Arrow, S3 Ep14 – The Return

Unlike previous season three episodes of Arrow, “The Return” spends an equal amount of time in Ollie’s past, five years ago, and in the present day. In the present day, Ollie and Thea set out to train on the island Ollie spent so much of his life on, while in the flashback sequences we see Ollie make his way back to Starling City in search of China White and the biological weapon she possesses.

Arrow, S3 Ep14 - The Return (4)

Slade Wilson returns

Ollie and Thea’s trip to the island isn’t without its hardships, as Merlyn ends up releasing Slade Wilson from his A.R.G.U.S. prison cell. On Merlyn’s part this is a smart way of training Ollie to regain his killer instinct, as Slade is one of Ollie’s most dangerous adversaries. The only problem is that Slade was a way more dangerous adversary when he had the Mirakuru in his bloodstream, so he really isn’t as scary as he used to be. Had they not been caught off guard, Ollie and Thea should have bested him during their first encounter, but Slade gets the drop on them and places them in the prison cell.

Before their second encounter with Slade, after dislocating Thea’s arm to open their prison cell and escape, Ollie comes clean about who killed Sara. This would be the last secret Ollie has kept from Thea and it’s definitely a big one. After being asked three times, Ollie gives in and tells his sister the truth, which isn’t pleasant for her to hear as she is the one who killed Sara under the influence of a drug Merlyn gave her. I was glad to see this secret wasn’t drawn out any further and Thea now knows everything she needs to know.

Fortunately, Ollie and Thea take down Slade in the end. At first we’re led to believe that Thea shot and killed Slade, but we find out soon after that she only shot him in the arm. That really wasn’t much of a surprise, as it’s doubtful the writers of Arrow would ever kill off a villain of Slade’s caliber.

My only worry about Thea learning the truth is that knowing she killed Sara may make her become the same mopey character she was in the first two seasons. By the end of the episode it appears she won’t be as she appropriately directs her anger and frustration towards Merlyn, but still trusts her brother entirely. Now, there’s the question of will Laurel ever find out who killed her sister and what implications will that have on the relationship between her, Thea, Ollie, and the rest of Team Arrow.

During the flashback scenes, Ollie goes home to Starling City. Although he’s there on a mission with Maseo Yamashiro and Amanda Waller, this doesn’t stop him from doing a little sight seeing and creepily spying on his friends and family. During this flashback we get to see what certain characters were up to five years ago. Thea’s drug problem is worsening, Detective Lance’s alcoholism and the recent death of Sara has caused a strain between him and Laurel, Diggle is babysitting millionaire playboys alongside his brother, and Tommy is just being Tommy.

Arrow, S3 Ep14 - The Return (6)

Tommy, Laurel, and Thea five years ago

The one plot line Arrow has left dangling for so long is why Diggle’s brother was assassinated. The last thing we learned was that Deadshot was hired to kill him by an organization called H.I.V.E. I’m hoping that Diggle’s brief exchange with his brother in “The Return” is a way of reminding viewers that this issue will be addressed soon, possibly in their next Suicide Squad focused episode.

As Ollie sneaks around he realizes how much of a strain the death of his father and the supposed death of himself has been on his friends and family. He nearly ends up staying in Starling City, but after hearing a few cheesy words from his deceased father via a video he left for him, Ollie decides to go. He arrives in the nick of time to save Maseo from China White and her henchmen completing their mission.

It was interesting to see that Ollie was in Starling City once before he officially made his return two years ago. He realizes that completing his mission and saving countless lives is more important than returning to Starling and assuring the safety of a few. By the end of the episode he is given a commendation for his service with Waller and is promised that after being debriefed he can go anywhere he chooses. Obviously something is going to go wrong that will prevent Ollie from returning home. I’m interested in seeing what that something is.

“The Return” ended up being a pretty decent episode. I was worried the episode wouldn’t be all that interesting, considering that the flashback sequences on Arrow usually aren’t and there was a lot of flashback in this episode. The saddest moment in “The Return” dealt with the present day relationship between Detective Lance and Laurel being that she lied for so long about her sister’s death. It’s hard to see the two of them go through this strain, but it was definitely expected. Hopefully Lance will be able to forgive his daughter eventually.

Next week it seems Merlyn will be given up to the League of Assassins and Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer will finally put on his Atom suit. Check out The CW’s official promo for “Nanda Parbat” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “The Return” in the comments

Tags: , ,