This review contains spoilers.
2.13 Heir To The Demon
It was about time we spent some more time with the Lances on Arrow and, now that Sara seems to have returned to Starling City for good following the events of Heir to the Demon, it seems we’re going to be focusing on their collective pain for the rest of the season. This entire episode was about the return of their lost family member, and how Laurel would cope with the knowledge that the sister who betrayed her so deeply has actually been alive for the last five years but, thankfully, the show resisted the urge to wrap things up anywhere near neatly. These issues are deep and complex, to the show’s ultimate credit, and they deserve a little time to fester.
Despite its problems, that’s what the first half of Arrow’s first season excelled at – spending time with Oliver’s PTSD and showing how it would affect his relationship with people from his past as well as those people who chose to involve in his superhero antics. The reintroduction of Sara gives the show another opportunity to do something similar, but crucially different, and to involve Laurel in her storyline. Laurel’s relatively quick forgiveness of Oliver had a lot to do with necessity – the show needed a love story – but the relationship between the two sisters, still involving Oliver as the barrier between them, is potentially richer and more interesting to explore.
As the last instalment of Arrow to carry us through the Olympics-hiatus period, we couldn’t have asked for more. Two things I’ve wanted this year – the return of Sara and Roy discovering Oliver’s secret – have now transpired in fun and satisfying ways, and the promise of a rapidly expanding Team Arrow hanging out down in the cave when we return is a tantalising prospect. Roy wasn’t actually in this episode, I assume for reasons of time and focus, but the show has really stepped up its game with new characters that are both recognisable for comic fans, and interesting and likeable in their own right for newcomers.
The problems with Laurel’s journey up until this point completely acknowledged, the fact that the Lance family have become such compelling central figures in a show unequivocally about Oliver is a feat in itself. It’s hard to remember a time when Sara wasn’t a presence on the show, for example, and this episode especially could have survived without the presence of our hero at all. We might not be getting a Justice League movie on the big screen but, if Arrow keeps going the way it has been, it’s entirely possible that we’ll have our own band of heroes by the end of the season. I’m ecstatic that Sara has returned to the present day storyline, and can’t wait to see how the characters react to her presence in the long term.
Elsewhere, Moira’s secret about Thea’s paternity was rumbled by Felicity and, despite some expert emotional manipulation, Felicity decided to come clean to Oliver anyway. This could have been dragged out for weeks, adding even more drama to the Oliver/Felicity pairing but, other than giving us a brief insight into her back-story, it was a bit of a dead end. What hopefully isn’t, however, is Oliver’s emotional banishment of his mother, and I wonder just how long it’ll be before Malcolm Merlyn creeps out of the shadows and Thea gets a storyline of her own. That’s one downside to having so many new characters – old ones like Thea and Diggle are being increasingly sidelined.Arrow
returns on February the 26th but, until then, we can only dream about how the show can possibly capitalise on so many great narrative turns and solid character development. See you in three weeks!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Tremors, here.
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