Impressive, but undeniably anticlimactic.
It’s pretty brilliant how seamlessly Arrow managed to integrate Constantine, an already existing character from a cancelled show, into its own universe. In fact, introducing him through the island flashbacks is a stroke of genius as it automatically ingrains him in the show mythos, and makes his present-day appearance all the more believable. Matt Ryan is definitely a likeable presence, and I’m already a fan of his banter with Oliver. Here’s hoping we see a ton more of him going forward seeing as how the mystical aspect of the show is undoubtedly going to be an integral part of the Arrow-vese in the future.
Sadly, as much as screen-time as Sara received, her return is still being treated as an afterthought. Oliver and Laurel’s trip to the other side was intriguing in theory, but all they did was pull Sara out of a cheesy pool of water. In fact, our two warriors basically did nothing while John fought off a random ninja. It all just felt really clunky and awkward; Arrow could have done so much more with this otherworldly experience. This is all in addition to the fact that we didn’t even get to spend any time with Sara after her soul was restored. Quentin Lance in particular just seemed to carry on with his day dealing with H.I.V.E. and Diggle. As great as it is to have Sara back, there’s no denying that the manner in which this happened should have been handled better.
As far as I’m concerned, Haunted’s greatest strength is its exploration of Oliver and Laurel’s complicated relationship. It always felt like the writers forgot about Laurel’s history with Ollie after Felicity suddenly became the one true love, so I’m glad we FINALLY got an episode that focused on the show’s original couple. Watching Laurel completely obliterate Oliver in the hallway (a reversal of a similar scene in season two) was one of the show’s finest moments yet, punctuated by Katie Cassidy’s astounding performance. I’m not sure their problems were totally solved by hour’s end, but it was definitely a step in the right direction to see Ollie own up to his mistakes (and hypocrisy) while deciding not to distance himself from Laurel (opposing his campaign strategist in the process). Perhaps the seeds have been planted for this couple to reunite at some point in the future? Sadly, I can’t see that happening without Felicity biting the bullet.
Bits & Arrows
– Oliver’s new campaign strategist has potential, although I hope we won’t have to endure a cheesy romance with Thea (which will probably be the case). Nevertheless, I remember Parker Young from Suburgatory and he was always top-notch.
– I love that Thea recounted how much Laurel had been there for the Queen family.
– Interesting new dynamic between Quentin and Diggle. I certainly won’t mind seeing more of this, although their break-in wasn’t too exciting.
– Nice little moment with Oliver telling Felicity how much he misses his parents and Tommy. I miss Moira a lot.
– Sara’s attack on Thea in her apartment was very horror movie-ish. She literally chased her throughout the entire building.
– The great thing about the flashbacks this week is that Constantine really tied everything together. Anyone else get Lost vibes with the island being some nexus of evil?
– I genuinely love the sisterly dynamic between Laurel and Thea.
– The music that played whenever Sara attacked someone gave me goosebumps. So orchestral and haunting.
– Seriously Laurel, were you really going to shoot your sister?
– Loved Constantine flirting with all of Ollie’s girls. Please make him a full-time cast member (and have HIM date Thea).
– Back-scratching peacock feather! HA!
– I’m hoping for lots of touching Sara moments next week. Still, it was moving to see the Lances all share a teary hug together.
– So if Constantine is afraid of Darhk, I’m guess we all should be too?
– Great bit with Constantine giving Ollie that tattoo. Any guesses on how it will help him in the future?
– So Diggle’s brother isn’t as innocent as he once thought.
– I can’t seem to care about Palmer being alive. And the Curtis-Felicity scenes are just tedious to watch.
Oliver: Old enough to vote, Alex?
Thea: I owned a bar and I wasn’t even old enough to drink.
Quentin: I think we both know I didn’t have too much choice.
Damien: No. Well, certainly not since you literally doubled the number of daughters I have to hold over you.
Felicity on P.A.: This is your overlord, Felicity Smoak.
Thea: We have a P.A. system?
Oliver: Yet another decision I might live to regret.
Oliver: You two spent your spa weekend at Nanda Parbat?
Thea: It was the only place we could get a reservation.
Oliver: Why didn’t you come to me with this?
Laurel: Come to you for what? Your expertise with magical resurrection? Or that judgmental look on your face?
Quentin: You got to admire her consistency. Keeps her death secret from me, her resurrection secret from you.
Laurel: Because you don’t see me as an equal.
Oliver: What? Oh, come on. Laurel, of course I see you as an equal.
Laurel: No, you don’t! You never have. You never told me that you were the Arrow
Oliver: Keep your voice down!
Laurel: You never supported me becoming the Black Canary, and you never would have told me that there’s a way to save my sister. My sister, she’s out of her mind right now. Because of something that I did. A decision that I made. Did you ever just stop and think for one second about what I might be going through? I’m sorry about what happened to Thea. I really am. I love your family– I always have. I just wish that sometimes you would give a damn about mine.
Damien: Are you sticking around for a cupcake or something?
Damien: I don’t see you associating yourself with crime lords. Present company excepted.
Felicity: Oh, I’m just glad that the latest person from Oliver’s past is not another gorgeous woman.
Thea: Well, he’s a very specific kind of yummy.
Oliver: How’s Sara?
Laure: Resting. It turns out that getting your soul back is exhausting.
Diggle: Thank you, Detective.
Quentin: Gut punch doesn’t deserve a thank you.
This could have been an all-time great episode. Unfortunately, it fell short with an anticlimax of an ending.