‘Arrow’ Season 2 Recap, Episode 13: ‘Heir To The Demon’ [SPOILERS]
The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along to see how he fares.
This week, Sara Lance makes out with everyone she can, because why not? Also, some dumb stuff about a dumb mayoral campaign.
I am not being facetious at all when I say this week's episode gets off to a terrific start. Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), the less famous but arguably more interesting of Ra's al Ghul's daughters, arrives at Starling City's airport in an Alicia Keys hat.
She also winks at a kid. She's instantly got more personality than 90 percent of this show's villains combined. It's great.
A security officer notices there's an A.R.G.U.S. security alert attached to her name and lies about his computer being frozen so he can back away. Another officer runs up behind Nyssa (who is Nyssa Raatko on her I.D., which is a nice little nod to Death and the Maidens) and holds her at gunpoint. Nyssa stabs him with a pen and beats the tar out of him and a bunch of other guards, then walks out of the airport. Again: Nyssa is great.
Things take a bit of a nosedive when the scene turns to Queen Consolidated, where Steele, political consultant Mark Frances, Ollie and a few other people are talking with Moira about her really ill-advised campaign. Somehow they don't think it's the worst idea in political history, and that includes Michael Dukakis getting in that tank.
Smoak, who is lurking around outside the conference room, pulls Steele aside and tells him about a shady transfer of funds from that organization Moira used to hide the Queen's Gambit and also kidnap him last year. Remember that, Steele? Remember how the woman you're setting up to be mayor was complicit in your months-long kidnapping?
Frances tells Ollie he's got to cut his ties with the Blood campaign just as Officer Lance calls him to ask if he can come to the hospital. That's right, everyone. It's an Arrow hospital scene! Get out your bingo cards or take a drink or whatever.
Laurel's recovering from her apparent OD from last week. Not only is Officer Lance there, but Laurel's mom Dinah has come back from her self-imposed exile to visit, too. Officer Lance mentions something about rehab, but Laurel insists that she didn't overdose. A nurse comes in and mentions a test involving some hemmorhaging in Laurel's eye. Concerned looks abound. As Ollie and Dinah leave, Laurel stops her dad to say she saw Sara. He laughs it off.
In the Arrowcave, Sara does some Ollie-style exercise while Smoak, Dig and Ollie just watch. Ollie's jelly. She finishes her workout and says she's going to take off. Ollie tries to talk her out of it. She won't have it, but before she can bounce, Officer Lance calls the Arrowphone and asks Sara to meet up at the Chinese restaurant where they met a few episodes back.
Officer Lance tries to talk her into staying in town and living with the family, but she's got this League-of-Assassins-trying-to-kill-her thing to deal with and she just can't. She leaves and, while Arrow watches, is confronted by Nyssa, who's holding a knife. It seems pretty certain Nyssa's going to kill Sara, but then they go full Xena.
Even the music gets Xena-like!
Nyssa notices Arrow pretty quickly, so she introduces herself to him as the daughter of Ra's al Ghul. She says it "Raysh," by the way, even though all the other people on the show have all said "Rahz" up to this point. I don't come down one way or another regarding the right way to say it, but come on, let's be consistent, show.
Nyssa says she wants Sara to come back; Ollie says she can't do that. Sara tells Ollie to trust her. The scene just sort of ends and leaves it at that.
Smoak comes by Casa Queen to be introduced by a maid we've never seen before and tell Moira that she noticed she paid off that gynecologist it sounded like she wanted to kill last week. Smoak has pulled together the threads and figured out that Malcolm Merlyn is Thea's dad.
Moira gets way intense--again, she is a person who was OK with her husband being kidnapped for months--and says Ollie will hate the both of them forever. "Shut up," she basically tells Smoak.
Sara and Nyssa have a piano music scene about how much they loved each other, except, unlike every other piano music scene in this show, this one ends with Sara inviting her former lover to kill her and Nyssa fleeing. Hey, can we just have a show about these two, as long as they figure out the right way to pronounce "Ra's"?
Also, the more I see of Caity Lotz, the more I think the choice to cast her as Black Canary is really inspired. Not only is she really good at being a tormented action heroine, her character talks exactly like Paul Blackthorne. She's very believably his daughter. I don't know if that's a conscious choice or she's just a mushmouth like him, but it's a great character detail.
Anyway, Ollie's in the Arrowcave beating up an old tire with his sledgehammer. That is not a euphemism.
Sara comes back and reiterates that she's going to take off, but she's interrupted again when Dig strolls in and says Laurel was right about not ODing. She was poisoned. With snake venom. From a PIT VIPER. The whole thing was a ploy to lure Sara back to Starling, and it worked.
It's flashback time, but not to Flashback Island. Instead, it's to the idyllic, pre-boat-disaster Lance home.
Now, look, I have tried to be very sensitive about how different Katie Cassidy looks this season. I haven't even mentioned it until now. She can do whatever she wants. But it's impossible to ignore here. I don't know if she just slimmed down a whole bunch (as if she needed it) or had some actual work done, but the attempt for her to play herself six years ago totally fails here. She looked really different just a year ago (she also played six-years-ago-Laurel in the first season, too).
Anyway, this scene could just be the both of them saying "dramatic irony" for a minute or so. Laurel talks about how she wants to settle down with Ollie, while Sara plans (via her smartphone that definitely was not available in 2007) to go get on that boat that we know will sink with that guy Laurel wants to settle down with.
