Arrow 3×02 Review: Sara
After last week’s shocking death of Sara Lance a.k.a. Black Canary, it was no surprise that tonight’s episode centered around its effect on the Arrow team as they try to track down her killer.
My first takeaway from the characters’ reactions centers around the women’s reaction versus that of the men. Felicity is visibly shaken throughout the entire episode, and Laurel is understandably a mess, while Oliver, Diggle, and Roy are mainly just stoic. I can’t help but think that the writers can do better than this – while to me, Laurel has never been a likeable character, both she and Felicity deserved better treatment in “Sara”.
Though none of the team has told Detective Lance about Sara’s death – including Laurel, who Oliver rightfully says should do it – he knew that there was a new archer in town because there was another death by arrow. Of course after hearing this, Oliver draws his own conclusions. Weak though they may be, at least he understands that the league of assassins likely isn’t involved, because “they don’t target their own”.
Mentions of Thea were worked into this episode over and over again, with Oliver attempting to call her and Roy searching the FBI database for her. Roy eventually shows first Felicity, and then Oliver, Thea’s goodbye letter, and for a moment I was hoping that they would let that storyline be for a while. It just seems a bit early in the season for Thea’s choice to disappear to become such a big plot point… but I suppose for now I’ll trust that the writers know what they’re doing.
Meanwhile, Ray Palmer is still trying [way too hard] to get Felicity to work for him. At first she turned him down, and for a moment I felt almost relieved that despite her obvious distress over Sara’s death, she was still standing her ground… but in the end he proves too persuasive even for her. Of course to this viewer, he’s clearly a bit to good to be true, and I’m intrigued to see where the show is going to take his character – though I personally don’t care for him being a ‘love interest for Felicity Smoak’, after “Sara” it’s pretty clear that there’s chemistry there, both between the characters and the actors, and Felicity obviously needs someone other than Oliver in her life right now. I just hope she doesn’t immediately rush into another man’s arms, because her character honestly deserves better than that.
One thing I’m not sure about in regards to this episode is the action sequences. The archer fight on motorcycles was a bit much, bordering on silly and not over soon enough. Later, when Oliver confronts the other archer – Simon Lacroix a.k.a. “Komodo” – he catches him very quickly, which leads me to the conclusion that Lacroix is just another villain of the week. He’s in police custody, and we know he’s not the person who killed Sara, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he makes another appearance.
Per my earlier mention of Laurel, I’ve never been a big fan of her character and “Sara” certainly didn’t change that opinion for the better. She had some strong moments – I was definitely a bit surprised (and not unpleasantly so) when she essentially tortured Lacroix’s third victim into revealing this “pipeline deal” – but anything that could have redeemed her a bit was overshadowed by her general attitude, her attempt to kill Lacroix even after he said he didn’t kill Sara, and the fact that she didn’t tell her father that Sara is dead.
In terms of the Hong Kong flashbacks, while they were at least a bit better placed in this episode I’m still not sure I care for this part of Oliver’s back story. It was interesting to see the show bring Tommy back, but despite Aseo’s insistence that Tommy needed to die, of course in the end we know he doesn’t, which leaves me still wondering just where they’re going with Oliver’s time in Hong Kong.
Overall, while “Sara” was a bit of a let down after last week’s action packed and shocking premiere, it also had plenty of the poignant moments that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. Felicity has some really great scenes, even if she does spend a lot of the episode crying and eventually gives in to Ray Palmer’s attempts to hire her – her line, “Life is precious, and I want so much more in mine than this” was especially moving. And I think even the most jaded person, myself included, had to have felt their heartstrings pulled a bit at the end, when Oliver told Diggle “I don’t want to die down here” and Diggle responded, “So don’t, Oliver”.
As I mentioned, it seems a bit early for Oliver to rush off to find Thea, seeing that Merlon was definitely training her to fight was a great closing scene. It’s good to know that they aren’t dragging out that “secret”, and despite my concerns I’m still looking forward to seeing where Arrow takes us next!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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