It’s bad enough to find out your sister drowned when the yacht she sailed away on with your boyfriend was shipwrecked, or so you’d think. In the graphic novel world, many such tragedies happen to the tortured heroes and much, much worse, as we found out last week in the final moments of the Arrow premiere when Sara plunged to her death after being shot in the chest with several black arrows.
Tonight’s Arrow episode, aptly entitled “Sara,” recalls Laurel Lance’s affectionate reunion with her sister followed by the heart-crushing death scene of that same beloved sister, and brings us five minutes further into the storyline as we learn that Laurel must have carried Sara’s dead body all the way from the alley into the basement of Verdant.
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A Rude Awakening at Casa de Arrow
We see Felicity, Roy and Oliver enter Oliver’s basement hideout to find Laurel there with Sara’s body laid out on one of the steel tables. Three black arrows are sticking straight out of her chest. Laurel is covered in Sara’s blood. All we know of the unnamed assassin is that Sara recognized the person before that archer killed her.
It’s an intense scene. Oliver is stunned, Felicity is grabbing for triage options, Roy is silent, Laurel is in denial but holding it together better than I thought she would. Sara, The Canary, eyes wide open, blood pooling in the dip of her throat, looks like a perfectly sculpted life-sized action figure.
“I’m sorry,” Oliver says over and over to Laurel as he takes her in his arms to comfort her, but you know he’s saying it to The Canary as well.
Oliver reaches out, closes Sara’s eyes, and flashes back to Hong King five years previously when Amanda “Bitch-of-Epic-Proportions” Waller ordered Oliver to kill Tommy Merlyn, sniper style. What the hell was that about?
Everyone’s in Shock and Floundering
Laurel wants to help find her sister’s killer — which makes sense because isn’t she supposed to become a super hero pretty soon as well? But Oliver tells her to take care of herself and her dad. Laurel says telling Lance about Sara’s death will kill him if they don’t find the assassin first.
Oliver reaches out to Thea and leaves a message, just wanting to hear her voice. Felicity says all the surveillance cameras are useless, so Oliver does the only thing he knows how: visits the scene of the crime to attempt to decipher what happened. Diggle finds him there and swears his allegiance, as if he even has to.
Captain Lance Is Looking Hot … and Suspicious
So, they aren’t telling Lance about Sara, but before long Oliver gets the call about a new archer in town who’s a nasty,naughty piece of work. One look at Arrow-Oliver, and Lance can tell something’s wrong. “You look like someone peed in your cornflakes,” he says. A choked-up Oliver says nothing back. He knows he has news that is going to change Lance’s life forever. On the positive side, Captain Lance’s new lack of hair makes him look a little sexy-fierce, if you ask me. Any moment, Papa Lance could break out in leather and join the Arrow in the crusade against evil. That would be so awesome.
Who Is the Invincible Amazonian Warrior Princess?
Felicity, poor kid, has to collect all the forensic evidence left on Sara’s remains. She notices how small Sara’s hands are and admits being so jealous of her, this strong Amazonian princess who Felicity thought she could never be. And who could blame her for envying anyone who Oliver wrapped those big strong arms around?
Then all of a sudden we learn that Roy doubts Thea is where she says she is. He fesses up when Felicity finds him dinking around on her computers. Felicity insists they tell Oliver, but not before she storms off after receiving a message from someone she needs to kill, who just so happens to be the handsomest Starling City import since who knows when. You guessed it: Ray “Smokin’-Hot” Palmer
Apparently old Ray has been working pretty hard at getting Felicity’s attention. He’s even bought the holding company that owns the little computer store where Felicity’s been moonlighting. Felicity storms into Ray’s office and gives him hell. And she thought she wasn’t strong? Psh! Before leaving, Superman’s x-ray vision sees straight through her pain and offers a shoulder. It’s an endearing moment and you can feel there’s some chemistry and some kind of relationship on the horizon, but not today. I can’t wait to see how Oliver handles someone wealthy, brilliant and disgustingly freaking hot, turning on the charm in the direction of one Felicity Smoak. Who’s the Invincible Amazonian Princess now, girlfriend?
Good Archer on Motorcycle Versus Bad Archer on Motorcycle
Diggle locates the bad archer and Oliver goes after him. A jousting match with a lot of really cool motorcycle tricks ensue including one where the enemy uses his fallen-over bike as a surf board as he fires arrows at Oliver. By the end of the scene it’s bad boy – 1, Oliver – 0. Lacroix is the name of the bad archer dude.
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Life Only Ends One Way
Felicity and Oliver have an intense heart-to-heart about their feelings about Sara and about life and about grieving. Both of them cry, though Oliver refuses to surrender to his own pain and Felicity says she wants more out of life. It’s a perfect moment for the two of them to lean on each other, but it never happens because Oliver is too busy trying to be rational. He’s also afraid that his is going to be the dead body on the slab one day. Once again, Warrior Princess Felicity (and I say that in a dead serious, not a mocking, tone) tells Oliver he can’t just sit around in the basement so he can die of old age. She wants to live, dammit.
This was the perfect opportunity for another thing as well: for Oliver to explicitly state that this is his life — a life that will end badly — and that is why he cannot be with Felicity. Yes, it’s kinda been said before, and it’s been insinuated many times, but this scene could have been much more powerful with the words. Then Felicity could have again said that she plans to live, even if that means she has to move on to other romantic possibilities. What a perfect segue that would have been into the rest of a season filled with sexual tension between them as Oliver (deservedly) pines for the Warrior Princess within the woman he loves.
Holy Crap, Laurel Just Got Some Titanium Ovaries!
