In the wake of a major character death Oliver Queen refuses to grieve as everyone around him falls apart and Laurel inexplicably becomes important again.
ARROW SEASON 3 EPISODE 2 “SARA”
Director: Wendy Stanzler
Writers: Jake Coburn and Keto Shimizu
Original Air Date: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards
Previously on Arrow: A major character died in the season premier leaving the entire cast of characters shocked. Oh … and Oliver (Stephen Amell), and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), went on a date for no reason.
GROUNDWORK FOR THE SEASON
Know, reader, that if you proceed below this line there will be lots and lots of spoilers for the third season of Arrow to date.
In the final moments of the Arrow season 3 premiere Sara (Caity Lotz), was shot dead with a trio of arrows lodged in her chest. This single ten second event is the catalyst for the events of the second episode entitled: Sara.
Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), remains stoic in the wake of the death of one of his closest friends, former lover and perhaps the person who understands him the best. He fails to understand Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickard), overt grief and continually demands her A-game, which she is simply unable to offer him. In a mirror, Felicity cannot comprehend why Oliver is not drowning in sorrow, instead electing to focus on the burgeoning investigation into Sara’s assassination.
A running theme throughout Sara is the splintering of Team Arrow:
Whereas, in the previous episode, Felicity and Oliver had romantic overtones thrust upon them as fan service, in Sara, writers Jake Coburn and Keto Shimizu beautifully highlight the way these two complement each other. Much like the classic due of Holmes and Watson, Oliver and Felicity represent two halves of a whole person and are most compelling on screen within the confines of a working relationship (or, in the case of Sara, balancing each other out emotionally). Although Sara’s death is tough subject matter to watch these two squabble over, the scenes they share are some of the most compelling of the episode.
Of course, with the romance vacuumed out from the Oliver/Felicity relationship, we get a scene with Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), that does feel a bit shoehorned in. He shares a scene with a distressed Felicity that proves – in spite of having two successful seasons under its belt – Arrow will always be beholden to the trope-y CW nonsense.
Unfortunately, John Diggle (David Ramsey), has little to nothing to do throughout Sara, unfortunately. Again, we revisit the disappointing theme of Arrow benching one of their best actors. He does have a nice moment on the rooftop with Oliver early on in the episode that reaffirms his position in Team Arrow as the father figure. Yes, it was absolutely wonderful to have Diggle on the screen, though simultaneously disappointing not to get more of him.
One of the worst parts of Sara is the Laurel (Katie Cassidy), storyline. Throughout Arrow’s entire television run to date she has held the show back from becoming the greatest superhero ensemble cast on the small screen. It’s obvious that the actress has been signed on for the run of the show because the writing team has been forecasting her taking up the Canary mantle since last season. At several points throughout Sara we have to put up with Laurel trying to cry and staring longingly at her sister’s black jacket.
The only saving grace of Laurel’s nonsense is a scene with Oliver. Stephen Amell once again proves himself a leading man capable of leading his cast and giving a great performance. Green Arrow bumps up against a cartoonishly emotional Laurel and must prevent her from murdering the freak of the week in cold blood who she mistakenly takes to be Sara’s assassin. While this scene serves to bolster Ollie’s position of being controlled-to-the-point-of-stunted it does nothing to justify Laurel’s chosen career – assistant district attorney. Rather, she appears nothing short of impulsive and hard headed.
After all that, let me really quickly touch on the best part of Sara: Tommy Merlyn! Actor Colin Donnell returns to the role he played in the first season of Arrow in his second cameo. Tommy shows up in Hong Kong searching for Oliver and Oliver’s first assignment from Amanda Waller is to kill Tommy outright. This forces Oliver to make a creative decision in order to save the life of his best friend. Their final moments together nicely foreshadow a scene viewers will recognize from season one. Colin Donnell is lots of fun to watch and knows exactly when to drop Tommy from goofy playboy to honestly frightened. If the writers are planning to have one Tommy cameo a season I would be nothing short of thrilled with that!
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN EPISODE OF BUILDING BLOCKS
Sara, the second episode in the third season of Arrow, is all building blocks for the coming season. Although Laurel is destined to become the Canary, if you can get beyond that there is a lot of promise. Sara is also the best Hong Kong flashback we’ve gotten thus far.