In the present, a bearded guy working for Nyssa kidnaps Dinah and dumps her in a van. As the van speeds away, Arrow and Canary give chase on Ollie's motorcycle. Canary jumps onto the van and valiantly tries to get in, but Nyssa knocks her off. She flips out.
Ollie and Sara regroup with Officer Lance. Sara, out of necessity, comes out of the closet as bisexual. Officer Lance doesn't have much time to process before Nyssa calls from a matte painting of a garbage dump to say Sara only has 24 hours to come back to her before Nyssa kills Dinah.
Team Arrow tracks the snake venom to a break-in at the local zoo (Dig says the cops chalked up the break-in to some teens trying to get a thrill, which is hilarious on so many levels). They trace that to a rental car. This version of the League of Assassins is working on a budget, I suppose.
Ollie forgets that he had a meeting with Blood to tell him that he couldn't support his campaign anymore, so Blood calls him from Queen Consolidated and they just cut ties over the phone, but agree to remain friends. Blood being at QC presents the perfect opportunity for a showdown with Moira, who he tells to get out of the race. There's some grandstanding.
Blood makes the very valid point (one I made just last week, in fact) that Moira's defense during her trial was that she allowed herself to be completely intimidated by Malcolm Merlyn. She comes back with a sort of platitude about how she shouldn't be underestimated.
Officer Lance and Sara have a nice moment in which he says he's just glad someone cared about her, but that's interrupted by an assassin showing up and making a scene. It's not really clear what he's here to do; Nyssa's already got leverage in the situation, but it's an OK little fight scene. Officer Lance decks him and Sara gets him in a chokehold. So he eats a suicide pill.
Team Arrow comes to Moira's campaign kickoff event, and Smoak just can't handle it. Ollie asks what's up and after a lot of stalling, she spills the beans about Malcolm being Thea's dad.
Meanwhile, Sara's hanging out next to her own grave, like one does, when Nyssa calls and says time's up. Sara says she'll go back to Nanda Parbat with Nyssa if she'll let Dinah go. But she's got a plan involving the snake venom, because Sara may be the only really resourceful person on this show.
In the spirit of spilling the beans, Officer Lance almost tells Laurel about Sara being alive, but he's interrupted by Sara calling and asking him to meet her at the docks, without Arrow. Laurel follows him.
Back at the Queen campaign event, Steele gives a really half-hearted, boilerplate speech about how Moira is a good CEO (she isn't anymore) and mother before calling Ollie to the lectern. Ollie looks really shaken up, and it comes out in his off-the-cuff speech, which sounds like an indictment until he "saves" it right at the end.
Let's get right to the heart of it: It's one of the worst political speeches I've ever heard, and I've heard Chuck Norris give political speeches.
Team Arrow returns to the Arrowcave to find Sara and the venom gone. They assume that Sara's going to kill Nyssa, because that's how they would have handled it last year, and they track her down using a tracer Ollie put on Sara because he is a controlling dick.
Officer Lance shows up at the docks and frees Dinah just before Sara comes walking in. Dinah can't believe it, but it's a short-lived happiness. Sara makes her parents leave and starts walking toward Nyssa. She falls down and it becomes clear pretty quickly that she took the venom herself.
Nyssa is sad for a second, but when Officer Lance and Dinah come running back in, she gets fiery mad and threatens Sara's family. Officer Lance takes a couple punches to the jaw before Arrow shows up and gets into a good, old-fashioned bow shootout with Nyssa. That eventually turns into a fistfight, and Arrow wins with a sort of not-quite Kimura lock.
Sara, who's still all effed up from the venom, begs Arrow not to kill her. Arrow runs over to administer an antidote and Sara springs back to life. Nyssa is apparently moved by this and tells Sara she releases her from the League. The cops show up and everyone scatters. Laurel, who's just standing a few feet away somehow, is incredulous.
Casa Queen. Moira's watching her own campaign speech on the news because she'd have to be this self-involved to believe she could possibly win this thing. Ollie angers his way into the room and tells her he'll support her campaign, but is otherwise cutting her out of his life because she's a liar. Pot! Kettle!
The Lance home. Laurel is getting loaded on wine and is unloading a lot of blame on Sara. It's easily the best scene Katie Cassidy has gotten all season, and she handles it really well, with just the right amount of seething rage. She tells Sara to leave, and she does.
Another flashback. Straight-hair Moira delivers the news to the Lances that Sara was on the yacht with Oliver. The most piano music.
Slade's in his office watching the news reports about Moira's campaign announcement. Blood comes in and asks what they should do about it. Instead of completely laughing it off like he should, Slade says he'll "take care of it," deathly serious.
Sara shows up at the Arrowcave while Ollie trains. They both gots family troubles. They press their scars against each other and make out.
I really wish the title of this episode had been, "Sara Lance Can Get It."
All the stuff with Sara, Nyssa and the League of Assassins was really good. Like, best-this-show-has-ever-been good. It was suspenseful, Sara actually did things that were surprising and heroic, and there was some real emotion behind all the characters' actions. Nyssa was (and hopefully she comes back) a villain with a genuine, human motivation. It all worked.
But the political stuff was just dire. I don't see any way of it coming around to being anything but dire, save everyone in the city collectively remembering how much they hated Moira just a few weeks ago and her getting zero percent of the vote.