TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 3 "Restoration"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 3: "Restoration"
Synopsis: The growing tension between Oliver and Diggle puts both their lives at risk when they go after Damien Darhkand a H.I.V.E. deployed meta-human. Meanwhile, Laurel talks Thea into returning to Nanda Parbat to ask herfather to put Sara into the Lazarus Pit. However, Laurel is surprised when Nyssa refuses to do it.
Review: Like last night's episode of The Flash, tonight's hour of Arrow is a setup for next year's Legends of Tomorrow by showing us just how Sara Lance comes back from the dead. But, unlike The Flash, this is a solid hour in the partial rebooted adventures of Oliver Queen. Featuring another meta-human villain, Arrow is finally bridging the comic book lightness of it's spin-off series with the more gritty edge this series has come to be known for. This hour also manages to further multiple storylines simultaneously while still keeping the momentum going, something that was sorely lacking last season. It also finally puts to bed the bitchy feud lingering between Oliver and Diggle.
The main bad guy this week is Jeremy Tell, a con man and poker player who became a meta-human in Central City. Cisco, off screen, dubs him Double Down based on his ability to peel playing card tattoos off of his skin and throw them like knives. But, the real reason the writers brought Double Down into this episode was to provide a foil that would reconcile Oliver and Diggle and bring the investigation into H.I.V.E. to the forefront for Team Arrow. An ARGUS contact of Lila's reveals to Diggle that the assassination of his brother was ordered by a woman named Mina Fayad who just so happens to be the handler for Tell as he comes to Star City to meet with Damien Darhk.
Of course, Fayad fails and is killed while the entire revelation of what Diggle has been hiding brings the two former friends back together. It also allows a minor villain from the annals of DC Comics to be used in throwaway fashion, pun intended, as a means to an end. Utlimately, the good guys succeed, we get a brief showcase of Damien Darhk's powers, and the building plan Darhk has for Star City continues. We now know the plan is code-named Genesis and that Darhk and his H.I.V.E. cohorts are eager to start Phase Three. I just hope that whatever the plan ends up being that it is a bit more than Malcolm Merlyn's season one plan or Deathstroke's season two attempt.
Speaking of Merlyn, the new R'as Al Ghul returns to Arrow, this time sparring with Nyssa Al Ghul who still wants to kill the man who took her father's throne in Nanda Parbat. Merlyn refuses to allow Laurel to resurrect Sara Lance in the Lazarus Pit while also trying to help Thea satiate her bloodlust. It turns out that there is no cure for Thea's darkness aside from relief in killing people, something she doesn't want to do. But, Merlyn agrees to help bring Sara back as a way to help his daughter. Nyssa disapproves and, after Sara is reborn as a feral animal version of herself, Nyssa destroys the Pit. Merlyn has her taken into custody and we are left to see how Sara can become the future White Canary, something that may involve Damien Darhk if the trailer for next week is any indication.
Damien Darhk's powers seem to be a blend of the mysticism of the League of Assassins and the meta-humans on The Flash, which could explain why more supernatural elements have been on the show this season. But, there is not a lot of attention being drawn to it which helps make it seem more organic and less intrusive. What is still being forced on the show are the flashback sequences. Yes, Oliver is back on Lian Yu in the sequences, but the episodic nature doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Last season's flashbacks felt like a waste of time that built only to further the contemporary story but I hope that this season's fits in better.
Overall, the new origin story for Sara Lane fit into the narrative this week from what was already a growing issue for Thea and her experience last season and afforded the writers the chance to bring Malcolm Merlyn back into the story. I am happy the bitchy infighting seems to be done and the disparate character arcs are beginnging to come together. Oddly, there was no mention this week of Oliver running for Mayor which was the big cliffhanger last week. Damien Darhk is a phantom menace who is appearing just enough to remind us of a master plan unfolding but is not being overused like R'as Al Ghul was last season. If Arrow can keep up with the pacing and cohesiveness for the rest of the season, we are in good shape.
Next on ARROW: "Beyond Redemption" airs October 28th: Laurel must deal with the repercussions of taking Sara to Nanda Parbat. Meanwhile, Oliver asks Captain Lance for a favor and while he's not surprised at the response, he is surprised at what he finds out next.