Arrow season 2 episode 14 review: Time Of Death

Review Caroline Preece 28 Feb 2014 - 12:55

Arrow returns from its Olympics break with a strong episode and an even stronger cliff-hanger...

This review contains spoilers.

2.14 Time Of Death

And then, just like that, just when we thought this week’s episode of Arrow was all about reconciliation and forgiveness, a Slade Wilson-shaped bomb was dropped in Oliver’s living room, threatening to shake up the rest of the season quite considerably. That look on his face was priceless, wasn’t it? It was a reunion moment I don’t think any of us were expecting to occur until at least episode eighteen but, by revealing himself to his old friend this early, the prospect of a showdown is only getting more and more enticing.

But aside from this cliffhanger, the episode was primarily concerned with Sara’s return to the land of the living (as far as her family and the world are concerned, anyway) and how this affected those nearest and dearest to her. Firstly, it seems as if that pre-Olympics snog between her and Oliver wasn’t just a one-off, as they are now a fully fledged couple. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Felicity and, later, Laurel of course, and this willingness to rekindle a relationship between two equally damaged people – one that’s tied up with a lot of hurt from the past – is an interesting one. If I’m honest, I thought we’d have to work a lot harder to get to this place but, now that we’re here, I definitely don’t hate seeing Oliver happy for once.

And that happiness loosened his tongue a little, as that satisfyingly harsh argument between Oliver and Laurel proved. Is this the end of her spiral into self-destruction? I wouldn’t say we’re done with that particular plot yet, but her appearance at her father’s AA meeting was certainly encouraging. The last few weeks have seen the character indulge in her worst qualities, and therefore risk losing even more fan favour but, with Sara back and the character having to be repositioned in order to stay relevant to the show, there had to be a certain amount of deconstruction beforehand. Now that she’s no longer a romantic interest for Oliver and no longer our only choice for Black Canary status, where does she fit?

And that’s a nagging problem for the whole season, as a recent inundation of new characters has meant that the old ones have been pushed to the side a little too much. Though Felicity has been given her fair share of screen time, no longer just talking in techno-babble and making gooey eyes at Oliver, Diggle has really suffered since the recent hero initiations of Sara and Roy. What is his purpose now that Oliver has a boy sidekick and physically-equal partner in crime? He even joked about it near the beginning of the season, so it’s disappointing to see that Diggle may actually have become nothing more than Oliver’s driver. Then again, we’ve seen very little of Roy in the last couple of weeks, so maybe the issue is time.

One good thing about Sara’s prominence on the show right now (though there are many) is that she unites the Lance and Queen families like no other character really could. Without her, there’s a chance that Quentin could have become as irrelevant and underused as Diggle and Thea but, with enough truths between him and Oliver/Arrow to form a working relationship, he can be included on missions with Sara while also helping to sift through the significant amount of family baggage at home. Laurel and Sara’s sweet scene at the end of this week’s episode was definitely a breakthrough, but that doesn’t erase all of the hurt that’s gone on between them over the last six years.

But, though this episode was a strong comeback for the show, all anyone’s going to be talking about is Slade’s return to Oliver’s present day life and the ways in which he plans to destroy it. Why now? And why go to Moira first when he could have just snuck into the mansion and confronted Oliver head on? As next week will be flashback-heavy, exploring the relationship breakdown between the two of them, we may find out some of those pivotal answers sooner than we thought.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Heir To The Demon, here.

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