Although we won’t see another episode of Arrow for three weeks, tonight’s episode gave fans quite a bit to chew on. There are still ten episodes left in the season, so it was no surprise that this particular hour served as more of a setup for what’s to come, introducing new wrinkles by way of character additions, relationship tweaks and threats looming on a few different levels. How will all this setup pay off in the weeks to come? Hit the jump to find out.
For the first time in a long time, no island time! “Heir to the Demon” decided to focus less on Oliver’s trials and tribulations in favor of shining a spotlight on Sara Lance’s (Caity Lotz) dramatic twists and turns. Even though she was on the island with Oliver in the past, this time the flashbacks took viewers back to the once-happy home of the Lance family. These scenes, which looked like they could have come from a family sitcom, folded nicely into the narrative and served to open old wounds between all members of the Lance family, but especially between the sisters. Laurel sure is having a rough time as of late, and the eventual revelation that her usurping sister Sara is alive and well seemed to be more than enough to push her over the edge. Laurel’s been kidnapped, drugged, fired, disbarred, and poisoned in the last few weeks alone; that’s enough to make anyone hit the bottle.
While Sara’s return certainly shook the foundations of the Lance family, there’s another family out there that’s interested in Sara; namely, the al Ghuls. (Could you see that on a mailbox?) Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) makes one badass entrance, letting viewers know that she’s not to be trifled with. Her poisoning of Laurel and eventual kidnapping of Dinah (Alex Kingston) was meant to draw Sara out of hiding, but the intent behind those actions was a bit of a surprise. Nyssa didn’t intend to kill Sara for leaving the League of Assassins, but rather came to bring her back because the two had formed a loving relationship. While it was certainly an unexpected twist, the love between them was enough for Nyssa to free Sara from the League’s membership by episode’s end. This essentially frees Sara to fight on Team Arrow as the Black Canary, and to hook up with Oliver, if she so chooses. Check out a recent interview with Lotz here for more on her character’s arc this season.
This episode was really a tale of two families. The Lances are, clearly, a bit of a mess at the moment, but the Queens rival them for “Most Dysfunctional” on any given day. Moira is ramping up for her Mayoral election run, but apparently hasn’t learned anything from her previous scandal. She’s paying people off and moving shady money around, showing that the people of Starling City would be right not to trust her. (I’d love to say that this type of scandal would eliminate all political hopes in the real world, but the existence of Rob Ford proves me wrong.) Felicity eventually figures out (using her Sherlock-like brain) that Malcolm Merlyn is actually Thea’s father, and although Moira warns her not to do so, Felicity informs Oliver. This really shakes up the Queen hierarchy. Amell delivers a fine performance in his speech to Moira, saying that he’ll support her publicly and will keep the secret from Thea, but that there’s an unbridgeable divide between them privately. Heart-breaking stuff!
I don’t know if anyone’s coined this term yet, but Arrow is a “Super Soap”, featuring over-the-top drama in a world in which costumed vigilantes patrol the streets. Who knew that the world of soap operas and the world of comic books could combine so well? The flashbacks and circuitous plot reveals are made more palatable because we’ve already bought in to the idea of this world existing in a heightened reality. The costumes, powers and reality-bending stunts become more believable because the characters are so well grounded and established. It’s a great pairing, and one of Arrow’s secrets to success has been striking that balance. Tonight’s episode, though it served mainly as exposition to set up the remainder of the season, was a great example of rich, dynamic character exploration set in a world of capes and cowls.
Quips & Quivers:
I must have missed Laurel getting drugged in the last episode.
How great was Law’s entrance tonight? It was easy to see why she was a high-level security threat to A.R.G.U.S., so hopefully we’ll see more of her this season. (Pro tip: We will.)
It’s Caity Lotz’s turn on the salmon ladder! Felicity: “She’s been doing that for like an hour.”
Nyssa al Ghul: “I’ve had better greetings.”
Nyssa al Ghul: “I’m Nyssa. Daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, heir to the demon.”
Moira: “We all have to keep secrets, Miss Smoak.”
Quentin: “You never did tell me how you joined up with the Arrow. How’d you two meet?” Sara: “Vigilante club.”
Oliver adds smashing a truck tire with a hammer to his training. #crossfit
A nice display of Black Canary’s sonic device during tonight’s chase sequence. (Are the stunts/fight sequences starting to feel a bit formulaic to you? I mean, there’s only so many ways to race through the streets, run across rooftops and fight in smokey factories, but there’s just a hint of repetitiveness starting to creep in.)
I like that Quentin deals the knockout blow to the Assassin.
Oliver: “Diggle, if even half of the stories I’ve heard about Ra’s al Ghul are true, if Sara kills his daughter, we will all pay.”
Arrow to Nyssa: “Live or die, it’s up to you.”
Archers’ duel! Fun, fun!
Still not exactly sure how Oliver brought Sara back around after she drank the snake venom, unless it was actually just something to knock her out momentarily.
Slade’s pretty pissed with Blood at the moment, but we’ll have to wait and see what he means when he says he’ll “take care of it.”
Arrow returns Wednesday, February 26th. Watch the promo for “Time of Death” starring Robert Knepper as William Tockman, aka Clock King: