‘Arrow’ Season 3 Recap, Episode 2: ‘Sara’
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 is back for the third season of the popular series in our recap feature we’re officially dubbing Pointed Commentary.
This week: Team Arrow investigates the murder of a friend, people sit around solemnly a whole lot, and a villain is revealed to be completely inconsequential. The old Arrow is back, everybody!
In case you missed last week's episode, here's the big spoiler: Sara died. Someone shot her off a rooftop. I actually didn't notice it last week, but it looked like her wig was bleeding profusely.
This week's episode kicks off in the Arrowcave, where Laurel has laid out her sister's dead body on a table, just waiting for Team Arrow to get back so she could show her to them. This raises a lot of questions, like: Did Laurel really drag Sara's body all the way to the cave with the arrows still in it? How did no one see her? Why on earth did she think this was the best way to handle this situation?
Smoak even says, "Hey, we should get her to a hospital," but Laurel clearly ruled out that option hours ago, when she decided to drag her critically injured sister a couple miles. (Or at the very least dump her in a car and drive her to Verdant.)
After a few moments of weird staring at Sara's dead body, Team Arrow decides they have to set out to find her killer. Laurel offers to help, but Ollie shuts that down right away, because Laurel needs to be with her family. Uh...Sara was a third of that family, and her mom's never around. And later in the episode, when Dig insists on putting himself in danger, Ollie just kind of nods in agreement, despite dig having an infant at home. Check your double standards, bro.
Ollie conveniently gets a call from Captain Lance (who doesn't know Sara's dead; more on that later) about a new archer in town who seems to be killing people. Team Arrow immediately assumes this is Sara's killer.
We see that very archer, who we later discover is Komodo, killing a drug dealer in a warehouse, because warehouses are where things happen in Starling City. Arrow goes there after the fact to investigate, leading to a hilarious scene in which another dealer tries to climb a pipe(?) to safety, and Arrow punches him down.
Based on some very basic information ("he wears a black mask"), Dig is able to immediately find out the guy is Komodo, a.k.a. Simon Lacroix, using an ARGUS database.
I'll just give it away now so you don't get too excited: He didn't kill Sara. He has an alibi (he was drinking in Blüdhaven the night Sara died) and it checks out. You'd think the team of superheroes with the ability to track the guy's cell phone, identify him from only basic information, and learn every detail about him would be able to figure this out without all the trouble they go through, but then I guess there wouldn't be a show.
Before any of that comes to light, Arrow has a motorcycle fight with Komodo (instead of picking up the motorcycles and using them like swords, like I would have hoped, they just do a sort of archery joust) and Laurel threatens a guy Komodo tried to kill in a hospital. (That's right. There's a hospital scene. Like there wouldn't be.) She puts his broken arm in an armbar! It's actually a great Laurel moment.
What's not a great Laurel moment is at the end, when she's threatening Komodo with a gun. She pulls the trigger, despite his calm assertion that he didn't kill Sara. Then Laurel turns to Arrow and says, "You took the bullets out of the gun!" That's the real line.
The cops come and arrest Komodo. A plot involving an oil pipeline in Qurac involving AmerTek (that's right, the corporation from Steel) turns out to be a complete waste of time.
Laurel does a lot of not-so-cool stuff this episode, but perhaps the least cool thing she does is keep Sara's death from her dad. I mean, yes, it's clear she wants to protect his feelings, but this isn't something you can really keep from someone. It isn't like someone accidentally broke a lamp, and then they just go buy a replacement without telling dad. He's going to find out, and frankly, he deserves to know.
Near the end of the episode, she tries to tell him, but then she sees a photo of Sara on his desk and can't go through with it.
Here's the kicker, though: All the secrecy leads to Team Arrow having to hide Sara's body. First they keep her in the Arrowcave, then they put her in a freezer, then they secretly bury her in her old grave from when everybody thought she was dead before.
Laurel even gets mad about it, openly decrying how no one will know who the real Sara was. I don't see how not telling anyone about her dying could possibly fix that.
The other big relationship story of the episode involves Thea. Ollie keeps calling her and getting no answer, and he's getting pretty worried about that. Roy, who still is barely getting any lines for some reason, says Thea is lying about where she is, and he proves it by showing Ollie her goodbye letter from last season. Ollie vows to go find her after Team Arrow discovers that Komodo didn't kill Sara, because I suppose he needs to change things up.
There isn't a lot of Ollie/Smoak stuff in this episode, other than one BS macho line where Ollie tells her he "doesn't have the luxury of falling to pieces" when she starts crying about Sara's death.
Man, I hate Ollie.
Ray Palmer makes a triumphant return this week, though the first scene we see him in presents him as extraordinarily creepy. Turns out he's been sending Smoak emails, texts and flowers (ugh) hoping to entice her to come work for him at Queen Consolidated. He has also conveniently bought the Best Buy-like electronics chain she works for in order to force her to come work for him. Like I said, it's creepy as all.
Smoak goes and confronts him about his creepo actions, and what she gets in return is some spiel about how he's not really mad at him, but must be mad about something else. He even says, "It gets better." It's gross.
Of course, by the end of the episode she goes and agrees to work for him.
Palmer redeems himself a bit, though. At an even full of the city's most powerful businesspeople, he promises to donate half his wealth to help better the city, and vows to only take a $1-per-year salary. (That's just before Komodo crashes in and fights Arrow and Arsenal in some triple-Arrow action.)
The big cliffhanger of the second season involved Amanda Waller bringing Ollie from Flashback Island to Hong Kong to work for her, and yet the show has done almost nothing with it so far.
This episode, the golden-tinged flashback segments (honestly, all the light in Hong Kong is gold-hued) involved Waller wanting Ollie to kill Tommy Merlyn, who is in Hong Kong looking for Ollie.
It's almost entirely stupid. Why would Tommy wait three years to go do this? How on earth would he think Ollie, a prominent, public figure, could be lost in one of the world's most populous cities? What exactly is he planning to do there by himself to find him?
Of course, none of that is covered, and we know full well that Merlyn makes it until that fateful earthquake in Starling City. The whole thing ends with Ollie putting on a goofy criminal outfit and scaring Merlyn out of town.
There wasn't much to it this week. The final scene of the episode shows some fighters training with kendo sticks in Corto Maltese. The winner of the sparring match takes off her mask to reveal it's Thea, who looks proud while Malcolm Merlyn claps.
Also, just before that, there's a moment where Laurel looks at Sara's Canary jacket with purpose. You already set this up at the end of last season, y'all.
I'll be blunt: This was a rough one. Like, why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself bad. The burial scene at the end of the episode was just infuriating.
A few other quick notes:
- When Ollie goes to investigate the scene of Sara's murder, he heads up there in his regular, Oliver Queen clothes. Why? Isn't that the most appropriate time one should wear a superhero costume?
- The one clue we get involving Sara's killer is a green shard of glass. It almost kind of looks like Kryptonite.
- Captain Lance tells Arrow it looks like "someone peed in his Corn Flakes." It's not a terrible line, but Christ Almighty, how does he not know that's Ollie by now, especially if he's looking at his face that closely?
- Ray Palmer doesn't know "spam" can be used as a verb. What kind of tech business genius is he, anyway?
- What a waste of Komodo, huh?
Until next week, readers, I'll leave you with this classic sign-off: You took the bullets out of the gun!