Here’s what you need to know about Arrow 3.02, “Sara”: Sara is actually Or, more accurately, she was Fridged. Laurel is clueless when it comes to what to do with a dead body, also, she apparently doesn’t know how guns work. Simon LaCroix (Komodo) made an appearance. He’s an archer. We’ll talk about it him more in a second… Ray Palmer is very Like “I’m gonna rename Starling City and no one will say anything” rich. Thea is too busy with her assassin training to return Ollie’s phone calls. Tommy apparently hacked Oliver’s email account and tracked him to Hong Kong. A trip which nearly cost him his life. Amanda Waller is not interested in sharing Ollie. I need to get a few things out of the way, I hate that Sara is dead. Even more, I hate that her death is the means by which Laurel will become Black Canary. I knew it was coming at some point, which was only made more clear with each passing episode and no announcements about Caity Lotz being a permanent addition to the cast. I’m also not a huge fan of how it was handled last episode. Sara’s appearance during that final battle felt a little out of place, and her subsequent death seemed a bit tacked on. However, I’m not sure if I would be as bothered by it if I didn’t know it was permanent. It’s possible that my general dissatisfaction is coloring my opinion quite a bit. As I noted last week, Katie Cassidy has not really impressed me at all on this show. Some folks have attributed that to the script itself, and there are plenty of weaknesses with regards to her character development to critique there. However, I feel like all the actors have been saddled with their share of bad writing. David Ramsey should get hazard pay for the amount of goofy lines they’ve made Diggle have to deliver with a straight face. Yet, Diggle remains one of the best, most fully developed, characters on the show. Felicity delivers so many awkward “accidentally” sexual lines directed at Oliver that it’s part of a drinking game. But, like Diggle, Felicity remains a fully fleshed conceived character (which, arguably, is one of the few reasons that the awkward comments are more humorous and embarrassing than cringe-worthy). Yet Laurel, who, for all intents and purposes, is essentially the second most important character in the lineup after Ollie, is basically a cardboard cutout. And this episode, she was a cardboard cutout who cried. On top of that, in spite of being a policeman’s daughter, a vigilante assassin’s sister, and a veteran of many adventures, knowingly and unknowingly, with Oliver, she has no idea what to do with a dead body?? First, are we supposed to believe that Laurel, in work clothes and high heels, built like a skeleton, suddenly summoned up the strength to CARRY SARA TO VERDANT??? Then, after doing so, in her crazy rage strength, she just sat and waited for Oliver, Diggle and Felicity to show up? Who does that??? Brushing aside the absurdity of how Sara got to the Foundry, her death does the job it was designed to do. In lieu of Laurel being able to emote, Felicity gives us the kind of reaction that we would expect. I think AV Club said it best: “The show has one character who has a strong connection to Sara [Laurel] and one character who is fleshed-out enough to do some serious emotional heavy-lifting [Felicity], but they aren’t the same person.” Felicity takes Sara’s death extremely hard, noting that she always thought of Sara as some sort of “Amazon Goddess” (nice nod there). Through Felicity we see what the loss of a hero can do to those that love and depend on her. Naturally, this only amplifies the pain and loss with which Oliver is already struggling. No one can accuse this show of subtlety, and nothing drives the point home about the fragility of humanity than a corpse. Of course, that impact is significantly increased when the corpse belongs to someone who is essentially the Hero’s equal. Speaking of equals, Ray Palmer continues his assumption of the throne that is Oliver’s former company. Brandon Routh really has proven to be a great addition to the show. He plays a very convincing business honcho with a heart of gold. In particular, he is able to provide Felicity with the stability and care that she needed from Oliver. Granted, it’s pretty clear that the countdown to RayLicity is rapidly approaching zero, I give it three more episodes, max. Usually this would be easily be written off as just another melodramatic beat in a show that has had its fair share of soap opera moments. It would also be a very simple way to setup the inevitable Ray vs. Oliver showdown. However, given Oliver and Felicity’s recent attempt at romance, I think that Felicity and Ray are more than just simple fandom shipping. The ascendancy of Ray Palmer, while seemingly rapid and out of nowhere, can’t happen without the descent of Oliver Queen. Ray Palmer didn’t come between Oliver and Felicity, Oliver did. Ray has the benefit of being the man with means who was in the right place at the right time. Sure, there is bound to be a showdown between the two, but I doubt it will be over Felicity and seriously doubt that it will be over Queen Consolidate. We know that Ray Palmer is, or will become, The