Wednesday, October 15, 2014

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - Oliver and the Team Mourn the Loss of a Fallen Comrade While Ray Pursues Felicity in 'Sara'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 3.02 "Sara"

Another archer - a man named Simon Lacroix, codename Komodo - appears in town and starts skewering businessmen. The team hits a rough patch with the mission and surprisingly gets help from Laurel. Ray Palmer pursues Felicity. Laurel debates sharing a secret about Sara with Lance. In flashbacks, Maseo gives Oliver his first kill order - his best friend, Tommy.

Arrow this season is examining the personal costs of being the dark and brooding hero that Starling City so desperate needs. It's because of the Arrow that the city is working on rebuilding itself. Ray Palmer has come to town with a vision. And yet, archers are still flying through windows to take out rich businessman. And then, there is the person who killed Sara in the concluding minutes of last week's season opener. Life doesn't just stop because the team needs to grieve the death of a very close comrade. They instead need to harness that energy into capturing whoever it was who put those arrows into her chest.

Sara's death has a profound effect on every member of the team. The rawest anger comes from Laurel but it hits Oliver equally as hard because he is the man who has to lead. The team needs to grieve but Oliver has to go out and catch her killer. He wants justice for his fallen friend. That's all that he can do. He doesn't want her death to be meaningless. When Komodo shows up in town, it's easy to associate him as Sara's killer. He is an archer who is going around town killing people. The team fixates on tracking him. They all have anger they need to let loose. Oliver is determined to catch him before he can kill anyone else - and that includes a handful of really remarkable stunt scenes. They jousted in an alley with motorcycles and arrows. They each jumped out of a window and swung down to a lower floor. And lastly, Komodo shot an arrow, Oliver caught it, turned around and shot it back at Komodo.

Komodo was caught. But Sara still needs vengeance. She needs to kill the man responsible for killing her sister. That won't change anything but it sure would make her feel better. Everyone needs some way to deal with their emotions - especially considering Komodo didn't kill Sara and now the trail has run cold. None of it feels right to them and yet it's what's happening. The most proper burial they can give Sara is digging up her old grave from the first time she "died." It's not right. No one will know the truth of who she was and all the good things she has done. The team will know and that has to be enough. They have to find some kind of peace with recognizing this was a choice that Sara made. She joined the League of Assassins and this ultimately is how her story was always going to end. That is a heartbreaking thought.

No one on the team wants the same kind of ending that Sara got. There has to be something more out of life. Oliver is allowed to grieve too. But it's whether or not he can allow himself to. He does not want to die down in the cave just like Sara. He wants some lightness in his life. Felicity, too, needs to break away and into something uplifting. Ray's pursuit of her isn't that subtle. And yet, I completely buy why she ultimately takes the job working under him. She needs something in her life other than her secret vigilante work. Oliver doesn't have that option. So what does that mean for his future? Right now, it means tracking down Thea and holding her close. Too bad, she is busy becoming a ninja with Malcolm Merlyn.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Sara" was written by Jake Coburn & Keto Shimizu and directed by Wendey Stanzler.
  • Laurel has made improvements as a character this season. And yet, her reaction to the guy she's talking to getting an arrow shot in his chest threw a window is to run over to the window to see who shot him? And she doesn't check to see if the gun is loaded? Sigh.
  • Also, I already dislike the team - well, mostly Laurel - keeping Lance in the dark with Sara's death. He's her father. He deserves to know.
  • In flashbacks, Colin Donnell returns to the show trying to track down his friend after Oliver's email showed activity in Hong Kong. It's nice to know that even after being gone for three years, Tommy still had enough love for his friend to track down this lead to see if it is anything. I ultimately don't quite get how Oliver got out of not killing him. And yet, it was a decent way to work in a character from the show's past.
  • Lastly, Diggle will honor Sara's memory by naming his newborn daughter after her. That must have been a great conversation with Lyla, right?