Arrow Review – S04 E04 – Beyond Redemption

After taking a week to let Oliver’s decision to run for mayor marinate a little bit, Arrow returns this week with some new developments in Mr. Queen’s candidacy. Let me just say, I love the throwback to season two as he sets up his mayoral election headquarters in Sebastian Blood’s old digs. But what would a change in scenery for civilian Oliver be without a change in scenery for vigilante Queen and the rest of Team Arrow?

Ollie: I'd like the Pentagon look for my apartment; Designer: I got you, fam.
Ollie: I’d like the Pentagon look for my apartment; Designer: I got you, fam.

A new-and-sort-of-improved “Arrow Cave” debuted underneath the headquarters, complete with updated costume display cases! It was a pleasant aesthetic change from the old quiver they worked out before. Another job well done by Cisco and S.T.A.R. Labs technology. The prospects of Mayor Queen this season are still very exciting. If they take a similar path as to that of Judd Winick’s, we’ll see some of the best that Green Arrow has to offer.

That aside, Stephen Amell has been doing an applaudable job of changing his approach to Oliver. Yeah, it can fall a little flat at times and he can fall into old habits, but he’s really put an effort into making Ollie far more relaxed, happier, and has even dropped some funny lines. I’m just waiting for “chum.” Just waiting here. Patiently. I’ll mention it in every review if I have to.

I C U
I C U

This week’s development is Oliver discovering the relationship between Darhk and Detective Lance. Kudos to the show for not dragging Lance’s secret through the mud too long this season. As stated in past reviews, the show runners have done a phenomenal job this season of learning from their mistakes. They’ve drawn out what needs to be drawn out and cut short angles that could otherwise turn to sludge and really slow the momentum of the season down.

Oliver and Detective Lance have one of the best and most emotional dialogues I’ve seen on this show when he pays the detective a visit after he spots Lance’s moment of weakness pictured above. Amell has a habit of falling a bit on the flat side, as aforementioned, and a lot of it comes off more brooding than angry or whatever other emotion he’s trying to display.

He nailed it here, however, really driving in how disappointed and angry he was at Lance for turning to the dark side. Blackthorne, in turn, was very successful in portraying his desperation and ignorance in turning to a man he knew nothing about. That all said, I’m excited to see where the relationship will go between the two, especially with Queen running for mayor and needing the captain’s support.

Detective Lance taking us on an emotional rollercoaster
Detective Lance taking us on an emotional rollercoaster

Blackthorne pulled double duty, becoming a driving force between another one of the episode’s major angles. Laurel, in a very loving and sisterly fashion, chains her feral sister, Sara, to a pipe in the basement of her home. Awww. Being a woman of her word now, she decides not to keep this from her father and he somehow avoids having a heart attack after seeing his living, breathing daughter again.

Stricken with guilt and confusion, he turns to Darhk for answers, who only responds with the difficult action of putting her down. Again, Blackthorne shines here as he’s so close to pulling the trigger on a vessel that he knew didn’t contain his daughter anymore before Laurel stops him.

He should just open his own amusement park and have the main ride be a fucking emotional roller coaster. Lance has come a long way from being a pretty bland and boring character in season one, to being one of my favorite characters on the show.

Finally, the show took a break from notable baddies this week to have Team Arrow focus on taking down an anti-vigilante task force that decided to go into business for themselves. The fight scenes between the opposing sides were beautiful, as usual, but I could have done without Laurel’s corny delivery after they fail to deactivate her canary cry collar.

Curtis and Felicity came one step closer to discovering Ray Palmer’s last words (and his current whereabouts).  And in the flashbacks, Oliver is still doing his best to infiltrate this military team and save the people they have slaving away on the fields. It was all great stuff, but paled in comparison to the rest of the story taking place this episode.

WRAP-UP

It was so great to see Amell really step up his game in this episode. He was a legitimately angry and passionate Oliver Queen this episode and that’s what we need to see aside from a happier and wise-cracking Ollie. Blackthorne was equally as huge and instrumental this episode and I was excited to see him play such an integral part in both the vigilante’s life and Oliver’s.

RATING

9/10

Bravo, Arrow. You’ve come a ways from your flawed third season to really deliver some great episodes and this one is no exception. Action, emotion, and most importantly: improvement. I’m more excited for this season with every episode and this one is no exception. Constantine is coming next week! Let’s get mystical!

Fre
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