Are you an Arrow binge viewer and just took in a chunk of this season’s episodes all at once? Or, did you watch live and want to fondly reminisce about episodes you saw weeks ago?  Great, then this review is for you.

4.03 – Restoration

I’ll tell you what bothered me the most about episode 4.03. It’s the same issues I had last season. For one, there’s no logic into the plot. Nanda Parbat is officially “WTF?” land. Where everything is random, where actions make no sense, and plot twists are mistaken for what is clearly a case of character ADHD. In between the total nonsense was some really slow and boring stuff.

I know why Sara had to be resurrected, because she’s needed for the DC Legends of Tomorrow spinoff. But why did Laurel without question jump on the chance to bring her back? Isn’t she a bit more practical than that? Hasn’t she come to peace with it? Thea doing that made about 800 times more sense. For one, Thea is affected herself. Two, they could have run with that whole connection thing because Thea killed Sara. Heck, maybe the whole thing would have confused and tore Laurel and Quentin apart because the experiment wildly failed and the person returned was a shell of who she was. But no, they went with the path of least logical resistance.

If Nyssa had the item necessary to ruin the Lazarus pool, why in the Hell didn’t she apply it BEFORE Sara, her love, was dropped into it? Why didn’t she do it when Malcolm became Ra’s Al Ghul since she hates him so much? She could have done that and then ended him like she wants. Or, why would Malcolm say a very firm, absolutely not, no about Sara and then show up later with no new epiphany whatsoever and allow her to be dipped into the pool?   It would have been better if he showed up in Thea’s room, smiled, and went “Psych!” Or EVEN better, he’d agree only if Tommy was put in the pit too. Ooh, edgy, homicidal Tommy. I’d love that.

Nah, the whole Nanda Parbat thing was a clunky mess, the very same thing that ruined season three. No one has learned anything. Stranding Malcolm Merlyn there has been terrible and a waste of a great character. He’s only been in one episode and his dialogue was as stiff as a board. He wasn’t a fearless leader of assassins. Can anyone write for this guy? Here’s a great random plot, Malcolm blows up Nanda Parbat for no good reason and decides the League of Assassins can be run better in an abandoned factory in Starling City. You know, a place where there’s actual order in the universe.

On the plus side, Felicity and new techno geek toy Curtis remain adorable, Oliver and Diggle are making logical progress, and the Flashbacks didn’t piss me off. I also don’t like the idea of Metahumans loose in Starling City. They should be dealing with The Flash in Central City where they belong.

Thanks for deflating my “fingers crossed with hope” optimism about season four writers. Try better.

4.04 – “Beyond Redemption”

Yes, this was much better. It goes to show that a lot can be packed into an episode and in the end it all comes together and makes sense. Well, mostly makes sense. I’m still not exactly sure why beloved and newly resurrected sister Sara Lance is chained up in a basement like an animal, but hey, I’ll let it go for now.

Obviously, the big footnote for “Beyond Redemption” is this is the episode where we got the reveal of the new Arrow cave. It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s badass, and it really helps that Felicity has all that money now. See what happens when design is left up to a woman? Oliver could have used her touch in season one. Although, Cisco Ramon deserves a lot of the credit as well, but somehow I think Felicity was making all the color choices. Interesting its Sebastian Blood’s old lair, meaning that Oliver can run his mayoral campaign upstairs. That’s convenient and all, but I really miss Verdant. A nightclub is just livelier and I love that the gang had a place to go drown their sorrows when things got rough.

The entire episode was a morality check for Quentin Lance, proving once again that when Paul Blackthorne is given some adequate material, the man can fly. Good thing the acting sold it, because I still say Quentin’s excuse for getting involved with Darhk, he threatened Laurel, doesn’t hold water at all, especially when Laurel is the freaking bad ass Black Canary. The parallel of Quentin’s struggle with the villains of the week, crooked Star City cops, was effective considering its heavy handedness. Thus we go to the title, “Beyond Redemption.” Star City, Quentin Lance, Oliver Queen, the bad cops, no one is beyond redemption. Well, Damien Darhk is, but that’s another story.

I applaud the choice of using Oliver’s announcement to run for mayor to explore the rocky relationship between Quentin and Oliver. It’s clear both men have a mutual respect, and when one screws up, the other takes it hard. Usually it’s Quentin driving the morality bus, but this week, Oliver got that chance. After all, he manned up because of Quentin’s words a couple episodes back that he shouldn’t be hiding behind the mask. All it took was one evening of monitoring police scanners to find out Quentin was in cahoots with Darhk. Oliver actually took that personally! His devastation and disillusionment when he confronted Quentin was truly heartbreaking. Quentin has always been the moral compass so when he’s off course, nothing seems right. Ollie wasn’t even sure if he’d run for mayor, that’s how much he was hurt. One of the big strengths of this show is when Stephen Amell and Paul Blackthorne work out the hurt feelings, and boy did they deliver this week. It was powerful and perfect.

I especially loved how Quentin in his self exploration tackled the dilemma of putting Sara out of her misery. The fact that Damien Darhk himself knew of the evils behind her resurrection spoke volumes as to how right Quentin was in his thinking (BTW great scene of those two discussing Sara. It’s the most honesty we’ve seen from Darhk so far.) However, if Quentin had gone through with it, that would have been less realistic than the whole crazy ass circumstance that resurrected Sara in the first place. In the end he loves his daughters too much. We could call foul on emotional manipulation on the part of the writers, especially since Caity Loitz is in the new DC Legends of Tomorrow spinoff (coming soon to a CW Thursday near you), but hey, when you have a great actor like that, might as well use him.

Should we consider this good or bad that after Quentin delivers his speech about redemption, talks the bad she cop into turning herself in, and decides to confess his dealings with Darhk, that Oliver thinks that continuing that connection is the better way to go? That it gives them inside access to Darhk? I suppose there is a danger element involved for Quentin, but he is after all a cop that can fight his own battles and be put in the line of danger. It also has me worried that he’s the next cast member for the dead pool. Perhaps Quentin is the person in the grave?

There’s also some flashback stuff, nothing of note this episode. Oh, but next episode, suddenly I’m paying attention. It’s Constantine! My thoughts on 4.05, 4.06 and 4.07 are coming up in the next binge viewing review.

Overall Grades:

Restoration – D- (Felicity and Curtis spare it from an F)

Beyond Redemption – B+

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