This was an interesting episode. It told the back-story of Sara Lance and specifically how she survived the sinking of the Queen's Gambit, except there were more questions brought up than answers given. One thing I know for sure though, Sara is a far more interesting character than her sister Laurel. At least for right now.
Sara's relationship with Oliver is complex, and I think the emotions were done well. They have a lot in common, but at the same time they don't really know each other's full story. Those gaps in knowledge led to some neat moments where they backed each other up, both in combat and in the keeping secrets department. She didn't tell her father that Oliver knew about her return, and Oliver respected her need to conceal herself from her family, even though he didn't fully understand her reasons.
Then there were the fights against the Al Owal and his League of Assassin thugs. Both felt important, and the stakes were clear. I honestly didn't know if Sara would make it out alive, or Quentin for that matter, which gave things a good amount of weight. It helped that Al Owal was Malcolm's trainer which immediately gave him a level of menace that kept things dangerous. It made the clock tower fight all the more harrowing. Sara's solution to the situation was impressive, and Oliver's last minute save was very dramatic. Still, I think my favorite moment was Quentin shooting the LoA thug with his backup gun.
Yet Sara's back story wasn't the real emotional backbone of this episode. It was her reunion with her father. I think Paul Blackthorne did a really good job conveying the conflict and relief of a father who got back his daughter back from the dead, only to lose her again in practically the same breath. That moment where he asked Arrow how he managed with his secrets was a great one. I love how those two have started to forge a relationship. In fact, I like everything they're doing with Quentin this season.
I just wish I felt the same about Laurel. I think they're breaking her down so that when Sara dies or gives up her life as the Canary, Laurel will take up the mantle. Yet Laurel is totally spiraling, and it isn't making her character better. Also, did the writers decide that Laurel wasn't unlikable enough? Now she's helping with the prosecution against Moira. Oh well, I guess any character movement is a good thing at this point.
After the big cliffy with Slade and Shado's fates left up in the air, we finally got some clues about the Lian Yu story. Sara mentioning that the first time she saw the green hood was on Shado basically confirmed that Shado lived through the bombing. Sara mentioned Slade too, which makes me think there was time for her to get on a first name basis with them, that maybe they were friends. I also got the impression from the way Sara talked about friendship that things eventually went sour with Oliver's little group on the Island, since she was impressed with Oliver's friendship with Felicity and Diggle. It looks like Sara might transition to being in Flashbacks exclusively for a while, at least until she leaves for Nanda Parbat.
Comic Book Bits:
Dr. Anthony Ivo was created in 1960. In the Comics he's called Professor Ivo, and is a scientist obsessed with cybernetics. He eventually created the android Amazo which could steal the powers of superheroes. He also took some kind of immortality serum which caused him to become deformed. I wonder if that'll be tied to the Brother Blood plot? Anyway, he's been around for a long time so there's a ton of stuff they can pull from continuity as potential plots for this character. It's obvious that the producers are no longer using hints about the greater DC Universe anymore since they are dropping big names left and right. Fun stuff.
Ra's Al Ghul's child is looking for Sara. Is this Talia or maybe Nyssa? Is it possible they are combining some villains? Perhaps Isobel is actually an Al Ghul? That would be fun.
Very parallel story structure again, with parents and secrets. I'll ask again, what's Moira's big secret?
Oliver finally started telling Dig about his past.
The assassins crashing through the windows of the Queen mansion was startling. Well done.
Felicity: "We all join clubs we wish we hadn't. It took me a year to get out of that gym membership."
Really good episode, with a ton of information and more than a little emotional movement for our core characters. I bet this episode will resonate throughout the rest of the season, especially in terms of the relationship between Quentin and Arrow.
3 1/2 out of 4 Improvised Bo Staves.
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.