This is definitely my favourite episode of the season thus far.
The great thing about the introduction of Rutina Wesley’s cop character (Liza Warner) is that it feels organic; Star City really is dying, even more desperate characters will rise through the despair to try and make things better (through any means necessary). I also appreciate the fact that the character isn’t a random villain of the week, but a layered officer with a whole lot of grey areas. Her surrender (and subsequent capture) means that she’ll be hopefully be interacting with the cast on a more regular basis. And to be sure, Rutina is a great actress who became far too underused on True Blood. Fingers crossed.
Now let’s take a moment and praise Paul Blackthorne for giving us his finest performance to date. It’s funny because I was never a fan of Quentin Lance in season one (maybe it’s the fact that he hated our hero with a passion), but Quentin has morphed into one of my favourite characters on the show. Beyond Redemption was a particularly solid showcase for the character because it allowed Oliver to call out the detective on his often-questionable behaviour. I was especially satisfied with Oliver screaming at Quentin not to “hide” behind his daughters anymore – a sentiment that the audience almost surely shares after four seasons. In fact, both Blackthorne and Stephen Amell rocked their two face-off scenes, which further conveyed just how complicated their dynamic is. In addition, I’m so pleased that Quentin’s secret with Darhk wasn’t stretched out for the entire season. In fact, Oliver’s already in the know and wants the detective to be his mole on the inside. Excellent job writers.
Although I still have a big problem with how rushed Sara’s return has been, I can’t deny that it’s been great to see Caity Lotz again. Although Laurel doesn’t seem to be thinking straight (tying your sister up in the dungeon, really?), it’s going to be awesome to have Sara on the loose wrecking havoc. Can we please have the two Canaries fight side by side now (or face-off against one another, I’m game for both).
And then there’s Oliver’s mayoral run which I freakin’ adore. It feels like such a fresh story arc (trivia bit: Oliver Queen ran for Mayor in the comics as well), and it’s going to be a hoot to see Oliver navigate a campaign office. Not only that, but the various reactions of Team Arrow were spot-on, not to mention Thea kickstarting everything in the end by procuring the interns and giving Ollie an incredible final speech. Will Ollie actually win? I gotta say, I’m pumped to see where the writers take this. Season four just might end up being my favourite season ever.
Sadly, while the flashbacks didn’t entirely suck, I’m still not as riveted as I used to be (remember seasons one and two?). Not much happened besides Ollie keeping that woman alive using his fancy tricks, and making an even bigger enemy out of the thug leader (whose name eludes me). Still, I’m holding out hope for a solid arc because I sense that the writers realise season three’s flashbacks went nowhere.
Bits & Arrows
– Thea assuming Ollie and Felicity are engaged – too funny. But Laurel asking Felicity about the ring? Priceless.
– How badass is the new Team Arrow lair? It completely blew me away! Thank you Cisco! Side note: I loved the shot of the team taking the elevator down together.
– I still don’t care about Palmer’s potential return.
– Heartwarming scene with Laurel taking her dad to Sara and trying to show her sister their family picture. Less heartwarming was Sara almost choking the life out of poor Dinah!
– Anyone else get the feels when Diggle played bodyguard again? (This time for Thea). I miss the good ol’ days.
– Such a cool visual with Laurel hanging on to Ollie and sliding down.
– I loved everything about Team Arrow getting their ass handed to them the first time they went up against Liza’s team. Everything from the Canary Cry getting disabled to Oliver’s arrows getting deflected.
– Although I still don’t care much about Curtis, I liked his talk about wanting to hear his dead brother’s voice again as opposed to Felicity not wanting to hear Palmer.
– Surprisingly powerful scene with Darhk telling Lance to put Sara down. So Darhk is a father? Might we meet his hellish spawn soon?
-The salmon ladder is back! And no one is happier than Felicity!
– Oliver telling Thea he always wanted to run for mayor as kid – obvious retcon but still effective.
– Quentin and Laurel scenes are always touching, and I quite loved the former almost shooting Sara before Laurel intervened.
– Laurel getting knocked out in the hallway was a bit awkward no? It was quite obvious that Katie was falling asleep after getting tasered. The editing just seemed off.
– The second fight scene between Team Arrow and Liza’s team was even better with the debut of the new Canary Cry (I actually got goosebumps with its telekinetic powers), and Canary and Speedy double-teaming their opponent.
– Quentin’s speech to Liza was a bit much (slightly bordering on cheesy). But I’ll let it slide.
– How cool was it that they integrated some of Ollie’s iconic voiceover lines (“five years in hell”) in his mayoral speech?
– What’s in Damien’s box?
– Funny coincidence: this is the THIRD episode in a row that ends with Laurel’s shocked expression. Lucky Katie.
Oliver: There’s a reason we had Felicity buy Blood’s campaign office. Blood also needed his own lair.
Felicity: Don’t worry, I burned a lot of incense.
Oliver: Four polycarbonate cases, each keyed to your individual biometrics.
Thea: Ha! God, I didn’t even think you could pronounce “biometrics.”
Quentin: After what happened to the last few mayors, I’m hoping you win in a landslide.
Diggle: That depends on how close you are with your former drug dealer.
Thea: Depends which one.
Quentin: What, are you going to tell me you’re running for president now?
Oliver: So I’ve had Thea procure a couple kilos of cocaine-
Quentin: Your mayoral campaign’s off to a fantastic start.
Thea: What’s up?
Diggle: Just thinking about how much I hate raising a daughter in this city.
Quentin: What, I don’t get a code name like the rest of you?
Felicity: Oh, no, um, not to complain, but you do know that you just brought a police captain into our secret lair?
Quentin: Don’t worry; I got enough to put you away for 25 years. Kidding.
Quentin: Wow. No wonder there’s corruption on the force. Everyone else has got better resources.
Curtis: Why haven’t you been answering my texts?
Felicity: Your texts were “911,” “OMG,” “ASAP,” and five exclamation points. I do not have time to respond to something that doesn’t contain at least one actual word.
Curtis: But there is a subkernel that contains a programmer note.
Felicity: Oh, my God, this must be what talking to me is like.
Oliver: For years, you’ve looked at me with such contempt. Utter disdain. So I’m wondering… Do I have that same look on my face now?
Laurel: New frequency, same cry.
Quentin: You got your own key or something?
Oliver: What you said to Warner saved my life. I…I didn’t know you had such a way with words.
Quentin: Well, I don’t do encores.
Oliver: Um, hey, did you– did you hire all of these people?
Thea: No, that’s what makes them interns, Ollie.
Oliver: Where did we get all of these interns?
Thea: Easiest way to get a lot of followers on social media is to own a very successful club. All I had to do was tell them what I’ve already known for 3 years: Oliver Queen is going to save this city.
Oliver: I didn’t even graduate from college, although, in my defense, I did go to four of them.
Superbly written and thrillingly plotted, Beyond Redemption is a standout hour of Arrow.