Tonight’s episode of Arrow expands the series further into the DC Universe, as the League of Assassins returns to Starling City in search of Sara. The League’s representative makes an impressive entrance as she gets held up by an A.R.G.U.S. alert at the airport and swiftly dispatches a trio of security guards. The woman, as it turns out, is none other than Nyssa al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul. Turns out Nyssa has a personal interest in retrieving Sara, and it doesn’t all have to do with the League. Both Caity Lotz as Sara and guest star (and another Spartacus alumnus for the show) Katrina Law as Nyssa gave strong performances in this very good and at times emotional episode.
From the flashbacks showing a younger Sara and Laurel, through the gathering at Laurel’s bedside in the hospital, this was a fairly Vance family-centric episode. We got a glimpse of the sisters prior to the Queen yacht trip, and got to witness Laurel’s reaction to the news that the yacht sank. This was a nice use of the flashbacks, giving us glimpses into what happened while Oliver was on the island. We got to see Quentin and Dinah in happier times, as well as see the anguish on both Laurel and Quentin’s face when Moira reveals to them that Sara was on-board the yacht when it sank. Dinah’s kidnapping by Nyssa had Sara work with her father, and when she saw Sara come to her rescue you could see the combination of joy and pain in Dinah’s face. And while Mom and Dad Vance are happy their other daughter has returned home, sister Laurel is not so pleased, as she blames Sara for all that has gone wrong in her life. Her telling Sara to get out only drives Sara into the willing arms of Oliver, oddly bringing things back around to when Sara left with Ollie on the yacht.
The Queen family had their share of drama in the episode as well. Felicity confronted Moira about her deposits to Tempest, an offshore account Felicity had uncovered while working for Walter. She learns the truth about Malcolm Merlyn being Thea’s real father. Moira warns her to keep the secret, lest she hurt Oliver, and it’s quite obvious to Moira has some feelings towards her son. Felicity can’t do that, however, and spills the beans to Oliver after giving him a sob story about her own family. This all takes place at Moira’s press conference to announce her running for mayor, and at first it seemed that Oliver was going to let something slip during his speech. You could tell he was struggling with his new knowledge, but he keeps up the public front. The confrontation between Moira and Oliver towards the end was well done, as he tells her that they are through, but that he will keep the secret and continue his support for her mayoral campaign for Thea’s sake.
Aside from all the family drama and emotional turmoil, Arrow didn’t forget that it’s also an action series, and there were some nicely staged fight scenes in the episode. Katrina Law showed her skills from the get-go, taking out the guards at the airport and trading arrows with Oliver during a chase scene and a confrontation during Dinah’s rescue. Even though be the show’s end Nyssa released Sara from her oath in the name of her father, we can hope that she will be back in future episodes. It was a nice twist in how Sara accomplished her goal of getting released from the League, taking the same snake venom that was used to poison Laurel to bait Sara into returning to Starling City. Nyssa’s love for Sara also played its part, as she let out an anguished cry when she thought Sara was dead. Of course, Oliver showed up with the antidote to the venom in time to keep her alive, but the scene still played out well. It did seem as though Sara would return to Namba Parbat with Nyssa at first, but the snake venom made for a nice twist, and for now leaves Sara in Starling City where the show can explore the relationship between Black Canary and Arrow. And using a sonic device as Black Canary’s “Canary Cry” was pretty cool, and a neat way to reference the comics without giving Sara actual superpowers. We know superpowers will make their appearance eventually, but it was a nice way to keep things grounded while paying some fan service to the comics.
In other developments sure to have far reaching implications, Sebastian Blood warned Moira to drop out of the mayoral race. Blood questions her strength of will, bringing up that during her trial she was portrayed as the victim. Moira doesn’t back down, telling Blood not to underestimate her, something that Slade also tells Blood. Slade’s chilling “I’ll take care of it” can’t bode well for Moira or anyone else connected with the Queen family.
This was another strong episode, and a great follow-up to “Tremors”, even though Roy was missing and we didn’t get any further flashbacks to the island. It even had some nice bits of humor, especially when Quentin asks Sara where she met Arrow. “Vigilante Club” she quips, right as an assassin attacks. The plot has moved along nicely since the return from break, and Arrow doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. It remains to be seen if it can keep up the pace.
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