“Arrow” has been doing something interesting with the relationship between the Queens and Lances in recent episodes — namely, simply remembering that these two families have a long, screwed up, powerful history. I am here for it.
Last week, this exploration came in Oliver's (Stephen Amell) confession to Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) that he has has always wanted Lance's approval. (All of the feels.) This week, it was found in Laurel's (Katie Cassidy) heartfelt, heartbroken calling out of Oliver for the way he has never really respected her. #Truthbomb
Here were the seven biggest moments in this week's "Arrow." Spoiler: many of them had to do with this hella complicated family dynamic...
Laurel calls Oliver out.The CW
It's no secret that Laurel has not had the most consistent, logical characterization in season 4. In her short-sighted raising of Sara (Caity Lotz) from the dead, Laurel's character took a few giant leaps back from the person we all came to admire in season 3 as the voice of clear-headed reason, as a voice for the people Team Arrow (and especially Oliver) might not be considering.
"Haunted" didn't erase all of the damage season 4 of "Arrow" has done to Laurel's character, but it did give me one of my favorite Laurel scenes in her calling out of Oliver for never having respected her. Which: fair enough. In a moment reminiscent of this season 2 classic, Laurel tells Oliver: "It's the hypocrisy that I can't stand ... You never have [seen me as an equal]."
Laurel has always been the one to call Oliver out on his least attractive qualities, and it's almost always refreshing — although slightly less so when Laurel herself is reflecting those same qualities in her decision-making.
Sara needs her soul back.
Although I really liked the Lance/Queen stuff, this episode depiction of bringing Sara's soul back from the dead didn't always work for me. Maybe it was the continued evolution (or possibly devolution) into mysticism for a show that arguably started grounded in the physics of our real world.
Or maybe it was the way in which, for an episode all about restoring the soul of Sara Lance, we got so little Sara Lance. Sure, we got crazy, soulless Sara running around Star City, trying to kill people who look like Thea (Willa Holland) — including, you know, Thea. But this is the second episode in a row Sara has been back, but sidelined in weird, boring ways.
It is in episodes like this one that I especially lament the limits of the flashbacks. If we're going to insist on keeping the flashbacks around (which, OK, fine), then they need to be used to optimal effect. Rather than seeing Constantine's random trip to Lian Yu, I would have loved to see another flashback to a time before Ollie and Sara's cruise — or even a flashback to Sara and Oliver's season 2 island adventures.
In either of those scenarios, "Arrow" would have at least been able to use Caity Lotz to her full affect. And everything that was happening in present-day Star City might have been imbued with added historical and emotional meaning.
Constantine is the man for the job.
As someone who has neither watched an episode of "Constantine," nor read any of the comics, I am probably going to have a different perspective on John Constantine's (Matt Ryan) summoning to restore Sara's soul in this episode than others...
On a meta level, it was very cool to see a cross-network, post-cancellation crossover. On a narrative level, it served some purpose. But, here's the thing: when an episode of "Arrow" is trying to both a) bring on a character from a cancelled show and b) continue to set up the "Legends of Tomorrow" spin-off, it doesn't leave a heck of a lot of time to focus on what matters to this show.
I couldn't stop thinking about how the exploration of Constantine's character took time away from the exploration of Sara's character — something the show hasn't spent a lot of time on since Sara's quasi-return. That being said, Constantine's a cool dude.
Um, Diggle's brother was a secret crime lord?!
Oh, hey, remember the Diggle's Brother Storyline that has barely gotten any development since season 1? Well, it just got a MAJOR twist tonight. It turns out Diggle's (David Ramsey) brother, Andy, was killed by H.I.V.E. not because he was a stand-up guy getting in the way of their wrong-doing, but because he was a less-than-stand-up guy whose crime ring was too much competition for H.I.V.E.'s own illegal shenanigans. #Awkward
Diggle finds this out from Detective Lance who uses his in with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) to ask about Diggle's brother — which is both sweet and dangerous, on Lance's part. I hate to say it, but Oliver has never really made the assassination of Diggle's brother a priority (a fact that has come between these two broskis in the past), so it's nice to see someone sticking their neck out to get Diggle some god damn answers on this.
I'm not sure what is going to come next in this storyline, I just hope it involves more #DigLance burgeoning friendship moments.
Oliver finds out about Thea's assassin killing spree.The CW
OK, so it was only two dudes Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) specifically sent to Thea to kill, but still something important to fess up about, you know?
The truth comes out when Thea is lying in a hospital bed (which, well played, Thea — Oliver can't be too mad at you when you're hurt). Thea explains that the only way to curb the blood lust inspired by the Lazarus Pit is to kill the person who has harmed you. (This explains why the last R'as Al Ghul was such a dick.)
Oliver takes the news surprisingly well. Personally, I'm just glad these siblings continue to share things. Time for another Lian Yu camping trip? That was the best. Plus, I miss Slade.
Thea convinces Ollie not to turn his back on Laurel.
When Oliver's campaign manager suggests that Oliver publicly distance himself from Laurel and their messy romantic past, Oliver seems to seriously consider it — until Thea calls him out on it, reminding Oliver just how many times Laurel has been there for them and just how long she has been in their lives. (But, srsly, when do we get our flashback to Oliver, Laurel, Tommy, and Thea growing up together?!)
Eventually, Oliver tells his campaign manager that he will not be publicly abandoning his friends just to get a few votes. (Here, Oliver, have a cookie.) He apologizes to Laurel for not always respecting her, and the two share an adorable friend-hug.
It's pretty cool to see a depiction of two exes who have so much history become friends in the way Laurel and Oliver have. This show has really struggled with knowing what to do with the Oliver/Laurel dynamic — especially after it became clear that they wouldn't work as a romance — but they are at their best when they are challenging and supporting one another in the way that only old friends can.
Ray's alive... and he's in trouble.
Is it just me or does Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) sound totally laid back about his current predicament? Like, the dude has presumably been living with ants for the past six months and he still totally buries the lede in his message to Felicity. In the episode-ending scene, Felicity and Curtis finally listen to Ray's message, which is basically: "Sorry I was an idiot withe suit. That was lame. BTW, I'm alive."
Your obligatory Olicity gif of the week.
Adorbs. I am so ready for my next Olicity-centric episode. Thanks in advance, show!