How can an episode be so entertaining yet so flawed?
Thea’s always been one of Arrow’s most problematic characters. The fact that she never knew Ollie’s secret meant she was always relegated to lame subplots and the usual contrivances. I’m ecstatic that the writers finally had Ollie tell her the truth, as now the character can finally start tapping into her full potential. Much like Laurel, Thea needed to be included or she was at risk of becoming a really superfluous element in the show’s world. Thankfully, her response to Ollie’s secret was refreshingly positive and mature. In fact, little Queen actually thanked her dear brother for his heroism and sacrifices. Less effective was her sudden full-blown rage towards Malcolm. Really? Wasn’t she blindly devoted to him all year long? And wouldn’t it have made more sense to have her discover his role in using her to murder Sara? I just hope this subplot doesn’t fizzle out after being dragged on for so long. Nevertheless, let’s celebrate the fact that Thea is now in the know, and hope that she joins Team Arrow very soon.
While it was undeniably great to see Caity Lotz again after all the hype, her return just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was her awkward line delivery, or the clunky script, but I thought her scenes were sort of painful to watch. In addition, the two Canary fight scenes simply weren’t up to par. Arrow usually blows my mind with its impeccably-choreographed fight sequences, but I could barely tell both Canaries apart this week, and the staging just didn’t do the actresses any favors. All in all, while I liked the idea of the two Canaries on screen together, the execution was a missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned.
The most interesting thing about Canaries for me was Ollie trying find his place in Team Arrow’s new dynamics (as they evolved so much in his absence). It was fascinating to see him struggle to control his little army as they stood up against him one by one in defense of Laurel’s newfound vigilantism. I particularly loved Diggle give Ollie the speech about the ramifications of his “crusade”. I’m praying the show begins to tackle this arc in-depth going forward because it’s a freakin’ gold-mine.
Once again, Vertigo was utilized as a plot device for one of our characters. This week, Peter Stromare was underused so that Laurel could hallucinate her sister and fight her inner demons. Intriguingly enough, Laurel didn’t just see Sara, but her father as well who had had an explosive reaction to Sara’s death. It was all quite effective before Laurel realized her strength and beat down our baddie. But the most satisfying moment of all? Laurel looking up and seeing Sara smiling and proud. So I guess in the end, the hallucinogen served its purpose. Now writers, can we finally put Vertigo to rest?
Finally, our flashbacks this week weren’t notable in any way, but they did end on a promising note with Waller taking a captured Ollie and Maseo to Starling City. There’s an interesting reversal here as present-day Ollie is now on the island with Thea, which should create some amusing contrasts next week.
Bits & Arrows
– Epic teaser with Laurel getting thrown around like a rag doll and the reveal of Sara. If only those darn promos hadn’t ruined the Vertigo twist and the Thea reveal later on. Seriously? There should be a law against such spoilers.
– Gorgeous music when Thea walks into the Arrow cave and then hugs Ollie.
– Ollie’s mention of Laurel being an “addict”. I hope we never re-visit that storyline.
– Coolest action moment of the week: Arrow and Arsenal crashing out of the window as the bomber blows up the building.
– My favorite scene of the hour: Felicity and Laurel yet again. I absolutely love the growing bond between these two, and it was magnificent to see Felicity tell Laurel that she has a “light” that Sara never had. Beautifully performed by both. Also worth noting, people ship these two now. Hilarious.
– Soap opera moment we could have done without: Roy seeing Chase and Thea walking away together.
– Great Thea moment: her smelling the cyanide and fighting off Chase only to lose (again) and needing to be rescued by creepy Roy and Malcolm (who I guess were waiting outside her apartment as she had sex?). Bye bye Chase.
– Great little moment: Oliver telling Laurel to join him in his siege against Vertigo and his thugs.
– The most gut-wrenching scene in years: Laurel visiting her dad who realises that she’s the Canary, and then her telling him about Sara. Watching both of them sob in each other’s arms has to be one of the most tearjerking things ever. Stunning.
– Heartwarming moment: Oliver telling the gang that he trusts them to watch over his city, and giving Laurel an approving look. It’s a whole new dynamic and I love it.
– Funnily enough, I’m even rooting for Thea and Roy again. They had a lovely moment towards the end when she kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for standing up for her against Ollie.
Laurel: Fighting for your city isn’t selfish. It’s what a hero would do.
Oliver: You’re not a hero.
Laurel: Maybe it’s best if we stay out of each other’s way.
Laurel: What’s wrong? Was my form off?
Oliver: I’m sorry, did I wake you?
Thea: Can’t sleep. Apparently insomnia is a common side effect of finding out your brother is a vigilante. You smell like smoke. Korean barbecue?
Oliver: May I borrow him for a second?
Thea: Apparently, he’s been more yours than mine lately, so…
Oliver: The first time that we went after Zytle, I told you that this was my crusade. Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Diggle: You’re right. It isn’t.
Oliver: Diggle, I get that I was gone for–
Diggle: No, you weren’t gone– you were dead. And all of us, including me, we were ready to hang it up.
Oliver: Why didn’t you?
Diggle: Because I realized we weren’t just fighting for you; we were fighting for ourselves, too. And that includes Roy. And, yes, that includes Laurel.
Oliver: She’s not a soldier.
Diggle: Neither were you.
Oliver: That’s not the same thing, and you know that.
Diggle: What I know, Oliver, is that you started something. Something strong enough to live on past you. The question is, can you live with what it’s become?
A thrilling albeit uneven hour of Arrow.