Laurel visits Lacroix’s target, Erlich Kelso, in he hospital and interrogates him about Lacroix. When he gives up nothing, she goes psycho on his ass and he starts to talk, mentioning Amertek, an oil company based in Starling city, but then he gets shot through the heart with a black arrow. Right there. Through the window. In a hospital bed. Right in front of Laurel. Now she’s really pissed. Laurel has always been my very least favorite character on Arrow, but maybe that is about to change. I sure hope so because I detest weak female characters.
Before Laurel leaves the hospital she runs into Captain Daddy who takes her to task for butting her nose in where it shouldn’t belong. Go rest your pretty head, he says, and really, she should pop him one because he doesn’t give her near enough credit. And can’t he feel a disturbance in the force because Sara is dead? You’d think a person would feel something like that. But, Captain Lance hasn’t always been the most astute emotionally, so can we really blame him?
Back at the Arrow hideaway Felicity et al. take Laurel’s intel and figure out that Lacroix was paid to try to stop an oil deal going through and that Sara had done some work for the League of Assassins in the same oilfield being discussed. They identify the next target and Oliver starts to go leave. Laurel want to go too, but Oliver stops her. Don’t they know nobody puts baby in the corner? Laurel bites Oliver’s head off and her logic is not wrong. Oliver leaves and Laurel stares at a gun. Strap on some leather! Strap on some leather, sister girlfriend! I yell at my screen.
Of course, the next victim would have to be nowhere else but, what? Is that Queen Consolidated? Well, if it isn’t, it might as well be because look who’s making the keynote speech. It’s none other than tall, dark, loaded and charming Mr. Smokin’ Hot. In the middle of Palmer’s speech the naughty archer, Lacroix flies through the window (you’d think these people would put better glass in their windows when they know there are super villains and vigilantes flying all over the place wielding lethal arrows and military weapons) followed by an entire store full of super hero leather in the forms of both Arrow and Roy dressed as Arsenal. The naughty archer escapes out the window followed by Oliver. After Oliver gets an arrow into the guy, Laurel arrives, gun in hand and pissed as hell, prepared to send the naughty dude to meet his maker. Oliver tries to talk her out of it, but she’s having none of it. Girl’s in the hurt bag and can’t hear reason. It’s really too bad, because Oliver speaks from a depth of experience that Laurel has no idea that he possesses.
Lacroix, still shot and bleeding a bit, says he wasn’t the archer who killed Sara. All episode long I’ve been wondering who it could have been. Did Oliver ever analyze the arrows? You’d think he would. I have a stinking suspicion that The Dark Archer, a.k.a. Malcolm Merlyn, is about to make his reappearance. We already know he’s slated to be a regular this season, so, is this where he comes in? Okay, keep watching.
Laurel fires the gun several rounds, but discovers Oliver had taken the bullets out of the gun. At that point I think I would have pistol whipped Oliver with the gun, and she’s certainly pissed enough to do it, but they gotta leave before the authorities arrive. I’m not ready to say goodbye to kick-ass Laurel, so I hope she doesn’t crawl back into the snail shell she left behind in season 1 and 2.
How Far Can Forgiveness Take You?
When evidence proves Lacroix didn’t kill Sara, she’s devastated that she almost killed him. The next thing Oliver says doesn’t ring true at all, people. “But you didn’t,” he says, and we all know that’s bull shit because she pulled that trigger with every intention of killing the man. She thought there were bullets in the gun and she fired with willful intent. Will she ever be able to forgive herself for that? How will this change Laurel’s character going forward? Spoilers have said she’s going to become part of the Arrow’s team, so it looks like she’s on her way for that. Can this actress handle that kind of role? I guess we will find out this season.
Laurel then fails to tell Daddy Lance that Sara is dead. When she tries, Lance knocks over a photo of his two daughters as he reaches for his heart pills. I think we’re supposed to believe that Laurel didn’t tell Lance because of how weak his heart is. That’s what I got from the scene. but how long can she keep Sara’s death a secret? Well, if you recall, Lance thinks Sara is off with the League of Assassins. Laurel could conceivably keep Daddy Dearest in the dark for quite some time as long as no one else spills the beans. What a gross situation.
Tommy Is Saved and Speedy Gets a New Life
Flachback: (though at first I think it’s not a flashback, but instead we find out Tommy is still alive and being held captive by his own hooded father. Psyche!) Oliver and his Hong Kong accomplice,Maseo Yamashiro fake-kidnap Tommy. Oliver almost blows his cover and reveals himself to his best friend, but then doesn’t. Yamashiro, dressed as a cop, comes in and releases Tommy. Wonder if Oliver ever told Tommy that it was he who kidnapped him in Hong Kong all those years ago?
Then we see Corto Maltese. Of course. Speedy is training. And guess who else is there? Malcolm Merlyn. But we all saw that coming, didn’t we? I’m loving Thea’s shorter hair and hoping her character gets some kick ass shorelines going forward as well.
Oliver Chooses Life … and So Does Everyone Else
Our final montage is lead by Oliver telling Diggle he doesn’t want to die in the basement. It was a moment rife with poignancy and begged a bro hug, but it didn’t happen. “You don’t have to, Oliver.” John replies. What isn’t said is obvious: Go seek solace in Felicity’s arms and hold her until the hurt becomes bearable.
Then we see Diggle gazing at the most adorable baby girl in a onesie that says “Sara,” Roy gazing at a photo of he and Thea together, and Felicity — Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! –dressed in a beautiful dress and with her hair out of the techie girl ponytail as she tells Clark Kent,er, Ray, she wants more out of life.
If the Arrow fairies were intending to create more emotional drama than ever before, they are succeeded. Just please don’t make us have to watch Oliver and Laurel or Felicity and Ray in bed together. That would just about kill this Arrow fan.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.
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(Images courtesy of CW)