Arrow came back this week with one less archer at the forefront as the team struggled with the disappearance of Oliver. Meanwhile, a crime boss is planning a takeover of the Glades. And Merlyn has some news to bring.
On the home front, we were treated to a team up of Roy and Diggle as the two tried to protect Starling. When they learned of Brick’s plans, the pair tried their best to stop them. We even got to see Diggle back under the Arrow hood again this episode. While the two work fairly well together, their efforts prove nowhere near as fruitful as they want.
Merlyn, at Thea’s request goes to the site of the duel between Oliver and Ra’s to find evidence that the Arrow is dead. His confrontation about the truth with Team Arrow leaves them all shaken, and Merlyn decides to try to get Thea out of town and to safety. Side note: she knows that Roy is Arsenal. Not a huge jump for her, given finding the red bow last season, but this may matter later.
Meanwhile, our time in the flashbacks show Oliver finding a way to track down Tatsu, just before we flash forward to a present-day revival of Oliver, done by Tatsu herself.
Focusing on the side cast was wonderfully successful. The dynamic between Roy and Diggle was a great change of pace, and I am definitely looking forward to more of their partnership. Seeing Diggle back under the Arrow hood is always a fun treat. Both of them also did quite well in the wake of Oliver’s death, but I hope to see more from Roy next week. Diggle’s line “…but this time I couldn’t protect him” was absolutely beautiful. Truly a perfect line that sums up his mourning so artfully. Felicity also had a few great moments in her diminishing hope, but more thoughts on her later.
Vinnie Jones had a great first showing as Brick. He’s intimidating, has an interesting plan going on, and, above all, was a lot of fun. He looks to be very deserving of being the first multi-episode villain. I can definitely foresee him posing a serious threat to Team Arrow, especially after taking a gunshot to the head.
Speaking of Team Arrow, I enjoyed how Laurel was added this week. Her determination is coming out of necessity. She knows that a huge number of criminals just walked free and for all she knew, Diggle and Roy were walking away from the vigilante business. She may not be ready, but she’s going to try any way. Plus, she totally got the jump on those guys. She’s nowhere near at her sister’s level yet and that is apparent.
While we’re talking about emotional scenes, I can’t leave out Brandon Routh. His determination as Palmer was astounding, especially in the scene where Felicity invoked the “dead fianceés wishes.”
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Felicity was my biggest problem this week. Too much time was spent on Felicty’s reaction to the death of Oliver this week, and it honestly felt more whiney than anything. Diggle’s grief was handled excellently, Roy seems to be building to something, but Felicity just getting upset and lashing out at Ray felt like nothing new. She had some solid moments (particularly the I’m done moment) but by the end I was done listening to her pain and wanted to hear from the rest of the Arrow crew’s reactions.
Bringing Katana into the present actually felt the opposite of revealing Slade last season. In this case, it almsot totally killed what momentum the flashbacks had. Now we know exactly what is happening with Tatsu, though we aren’t 100% on the fate of her child. Also, this made it really unclear if he was dead or alive and what sort of thing brought him back. If it wasn’t Lazarus then how are we resurrecting our Arrow folk?
I can’t call it a positive or negative, but bringing Oliver back already is quite a controversial play. On the one hand it bothers me that he’s already back and kills some of the impact of his death, which they will hopefully help by not getting him back to the city quickly. It also took away time from our supporting cast, who looks like will do fine and almost flourish in this time without Ollie. But, in a sense it was a positive move. Not everyone stalks websites and spoilers and there are people who very well might have dropped the show thinking Oliver was really dead. So, I’ll hold my opinion of this point till next week. Personally, I hope we see very very little of Oliver next week. Like maybe as much as we saw this week.
Arrow had a great return this week highlighting the supporting players. Hopefully next week that spotlight shines on the lesser used even more brightly.