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REVIEW: Arrow 4×05 “Haunted”

Written by Scott Swartz

Guy’s there was actual magic on Arrow this week and it was kind of rad. Yes, “Haunted” seemingly brought a pause to the tiring plot of Sara being a soulless killing machine as they brought in everyones favorite dabbler in the dark arts John Constantine to play around with our heroes. This episode had all the making of being a problem child in a much matured fourth season, but apparently not even cancellation can stop the greatness that is Matt Ryan as Constantine. Despite only appearing for a brief time in the present I loved that for the first time in a long while we were able to combine the flashbacks so that they actually influenced the present storyline. As an added bonus we got to see unleashed Sara attempt to murder every Thea lookalike in the city which led to some interesting fight scenes overall.

So let’s talk about the star of this episode, Matt Ryan reprising his role as Constantine and pretty much welcoming magic to the Arrowverse. Ryan nails all of the usual notes of being an arrogant but lovable prick that are needed when playing Constantine. It was great to see the teams varying reactions to Constantine’s schtick as it was very reminiscent of the first time the team witnessed Barry’s abilities. The mix of shock and disbelief played well considering everything that has happened to the team, and everything they have witnessed in their time together. Constantine is certainly the most out their character that the team has interacted with since he knows that there are darker forces at work than that of the mere mortals. Even more considering his reaction to Darhk being in Star City. Hopefully his interactions with the team will allow him to become a more frequent collaborator with this universe as they managed to do just enough to make us want more.

Speaking of Constantine, they finally found a way to make the flashbacks worthwhile by having him take Ollie on a magical journey. The weakest part of the show the past two seasons have been that all of the flashback material has felt superfluous when tying back into the main plot, so to have Constantine not only move it forward but also give us an interesting answer to how Ollie got one of his tattoos was a strong play. I enjoyed Ollie’s skepticism as it mirrored Diggle’s in the present and allowed for a greater explanation as to why he trust Constantine. Ollie has seen the dangers of magic as we are clearly going to find out this season, and Constantine was only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately no one else in the flashbacks has nearly as much screen presence as Constantine does so I am hoping that we are able to find some way to make me care rather than them turning into Maseo and Katana.

Despite Constantine basically stealing the entire episode I would have to say my actual favorite side plot was that of Diggle and Lance teaming up. Diggle finally got some answers as to why his brother was killed even if he doesn’t like the facts. Even more so the fact that Lance and Diggle were able to have scenes together and they were really strong says a lot about allowing these characters to play off each other. Both men are men of conviction so allowing them to but heads and finally interact with each other was a win wishing itself, but for Lance to confront Darhk about Diggle’s brother because he understands the necessity of closure was icing on the cake. I really hope that these two are able to interact more often as this is a surprisingly strong pairing I didn’t know I needed more of.

As for the weaker part of the episode Laurel while bearable this week really didn’t add anything to the whole needing to recover Sara plot. I appreciate that she called Oliver on his hypocrisy and made him realize that he basically did the exact same thing for Thea, but at the same time hiding the fact from Oliver was just a bad idea. Sure you can bring Sara back, but as soon as you do it you better tell Ollie, especially if it means you made a deal with Merlyn that will come back to bite you in the end. Similarly with Thea seemingly having a death wish now that Sara is back, I mean I understand it sucks to have bloodlust but for Thea to seemingly just give up seems a little out of character.

Similarly Felicity’s plot is feeling really far away from the main story and it only feels like it is now coming into the purview of the team. I mean Felicity could have told the team that they had got a message from Ray and that they were working of cracking it. Instead she is keeping secrets which is only going to end up hurting the team as a whole and possibly neutering their effectiveness once again. It needs to be resolved in a clearer fashion and actual not just be another piece in the Legends of Tomorrow puzzle.

Overall a fine episode.

Final Grade B

+Constantine being aces

+Island flashbacks mattered this week

+Laurel calling Oliver on his bullshit

+Diggle Lance team up

-Felicity plot far away from the main story

-Thea wanting to die

-Sara’s rescue was underwhelming

Extra Thoughts

-Klarion the Witch Boy, that is who I want as a villain next time Constantine shows up.

-Constantine scratching his back with a peacock feather, subtle dig at NBC?

-Apparently security doesn’t ask questions if you yell you’re a cop. Exhibit A. Lance

-Guess we have to use the Nanda Parbat set somehow.

-Favorite reactions in order Felicity saying she is happy Constantine is not another attractive woman, followed by Diggle saying John belongs at the Luxor

About the author

Scott Swartz