This week’s Arrow episode was another great one! I hope we can expect this level of quality all season long. Let’s review, shall we? I consolidated some parts of the episode for simplicity, and as usual there are episode spoilers ahead!
The episode begins with a dramatic scene: Oliver, Roy, and Felicity return to Verdant lair (which I’m intermittently calling “the Arrowcave” like the comics because they don’t call it much of anything in the show) to find a very upset Laurel standing next to a very dead Sara sprawled on the table. Wow, looks like she’s really dead. You can never tell with this show if people are actually dead or dead for a little while, but she looks pretty dead to me.
Oliver consoles an upset Laurel for a little while, before Laurel says “A bar is the last place I should be” and then walks out. One of the things Arrow does such a great job of is developing its characters over time. We saw this with Felicity last episode, and now we’re seeing Laurel living her life and being much more than a stock character or a damsel-in-distress. She’s been hardened through her experiences: her ex-boyfriend essentially coming back to life after years, being kidnapped and tortured by the Doll Maker, watching her father struggle, losing her boyfriend Tommy, battling alcoholism and pain pill addiction, discovering Oliver is the Arrow, gaining Sara and then losing her all over again. She’s no longer just this cute piece of lawyer tail with long eyelashes that she was portrayed as in Season 1, and she’s no longer a victim of circumstances out of her control. She knows the cause she’s fighting for and she makes her own destiny. It’s really exciting to see another strong female lead in this show grow out of what I thought would be a kind of generic side character.
The Arrow crew investigates the scene of Sara’s murder, but unfortunately there don’t seem to be many clues. Oliver shares a teary-eyed moment with Diggle over Sara’s loss, and they receive a summons from Detective Lance (they called him “Captain Lance” last episode but now we’re back to “Detective Lance”, I guess), who doesn’t know about Sara’s death yet but reveals that the police found a murder victim shot with…you guessed it, arrows. (I also appreciate Lance’s line about how the Arrow looks like “someone peed in your corn flakes.” Oh Mr. Lance, aren’t you charming.) Roy looks aloof and uncomfortable as Felicity pours her heart out to him. He’s been looking really uncomfortable lately. I wonder if it’s intentional? Bad acting? The Arrow crew finds a lead and…
Hong Kong flashback time! Oliver is griping to the Japanese man we saw from last episode that he really wants to go home and doesn’t understand why he’s become Amanda Waller’s hit man. Oliver looks through the scope of his sniper rifle and realizes…what the crap?! His target is none other than his BFF, Tommy Merlyn! (Who also has a terrible hair cut, no less! Why can’t people have good hair in these flashbacks?) Tommy apparently was monitoring Oliver’s email account and got an alert when Oliver tried to send an email last episode that someone had logged in. This lead Tommy to believe that Oliver was alive and checking his email, so he flew to Hong Kong to track Oliver down and now Amanda wants him eliminated because he’s a loose end. Damn rich kids with too much time and money on their hands. Oliver absolutely protests at the idea of killing Tommy, and Japanese guy (did they give him a name? Did I miss it?) insists they will be in serious trouble if Amanda finds out that Tommy is still alive.
Roy is caught by Felicity scanning the FBI’s database for Thea. He confesses to Felicity that he doesn’t believe Thea is where she’s told Oliver she is, because he knew that Thea would be running away. Felicity insists to Roy that he really needs to tell Oliver the truth about Thea. I personally have been enjoying these Thea-free episodes. She’s been SUCH a little drama queen in the past, and I found her character to be so annoying and she didn’t add a whole lot to the story.
Felicity goes to see Ray Palmer and very emotionally yells at him about what a creepy stalker he is, constantly sending her flowers and texting and calling her, begging her to work for him. (Ray explains that she already works for him because he bought the chain of not-Best Buy stores that Felicity has been working at and that “most girls would be flattered that I spent 1.2 billion dollars to hire them.” Umm, creepy much?) Ray seems to be fairly amused by the whole encounter and tells her that she’s not actually mad at him, she’s mad at something else. He then tries to be genuinely nice and offers to talk if she wants to vent, but she tells him sadly that money can’t solve her problem and just closes the elevator door and cries.. I don’t know how I feel about this scene. I really want to like Ray Palmer, but he WAS acting like a stalker and harassing her! Is it supposed to be endearing that he doesn’t think someone would actually be mad over his actions and that he invalidated her concerns, and THEN tried to act like a reasonable human being?
The Arrow interrogates a crime scene witness and conveniently discovers that the archer was wearing a mask, and only one archer on their list wears a mask. That sounds a little convenient to me, but whatever, we’ll go with it. This particular archer is named Simon Lacroix, and goes by the alias Komodo. Let’s talk DC Universe and comic books for a second. I don’t read many comic books, and I’ve only read a few Green Arrow comics, but I try to use new character introductions as an opportunity to build my understanding of the DC Universe. Komodo is a relatively new DC Universe character, appearing in the Green Arrow New 52 series last year. In these comics, he was born into a poor family but got a job working for Oliver’s father’s company at Queen Industries. Robert Queen was impressed by Simon and mentored him, but Simon ultimately murdered Robert. Simon became an excellent archer that even rivaled the Green Arrow. Time will tell if Komodo is a key Arrow villain and is more involved in this story, or if he’s just our one-time villain of the week.
