Like last week’s episode, this one featured at least a few surprises. This time:
1) Tommy Merlyn made his first appearance on the show since his demise in the series’ season 1 finale episode.
2) John Diggle made a short return to Oliver’s crusade against crime and corruption, a logical circumstance bound that was bound to happen since both he and Oliver wanted to avenge the same loss.
3) Thea Queen and her father Malcolm (Tommy’s father) made their first appearances on the show since the season 2 finale (though a brief one), but by the looks of things, this episode might be setting up stage for whatever sinister role Malcolm has in store for her.
4) Ray Palmer got a new addition to his company (but I can’t tell you who it is yet).
For an episode that deals with tragic loss, this one sure well worked up its narrative in a way to help the whole television series overall remain action-packed in all times. Regarding Sara’s sister Laurel, this episode proved to be very strong fictional example of how tragedy can drive the suffering innocent to go bitter and aggressive, even at an extreme rate.
This was done by letting Laurel play bad cop through attempts to interrogate a witness, and then later contemplating killing the alleged murderer of her sister with a gun, only for Oliver to plan in advance methods to thwart her revenge goals for the sake of saving her from making a decision that she might regret forever. I was impressed to see how tough Laurel had gotten tough, but I had to give the writers of this episode kudos for the clash of moral principles taking place between Oliver and Laurel as it helped the show continue staying in line with the life-lesson teaching that has been essential to the show since it premiered.
I don’t know about you, but somehow, watching this episode gave me a hunch that Laurel might be in a time of transition where she had to learn whatever she needed to learn to be worth of claiming the void her sister left behind in Arrow’s group of colleagues. After all, what is Green Arrow without a Black Canary by his side?
As for Tommy, I was extremely surprised by his return to the show because initially, I did not believe he was coming back since this show is meant to avoid featuring fantasy elements (including resurrection) in attempt to model its fictional universe after our reality. Fortunately, the writers found a way to include him in episodes past season 1, by of course, including him in the flashbacks taking place during Oliver’s five-year absence from the United States, the absence before Oliver’s time as The Hood. Through this, it shows that dead characters can have roles to play in a television series after their death episodes without causing storytelling intended to keep fantasy at extreme limits from becoming dull to the viewers at home.
As for Oliver Queen, this episode gave me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I always understood that Oliver needed to continue on as a strong leader in the long fight against crime and corruption without anything to bring him down. But on the other hand, I found it to be ironic that the writers of this episode would allow a good guy like Oliver Queen himself to avoid showing emotion during the death of his own colleague as if he was looking down at human emotions as a threat to everything that was keeping him strong during the long run. What was going there was enough to cause Arrow to portray its titular superhero in a way that mirrors DC Comics’ New 52 storylines as it fitted DC co-publishing officer Dan Didio’s “heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives” ideal, an ideal that could ruin a good fabled epic story if the hero was intended by the writer in question to be a reminder for us television viewers (or book readers) to never let go of hope of living a happy and innocent life. Fortunately, this episode of Arrow paved way for Felicity Smoak to be the heroine this time, not by kicking villains’ butts (though that would be cool), but by giving Oliver food for thought when it came to how he needed to live in society during his ongoing war.
Well, someone had to be the bigger moralistic hero in the fabled story during the wake of tragedy, even though it wasn’t Oliver this time, but at least, Oliver did not stop trying to be a moral example for other people (including the revenge-hungry Laurel).
This week’s episode of Arrow is an episode that may portray its titular hero in strange ways no one can expect, but in the end, manages to stay fresh with the mix of tragedy and action throughout its story plot.
As for Tommy, we can expect to see more of him in flashbacks in future episodes (welcome back to Arrow, Tommy). In terms of character development, if Roy Harper (also known as “Arsenal”) could make it in his transition towards being the superhero sidekick he is now, I have faith in the show’s writers that they will give Laurel Lance the opportunity to get stronger (physically and mentally) before a new superheroine can be officially begin (whether she be called “Canary II” or not).
If you want to see what happens next, you can catch Arrow every Wednesday at 8:00 PM ET on CTV and The CW.