I really liked this episode. But it was basically a standalone story where the arc elements didn't actually move things forward very much.
Don't get me wrong, though, because there was quite a bit to like in this one. We did get a new vigilante added to the mix, one with an interesting history and actual character drama. The reveal that he was basically Starling City's first costumed hero is pretty awesome, and it also means that Laurel isn't just training with a boxing coach, she's training with a bonafide superhero. That puts her progress towards becoming the Canary that much closer to happening.
Next we got some rather interesting drama with Roy. Once again he didn't hide the truth, he didn't get too irrational about it, and he listened to his peers. He even got a real superhero name finally, Arsenal. Of course he didn't kill Sara in some Mirakuru rage flashback. It doesn't fit with the mystery. This isn't a quick fix type of problem. This is something that has layers, and I think Oliver is starting to get that.
Whoever did kill Sara is someone powerful enough to throw arrows by hand too, that much was confirmed by Felicity, which narrows the list somewhat. The most obvious answer of course is Slade. Which if that's true, he is being far more circumspect than he was when he first arrived in Starling. The other possibility is it is some other supernatural villain we haven't met yet. Either way, that's a pretty big clue.
Speaking of Felicity, I really liked how she handled the Roy situation. She was clearly worried, and did all the research available before she let Roy (not that there was much she could've done to stop Roy from confessing) tell the rest of the group. On the other side of Team Arrow, Diggle didn't get much to do besides serve as back up, and I'll restate my biggest issue... where is Diggle's costume!
As for the A-Plot involving gangland mass slaughters, that was both an effective storytelling hook and a nice way to wrap up all the various plot lines. Ted's former apprentice being the murderer brought up a whole bunch of interesting ideas -- primarily, if it is a good idea to work with someone in this kind of life. In Ted's case, he gave up on his sidekick who ended up captured and tortured for information.
Would Roy break down like that if he was put in a similar situation? I don't know, but I don't think so. His mind snapped because of the Mirakuru and he managed to come back from it. Still, don't think it's not a question a single episode can answer, but it was nice that Oliver's answer was a good one. He chose to not give up on Roy, even with the possibility that he killed Sara. I hope he can keep up his promise to never give up on Roy.
Most times the flashback serves as a parallel plot to the main story, or it at least shares some similar themes, but that was accomplished by having two sidekick stories in the present story this time. So instead, this flashback actually progressed Oliver's back-story a bit, fleshed out the Tatsu character a little, and provided an answer to Roy's inner conflict: Meditation.
Comic Book Bits:
No Thea in this episode. No mention of Malcolm, either.
Does Laurel still think Roy killed Sara? I really liked the way Laurel took the news, it's kind of the null answer to that kind of mystery. This was an ally who was out of his mind when he supposedly did this horrible thing. Is there vengeance or even justice that can be claimed in that situation?
Good writing on the whole dream about Sara masking a repressed memory of Roy's guilt about killing that cop last season. It wasn't a huge plot thread left dangling, but nice continuity there.
Did anyone else feel a bit sorry for Issac Stanzler? He made a horrible mistake, and was abandoned. I cannot condone his actions, but at the same time they were understandable given his circumstances.
How hypocritical was it for Oliver to go on and on about Ted being a bad influence because he killed one guy? Sheesh.
The tease for next episode was a new archer character named Cupid played by none other than Mary Winchester... I mean Amy Gumenick. If you look closely, she can be seen throughout the episode in the background scenes.
Trick Arrow of the Week: The Boxing Glove arrow. This is about as absurd as it is funny, and very much a comic book classic.
Grant: "This is where I kept my supplies. A safe place separate from my day job. I'm sure you've got one just like it."
Oliver: "Mine's bigger."
Stanzler: "Who the hell are you?"
Cupid: "I'm Cupid, stupid."
Grant: "Make sure you get some protein within the hour, all right?"
Laurel: "Yeah, egg whites. They're my new BFF."
Grant: "Oh, that's disgusting."
Good episode, but again not much forward movement on any of the major plots.
3 out of 4 Sidekicks turned evil
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.