By Josh Axelrod
For an episode called “Sara,” Caity Lotz certainly didn’t have much to do other than be a corpse. I expected to get some Sara flashbacks, maybe to how Sara and Oliver got together before they took that trip on the Queen’s Gambit. Instead, we got an episode that amounted to a giant dead end. There was some good material along the way, but also a few questionable creative decisions to ponder.
Laurel wisely brought Sara’s body to Verdant, which kicked off the grieving process for Team Arrow. I was surprised at how hard Sara’s death struck Felicity and Diggle, who didn’t really know her that well. Diggle called her family, so I guess it was a “if you love her so do I” situation. That was a subtle yet touching way to remind us of just how much he cares for Oliver.
The crux of this episode was Oliver tracking down Sara’s killer. As luck would have it, some prominent Starling City businessmen had been turning up dead from arrow wounds. A few quick Felicity computations later, and they had the assassin pegged as Simon Lacroix. If Felicity ever wanted switch careers, she should seriously consider moving to D.C. and working for Pope & Associates.
As with every time Oliver has faced another archer, said archer kicks his ass during their first meeting before being handily defeated during Round Two. The motorcycle battle between the two was intense and visually cool. Unfortunately, their costumes were so similar that I had no idea who was who into Oliver removed his mask after getting shot. This is the same issue that plagued the series in Season 1 during fights with Malcolm Merlyn. Hopefully any other archers introduced going forward will have more distinct costume designs.
Now I will say, the way Oliver brought down Lacroix was pretty awesome. After crashing Ray Palmer’s (more on him later) party, the two archers found themselves in a classic Mexican standoff. Lacroix fired first, and Oliver CAUGHT THE ARROW and fired it back, pinning Lacroix to a wall. That was badass.
Even more interesting though was Laurel showing up, gun in hand and ready to kill the man she believes murdered her sister. And she even pulled the trigger! It’s a good thing Oliver took all the bullets out of her gun first, but this was the first time I ever believed Laurel was anything resembling dangerous. Considering in the comics she ends up taking the Black Canary moniker from her sister, I bet that was the point. Hopefully that’s where her character is headed.
For now, it appears her biggest drama will be keeping Sara’s death a secret from her father while working with Team Arrow to track down her killer (spoiler alert: it wasn’t Lacroix). I get that Laurel didn’t want to put more stress on Detective Lance’s heart, but the guy deserves to know that his daughter is dead…for real this time. Of course, with the League of Assassins set to be a big factor this season, I’m still not convinced Sara is going to stay dead. Seriously, where’s that Lazarus Pit?
While all this was going on, Ray was doing everything in his power to court Felicity. He even went as far as to buy the tech store chain she was working for on the side. After a conversation with Oliver that reminded her that she wanted more from life than to be The Arrow’s brain, she wound up taking Ray’s job offer. Seriously Oliver: Between Ray and Barry Allen’s impending return, you really need to step up your romantic game.
Oh yeah, and there were more Hong Kong flashbacks. It turned out when Oliver opened his email last week, he got the attention of none other than Tommy Merlyn (welcome back!), who traveled to Hong Kong in hopes that his best friend might be alive. Amanda Waller wanted Oliver to kill Tommy, which he just wasn’t willing to do.
That’s when Oliver and Maseo hatched a scheme to kidnap Tommy, make him believe that Oliver’s email had been hacked by someone trying to lure him to China for ransom money, and send him back to Starling City believing his friend was really dead. It was about as tragic of a reunion as I’ve ever seen on TV, and Stephen Amell played the kidnapping scene with just the right amount of sadness. It was also a reminder that over two years away from home had hardened Oliver, big time.
Last thing: We got the triumphant returns of both Malcolm Merlyn and Thea, who we saw kicking some serious butt. Looks like her dad’s self-defense lessons have been paying off big time. Thea’s going to have to return to action soon, and both Oliver and Roy will be forced to deal with all lies they’ve told Thea over the last two seasons. Good luck guys!