There were so many things to like about Arrow Season 2 Episode 4, including notable items I completely missed.
To wit: Sara's mask contained half a head of hair with it? How did I not see that detail?!?
This week, on Arrow Season 2 Episode 5, we continued the journey of Sara Lance as Canary learned a lot more about who she was before she came back to Starling City.
It was interesting to see flashbacks from a perspective of someone other than Oliver, wasn't it? It seems their time on the Gambit and after is burned into their brains in ways they'll never be able to escape.
While Oliver went from the arms of Sara into a boat with his father and onto an island where he had to fight for his life, Sara slipped out of Oliver's arms and her first place of respite was in a cage on board the ship.
Scary stuff indeed.
Sara's life seemed to change so dramatically after she was sucked out of the boat that I'm surprised she has retained any of her former self at all. Huge props to holding onto her father's voice and never forgetting where she came from, no matter how ugly things were, because without that connection to family she wouldn't be half the woman she has become.
I know that producers have said that Sara's story is really part of the long journey of Laurel Lance, but when you examine how the two sisters hold up under pressure, it's difficult to imagine a time when Laurel will ever have the strength Sara possesses.
Sara has almost been killed and has killed. She is a self-confessed murderer and a member of the League of Assassins, one of the most deadly teams on the planet. She was rescued from the freighter by them and swore to them her allegiance, doing who knows what (other than the brief murders she outlined) in return for her life.
Through this all, Sara still thinks about her family, about their safety. First, it appears she worries most what they would think of who she has become, but when they were in danger she put her fears aside and went to Starling City to check on them after the earthquake. When the threat became even more intimate and Oliver had Laurel's back but Felicity was unable to convince Lance to leave town, Sara took another chance and revealed herself to her father.
Paul Blackthorne put so much emotion into Lance's scenes with Sara, my eyes misted up more than once. His character has grown so much from the rhetoric spewing police Sergeant we first met at at the start of Arrow Season 1. It didn't surprise me one bit how quickly he was able to piece together that Sara was the masked girl kicking the crap out of creeps in The Glades.
When he had to say goodbye to Sara and his voice broke saying he couldn't let her go, I was crushed. At least he saw her in action and knew she could take care of herself.
It was then that his other daughter got Lance's attention, because he realized that even if she says she's alright, she's going through more than he understands. He had something so incredible happen to him, something that beyond his wildest imagination, so trying to impart to Laurel that things will get better was of the greatest importance to him.
And so we're still left wondering exactly what Laurel's journey is to be. She's working hard for the DA's office and used her pull to get a plea deal for Moira: life in prison for a guilty plea. That's as good as it gets. She's hardly making friends with anything she's doing.
When Oliver took her to dinner, she didn't have a drink, but she did try to kiss him and broke down wondering why everyone leaves her when he turned her down. She's still popping pills.
Sadly, most of our readers would be happy to tell Laurel why everyone leaves. If someone would tell her that Sara was alive and what she went through, she might finally see how much better her own life is and get the courage to move forward. That time is not now, so we'll be stuck with the insufferable version of Laurel Lance for a while to come.
Other things of note:
- After watching Sara and Lance reunite, Oliver knew that nothing his mother could be hiding from her and Thea to avoid a trial could keep them apart and they talked her out of taking the deal.
- Al-Owal didn't have much of a part, did he? We pretty much know that Malcolm was a member of the League of Assassins, given his gear, however. We'll probably see more of John Barrowman through flashbacks.
- I wish they wouldn't have had Sara take so many blows to the face when Al-Owal first broke into the window at the Queen mansion (How many times will that window need to be replaced?), because her lack of bruising was noticeable. She's not superhuman.
- Was anybody else surprised that Oliver didn't reveal himself to Lance as Sara left? It would have been the perfect time and Lance would have been very open to receiving the information.
- Meeting Doctor Ivo was too brief. I tried to read up on him in relation to the DC Universe, but I'm holding off on commenting because there is too much I don't know other than it was nice Sara was held captive by a handsome evil doctor. Right?
- Didn't it seem like Sara was jealous that Oliver had just a great pair of friends in Diggle and Felicity? Her interactions with both were fun and believable.
- Oliver finally told Diggle about what happened to him when he wasn't on the island. How much of his story to you think he told over that bottle of vodka?
Watching Arrow every week makes me wish more people were tuning in because they really don't know what they're missing. The character development and pacing of the story is pitch perfect. I even believe there will be more to Laurel because I trust that the story they're telling has a purpose.
We're supposed to dislike her. And it's working!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.