This was the episode I personally have been waiting for ever since I saw the title, as with any fan of comics specifically DC Comics there is a certain pedigree that comes with the title “League of Assassins.” Luckily, Arrow did what Arrow does best, deliver a quality forty-two minutes of television with some really kick-ass fight scenes. Also there were a few ninja assassins mixed in which really can’t hurt the situation. Yes this episode decided to take a different route by instead choosing to focus on Sara and her transformation from college party girl to skillful assassin, as not only did she take on multiple members of the League but also confronted an issue even Ollie has avoided up to this point. The fact that all this managed to mix together in what could have served as a backdoor pilot to a Canary show was rather satisfying without being over the top. So lets dive in shall we.
I have to say, when this episode decided to become Sara centric I became a little bit worried as I did not know if we had spent enough time with her as a character for there to be an entire episode, including flashbacks, built around her. However, Caity Lotz managed to carry the load and display some real acting chops, especially in the chat with Detective Lance. The scene in the Chinese restaurant managed to come of with just the right tone by having Sara be just happy enough that when she reacted to the napkins falling the tension was palpable. You could see that she was not only afraid that her family may be hurt, but that they will realize what she has become since she joined the League. This helped to forge an even stronger emotional resonance between us as an audience and the show, as many people are able to relate to the idea of disappointing their parents. We also built upon, a solid depiction of Sara’s evolution through the flashbacks, and even though we only got a brief look at Dr. Anthony Ivo, played by Dylan Neal, it was enough to satisfy our pallets. When we finally got a completion of last weeks cliff hanger it further cemented the fact that much like Ollie’s first year on the Island, Sara had been subjected to actions that has changed her to the core.
A lot of the really strong emotional material, especially the stuff with Detective Lance, helped to exemplify where the series has improved the most. The way in which the writers are treating the secondary characters like Det. Lance and Moria has really helped to show the growth of the show. Paul Blackthorne’s work this season has been especially miles ahead of where it was last season and whether it is because of the increase in screen time or because the character is actually being given real material to work with I have not yet decided. Similarly Moria’s prison scenes have helped to make her character more relatable as she is truly furthering her relationship with her family, something that was not prominently portrayed in the first season. The only character who seems to be suffering a regression is Laurel who really can not decided if she wants to be happy or a socially depressed pill popper. What is most frustrating about her character is that she has been refusing to take the help which is being offered to her. She and the writers need to commit to an arc for her character because this flip flopping is not helping her character at all.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about the title characters, The League of Assassins, who were both a bright spot and a disappointment in terms of what they did. Al-Owai was a suitable villain, one who could clearly challenge both Sara and Ollie for more than just one appearance, and yet they were reduced to fodder by the end of the episode. Especially in the case of Al-Owai, who apparently trained Merlyn, I expected more than to be taken out by Home Alone-esque booby traps in the clock tower. Although it was cool watching the differing fighting styles of the members, the story could have done so much more with these characters and both action scenes were major highlights of the entire episode. I really hope that the next batch of assassins sent by “The child of Ra’s Al Ghul,” live up to there moniker because these guys were as much fodder as The Mayor’s henchmen.
Overall a high quality episode.
Final Grade A-
+The League of Assassins being awesome.
+Strong work from both Lotz and Blackthorne
+Sara flashbacks were a fun change of pace.
-Seriously how did the League get fodderized at the end.
-Laurel needs to find an arc and fast
-So they are still not telling us what happened to Slade. Feel like that better happen next week considering the last time we saw Slade he was on Fire.
-Sara knows both Shado and Slade yet was not invited into the merry Suicide Squad, interesting.
-“Have you found someone for me to hit yet?” Ollie angry wit is just as charming as regular wit.
-“Guns are a coward’s weapon. What are you without your sidearm?” “A man with a spare!” Paul Blackthorne for John Mclane if they ever decide to reboot Die Hard.