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REVIEW: Arrow 3×02 “Sara”

Written by Scott Swartz

Whenever there is a major character death in one episode the following episode is usually used to deal with the fallout. Of course this fallout can be treaty in many different fashions from all out grief, to a single minded desire to find the killer as achieve revenge. Arrow tried to straddle that line this week’s “Sara,” and to varying degrees it worked. Certain characters arc’s irked really well despite the bizarre pacing, I just wish that they would have committed to the story in whole rather than trying to shoehorn in the B and C story. Despite other happenings in the city and an entire B story which revolved around Komodo this episode squarely had the feeling and trappings or a setup episode. The writers have said that the mystery is meant to be a season long one so we knew it would not be easy, but I just wish there was more going on in this episode. So let’s dive in.

Let’s start with who went about their grieving in an appropriate manner this week and that list squarely rests on anyone not named Oliver or Laurel. Roy, Diggle and Felicity each grieved Sara’s death in their own way and luckily each came off on the right note. Though Roy wasn’t super close with Sara her death has seemingly made him appreciate those he has lost namely Thea. His decision to come clean to Oliver about why Thea left was smart as he could not hide the truth forever, although I did find it weird that Oliver never once in the five months Thea has been gone decided to ping her phone or just double check her whereabouts. Diggle did exactly what Diggle needed to do, be the Alfred. Whenever something awful happens to Batman it is Alfred who is there to help Bruce soldier through the pain and sadness. Diggle understands just how badly Oliver is hurting right now even if Ollie won’t openly admit it to himself, so for Diggle to simply say he will be by Ollie’s side no matter what was more than enough in this scenario. It was a nice albeit hokey touch to have Diggle name his daughter Sara, but David Ramsey hit exactly the right beat when delivering the line.

The member of Team Arrow who surprisingly got the best material was Felicity, who despite the rocky start to her and Sara’s relationship was clearly one of the hardest hit. Everything that Emily Bett Rickards did tonight was awesome. From her trying to get Ollie to show any real emotion about Sara, to her yelling at Ray Palmer for being a self absorbed jackass. Rickards much like Ramsey hit the exact right notes in her interactions. I am especially enjoying how she is bouncing off of Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer as Palmer continues to come off as a lovable arrogant douche. Now that Felicity will be working for Palmer it will be interesting to see how their dynamic changes and if it will cause him to mellow out and become more like the Palmer we all know and expect from the comics.

Now, as for Ollie and Laurel’s reactions to Sara’s death, the best thing I can say about them is that they were not the worst thing. Ollie throwing himself into tracking down Komodo made sense as Ollie has always been one to put his mission above his emotions. It did however seem like part way through the episode he had somehow figured out that Komodo was not responsible for Sara’s death which made his showdown with our new masked archer kind of irrelevant. It was great that the writing subtly showed Ollie was off his game and possibly had a slight death wish if the motorbike showdown is any indication. Komodo may be a great archer, but Ollie was really stupid to let him take so many shots at him. A good archer doesn’t miss that often. I did like at the end of the hour Ollie had finally devoted himself to hunting down Thea and bringing her home, and if our brief look at new Thea is any indication she is now a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, the weakest part of the episode should have been the strongest as Laurel’s storyline was really aggravating. It was not due to any fault of Katie Cassidy’s but rather the script provided her with little to do other than have a showdown with Komodo and only have Oliver taking the bullets out of her gun spare her from making a terrible decision. The emotional moments where Laurel broke down and reflected on who Sara was showed great promise, but they never truly led anywhere. Then we have the fact that Laurel is refusing to tell her father about Sara’s death, which will blow up in all of Team Arrow’s faces if he finds out from a third party like Nyssa or a member of the League. I realize this is supposed to build dramatic tension and the blowup will lead to a nice story about Laurel lying to her father, but the man deserves to know before it leads to someone else getting killed.

Overall it was a strong episode that could have been so much more.

Final Grade C+

+Excellent work by Rickards and Ramsey

+The team is finally going to look for Thea

+Oliver’s realization

-Laurel’s decision to not tell her father is idiotic

-Ollie didn’t do much besides brood

-Komodo made a lackluster debut

-Flashback was irrelevant to the overall story.

Extra Thoughts

-As awesome as it was to see Colin Donnell back as Tommy in the flashback it really did not add anything to the story

-I will admit Ollie telling Diggle he doesn’t want to die like that was a really powerful moment.

-I know Malcolm will never wear light colors, but damn John Barrowman looked fancy in that outfit.

-To get a better idea of why Komodo could be a cool villain go read Jeff Lemire’s New 52 work on the character.

About the author

Scott Swartz