Arrow: Crucible

Dig: "You know, Oliver, someone once told me that secrets have weight. The more you keep, the harder it is to keep moving."
Oliver: "You see how hard I work out."

Of my two current shows, I think Arrow is winning slightly in the dense plotting contest. This episode had a lot going on, but it didn't feel heavy and overdone. In fact, I really like what they are doing so far.

The build up to Sarah's reveal was a good one. I should've seen it coming, but for some reason I was taken by surprise. Of course the emotional side of her return was played up with her longing to reconnect to her family. She's struggling with a return to her old life, much like Oliver did when he first arrived home. She's going through the same kinds of emotions as him, although clearly she went through a very different set of struggles.

I loved that Oliver didn't fall for her sonic device, but I also loved that she had a redundancy. Shades of Malcolm Merlyn. I also loved that she didn't kill the Mayor. So maybe she will be able to recover and become a hero -- that is, if her past doesn't kill her first. Oliver's right though. If Sarah shows up on her family's doorstep, they will never forgive Oliver for keeping that secret from them.

At least Oliver didn't cause her death, even though he clearly thought she was dead. That's a big guilt load off his conscience. Her identity also explains the Canary's actions over the last couple of episodes, and especially why she hasn't been aggressive towards Oliver. Her identity could also potentially bridge Laurel into ending up as Black Canary. Of course Laurel isn't remotely ready for that kind of life, or really for the news that her sister is alive.

Laurel has every right to break down, but she should listen to her father. Quentin has fallen into that pit of depression and guilt, and managed to climb out of it. He could be a voice of experience, but instead she views him as weak, as something she could never become. Except that's exactly where she's headed. I'm not sure if that's a good thing for the character or a bad thing. I just know that they need to do something interesting with her, and soon.

At least the Lance family has become a main focus this season. From Quentin's involvement with the Arrow, to Laurel's twisting fall into misery and Sarah's dark past, they have definitely stepped up, and so has my interest in those characters. Even Laurel, although she has the most room to improve. As for Sarah, I think I like her, and her sidekick Sin. Sin was a good way to bring in Roy and Thea without having to give them plots of their own.

I really liked the whole Guns for Cash plot, although the whole thing with the Mayor felt a little repetitive since this is the third Glades threat Arrow has faced. But I really liked the joint Arrow/Canary mission. Especially when switched weapons! At least a new big bad has emerged. Brother Blood is another DC Comic villain (that I'll go into more below), and I should've guessed he was going to be a bad guy from the moment he was introduced. But for some reason, I wanted him to be a good guy, so I didn't look for a connection to DC lore.

Island Flashback:

The second reveal involving Sarah was that she's some kind of torturer on the Boat where Oliver is imprisoned. How is Sarah involved with these people, and how did she become a torturer? It's only been what, eight months or so on the Island. No Slade or Shado in this episode, but we got some do it yourself surgery. This show is getting more hard core; last week was pretty brutal. This week is too, it just doesn't involve a serial killer.

Comic Book Bits:

The nickname Alderman Sebastian Blood used, Brother Blood, is a DC Comic supervillain introduced in 1982. Brother Blood in the comics is a priest of a strange cultlike group called the Church of Blood which originates from a fictional country called Zandia. Brother Blood is actually a descendant of a man named Sebastian Blood, who was a priest that craved power so he killed another priest and stole a magical shawl which was supposed to grant him long life and invulnerability. But the other priest cursed Sebastian before he died so that he would die by his own son's hand before he reached 100 years old. The newest Brother Blood felt he needed to expand his influence to become a global power, and ended up in America where he and his church ended up in confrontation with the Teen Titans. I'm not sure how much of this will be used for the show, but I thought it was interesting.

Yet another mention of the Star Labs particle accelerator. It could have something to do about an upcoming character that I won't spoil here.

Bits:

So what was with the mask and the green hypo Blood injected into the Mayor? Whatever it was, the substance is obviously lethal. Are they getting into meta-human stuff? Is Oliver going to end up in that chair? Or Roy... or Thea?

