The good news: Arrow is back. The bad news: the returning from break episode wasn’t exactly the most interesting hour of my week. It was such a soap opera, I felt sudsy and clean all over, yet dirty when it was all done. It was a week of circular dramas that didn’t do much to advance the main plot forward, until the final five seconds that is.
It’s tradition in Starling City that if you come back from the dead, you get a party thrown in your honor at the Queen mansion. Why, because there’s no better place to have an awkward, surreal fete where conflicts are exposed for all to see, characters who have had their plots dropped because the arcs have gotten too crowded can make an appearance to remind us they still exist, and just overall strange s*** occur that doesn’t happen in real life, like the host of the party AND the guest of honor bailing because what do you know, a crime is happening in Starling City. They have to put on their alter ego costumes and check it out, even though there’s a perfectly good police department available to handle things.
Sara is now an official member of Team Arrow, and I can’t help but wonder why Roy hasn’t been down there with them. Shouldn’t he have been introduced as the new trainee or something? It’s been two episodes now since his grand introduction in the Arrow cave, and all that’s happened is he’s hanging out at the Queen mansion with popcorn ready watch the awkward family drama hour. That would be courtesy of Oliver and Moira, who are still on very frosty terms, and only just about everyone notices. Thea especially notices, but believes their stupid lie that nothing is wrong. So much for keeping up appearances. Absent from the soiree was Laurel, who’s still kind of pissed by the whole “coming back from the dead” thing.
Since they went down that road, the whole Laurel thing had to get it’s closure. It did, but we had to endure more agony to get there. Laurel had another drunken fit at yet another ill-advised Lance family dinner in which Sara made things even more strange by bringing Oliver. This time, Laurel was given a stern lecture by Oliver about owning up to her mistakes, and if anyone had the right to give that speech, it was him. He wasn’t wrong, but I half expected Laurel to shout out, “Who invited this clown?” I also really wish they hadn’t gone there with the whole Quentin and Dinah thing, because I hate seeing Quentin’s heart broken and him being made to look like an idiot. I’m actually with him on this one, Dinah was sending really strange signals and gave no indication she was seeing someone else or had a good life in Central City. It was unnecessary drama and tension. All it would have taken is one adult conversation and the miscommunication would be gone. Uncomfortable situations are not good drama. They’re filler.
Apparently, being told you’re the bitch in all this was enough for Laurel to reach out, and she and Sara made peace at Verdant (where Sara is a bartender now), plowing through the most vomit inducing set of dialogue we’ve seen this season. It was so bad, it actually made me nostalgic for the stomach turning lines from season one. Then Laurel joined her Dad at AA. Which made me think, that’s kind of not very anonymous, is it?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Quentin Lance HAS to know that Oliver is the Arrow. Come on, his body language says it all. He’s made peace with Oliver over things, he knows that he and Sara are close, that Sara as the Black Canary and the Arrow are always showing up at crime scenes together while Oliver and Sara they disappear from events at the same time. Oliver showing up at the crappy Lance pizza dinner should have also been the same thing as him wearing in big bold letters on his t-shirt “I’m the Arrow.” When Oliver finally tells Quentin, anything short of an “Wasn’t it obvious?” would be disappointing.
Then there’s poor Felicity, who is reliving high school with the whole “dorks vs. the popular girls” thing. Sara is the new female on the team and she’s got the whole package. Brains and brawn. All Felicity has is her brains and those were even one-upped at every turn by the villain of the week. Although, it was kind of fun to see everyone in full shirtless/bare midriff workout mode in the cave. Felicity my dear, the hubby thought you looked the best. You’re his type (I was into Diggle myself, who has an amazing build). It was hokey, but I did enjoy everyone pointing out their battle scars and how they got them. Diggle got his in Afghanistan. Given it was in service to his country, I declare his sacrifices the winner.
I know Felicity has a thing for Oliver, and Sara just swooping in to become Oliver’s equal in crime fighting and in the bedroom didn’t help her fragile psyche, but girl, I’m thinking you can do better. You’re the brains of the operation! There are plenty of guys out there that love brainy chicks. I love how Diggle was at least able to be there to lend a sympathetic ear, but he also doesn’t need to be in the middle of this love triangle crap either. He’s too badass for that. It was extremely predictable that Felicity would go and do something reckless like try to trap the bad guy herself, but hey, at least she got shot and now has something to show the others during the next round of war wound roundtable. It wasn’t all a waste. It also earned her a “You’ll always be my girl” from Oliver, so that had to be worth enduring all those pain killers when Sara patched her up.
Our villain-of-the-week was played by Robert Knepper, who I actually had the pleasure of interviewing once (for Cult). He’s a passionate actor, and he did try to put something into what was clearly a one-dimensional, disposable role. I thought Tockman’s motives were weak at best, but his methods were pretty rad. The fact though that he was always one-step ahead of Felicity put him in the mad genius category and…it did no good anyway. In the end he was just added to the long list of textbook villains that met an early demise. It’s a shame, because he was certainly less over the top than most of these guys. He was still bat s*** crazy though and had to go.
But none of what I described so far fell into the “What the hell were they thinking?” category quite like the twist that came with this week’s flashback. While on the island, a plane flew over and was blown out of the sky by the freighter. The pilot, who Sara nursed until he died, was actually from Starling City and was a single dad to a little girl. A girl who was left orphaned. Hmm, who do we know that was recently introduced as a character, is an orphan, and formed a bond with Sara when she came back town? Yep, it was Sin’s father. So that’s why Sara formed a friendship with her, a big sister looking out for the little sis type of thing. How many people in Starling City ended up on that island? It’s not like is was a vacation paradise frequented by many of the townsfolk. It’s a flipping isolated island on the other side of the world that no one ever heard of. It was a sweet twist, but a completely contrived one.
So, judging by this entire analysis, you can probably tell that nothing of real value happened. Just another day at the Team Arrow cave. Oh, except the end, when Oliver had to meet one of Moira’s new business associates. Slade Wilson!!!! Oliver’s “oh s***” expression pretty much said it all. Things are about to get very real.
What did you think of “Time of Death?” Do you like episodes that focus solely on character dynamics? Or do you like those kind of episodes when they’re better written?