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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This show just gets better. Felicity in her work-out gear as well!

And surely an honourable mention for Robert Knepper playing to type as the Clock King. More from him in the future?

Is Canary ever going to be portrayed as even slightly kick-ass on this show? I mean, ever?

I know Arrow doesn't have the best track record with female characters (with one exception, and to be honest even Felicity feels like Chloe Mk.II) And I know the show is called Arrow so it's natch always going to be about showing how uber-awesome Ollie is, and by association that means nobody else can be equally as awesome.

But honestly, what's the point of bringing in Sarah as Canary (after making such a mess of Laurel to the point where she couldn't convincingly assume the role - and that was even before this season), if she's only there to repeatedly need to be saved, generally by Ollie and this week by Not-Chloe. And who didn't see that coming? Sure the whole episode was a leading to a hugely predictable Felicity-proves-herself moment, but was it completely necessary for Sarah to need Felicity to save her not once but twice!!?

Honestly, at this point it's starting to seem like a miracle that Sarah survived this long in the league, given that how often she's needed help since coming back from the 'dead'.

Like the little nods to the wider DC universe, kord industries, blue devil on the side of the bus and Sarah worked at the oblivion bar. Could go somewhere with that if justice league dark ever gets off the ground.

I found myself wondering if Sarah was being stupid on purpose...she had realised Felicity wasn't all that happy with her there.

Yeah, that's one way to justify Sarah's numptiness. Although, if she was intentionally risking own her life just to help Felicity get over her inadequacy issues, that's a whole differently level of daft.

While I am enjoying the show two things that more than slightly detract.

Isn't it obvious to Quentin that Arrow is Oliver Queen?

Alex Kingston is a wasted talent in the show.

The truth is she would have been fine but she got distracted by Felicity who shouldn't have been there in the first place

I prefer Sara in her workout gear myself

No-one else has mentioned it so I will: Sin is the orphaned daughter of the guy who died in Sara's arms on the island. She is keeping her promise to look out for her and I find that awesome. It gives meaning and depth to their relationship with merely the cost of a 5 minute flashback and a photo.

Alex Kingston is wasted talent on most shows she has been on. She is just too good and beautiful for anyone to know what to do with her, with the exception of River Song of course.

Sara's already suffering from the Sixth Ranger Syndrome, until she was on her own she could kick some major rear-ends (I think she wanted to be unmasked by Oliver).
By the time she got more involved with Team Arrow she just lost her edge - I mean, being hit by Diggle? Ok, the guy's a soldier but, c'mon.
Not scanning your surroundings as any skilled assassin would do? You don't wanna kill anymore, I get that, but it's not like your five senses dull when you choose not to.

I call it Sixth Ranger Syndrome. Bummer 'cause I've always a soft spot for Black Canary in the comics.

I have decided that Officer Lance has decided to take a page out of Commissioner Gordan's book and is ignoring any clues to the Arrows identity. He doesn't want to know. And if he does, he will pretend he doesn't.

Despite being a massive Whovian, I will always think of her a Dr Corday. Probably because that is a more formative memory.

He's a brilliant actor, especially for villains. I wish he would get more regular work.

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