Atom. I’m anxiously anticipating what being The Atom reveals about Palmer and, ultimately, what that means for Oliver. Does Ray have a handle on his dual identities? Or, is Ray’s transformation still on the horizon? If so, what role, if any, does Oliver play?? The showdown isn’t going to be for control over people or possessions. It seems more likely to play a pivotal role in Oliver’s individuation and his ability to make peace with his Shadow personality. The flashback to Hong Kong raises the stakes yet again on Oliver’s choices (notice the pattern here?). I’m glad that they gave Tommy a semi-plausible reason for being in Hong Kong. Chasing down a lead on Oliver’s whereabouts at least appears more likely for someone with Tommy’s resources than it merely being a coincidental vacation. It also set up a quasi-logical reason for Tommy to be on Waller’s hit list. After all, Tommy’s success would put any plans she has for Oliver in jeopardy. On a simpler level, it also raises the stakes for Oliver, knowing that disobedience is a death sentence for his handler’s family but obedience is a death sentence for his best friend. In another bit of not-so-subtle foreshadowing, Oliver manages to pull a Kobayashi Maru and finds a third option, one where everybody lives. Which brings us back to the present and Oliver’s current struggle with his own Shadow. Faced with the death of Sara, and dealing with a completely unhinged Laurel, Oliver is feeling the pressure to find balance in his identities even more. Laurel, the policeman’s daughter who seems to have no idea how guns work, is literally ready to pull the trigger on Simon LaCroix without hesitation. It’s a position that Oliver has been in himself and it’s a decision that he made plenty of times. He knows the weight that such a decision carries, particularly when done as an act of revenge. In the moment when LaCroix is caught, Oliver stands between the person he used to be, represented by Laurel, and the person he is trying to become. Unfortunately, the tension of the scene was somewhat marred by an unconvincing performance by Cassidy and the fact that LaCroix’s defeat happened so quickly. I honestly hope that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of LaCroix/Komodo. He seems like he could be an interesting character. Unfortunately, in this episode, he was pretty much reduced to a plot device. He was a red herring for Oliver and Laurel to pursue while looking for Sara’s killer. His contribution to the episode more or less amounted to a rather silly motorcycle “joust” that strained credibility even by comic book standards and nearly being shot by Laurel. He was a danger that never truly materialized, and, subtlety be damned, something of a literal shadow, threatening Oliver from the darkness. Komodo is a relatively new addition to Green Arrow’s Rogue’s Gallery. His comics character brings a lot of baggage to Oliver’s front door. I didn’t get that impression in this episode, so, like Vertigo, I’m hoping that we see more from Komodo. I’m hoping that both Vertigo and Komodo are laying the groundwork for something larger, rather than simply having been the typical “villain of the week” trope. The combination of Laurel’s inability to convincingly portray sadness, and the quickness with which Komodo was dispatched, really soured me on this episode. Which is a shame, since there are certain parts of the episode that really stand out. Oliver’s torment is really starting off strong and it shows just how well certain parts of this show are working at this point. Unfortunately, there are other parts that seem to spoil the whole. At the risk of being crass, if the writers were hellbent on killing someone, I think they killed the wrong sister. The Good: Ray Palmer is quickly becoming one of my new favorite characters. Felicity and Diggle continue to be some of the brightest spots on the show. Oliver is in full-blown identity crisis mode. Which, while not good for Oliver, is creating very compelling television. Stephen Amell is doing some of his best work in these last two episodes. He’s approaching Robert Downey Jr. levels of character dedication. Much like RDJ and Iron Man, I’m starting to hear Amell’s voice when I read the character in the comics. Believe me, it’s no small feat to override Kin Shriner’s voice. The Might-Be-Good: I don’t really know how to feel about Simon LaCroix. He could be a legit threat, but he really didn’t serve much purpose in this episode. If he returns, he could be a big deal. The idea of Super-Assassin-Thea is intriguing. I didn’t catch the similarity before, but is Thea Dearden Queen (Merlyn?) the television version of Mia Dearden? (h/t Arrow Subreddit) Assuming that the previous point holds true, then I’m excited to see what happens when Red Arrow/Speedy meets Thea/Speedy. The Bad: Laurel. Just, everything about her this episode. Which is sad considering how much emotional weight was attached to her character. CCH Pounder is still not cast as Amanda Waller. (I refuse to let this go…) Laurel…she was bad enough to mention it twice. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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