I'm not sure why Isobel was even in the episode, since she basically had one antagonistic scene with Oliver about being a sore loser, and forbidding him from doing the event with the guns. Which Oliver did it anyway.

Blood called Oliver's house a "stately manor". Didn't they used to call Bruce Wayne's place that? The more I watch this, the more I realize that it should have been Batman.

Sarah knows Slade. That's interesting.

Lyla from A.R.G.U.S. came back to give Dig some information on stolen guns, and to flirt with him. Is she his new love interest?

Quotes:

Laurel: "Please do not ask me if I'm okay because I am sick to death of everyone asking me that!"
Oliver: "I would never do that."
Laurel: "Good."
Oliver: "You okay?"

Oliver: "I was sure she was dead."
Felicity: "Do you have any happy stories?"

Felicity: "I borrowed the FBI's facial recognition software."

Another solid episode, and some massive reveals made for some fun moments. Further character development, plot movement and densely woven mythology is making this series almost difficult to keep up with. I love it.

3 out of 4 Sonic scream devices.
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J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.

3 comments:

Patrick said...

The reveal of Canary's identity might have been a surprise if the preview for this episode last week hadn't telegraphed it so spectacularly. That being said, I applaud the writers for not letting it be that simple. Ollie KNEW she survived the sinking of the boat! And yet, he still thought she was dead, and apparently what we've yet to see go down with her in the flashbacks is so horrible that letting her family think she drowned is far preferable. Though it does seem a bit fast for her to become a torturer so soon. Are the people on that ship tied to the League Of Shadows(or are they calling it the League Of Assassins in the show, I can't remember)? Interesting that she asked about Slade but not Shado, even more interesting that Ollie didn't answer. When I first surmised that Sarah was the Canary, I was pretty "meh" on the idea, but after this episode I am MUCH more interested in seeing where they take this storyline, especially since they're folding it into the flashbacks.

One thing about Canary that puzzles me. Why wear the wig if it's pretty much the same length AND color as her natural hair? :)

I REALLY like what they're doing with Quentin this year, mostly because I thought Paul Blackthorne was woefully underutilized for most of last year. Reaching out to Oliver like that was a big step for him. Y'know, Quentin's no dummy. What if he puts the pieces together and figures out that Ollie & the Arrow are one and the same?

Not enamored with Brother Blood just yet, I actually think he might've been more interesting as an ambitious politician. In that last scene he looked like a Scarecrow wannabe.

Freeman said...

This was one of my favorite episodes. Gold stars for Stephen Amell. He really sold his sadness and grief there. And I like that his hair is getting a bit more wild and Oliver Queen-esque. The scenes with Laurel and Quentin hit me in the gut because for some reason alcoholism really gets me down.

I like the dynamic between Sarah and Ollie. They're both commiserating in their misery. And now that Roy and Sin are sorta buddies, Roy has someone to help him with his info gathering. Though I suspect Thea may become suspicious and/or jealous that they may start hanging out a lot. And speaking of jealousy I'm fairly certain I saw pangs of it in Felicity when Ollie was talking to Laurel at the party.

I always like the island sequences and this was no different. It was short and sweet, though I really wonder about how Sarah became their go-to torture lady. I'm pretty sure effective torture methods aren't something you just sorta pick up on off the cuff. Maybe they'll explain it later.

I'm glad they made Blood the supervillain, and it certainly seems like he's trying to make meta-humans. To be honest I didn't think they were gonna be going the cult angle but I like it.

Last thought: Maybe one of Sarah's deaths lead to her getting a dunk in a Lazarus Pit. Heck, maybe that stuff Blood is trying to inject is some kinda extract of Lazarus.

ChrisB said...

As you say, the mythology is getting dense. I was completely shocked by the Sarah reveal as I did believe she was dead. The look on Oliver's face was tough -- good job, Stephen.

As always, Felicity had the best lines. I, too, sense some kind of deepening of her affections towards her boss.