Well, this week’s episode included a few old faces, some really bad wig choices, and an interesting flashback or two. Though we were without Team Arrow, there was plenty of action, thanks to Ollie’s return to Lian Yu. Let’s deal with that first.
Ollie and Thea’s time on the island began with a few great shots of the pair training together. This sense of camaraderie broke us in gently, lulling us into a false sense of security, one which couldn’t last – Lian Yu is hardly a weekend retreat. Pretty soon, Ollie had to clear his head. Chased away, not by his inner demons, but the prospect of spilling the secret we all knew was coming – who really killed Sara.
So now Ollie is feeling confused and, tormented by the knowledge of Malcolm’s deception, where else would he go? To see Slade Wilson of course. Unfortunately their happy little reunion didn’t go according to plan, because Malcolm threw a spanner in the works – he let Slade out of his A.R.G.U.S secure prison. How he pulled that one off I’m not quite sure, perhaps the man really is a magician!
Malcolm’s smug telephone conversation with Ollie was a nice touch, though little more than a ‘surprise’ – now go find those killer instincts, kind of speech. Unsurprisingly, Slade steps in when they are off their game, so Ollie and Thea wind up in his old cell.
I have to say, it was great to have Slade back; every maniacal inch of him. His crazy ramblings didn’t make a great deal of sense, but then that’s what we love about him. He left them to sweat for a while, but not before planting more doubt in Thea’s mind that Ollie is keeping secrets. It’s not like he could go anywhere. He’d already used the clearing his head line, and being stuck in confinement kind of limits your options. Dislocating his sister’s arm did seem a little extreme as evasions go, but at least they got out of the cell. The security in that place needs a serious overhaul.
The scenes on the island were actually my favourite thing about the episode (I’m dealing with the flashbacks separately), especially Thea almost running into one of Ollie’s old traps. He jumps to her defence just in time and takes a spike in the shoulder. With nowhere left to run he finally spills the beans, and Thea’s reaction was spot on.
She uses the anger to good use because, when Slade pops up again, she gives as good as she gets. Ollie and Thea actually had a whole tag-team thing going on, which was really cool to watch. Without the benefit of the Mirakuru, Slade is no match for them and Thea turns his own gun on him. Ollie manages to talk Thea out of shooting him, and instead they put him back in his cell. Slade being Slade though, has to have the final word. He pushes Ollie’s buttons a little, before calmly settling down on his bunk like it’s just an ordinary day on Lian Yu.
Personally, I think the flashbacks ate into time better spent on the island. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the huge risk Amanda faced by taking Ollie back to Starling. Any number of agents could have high jacked China White’s deal, especially since she was missing a major component – the Alpha. But then, they had to find some way of linking all the storylines together and there’s definitely more to come.
One major plus was the fact we got to see Tommy again, which is always a pleasure. I’ve really missed his presence, so I don’t begrudge him the onscreen time. Thankfully they didn’t force him to wear a terrible wig, which is another thing I’m grateful for. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Quentin Lance, though he was true to character and as electrifying as ever.
I was a little confused about the purpose of Diggle’s role, especially as his brother was introduced for the first time and yet the storyline went nowhere. Felicity also made an appearance, though it felt forced. The fact she happened to comment on Ollie’s photograph when he was within earshot was convenient to say the least. Though she does have a tendency to talk to herself, and I do like that about her.
For the most part, Ollie’s scenes were believable. Naturally, his mind was on his family, especially when he witnessed Thea’s downward spiral. So it made sense that he would jeopardise the mission to help her. Finding a recording from his father, beseeching him to right his wrongs and save the city was also a valid reason he chose to help stop China White. But it didn’t explain why he agreed to go back to China for ‘one last mission’.
While we’re on the subject though. There was an appearance from General Matthew Shrieve, which begs the question, are the Creature Commandos going to get some airtime in Arrow?
What did you think of the episode? What was your favourite part of this week’s show? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.