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ARROW Recap: Archery and How to Grieve

After the shocking conclusion to the premiere of CW’s Arrow, we were expecting big, life-altering things to happen, revelations to be had, and the season’s big set-up to be…set up. We didn’t get much of this, but instead we got something rather more realistic – watching our characters grieve, which they do in different and sometimes not particularly healthy ways. Oliver is continuing to learn about himself and test what kind of legacy he wants to leave, Felicity takes a stand and sets up her future, and Laurel tries her hand at being the avenging angel, complete with secret-keeping. It’s a pretty sad episode, but Arrow‘s never particularly jubilant.

After a brand new opening blurb from Oliver (which basically forgets the Island), we see Oliver, Felicity, and Roy walk into the Arrow Cave arguing about whatever when they see Sara lying dead on the table, Laurel standing over her. Felicity wants to call an ambulance but it’s much too late. Laurel says it’s not fair, that they just got Sara back, a statement I’m sure is echoed by everybody watching at home. Oliver, perhaps speaking on behalf of the writers, hugs Laurel and keeps repeating “I’m so sorry.”

Laurel wants to find the killer immediately but Ollie won’t let her. So, she leaves Verdant because the last place she needs to be is in a bar (smart of her!). Oliver says she should go tell her dad, but Laurel counters that until they find out who did it, telling Quentin would just kill him. So, she leaves and Ollie calls Thea, only to get her voicemail for the 30th time. Diggle arrives and insists on helping Oliver find Sara’s killer. Sara’s life touched a lot of people and she was everybody’s friend, so it’s certainly not up to Oliver alone to avenge her.

Oliver gets a call that Det. Lance wants to see the Arrow and the keen-eyed cop quickly surmises that something’s wrong. Not up to Oliver to tell him anything so he stays mum. Lance tells him another archer’s in town; having already killed someone, we see him kill another. Who could it be?

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In the Arrow Cave, Felicity muses about how small Sara’s hands actually are, despite her being a larger-than-life badass. She yells at Roy not to be using her sophisticated computers to tweet, but what he’s actually doing is using the FBI database to find Thea. He knows she’s not where she says she is. He shows Felicity the note Thea left for him during the raid on Starling last season and Felicity tells him he has to come clean to Oliver about the whole thing.

Felicity is not having the best day; she already had to call in to her job at the electronics store for a death in the family, but then she’s informed that someone very rich has bought the store itself. She angrily marches into the former board room for Queen Consolidated, where new CEO Ray Palmer is getting ready to throw a big fundraiser event. Felicity firmly tells the billionaire genius she doesn’t want to work for him and that he needs to leave her along. She begins to cry as she boards the elevator and Palmer says he knows she isn’t angry at him and that he’s sorry for whatever’s wrong, and that it gets better.

The next little bit illustrates apparently just how easy it is to figure out things. Oliver finds a witness to a previous murder by the bad guy archer and punches him until he reveals that the bad guy archer wears a face mask. Oliver then tells Felicity this and she begins looking for an archer of exceptional skill who is known for wearing masks. (Huh.) The League of Assassins is quite known for this, but Oliver swears they’d never kill one of their own (except that they tried to do that a lot last season to Sara). Still, miraculously, they find one name – Simon Lacroix aka Komodo – an assassin from Quebec. They find him in the city by tracking his phone because he apparently calls home to Quebec fairly regularly. Well isn’t that conveeeeeeeeenient.

A motorcycle chase ensues with Lacroix trying to kill a new victim and making his car crash but Arrow arriving before he can finish the deed. Arrow and Lacroix play motorcycle jousting with their bows and arrows, but Oliver is hit and Lacroix gets away, but the victim is safe nonetheless. Laurel is pretty peeved that Ollie let her sister’s murderer get away and decides to take matters into her own hands. She goes to pay the victim a visit in the hospital. While he doesn’t want to tell her anything, he eventually does given Laurel’s cunning use of hurting him. He says that the previous two victims and himself were involved in a deal involving a pipeline and Ameritech, but before he can say anything else, an arrow shatters the window and the witness/victim is dead.

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Oliver and Felicity have an angry conversation wherein he says some hurtful things and does his favorite thing of playing the martyr. He says he doesn’t have the luxury of falling to pieces. If he starts to grieve, no one else can, which doesn’t really make sense outside of Oliver’s own sense of things. Felicity tells him she wants more out of life than being in that cave. Later, Oliver tries to call Thea again to no avail and Roy tells him about the letter. Surprisingly, Oliver isn’t mad at all.

