Review by Gene
The season 3 break for Arrow was without question the most intense in the show’s history while also being one of the best episodes in the show’s history. Oliver is pierced through by Ra’s al Ghul, and kicked off a cliff for good measure, leaving a major cliffhanger to resolve when the show resumed. (See what I did there?). But of course, if Oliver is dead then so is Arrow. Or is it? (spoilers ahead).
If you’re a regular reader of our Arrow reviews you may notice that I’m not Logan. He’s much more familiar with the show and the character, but he is on a trip which puts him out of commission for this week’s Arrow review, so you’ll have to settle for me J No worries though, Logan will return next week to bring our Arrow insights back to their proper nerd levels. As for the show, our vigilante team begins dealing emotionally for the potential, and eventually realized death of Oliver Queen. The way Diggle, Roy and Felicity each deal with this loss is something I’d like to dive into, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Sub-plots in Left Behind were somewhat sparse, as you might imagine. Most of the episode deals with Oliver’s death in some way or another. Ray Palmer is still working on his Iron Man ripoff (this is where Logan’s knowledge would come in handy) and Felicity is having serious reservations about helping him accomplish his goal of protecting the city and heading down the same path as Oliver. She’s mourning the loss of Oliver, and you can see her questioning if any of this is worth it. Oliver isn’t the first friend she’s lost in the vigilante business, but his is causing her to re-evaluate all of it.
Meanwhile, a terrific move is made in bringing Vinnie Jones (Snatch) on board to play new villain Danny Brickwell, aka “Brick”. Jones is the quintessential tough guy in about every role he plays, and that remains true here. All the work and all the evidence gathered by Queen and his crew to this point have been leading up to the conviction of Brick. Three days after Oliver leaves to fight Ra’s al Ghul, Roy and Diggle continue his work in gathering evidence and brining criminals within Brick’s organization to justice. All hands are on deck to accomplish this task, until they become convinced that Oliver is in fact dead.
Mourning the loss of someone close to you is incredibly difficult. For Felicity, Diggle, and Roy, Oliver was their friend as well as their leader. Continuing his life’s work after he is almost too much to expect. For Felicity, it is too much to bear. Roy and Diggle deal with Oliver’s loss by continuing his work and affirming his mission. Felicity deals with it by refusing to put anymore friends’ lives in danger.
I’m reminded of how Jesus’ disciples dealt with his death in the days immediately following his crucifixion. If you recall, the gospels each describe how the women visited Jesus’ tomb on the first day of the week when they discovered his body was gone, while the eleven (minus Judas) and other disciples were gathered elsewhere, no doubt mourning the loss of their leader. When the women told them Jesus’s body was gone, many didn’t believe them (much like Felicity). The interesting thing is, with Oliver Queen, I’m not so sure yet if we’re dealing with a resurrection.
If you haven’t seen Left Behind yet then proceed here with caution, or not at all. Throughout the episode we’re shown a darkly dressed character finding and retrieving Oliver’s body. It turns out to be Maseo, who we learned in December is working for Ra’s. The usual flashbacks give us some insight as to why Maseo is saving/helping Oliver, so those were once again useful which is something Logan has complained about, particularly this season. Maseo brings Oliver to a home where his wife is staying. It’s actually a little unclear whether they are still together, but after some time there Oliver awakens (miraculously?) and asks Maseo where he was. Maseo replies, “I brought you here so that she (Rila, his wife) could bring you back to life.” Up to now the show has steered clear of the miraculous/supernatural, so my guess is there will be some explanation for how Oliver survived a sword through the chest and a 100 foot fall from a cliff. Whatever they do with that, the stage is set for a dramatic return to Starling City and his vigilante crew.
Will Oliver be quick to return and reveal he is alive? Will he make another attempt to kill Ra’s? Will Maseo be brought into Arrow’s fold or was this a simple repayment of a debt? Will Laurel’s desire for vengeance solidify her regular appearance as the Black Canary? The plot thickens in a number of ways, but for the time being this was a pretty solid return to action for Arrow.