Felicity is able to find Komodo and sends Oliver after him. Oliver tracks him down which leads to an epic chase and fight involving motorcycles and of course arrows, but Komodo gets away. Laurel, who has been helping Felicity with the intel, looks downright pissed at this development and storms out. They go back to the drawing board to figure out how they can find Komodo’s victims before they’re killed.
Then, Oliver and Felicity share a tense moment where Oliver gets impatient with Felicity’s database scans taking so long and accuses her of not having her “A-game.” Felicity just cries. Oliver explains he’s unable to grieve for Sara because he knows that the path he has chosen is too dangerous to end in any way other than tragedy, like what happened to Sara. Felicity tells Oliver that this situation has made her realize that life is precious and that she doesn’t want to spend her life hiding down in the Arrowcave and walks out. Oliver turns to look at her as she leaves but doesn’t go after her. Sniffle. I guess it wasn’t love after all.
Hong Kong flashback #3 (but who’s counting, right? Oh, me. I’m counting.) Oliver’s plan is to go to the morgue and find a body that looks like Tommy and give it to Amanda, telling her the job is done. Japanese dude thinks that Oliver is an idiot. Oliver insists that there must be another way. Flash to Tommy, walking around an estate and talking to his dad on the phone about why he’s in Hong Kong. He hangs up and is suddenly grabbed by a black gloved hand and injected with something.
Having discovered a witness in the hospital who may know more about Komodo, Laurel abuses her DA privileges and status as Captain Lance’s daughter to speak to him. She bullies the police guarding his room, and then when the witness refuses to talk she bashes the $#@* out of his injured hand until he speaks. Holy crap! She’s able to get a few words out of him about a secret oil pipeline deal before the window breaks and her witness is shot dead with an arrow right in front of her. Captain Lance comes in and scolds her for bullying his officers, perplexed at why she’s there to begin with.
Oliver tries to call Thea again, and Roy finally shows him the note and explains that she’s run away and probably isn’t where she says she is. Roy apologizes and Oliver gives him his very best disapproving-father glare. Using the intel Laurel received, the Arrow crew determines Komodo’s next target to be a businessman who is actually headed to Ray Palmer’s charity event he is holding that evening. After Oliver and Laurel bicker for a while about whether or not Laurel should help out, Oliver and Roy suit up and crash Ray’s party, vigilante-style.
The Arrow catches this Komodo guy and Laurel arrives on the scene with a gun out of nowhere, intent on shooting him for revenge for her sister. Komodo, who is now unmasked and pinned to the wall, claims that he was in Bloodhaven for business on the night Sara was killed, which basically means we have ANOTHER masked archer roaming around the city (as if 3 weren’t enough!) Oliver has a hard time reasoning with Laurel, but in the end he’d taken the bullets out of her gun before she grabbed it at the Arrowcave, so she found that she couldn’t shoot him anyway. Oliver later confirms the merc’s alibi and vows to find Sara’s true killer. Laurel goes to tell her father the news about Sara, but decides not to after seeing how feeble he is already. I think Laurel might actually need to take some drugs to calm down or something. I like that she’s being a badass, but I am not sure she is grieving properly and seems to have questionable decision-making skills.
We then see the Arrow gang surrounding a tombstone marked for Sara, but it’s her old one that says she died in 2007, and an open grave with the coffin not yet covered. Laurel laments the loss of her sister, and the inability to give her a proper funeral. In an awkwardly-written scene, Felicity tosses dirt onto the coffin, saying something about it being a Jewish tradition even though Sara wasn’t Jewish but it “felt right”. The others follow suit, while Oliver holds and consoles Laurel. There are flashes of the characters showing how they are moving on: We see a shot of Laurel at home, hugging Sara’s stuffed shark and holding Sara’s leather jacket. Roy contemplates calling Thea. And Felicity goes to see Ray Palmer, and tells him that she will come to work for him after all, saying she “wants more out of life.” Diggle tells Oliver he’s back on the team until Sara’s killer is found, and Oliver confesses that he’s afraid of “dying down here”, echoing Felicity’s words from earlier. Oliver tells Diggle that he’s going to go get Thea next, so I guess we know what the plot of the next episode is going to be.
In our final Hong Kong flashback: Tommy is tied to a chair and a masked figure removes a sack from his head. Oliver, carefully standing where Tommy can’t see him, pretends to interrogate Tommy as though he is someone who just wants ransom money for a rich kid and tells Tommy that Oliver is dead. Japanese guy comes in with a police uniform and sirens blazing and releases Tommy. I guess that works for everyone.
The final scene of the episode shows Thea at Malcom Merlyn’s home in Corto Maltese training in what appears to be kendo and seeking her father’s approval. I don’t have many thoughts about this at this point in time.
Overall, a pretty good episode! The plot is moving forward, and the characters are moving with it. The pacing was nicely done and I never felt bored! My score:
Overall Episode Rating: B+
Character Development: A
Flashback Scenes: B