Arrow Review – S04 E03 – Restoration

The search for answers and new chances was on in this week’s episode of Arrow. The title of the episode was fitting for every angle highlighted on our heroes. Laurel searched for the second wind of life to be breathed back into her sister, Thea sought the relief of a rage instilled in her by the Lazarus pit, and Oliver struggled to make peace with Diggle to restructure what was the foundation of Team Arrow.

Over on the wrong side of the tracks, Neal McDonough, continued to demonstrate why his take on Damien Darhk is the most interesting and bad-ass big bad we’ve seen since Deathstroke was tearing Starling City apart in season two. His hired gun (card?) of the week is no slouch, however.

Definitely cheats in poker
Definitely cheats in poker

Double Down joined the fun this week on Arrow, flinging a never-ending onslaught of bladed playing cards of doom at the Green Arrow and anyone who needed to be taught some manners ala Darhk. Our gambling goon’s story seems to have originated from Central City as another casualty of the particle accelerator.

This dude goes in to get some sikkk ink done and BAM — now he can peel killer playing cards off his many playing card tattoos because he really really likes gambling. His comic book counterpart receives his powers from a cursed deck of playing cards that embeds itself on his skin, detaching to slice through enemies on command. Yeah, ridiculous, but I suppose CW’s version works far better for this universe.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Say what? The comic book version sounds dope AF.

It’s important to note that there wasn’t a mention of either Anarky or Oliver running for mayor this week. Both are good calls, too. It appears as if the writers don’t want to rush anything this season and let everything take time to unfold. One of the biggest complaints about last season was how quickly Oliver recovered from death. Sometimes I struggle to leave my damn bed because I have bad allergies, and my man here just gets up from getting stabbed and falling down a mountainside because of a sip of penicillin tea and some strong will. The worst part is that Roy Harper fans thought he was going to get some time to shine. CW was like nah.

This is a giant step in the right direction. Anarky is going to be a big thorn in Team Arrow’s side and the Oliver Queen mayoral run is a very big deal. Let it slow burn because in the end it will be that much more delicious.

His final form can only complete when he says, "chum."
His final form can only complete when he says, “chum.”

Diggle and Ollie finally burying the hatchet was front and center amongst all the angles in this episode. Near the end, after the two took down our monster of the week, they shared a moment that threw me back to the comic. It was another great step in the right direction of a more familiar Oliver Queen.

Diggle: You took a bullet for me..

Oliver: They were…meta-human…tattoo playing cards…

Probably not a big deal right? I’m not sure he would have given such a witty response in any of the first three seasons, though, so this was huge for me. Amell still has a tendency (given the direction) to give us a more somber Oliver at times. Come on, CW, have Oliver crack even more jokes. Have him say “chum” and have him hate conservative pricks. We need it. I need it!

I really thought I'd hate you.
I really thought I’d hate you.

The Felicity and Holt dynamic continued this week, as she pays him a visit to try to figure out what Double D’s cards are composed of. We get a visual of prototype T-Spheres so you know something terrific is going to happen eventually. Yeah, I’m witty as hell. But really, I was excited to see them appear on this episode as I was already pleasantly surprised that I actually liked Echo Kellum as Terrific.

Ms. Smoak seems to take on Ollie’s role from season one. You know, taking advantage of someone smarter than she is to help her solve crime until he very easily figures it out. It’s a cute turn around, but Felicity doesn’t quite pull it off as well as Ollie. In fact, it falls a little flat when she plays that air-headed Felicity character against Terrific’s cool genius. She may, in fact, be the weakest character in this episode as I don’t quite buy her bid to get Oliver and Diggle to kiss and make up either. Cripple her and fast.

Neo or Ray Palmer?
Neo or Ray Palmer?

Her most interesting involvement is her inevitable cause to recruit Holt to get Ray Palmer back as it seems he’s sending her messages from within the Matrix.

Finally, Thea and Laurel’s friendly trip to the League of Assassins proves to be fruitful as they are successful in resurrecting Sara. Know what that means? Well, all it means now is that Legends of Tomorrow has successfully been set up with one of its major team members. It was a good showing up in the mountains of Nanda Parbat, especially with Thea straight up slaughtering some attacking League members, but sister Lance’s resurrection was easily the most notable variable in this equation.

As a quick aside, when Merlyn referred to a man up in the mountains, I was secretly hoping it would be Zatara, Zatana’s father, and it’d be a vehicle to introduce Zatana into the show. I was disappointed there was no such man, but I can still hope, eh?

WRAP-UP

This wasn’t quite the level of last week’s episode, but still a mighty fine showing. Double Down was a solid challenge for this week, the bromance between Oliver and Diggle rekindling was great to see again, and I grow to love Holt more and more every week. Finally, needless to say, Darhk is still a very scary big bad and the slow weaving of H.I.V.E. into the story is really intriguing.

RATING

7/10

It was a solid showing from Team Arrow this week. The Ollie/Diggle story, Mr. Terrific, Darhk and Double Down were all solid to great enough to earn the episode a high mark. Felicity’s flat performance, the fact that she still has the use of her legs, and the fact that I didn’t see Zatara in this episode made a higher score just out of reach.

Fre
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