Arrow Season 4 Episode 3 – TV Review
Well, Sara gets resurrected by a mystical hot tub, and the Super Friends are attacked by a scab-ripping rip-off of Gambit.
Arrow: The Age of Magic.
TL;DR Laurel and Thea manage to convince Malcolm to let them resurrect Sara; she comes back wrong, unsurprisingly; Damien sics a playing card wielding henchman after the Super Friends; Oliver and Diggle go some way to repairing their bromance; flashback Oliver makes nice with a heroin farm slave.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was wrong!
So the mayoral election drama is out, and arbitrary henchman face-offs are in. JR Bourne limps over to Arrow from the indignity of Teen Wolf as a metahuman who can throw razor sharp playing cards torn from his regenerating tattoos. He, along with Mina Fayad, a HIVE (I think?) operative, get on Damien’s case for moving too slowly, and it turns out that Mina is the one who hired Deadshot to kill Diggle’s brother back in the day. Oliver and Diggle, still refusing to touch dicks after last season’s kidnapping debacle, operate separately, and both fail. They eventually do mend their relationship (at Felicity’s insistence) just enough to work together, but Damien ends up killing Mina, and JR refuses to divulge any info. Oh, well. Meanwhile, Felicity works with Afrojack on his new inventions, and manages to herself defend against an attack from JR. Afrojack is impressed. Meanwhile, Laurel and Thea bitch at Malcolm long enough to get Sara revived, while Nyssa protests futilely. Sara, naturally, comes back all rabid. And it turns out the only “cure” for Thea’s aggression is to murder people periodically to temporarily sate her bloodlust. Cool. And in flashback, Oliver manages to prevent the execution of an opinionated slave girl who stole some of the drugs they were making.
But she only stole it as pain relief for her fellow slaves. Honest. What track marks?
I can feel Arrow, at least this early part of the season, making the same mistakes as PLL did when it was trying to set up the Ravenswood spin-off. The plot just seems to be largely filler (in a show where filler is already overused) while we get Sara’s resurrection and Ray’s return in place for Legends of Tomorrow.
At least Oliver and Diggle have decided to play nice again.
Why I hate this episode:
Diggle and Felicity haven’t gotten those code names they were hanging out for, though. Way to drop your most important plotline, Arrow. Gosh.
Mina comes and goes without much fanfare. For the woman who ordered the hit on Diggle’s brother, and for someone who apparently represents Damien’s bosses, Damien just knocks her off and moves on like it ain’t no thang. No closure for you, Diggle.
The visual execution of JR’s powers is actually pretty excellent, but a guy who throws his playing card tattoos? What the hell, DC? At least Gambit’s can blow up and stuff. JR’s just constantly tearing his own flesh off to do a job that a gun could easily accomplish.
What the cards do that a gun can’t is have some kind of homing capability, wherein JR can sense them or something, which is how he tracks down and attacks Felicity and Afrojack. What the fuck? Felicity also uses this same quality to find JR later. I know he was in the comics, but no, Arrow. No.
Afrojack’s wondrous prototypes are either prohibitively expensive, or unstable. I’m glad Felicity banked her company and scores of those little people’s jobs she apparently cares about on some crackpot mad scientist. Whom it seems she is barely supervising.
Oh, and for someone who is a prodigious super hacker, Felicity is blithely unconcerned that her phone is fucking talking to her. Also, it’s obviously Ray.
But it’s not all bad:
Could Ray have actually gotten his shrinking test to work and now he’s camping out in Felicity’s phone? Because that would be so much fun. That, or he’s some kind of cyber ghost. Which would be less fun.
Felicity earns herself some serious points this episode. She’s the one who forces Oliver and Diggle, fresh off individual defeats due to their inability to work as a team, to talk their shit out. It’s what we’ve all been yelling at the screen for the past three episodes.
And she manages to hold her own against JR when he attacks her and Afrojack. She literally kicks him out of the lift when she and Afrojack are retreating to the Super Friends HQ. And then she opens up on him with a machine gun after he follows them down. She wounds him, and he retreats. Well done, baby.
Laurel and Thea may be belligerent necromancers, but their blind drive gets them results. Malcolm initially refuses to try resurrecting Sara because doing it on someone dead for that long is basically only a myth. Nyssa, too, is stalwart in not supporting the idea. She says she would have done it herself if it had been worthwhile. But Laurel and Thea, ever the bastions of levelheadedness, just keep nagging in unison “will you take us to Mount Splashmore” until Malcolm capitulates. Girl power!
Malcolm actually agrees because he wants to go some way to ingratiating himself to Thea. Because Thea isn’t happy about his attempt to help her with her Lazraus madness by setting up some League goons for her to kill. And to somewhat ease her guilt over having killed Sara, I think.
Thea totally does kill those goons, by the way. But only because she thinks she is legitimately under attack. She is not at all impressed when Malcolm reveals he sent them in there to die because that’s the only way to get a reprieve from Lazarus madness.
The flashbacks are still being treated as unimportant to the main plot, which is good. If we’re going to be stuck with them, I’d prefer if they didn’t try to hamfistedly dovetail into what’s happening in the present plot. All we learn this episode is that the criminals are making a drug called Slam that is part heroin. And that Oliver is still compassionate, as demonstrated when he performs non-lethal interrogation to find the Slam thief, and when he then helps said thief evade execution. He’s a marshmallow.
Felicity examines the DNA of a Ghost goon the Super Friends encounter, and discovers that it isn’t anything at all like a human’s DNA should be. Cool.
Mina is surprised and horrified by Damien’s telekinesis. So his bosses/colleagues mustn’t know that about him.
Nyssa’s heartbreak at being unable to prevent Sara’s resurrection felt sincere. And Nyssa pulls the most badass move of anyone all episode by using a contingency method Ra’s al Ghul taught her to destroy the Lazarus pit for good. I was worried that death was going to become irreversibly cheap in the Arrow-verse, but thanks to Nyssa, that’s been put to bed for now. Well, as much as a comic book property can.
Oliver takes a playing card to the chest for Diggle. He was wearing a vest, but the sentiment was worth it.
Oh, and JR Bourne can rest easy knowing that nothing in Arrow will ever be as erratically WTF as anything in Teen Wolf.