Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Arrow: Season 3, Episode 10

Episode Title: “Left Behind”
Channel: CW
Director: Glen Winter
Writers: Marc Guggenheim and Erik Oleson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 42 min
Rated: TV-14
Original Air Date: January 21, 2015

After the cliffhanger Arrow left for the audience in “The Climb” I was very excited for the third season to resume. We all knew going into it that Oliver's death would be anything but final, but that the immediate effect on those that care about him would be profound. It is in that area that “Left Behind” was most successful. With Oliver temporarily out of the picture this episode placed much more emphasis on his supporting cast. Both Diggle and Roy took center stage as they strived to continue the Arrow's work in his absence. Seeing those two do something was a treat as they've taken a back seat in season three.

The writers also did a great job with Felicity's character this week. They abandoned her usual quirkiness to allow her to really demonstrate the loss that she's feeling. Her best moments were those during which she shared the screen with Ray Palmer; his plan to become a hero striking very close to her heart. Brandon Routh played his part extremely well, displaying his seemingly limitless exuberance all the way up to the moment that Felicity began harping on his past and motivations. Then we got to see a side of the man that the we hadn't before, a steely determination that is enough to make one believe that he might just succeed.

Malcolm Merlyn popped in and out of the episode, seemingly at random to provide Team Arrow with theories regarding, and eventually proof of Oliver's death. The most obvious purpose of those scenes was to maintain the mystery surrounding the visitor to Oliver's final resting place until late in the episode. The effort was largely waste as it was easy to guess who that visitor was fairly early. Related to that in a way were the Hong Kong flashbacks present throughout “Left Behind.” It's good to see that the flashbacks are finally serving a purpose; most of the Hong Kong material thus far has been unremarkable. That could not be said of the scenes this week. Besides allowing the audience to experience at least a little Oliver screen time, the flashbacks also set up his eventual return. Even if the reveal at the end was not very shocking.

Vinnie Jones' introduction as the would be crime boss Brick was quite entertaining. He has the presence required to make me believe he could lead a bunch of criminals, and the physicality to make me believe the could hold his own in a fight. I'll be more than happy to see him stick around for a while and serve as Team Arrow's nemesis while they wait for Ollie's inevitable return. The other major reveal involved Laurel donning the Canary costume and going after her first bad guys. I'm still not sure that I can buy her as vigilante, and the one-liner they wrote for her was horrible, but I'm willing to give it some time to develop.

Conclusion: “Left Behind” was a satisfying follow up to Arrow's mid season finale. The emotional toll Oliver's death is taking on those that love him was well displayed. It's also very nice to see something actually coming of the Hong Kong scenes after they had seemed to tread water for so long. I'm actually hoping that Oliver is away from Starling for a while, allowing the rest of his team to shine for a while.

Rating: 7.75/10

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