MIXED FEELINGS! That is what “The Return” cause in me. A lot of mixed feelings. Since the writers decision to let Oliver join forces with Malcolm I really think that Arrow lost everything that made it be such a strong show. So let’s break down what happened in the 14th episode of Season 3.
Thea and Oliver were training hard on Lian Yu and even Oliver was surprised how far Thea is after just a couple of months training with Malcolm. The siblings shared some sweet scenes together but Thea’s questions were making Oliver put up his shields. The secret of Thea killing Sara was eating him up and that brought up the Shado secret again and led Oliver to seek out Slade. Cause the same sort of secret destroyed the brotherly relationship between them. To his surprise Slade wasn’t in the cell and here is where the mess started.
Malcolm freed Slade so he would force Oliver to regain his Killer instinct. Slade has outsmart the siblings and locked them up into his former cell. I liked how paranoid Slade was and that the time in the cell even deepened his anger towards Oliver and his action back on the island. But before leaving the siblings to rode in the cell Slade mentioned that Oliver was still keeping secrets from his sister. Thea than delivered one more great speeches, she had this season and told Oliver she is much more receptive to when he is hiding stuff from her.
A comment Thea made, led Oliver figure out a way to escape the cell. The mission included Thea’s tiny body cause the cells were built for full grown men, so Thea’s small arms were able to go truth. But not even that was enough, so Oliver had to dislocate her shoulder so she could reach the button. After escaping the prison, Thea and Oliver started to run through the forest and after Thea accidently activated one of Oliver’s traps and injured Oliver in the process. Than out of nowhere the moment of truth happened and Oliver confessed Thea that she killed Sara under the influence of a drug.
I loved how persistant Thea was and how she explained to Oliver that the secrets are destroying them. Of course Slade appeared in that moment and an intense battle started and Thea had Slade at gun point. Oliver barely convinced Thea that she isn’t a killer and shouldn’t follow the footsteps Malcolm set for her cause she was not a killer. During Oliver and Slade’s final scene of the evening, sparks were flying all over the place. And even though Oliver wouldn’t confess it Thea was touched by darkness as Slade said and it will be hard for her to come back from that point. But even stronger was the line he intended directly towards Oliver.
How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no Oliver Queen?
The identity theme the writers mentioned early on in Season 3 is really resurfacing at this moment and it will be interesting to see where Oliver will end up by the end of the season. But this isn’t where Oliver and Thea’s journey concluded, they returned to Starling where Oliver forced Thea to promise not to tell Laurel what she learned in this episode. Also Thea cut of her daughterly bonds with Malcolm and proclaimed to be his warrior, soldier but never again his daughter.
Besides this road to Lian Yu, only Laurel and Lance had present time appearances. Quentin was mad, sad and completely destroyed from the inside. The scene he and Laurel shared at Sara’s grave was so intense I just loved it.
The reason why I want to open up this bottle and crawl inside is because of what you did to us. I loved your sister. I love your mom. So much like each other, you know, these wild spirits. But, you and I, we had something more than that, because we were the ones that were alike. And we had a trust, and we had a bond, and you broke it. And, I don’t know how you could do that to us. But I’m gonna survive this. I mean, I got to. It’s my baby girl. But what you’ve done, I don’t know how I’m going to live through this.
I don’t want for Quentin to be hurt, but I think he just needs time to come to terms with what happened to Laurel and from which place she was coming when she decided not to tell him that Sara died. But prior to their present time scene we saw Quentin and Laurel from 2010 interact with each other. At that moment Quentin was also in a bad place and was drinking a lot and Laurel build a nice life for her which included a job offer by a top law firm in LA. Of course she declined after her drunken father remembered her why she went to law school at the first place.
Flashback Laurel shared some really sweet scenes with Tommy Merlyn. It is always a delight to see Colin Donnell return and take up again the role he gave so much soul. In this series of flashbacks we see the moment he turned into the Tommy I grew to love during season 1, as he stopped chasing “easy” girls and went for the big fish aka golden girl Laurel. Besides Laurel, Tommy was focusing on Thea as well, who started he dark path in this episode while partying more and more and consuming drugs. Tommy played a really good “big brother” to her even though her didn’t know about their blood relation.
I have to say that this was the very first time that I really enjoyed the flashbacks from the first to the last scene. Even though the Hong Kong flashbacks are quite a mess, Oliver, Maseo and Amanda crushing into Starling city was refreshing. The mission was in preventing China White in selling her vial at an auction which was held with the help of a Queen family friend. For this mission Oliver had to sneak into Queen Consolidated and steal some files. During this process he saw on his fathers computer 2 files addressed to him and Thea. The files contained video messages that Roberts recorded for his kids in case something happens to him.
In Oliver’s video Robert asks his son to not make the same mistakes as he did and instead fight for his city and make a better place to live in. This led Oliver back to Maseo and the 2 of the successfully overpowered and captured China White delivering her to Amanda Waller. After that Oliver meant to go home, but wasn’t allowed as General Mathew Shrieve wanted to brief Oliver in Hong Kong, and he comes another set back for our hero to be.
But before Oliver watched the video and decided to help Maseo, he crushed Tommy’s party in a desire to help his friends and Thea. There he saw how Thea bought drugs from a thug named Jason and after he recognized Oliver, Oliver killed him without even blinking. That were quite the days when Oliver didn’t have a conscious at all.
ICYMI We got a little glimpse at Diggle’s brother, Andy Diggle ( Eugene Byrd), as the brothers interacted while working as security at Tommy’s party.
ICYMI2 Flashback Felicity drooled over Oliver’s picture while he was stealing the data from his dad’s computer.
As you see an eventful and messy episode, featuring some long needed truth, some washed out arguments with a too pitchy Willa Holland and the return of some great characters. Next weeks episode of Arrow should contain a major cliffhanger so I’m really thrilled to see if the writers can dig out of this hole they dig for themselves.