Arrow: Sara review

Team Arrow has to deal with the fallout of the season premiere, and it makes for an exceptional episode. Here's Mike's review...

This Arrow review contains major spoilers and they start right away.

And this is how Laurel decides to become a crimefighter. We knew it was coming. As much as we came to love Caity Lotz as Sara as the Canary, it always felt like a diversion. When Arrow first started, it seemed obvious that Laurel was eventually supposed to wear the mask. Once Sara came along, well, I was just fine with it, and she’ll be missed. But when Laurel finally puts that mask on, we can point to “Sara” as the episode that really started her journey.

It says a lot about how far Stephen Amell has come as an actor, and how we’ve done with Oliver since the start of the show, that moment when he realizes he’s standing right where the killer stood was powerful and underplayed. Not only that, I never really thought of Oliver as a leader last season. He was a convincing enough hero, but it always felt like he was barely in control of his team. It’s not like that this year. He’s got authority. He earned it, too. 

Also, “Lower your bow and live” was thoroughly badass.

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I’m really enjoying the Felicity and Ray Palmer stuff. I don’t know if Emily Bett Rickards can just generate chemistry with whoever she’s on screen with, or what. Brandon Routh sure isn’t playing Superman again, and just when you start to think that Ray Palmer is a cut-rate Tony Stark, he delivers something else entirely. More of these two, please. Really can’t wait to see what happens when Ray makes his way over to The Flash (it’s inevitable) to hang with that geek squad, too.

Could Laurel be any more different this year? She’s brilliant, and I’m totally buying Katie Cassidy’s performance. Not that I want to endorse torture (ahem) enhanced interrogation techniques or anything like that, but her bedside outburst there was, ummmm…kind of amazing. I actually laughed out loud, but in a “holy crap!” way, not a derisive way. Her breakdown at the very end rang true, too.

If I may make one minor complaint, though. This show is going to have to work really hard to get Laurel set up as a believable costumed badass. Her sister was a trained assassin with years of training. Laurel is about to start on the Arrow fitness regimen. They can’t have her suit up in six months. It just won’t feel right.

And Jesus, Felicity just owns it again this week. I try not to gush, especially about a character who the internet does enough gushing about, but who ever thought she would become the heart of this show? She’s the one who ultimately reminds us that this is the first major internal loss that Team Arrow has suffered. It means more thanks to her tearful scene with Oliver. Great stuff.

It was rough that nobody could bring themselves to tell Quentin about Sara’s death. Obviously it shoudn’t come from the guy in the domino mask. But the bit where Laurel stalled out trying to tell him hurt. This poor bastard. 

Still, c’mon, we all know that Sara will eventually take a dip in a Lazarus Pit and that’s that, right? So maybe that makes it a little better. It’s gonna be tough to get her out of that grave, but I assume the League of Assassins has eyes everywhere.

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I’m a little confused about that burial, though. They buried an empty casket (like they did with Ollie) back in ’07. So now these four just strolled into a cemetery, dug it up, dropped her body in, and buried her? I can believe a lot of things in this universe, but this one left me scratching my head.

Am I gonna have to start a stunt of the week section for these episodes, too? The motorcycle sequence was just short of ridiculous, particularly when the bike is skidding along the ground and you’ve got someone standing on top of it shooting arrows. Totally bonkers. The Arrow/Arsenal/Komodo scuffle made me giddy, too.

I’m tempted to deduct points for the deployment of one of my most hated television tropes: the closing montage over an alterna-piano ballad. I’m in a forgiving mood, though. Probably because the rest of “Sara” was just so damn good.

Who Killed Sara Lance?

– They seem to rule out Nyssa as a suspect. The League of Assassins appparently don’t kill their own. I can buy this…for now. Maybe the League doesn’t, but does their leader? We know that Ra’s himself wanted Sara back in the fold.

– To the smart folks suggesting that Thea Queen could be the killer, now that we know she’s been training on Corto Maltese, does this eliminate her from our list of suspects? 

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Meanwhile…On an Island

Thanks to the geography major who reminded me that Hong Kong is, in fact, an island. I feel really, really dumb. This section retains its name!

Surprise! Your first target as an assassin is your best friend! Not only that, it’s your best friend who came to Hong Kong specifically to look for you. That’s some best friend.  It’s nice to see Colin Donnell again. “Why don’t you just go back to banging your pilates instructor” was golden.

That being said, this week’s flashbacks felt a little lightweight. Even so, after two years on that OTHER island, it’s still refreshing, and I expect there are loads more story possibilities that can be explored here. Ollie’s plan to not kill Tommy ended up being pretty clever, too. 

DC Universe Watchtower

– Get your fictional DC Universe geography lessons here! Qurac gets a mention, and we get a look at Corto Maltese (we’re gonna get a much better look at it next week). Tell me, is this the first actual look at Corto Maltese we’ve ever gotten in live-action outside of Vicki Vale’s book of war photographs in Tim Burton’s Batman? I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. You people are my only friends.

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– Third and Lemire. Nice shout out to Komodo’s co-creator, Jeff Lemire, who just wrapped up an excellent run as writer on the DC Comics Green Arrow comic.

– Now that we’ve seen AmerTek, maybe we’ll get to meet John Henry Irons this year. That would be really, really cool, and even with a tweaked origin, this is a character who could fit nicely into one of the corners of the CW/DC-verse. They even mention Tom Weston, a minor DC Comics annoyance.

– Is this the first mention of Bludhaven on the show? My memory is failing. Nightwing fans may have felt their hearts flutter.

– Simon Lacroix/Komodo looks like he stepped right out of the comics, though. The character was created by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino in the New 52 Green Arrow #17.

– There’s definitely an element of the comic book Black Canary origin hidden throughout the general Canary arcs on display here. I (and I figure nearly everyone else) always just assumed that it would be the death of her Dad (who has always seemed like a dead duck to me) that got her into the action. His heart troubles seem to mirror the fate of Richard Drake, who is kinda/sorta a comic book counterpart to the character. 

What did I miss? You know what to do…

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4 out of 5