What do you do when you depend on someone, and they are suddenly, irrevocably gone? That was the question explored in this episode, and I thought it was done rather well.
For Laurel, this is a compounded issue. Not only is her job at the District Attorney's office made more difficult because of the Arrow's absence, but she is also grieving over the loss of an ex-lover and dear friend. At the same time her greater struggle is dealing with the death of her sister, for the second time in her life. Just thinking about those incredibly heavy and impossible to deal with emotions makes me feel a bit chaotic and crazy. It is totally believable that Laurel has come to the inescapable conclusion that her only choice is to follow in her sister's footsteps.
To make things even harder, she has to conceal this major secret from her father -- not just her own identity, but also the fact that her sister is no longer wearing the mask. Talk about complicated. Add to that the rather rough task of trying to become a vigilante with an ill-suited weapon and without full training, and it's no wonder that her first outing was a mixed bag. She lacks the experience and perhaps commitment to the violence that her sister had. Still, cutting her teeth on a mid-level villain is a good starting point. Brick shouldn't be too difficult to take down. Well, on paper at least.
Roy is also doing his best. He's good, perhaps even great, but he is clearly not quite up to Oliver's level and he isn't ready to take on Merlyn, Deathstroke, or god forbid, Ra's Al Ghul. Together, Roy and Laurel did a passable job taking on Brick, even though they inadvertently got one of the hostages killed. But I think that was the point. I'm getting a very specific vibe from this half of the season, that working alone is no longer an option.
Oliver left to fight Ra's alone and was nearly killed (seriously, he didn't die from that wound and that fall... right). Roy has almost died at least three times since Oliver left, Laurel twice so far, and even Ray faced death once already. It is pretty obvious that being a vigilante in Star City is becoming more and more dangerous. The villains are no longer pulling punches, and the stakes just keep getting bigger and bigger. So what's the answer?
In part, Felicity. She provides stability and coordination. She is a voice of authority and order in situations that are often chaotic and dangerous. She adds humor to break the tension of the moment. In short she is the heart and brains of this group. Without her, their chances of survival dwindle greatly. But she isn't the only thing that needs to be in place. Without Oliver there, they are learning that going in as a team is far more effective than letting a lone hero go in alone. Maybe when Oliver does return, they will stick together instead of letting him do things like he used too.
Oliver's Recovery and the Flashback:
All the drama with Tatsu and Maseo tied in well with the current story of Oliver recovering from his 'injuries'. Maseo is a compromised individual. He has his own form of honor and love. But he is very closed off in the present, especially during that one sided kiss that Tatsu gave him, which was really painful to watch. The only thing I can think of that drove him to that level of detachment was the death of his son. It would also explain why Tatsu seems to be borderline suicidal as well.
Still, that doesn't excuse Maseo and his actions involving the whole Alpha/Omega virus exchange. I get wanting to save his wife, but at what cost? I'm on the same page as Waller switching the virus vials before Maseo could get his hands on them. It was a morally bankrupt choice, and it says more about his character than anything else he's done so far. He wasn't just working for Waller, he was almost the perfect man for the job. No wonder he ended up working for the League.
So the League has a mole in Star City, keeping an eye on Thea and by extension Malcolm. I knew I didn't like that DJ.
The scene where Laurel had to use Sara's voice to lie to her father was heartbreaking, and I think the actress did a great job with it.
I love the fact that Ray was the one that got through to Felicity about her role in keeping everyone safe. I also liked that she is so brilliant that she just casually gave Ray the answer to his A.T.O.M. suit prototype problem.
Arsenal and Black Canary do look good working together. I also have to say, if I crossed Black Canary I would be hard pressed to identify her. The mask is more effective on her than on Sara, who had a distinctive dimpled chin.
The cold open was a dream sequence where Felicity managed to convince Oliver not go face Ra's. I thought it was going to be a Felicity dream, but it was a nice surprise to see it was Oliver's instead.
I like the fact that the city underground fears the Canary as much as the Arrow.
The stuff between Thea and Malcolm continues to be the least important part of the show, but I really like how strong they are making Thea.
Mayor Castle is played by Christina Cox, who has been in a long list of genre shows and movies. Unfortunately she gave over the Glades to Brick, which could be a good plot development for team Arrow.
Roy: "What the hell do you think you're doing out there?"
Laurel: "Same thing as you."
Roy: "I've had training from Oliver and years on the streets. You have a law degree."
Felicity: "By help you mean money and council, not a suit powered by dwarf star alloy that fires lasers at people?"
Ray: "Lasers. That'd be ridiculous! They're compressed hard light beams."
Oliver: "Your penicillin tea tastes like penicillin."
Felicity: "I've sort of been living under a rock these days."
Roy: "Felicity was right."
Felicity: "Actually, I was wrong and I'm not wrong a lot."
Ray: "To be honest, I'd feel a little more confident in your aeronautic abilities if you knew, for instance, helicopters don't actually have keys."
Felicity: "They don't have keys?"
Ray: "I'm going to hold you to the no crash promise."
Diggle: "Sometimes me and Oliver would come down here after, you know, tough nights. He would pour this and look up and say 'Prochnost'.
Roy: "What does that mean?"
Diggle: "I have no earthly idea. To Oliver."
This is another good installment in what is shaping up to be a strong return from the mid-season hiatus.
3 out of 4 New heroes looking for their place in the city.
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.