Arrow: Sara Review

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By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

After the shocking ending in its season premiere, the series picked up right where it left off with an emotional episode for the members of Team Arrow.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Arrow had such a strong jumping-off point with the cliffhanger in its season three premiere. There were so many places the episode could have gone, but it never really got there. Don’t get me wrong, there were still strong character moments and a nice reveal of a new archer from the New 52 comics, Komodo (who was essentially useless). It’s disappointing because the episode could’ve been so much more.

Naming an episode after someone who just died, in this case “Sara,” sets up an expectation of a tribute episode. For example, and probably the biggest miss of the episode, the flashbacks should have been about Sara. Like one flashback with Laurel and Captain Lance, one with Felicity, one with Diggle, or one with Roy. That would’ve been a fitting tribute to someone who was so instrumental in the second season and in the lives of everyone on the canvas.

Seeing Tommy and his portrayer Colin Donnell in the flashbacks was such a welcome sight. Though at times, it made the episode feel a little disjointed and the flashbacks feel useless. Donnell could’ve been used much more than he was, and maybe instead he could have been featured in a not so emotionally heavy episode. However, it was a somewhat full circle moment with Sara just dying in the present day and in the flashback, Tommy lived.

Stephen Amell has come a long way since the pilot and his slow transition has been something to behold. In “Sara,” he becomes the character who has to be stoic for the rest of his team. He couldn’t break down like he did last season after his mother’s death. While Amell plays Queen as a person just trying to hold it together, you can tell he’s emotionally compromised by the death, like when he was bothered by the fact he was standing where the killer stood or the way he said he didn’t want to die down in the Arrow Cave/Foundry. It’s stuff like that that looks so subtle but is so meaningful for that particular character.

Because of the lack of emotional vulnerability, a good chunk of the emotional weight is transferred onto Felicity. She becomes the character to grieve most openly for Sara even though her scenes with her were minimal. Essentially, she becomes the audience’s proxy.

Diggle naming his baby Sara was one of the most touching aspects of the episode. Even Diggle, who had even less to do with Sara than Felicity, sees Sara as a family member and wants her name to live on though his newborn daughter.

Brandon Routh continues to be delightful as Ray Palmer. I’m convinced Emily Bett Rickards is just one of those actors who can generate chemistry with everyone she has a scene with. So with that in mind, their scenes are a nice change of pace from the angsty Olicity moments, which were fantastic, by the way. Even Ray has some character development by showing real concern for Felicity instead of the IT girl being one of his conquests.

There’s no doubt that when the series ends, the audience will point back to “Sara” as the episode Laurel began her journey to her pre-destined alter ego Black Canary. The most honest Laurel moment happened this episode when she was sitting on the stairs at Verdant reminiscing about Sara’s stuffed animal. By far it was Katie Cassidy’s brightest moment on the series to date.

A quick note: That ending with Thea and Malcolm? So cool. No matter how short their scene was it still sets the tone perfectly for their return to Starling City.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


    One Comment

  1. TraktorkaOctober 23rd, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I think tv producers trying to make me hate Brandon Routh. i hated him in Chuck he stole us Sarah now i gonna hate him in arrow couse he is going to steal us Felicity 🙁 .Good thing for him is i loved him in Zack and Miri make porno

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