Laurel tells them her findings regarding the pipeline deal and Felicity quickly figures out the probable fourth target for Lacroix, and of course he’s going to be at Ray Palmer’s event. Palmer tells his would-be Star City investors that he’s planning to devote half of his net worth to the cause, and only pay himself a single dollar for the whole year. A very mighty gesture that is only undercut by the assassin breaking through the window and tethering the foot of his target. Roy and Oliver, all suited up, come in and begin to fight the assassin, who escapes forcing Oliver to jump after him into to another floor of the building.

After exchanging arrows, the Arrow himself pins Lacroix to the wall, but he’s not alone. Laurel arrives with a gun, the same one she grabbed initially when Oliver was going to go after Lacroix. She’s going to kill the man who killed Sara, but Lacroix says he didn’t kill any blonde girl. He’s good about claiming his victims and she wasn’t one of them. Oliver tries to talk Laurel down from shooting Lacroix, but she pulls the trigger… and nothing happens. Oliver removed the bullets, of course. The cops arrive and they both hightail it.

Lacroix’s alibi (of killing two people in Bludhaven the night of Sara’s murder) checks out, and Laurel is sort of aghast that she almost killed a person who didn’t deserve it. Sort of. Oliver tells her that she really should go tell her father. She does and very nearly tells him the truth, but his alarm to take heart medicine goes off before he can and she decides not to tell him. Later that night, the good guys all gather around Sara’s grave from when they thought she died in 2007 and bury her in there. Laurel thinks it’s perverse, but there’s really no other way. Felicity tosses a handful of dirt onto the grave before they bury her, as a Jewish funeral ritual. Diggle announces then that he and Lyla are naming their new daughter Sara to honor their fallen friend, which is very nice.

Diggle tells Oliver later that he’s back with the team until they catch who really killed Sara. So he was gone for less than an episode. Oliver says to him he doesn’t want to die in the Arrow Cave, to which Diggle replies “Then don’t.” Felicity decides she wants more out of life and finally takes Palmer up on his job offer.

The final scene depicts someone in Japanese fencing gear beating the tar out of people using kendo sticks. Someone applauds afterwards and we see that it’s Malcolm Merlyn and the person kicking butt is Thea. He says “Bravo,” and she says “Thanks, Dad.” So she seems really to have embraced this whole being a Merlyn thing.

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This week’s flashback story is all about friendship. Oliver’s Japanese handler in Hong Kong takes him to do a job for Waller, which is killing someone. Oliver doesn’t seem to care until he sees in the scope that it’s none other than his best friend Tommy Merlyn. When Oliver attempted to log in to his email in the last episode, it set off an alert and sent Tommy after him. But Oliver doesn’t want to kill his best friend, so what does he do?

Well, he and his cohort concoct a new strategy: Oliver, dressed as a ninja, kidnaps Tommy pretending to set up the whole thing to draw out Oliver’s family, but with Tommy Merlyn, he apparently hit the jackpot. Police sirens yelp and Oliver leaves. The police arrive to free Tommy, but’s just Maseo in disguise.

Overall, this wasn’t the most exciting episode, but it was fairly important. A big moment like the death of a beloved character will send anyone into a tailspin, and it will probably take these characters a long time to get over Sara Lance being gone. And so might the audience, which I think the writers are trying hard to avoid.

Next week, Oliver, Diggle, and Roy go to find Thea and bring her back, but maybe she doesn’t want to come back. “Corto Maltese” is next week! Only week two here and already we’re resolving issues.

Images: The CW

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  1. WayneAP says:

    “…Oliver, Felicity, and Roy walk into the Arrow Cave arguing about whatever…”  What Felicity was talking about was a nod to the Flash episode with Multiplex from the previous night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laurel Dinah Lance takes over the Canary role.  Dinah Lance is the Black Canary in the comics.  Plus, we’d had back-to-back episodes where her father tries to get her to stay away from dangerous places and situations.  As she told Oliver, that’s not her nature.

  2. insightful Panda says:

    Some people didn’t understand how the flashbacks fit into the episode. I thought they fit perfectly. Also SO glad that Flash has a re-air after this to perk us up.