Arrow: Left Behind Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

Arrow ended its fall run on a huge cliffhanger and this episode was a strong reentry into the Arrowverse. It displayed many strong character moments, great directing, a new hero, and of course a new villain.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

After the killer cliffhanger in “The Climb,” which ended Arrow’s fall run, most likely a majority of the viewers knew Oliver would continue to live and breathe on the show. Even if he did indeed die, there was absolutely no chance he would stay dead. So, it wasn’t shocking to find out Oliver did survive, as he might have lived after the fall and stabbing or brought back to life via the Lazarus Pit or via something else thanks to Maseo and his wife Tatsu.

With the absence of Oliver Queen in Starling City it was mandatory that the other residents of the city take up the spotlight and leadership role. It was somewhat surprising that early in the episode it was Felicity who would rally Diggle and Roy to continue their mission while their leader was gone, but it wasn’t surprising to see it was Felicity who was the first to bail after she finally accepted that Oliver had perished.

When she first started to help Oliver on his crusade it was about trying to help Oliver’s stepfather and her Queen Consolidated boss Walter. She did want to help people and do something more, but her biggest hang up was how Oliver dealt with the city’s villains. In the end she ended up staying for Oliver so without him she won’t continue. When there was a hope he would come back she was all for keeping Team Arrow going, but for her without him there’s no more Team Arrow. Emily Bett Rickards did an absolutely wonderful job in this episode.

There was a really quick moment where if you weren’t watching close enough you would’ve missed it. When Felicity went to reach for the sword it faded out and Oliver’s hand, which faded in, was in a similar position. It was as if their hands were touching. It was a really cool visual fade.

With the absence of Oliver the episode mostly focused on the loss and grief each character felt. Diggle lost his friend and he even said he still felt as if he was Oliver’s bodyguard. This line stood out and was a quiet reminder that he as a character has yet to reach his full potential. At this point he should be more of his partner than anything. And having Diggle wear the Arrow suit and say it was too tight was a rare moment of levity in “Left Behind.”

For Roy, in the wake of the tragedy he stepped up the most. He lost his mentor and as a result thrived and really came into his own to become the hero the city needs.

Even Laurel had some strong character moments in the episode. She was the one to comfort both Felicity and Diggle. Having gone through Oliver’s alleged death once before she has more hope than the others. As a result the series debuted Laurel’s Black Canary outfit. Actually it was quite convincing. Hopefully the series continues down the right road and keeps taking strides to fix the Laurel character. If this episode was any indication, it looks like they are on the right path.

There were so many great creative choices made in this episode. I applaud the writers for starting the episode without the traditional “My name is Oliver Queen….” monologue by our brooding hero. Since at this point it has yet to be revealed to the audience if Oliver is dead or alive.

Probably the best and most effective creative choice in the entire episode was the scene in the Arrowcave/Quiver/Foundry directly after Malcolm returned with the bloody sword and revealed Oliver’s fate to Team Arrow. I loved the dead silence. It was the rarest moment on television with no movement of any characters, no dialogue, and no background music. The scene was a pseudo moment of silence for the character and quite haunting.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  1. Ben PhillipsJanuary 23rd, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    This was such an emotional episode. It was hard to watch sometimes, but in a good way. Even though we find out that Oliver is still alive, I really felt the swell of emotional despair on the part of Team Arrow. It was a very powerful episode.

  2. Jacoby BancroftJanuary 26th, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Arrow has really impressed me this season with its desire to highlight the ramifications after a devastating loss. First with Sara and now with Oliver. Although we know Ollie isn’t dead, we still get to see each member of Team Arrow go through their own stages of grief. Felicity wants to quit, Diggle wants to push forward, Roy struggles for direction and Laurel finally takes up the vigilante torch. It’s with analyzing issues like this that makes Arrow such a good show and sets it apart from other superhero dramas.

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