Archer getup. I know this week wasn’t supposed to focus on the villains of our story, but this just felt lazy. Hopefully Komodo will make another appearance and leave a greater impact in the future.
While the Hong Kong flashbacks are just beginning to gain traction, it was a real treat to see Tommy again. I’d forgotten how much I had started liking the guy at the end, and it was a stroke of genius to make him Ollie’s target. The solution to this problem was also quite clever, with Yamashiro and Ollie orchestrating a fake kidnapping and rescue mission which tricked Tommy into thinking he had been targeted himself. This final sequence featured a superb performance by Amell who conveyed enormous pain as he stood unmasked behind his best friend and proclaimed that Oliver was dead. Here’s hoping we continue to see Colin Donnell in future flashbacks.
It’s worth mentioning that with all the drama and sadness, Arrow as always still managed to produce some thrilling action this week. First, we got a motorcycle archery joust for the first time in the show’s history (which Ollie quite awesomely lost), and then we got that badass triple hood fight with Ollie and Roy fighting Komodo. I never imagined we’d ever get a scene with three hoods duking it out, and it was a glorious sight with first-rate choreography.
And finally, how perfect was that ending with none other than Malcolm Merlyn congratulating a masked Kendo fighter whose identity is revealed to be Thea (with a badass look and brand new confidence). Plus, little Queen’s delivery of “Thanks Dad” was just brilliant. I for one can not wait to see how her storyline will be handled as it’s due time she becomes an integral part of the show. Could she be one of this year’s baddies? Here’s hoping.
Bits & Arrows
– Heartbreaking teaser with Ollie walking into the Arrow-cave only to see Laurel standing beside a dead Sara on the table. Just brutal.
– A gem of a scene: Oliver investigating the crime scene with an imaginary bow.
– Felicity noticing Sara’s small hands was a wonderful and poignant detail.
– This week in Ray Palmer: he pretty much owns Felicity now, and by the end of the hour, she agrees to work with him because she wants more out of life. The highlight of these two this week was the moment Felicity struggled to hold back tears outside the elevator and Ray sensed something was wrong.
– Laugh-out-loud moment: Arrow punching the guy who tries to escape straight through the groin. Of course he crashes like a pile of bricks.
– Did it rub anybody else the wrong way when Felicity told Oliver he had no feelings? I know I’m in the one percent here but I just want the Olicity thing to die.
– I was proud of Ollie’s mature reaction after Roy revealed the letter. I’m also impressed that the writers aren’t shoehorning Roy into every storyline. He’s a sidekick, and he doesn’t need to always be in the forefront.
– I know many people are nagging about Laurel becoming the Canary, so it was a nice nod to the fans to have Oliver tell Laurel during their screaming match that she can’t match Sara’s skills. Hopefully this means Laurel will start training soon.
– Ollie catching the arrow and firing it back at Komodo was too cool for school.
– Seriously Laurel, thanks for explaining to us that Ollie took the bullets out. Really writers? In what world did that line need to be said? I think we could have all cracked that code. Talk about ridiculous spoon-feeding.
– Diggle announcing that he and Layla will be naming the baby Sara was a touching gesture in the midst of all the sadness.
– The musical montage at the end was a bit too One Tree Hill for me. Still, it was nice to see Laurel hold up Sara’s shark toy followed by the leather jacket.
– So Ollie’s off to Corto Maltese to get Thea. This is going to be epic.
Quentin: (to the Arrow) You okay? You look like someone peed in your cornflakes.
Felicity: (to Roy) THAT is a Cobalt-encrypted work station, you better not be using it to Tweet!
Felicity: How can you stand there being so cold and rational?
Oliver: Because I don’t have the luxury of falling to pieces. Everyone’s looking to me to handle things, to make the right decisions. Everyone is looking to me… to lead. If I grieve, nobody else gets to.
Felicity: You’re still a human being Oliver. You’re allowed to have feelings. I know sometimes that it’s easier to live under the hood.
Oliver: I’m not. Earlier today I was looking at Sara, and I realized something: one of these days, it’s going to be me. And this… this life that I’ve chosen… it only ends one way.
A step up over the premiere, Sara was a highly emotional and engaging hour of Arrow.