Arrow 1.18 – Salvation – Review — Vigilante vs. Vigilante
As a person who has more than her fair share of court shows on her DVR (holla, Judge Judy!), I’ll freely admit they’re all lacking a certain something. When I watched this episode of Arrow, I realized what that something is – live executions! Come on, you know Divorce Court would be ten times cooler if Judge Lynn got to plug a dirty, lying cheater on his or her way out of the courtroom. Don’t worry – I’m seeing my therapist again on Tuesday.
There were four main stories this week, three of which intersected nicely leaving one to be … an island.
When we first see Oliver tonight, he’s been suiting up a bit too much for Diggle’s comfort. His latest target is a slum lord down in the Glades. Unfortunately for Oliver, he’s a bit too late. Someone else has beat him to the punch and kidnapped Nichol. Oliver returns to the Lair and puts Felicity to work figuring out who (on a long, long list of suspects) had the most motive to kidnap the slum lord. The takedown has become a rescue mission.
Later, Diggle takes his partner in crime out to dinner and a movie lecture. But, their evening is cut short by a call from Felicity. The slum lord’s captor is streaming a video from the Glades – a video of the slum lord’s trial and execution. But, he’s not the only victim. After Diggle IDs the mysterious captor as a cyber-crusader called “The Savior,” Oliver heads out to save his second target – Starling City’s DA. But, because the signal keeps hopping all over the place (much like Oliver on those rooftops), Felicity cannot pinpoint where exactly they are and the DA bites the dust.
Don’t worry, Oliver, third time is the charm. When a third guy is taken by the Savior (more on Mr. Harper later), Oliver and crew crack the case thanks to Diggle’s dad taking him to baseball games. The reason the signal kept jumping was because the Savior was moving underground via old subway cars. Oliver saves the last victim and takes down the Savior.
I have to say that, while I liked this plotline (and the episode as a whole), the takeaway from it felt redundant. Haven’t we had the whole, “I don’t want to be on an island anymore” epiphany before? The whole underlying theme of Oliver’s story this week felt like character beats we’ve hit before. Doesn’t want to put the people he loves in danger, throws himself into his work, realizes he can’t do this alone. The story was good, but I wish we would have gotten something a bit fresher with Oliver’s character growth this week.
And, of course, the person he reaches out to is Laurel. He asks his best friend’s girl to go out sometime or coffee or dinner. Since I’m presently reading the novelization of Fatal Attraction, I know no good comes of “let’s have dinner.” Just as I know that my Tommy/Laurel ship is as doomed as the Titanic (or the Queen’s Gambit). Still, I can’t help but point out the irony of the big Oliver/Laurel scene being scored by the reigning queen of going back to the dirtbag who done you wrong.
Bonus Commentary from my Dad: “Oliver runs like a monkey.” Guess it was all those years on an island?
He’s Just Not That Into Being An Upstanding Citizen
Thea’s storyline opens with her and Roy making out – they don’t call her Speedy for nothing! – when a friend shows up to drop off a gun. Roy is going to knock over a liquor store. Needless to say, this is a mood killer. Unless you’re Bonnie and Clyde, in which case robbery is an aphrodisiac.
Thea turns to Laurel for advice. Laurel, who has more than her share of experience dating bad boys, advises her to run. It’s solid, if futile, advice. Of course, Thea doesn’t listen. She tracks down Roy and tries to talk him out of his blossoming career as a criminal, but their argument is cut short by Roy’s abduction. Roy is the Savior’s latest target.
While Roy is put on trial by the Savior for his gangbanger ways (seriously, is knocking over a couple of liquor stores really in the same league as dirty politicians and rich slum lords?), Thea goes to Oliver and Tommy, who are watching the stream in the club. She tells them what happened. Oliver promises to help Roy while she hangs back with Tommy.
Roy, after being rescued by her brother, shows up at the club. Thea is a wreck and he’s not doing much better himself. She goes to wash her face and he’s focusing a little too much on a certain arrow. Methinks it won’t only be Oliver keeping things from She-Speedy soon.
Thea’s story worked much, much better for me than Oliver’s. The “be a good person” thing isn’t new to the Roy/Thea relationship, but I like seeing her in girlfriend mode. I also like that she makes no apologies for being a rich brat from the good side of the tracks. A lot of times, when we have the whole rich girl/poor boy angle, we’re forced to deal with the clichéd, “I’m so sorry I’m rich. You’re right to be a jerk to me since I am fiscally fortunate and thus responsible for everything that’s ever gone wrong in your life” stuff. Thea don’t suffer no fools. She likes Roy, but she likes Thea, too. I dig that.
Where In The World Is Sarah Lance?
Laurel comes home to find her parents working together on the Where’s Saral? Case. This week, it’s Laurel’s turn to play Doubting Delores. She thought that her dad was going to ease her mother out of the Sarah’s alive mindset she’s in. This really doesn’t make much sense from week-to-week, but, okay. Laurel’s now carrying the wet blanket this week.
She gives advice to Thea and chats up the Chinese Embassy. They have an ID on the woman in the photo she sent them. She’s in the states now. Laurel summons her parents to the legal clinic and introduces them to the girl. It isn’t Sarah. Dinah is determined to keep looking, but it’s Laurel who drags her out of her denial with a simple question — How did she know Sarah had her hat when she went on the boat? She knew Sarah was going with Oliver and told her to follow her heart, even though Oliver was Laurel’s guy. This leads to an epic breakdown. But, no worries, Mama Lance. Laurel forgives her. And, then goes to make a date with her boyfriend’s best friend.
I didn’t like the lack of consistency with Laurel’s character this week. I felt like, based on the previous episode, that she wouldn’t have been as pessimistic as she was towards the prospects of Sarah being alive. But, with Detective Lance fully onboard, someone had to be the heavy of the Lance trio. Laurel drew short straw.
However, I did like her forgiving her mother for aiding and abetting Sarah’s crime against sisterhood. I also liked her, “why?” when Oliver asked her to get coffee or dinner sometime. I wish she would have followed up her acceptance with a disclaimer that they’re just friends and she’s dating Tommy. But, at least I got the aforementioned irony of a Rihanna song playing in the background while Laurel’s eyes get all swirly over the new and emotionally vulnerable Oliver. Can’t win ‘em all!
Moira Channels Her Inner Lady MacBeth
Moira definitely had the D-story this week, in terms of time devoted to her, not content. I like dangerous Moira. I like her a lot. So, when Frank comes to her with a warning to get her family out of dodge because it’s only a matter of time before Malcolm figures out they’re the ones who ordered the hit, I’m worried she’s going to listen.
Instead, when Malcolm calls and lets her know a high-ranking member of the Triad has been arrested and is willing to ID the person who ordered the hit in exchange for a lighter sentence, she throws her accomplice to the wolves. He gets arrow-ed down and she has his blood on her hands. Literally. Just me, or was Moira’s car scene totally reminiscent of the famous, “Out! Out, Damn Spot!” scene? And, they said I didn’t pay attention in senior English!
The strongest part of this episode was the plot. I liked that so much happened. I could have done without the “Oliver grows” angle of his storyline, but, it wasn’t enough to capsize the whole boat. It’s not going to make a list of the most epic episodes in Arrow history, but it was good. It moved quickly, it did more to showcase the entire canvas than perhaps any episode we’ve seen so far and it inspired my dad to compare running Oliver to a primate. What more can we really ask for?