This was an awesome episode, but so much happened that I can't really put much in this teaser space so...
Sara's back in the present, and she's free from the League of Assassins.
Nyssa was really interesting. She felt like a lethal dark princess who was both entitled and passionate. Yet her defining characteristic seemed to be centered around loyalty. She felt betrayed by Sara, and it took most of this episode for Nyssa to come to terms with how much Sara needed to be free of the assassin way of life, that she was willing to die rather than to go back. Unfortunately, Nyssa's rage over Sara's choice showed how dark she can be. When she was going after the Lances, I almost expected Dinah or Sara to die. I'm glad neither of them did. though. Oh, and I totally didn't see that kiss coming. Well, at least the first one.
Sara and Oliver feel like a good match, and they have more chemistry than Oliver and Laurel, so on that front I like them a lot. I also think that it's good to get away from the romantic tension between Oliver and Felicity with a real relationship for Oliver. I think it'll either work to bring them closer together later on, or it could push them apart enough so that Felicity can move onto someone else. In the end I want Felicity to be happy, whoever she ends up with, because she deserves it.
Speaking of Felicity, she hasn't gotten a lot to do this season. Even though her presence has been pretty heavy, she has been more of a supporting player. Here she did quite a bit. Specifically, she figured out Thea's relation to Malcolm Merlyn. I thought it was a good character choice that Felicity gave Moira the opportunity to tell Oliver herself. It was clear that Moira's threat almost worked, but I'm really glad she told him. Whether it was the right thing to tell that secret or not, it's out there finally.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) the news forced Oliver to finally recognize how shady Moira is. I didn't see him giving up on her like that. If it had been last season I would've been happy about it, but now I'm not so sure. Moira has grown on me quite a bit recently, even though she is borderline evil. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out over the rest of the season, and series for that matter.
The other set of family dynamics focused around the Lance family and Sara's official return to Starling City. I came away from all that back story and character building liking Sara and hating Laurel even more. Laurel's reaction to Sara's return was destructive and disappointing. There was a chance to redeem her character right there. I don't know what plan they have for Laurel, but at this point I truly don't care. Of course, I do remember saying something similar about Quentin last season, and he's now one of my favorites. Maybe they can turn Laurel around. I'm not counting on it, though.
Quentin got quite a bit to do again, and it was pretty thankless stuff. He had the heavy lifting emotional supporting role, and probably had more screen time than he's had in any other episode of the series. But the gold acting stars go to Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) and Stephen Amell (Oliver). To Felicity for the wonderful way she handled the situation with Moira, and to Oliver for that marvelous moment as he processed the news about Thea while trying to deliver an introduction to his mother's mayoral campaign announcement.
It was cool to see the Lance family interact before Sara and Oliver got lost on Lian Yu. It was also really fun to see their reactions to both reveals, the ship going down and Sara's presence on the boat. Laurel seemed so human in those scenes, but at the same time little things she said and did gave me the impression that she was always a bit of a bitch. I'd always assumed that Sara was just Oliver's way of escaping commitment, intentional sabotage of his relationship with Laurel. What if it wasn't? What if he had, maybe on a subconscious level, chosen Sara over Laurel, but didn't want to admit it to himself?
Comic Book Bits:
Nyssa Raatko (Al Ghul) is the eldest daughter of Ras Al Ghul and a half sister to Talia. She is also a fairly recent addition to DC Comics canon (added in 2003). Much like the rest of her family (Ra's and Talia) she is immortal due to the gifts from the Lazarus pit. Also like her sister she doesn't agree with Ra's more zealot-like ambitions to cleanse the world, though through some complicated plotting Ra's managed to get both of them back on board and against Batman. I think the history might prove to be important. Nyssa in the comics went against her father, and even went so far as to try and assassinate him. Which kind of makes me wonder if maybe we'll see her involved in the Arrowverse in a much larger capacity later on.
No Roy this week, and I wonder how he would react to the Thea news. He clearly loves her, but would her connection to the man he hates force a wedge between them, even though Thea hates Malcolm too? It is strange that he wasn't in this episode though, since he was featured so heavily in the last one. Although I imagine that fight between Arrow and Nyssa would've gone very differently with Roy involved.
Blood and Slade seem to have an agenda that requires them to win the Mayor's seat. I'm starting to get curious now about what they have planned.
We got a peek into Felicity's back-story. I bet we're going to hear more about it later on in the season. It sounds like her mother is a problem, or at the very least complicated. I bet they're casting her mother right now.
No Island Flashbacks. It isn't the first time the show has done flashbacks outside the island setting, but it is the first time Oliver wasn't in them at all.
I wonder if Alex Kingston is gonna be in more episodes now that the Lance family is together again?
The fight between Nyssa and Arrow was pretty spectacular, but even when he beat her I kept thinking that he shouldn't turn his back on an assassin even to save Sara's life.
Loved Nyssa's league outfit. The red made it stand out, but still fit with the overall style of others we've seen.
So Malcolm was released from service to the League. The first one to ever have that honor. Now Sara has as well. That's kind of dubious company.
Where is Summer Glau?
More salmon ladder, this time with Sara.
I didn't like the way Moira moved in on Felicity, invading her personal space. She felt evil, like the Borg Queen. Yes, I know she played the Borg Queen.
I really liked Quentin's reaction to Nyssa and Sara, unlike Laurel and her tantrum.
Quentin: "That is not the kind of lawyer you're gonna be, young lady, because you, you're gonna be a judge or you're gonna be a professor. Just like your mother."
Dinah: "Yeah, come over to academia. The fun never ends."
Nyssa: "Now come home."
Sara: "I can't. Look, I can't go back, Nyssa. I don't have much of a soul left in me, but what there is, it can't take the killing any more."
Felicity: "Luckily for us, Tibetan pit viper venom is surprisingly difficult to transport. It starts losing its potency the moment it leaves the fangs. Yet another sentence I never thought I'd actually say out loud."
Blood: "Look, I know you have pull your support from my campaign. Blood is thicker than politics. And it should be."
Lance: "You know, you never did tell me how you joined up with the Arrow in the first place. Where did you two even meet?"
Sara: "Vigilante Club."
Lance: "What's the matter? Didn't they teach you about right crosses in assassin school?"
Oliver: "You've been crying."
Sara: "I was happy to know I still could."
I really loved this one, and I thought it did a lot to broaden the already rich world of Arrow.
4 out of 4 Secrets and Lies
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.