Here we take a look back into the moments that transpired this past month on our friends in Starling City.

Uprising

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“Uprising” concludes the Death and Return of Green Arrow arc in that everything that has culminated in January’s run of episodes has reached an all important point where our remaining heroes must take back the city from Danny Brickwell’s men. It was a rather uplifting moment for our remaining supporting crew as we see them finally operate without the need for Oliver Queen (even though that changed in the end). The action was great to watch, very reminiscent of the Season 2 finale where they also took back the city from Slade Wilson. There is still a long way to go however for characters like Laurel who, moving forward will need a lot of room for growth. Maybe hopefully one day she will give the biggest scream of her life?

The Flashbacks of the episode revolved around Malcolm Merlyn’s (John Barrowman) journey to the dark side as we see the first steps stemming from losing his wife to the criminals of the Glades. It was rather interesting to see the different layers to the character as Barrowman effectively creates a three dimensional character who we as an audience could sympathise with on a personal level.

Score: 8/10

Canaries

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“Canaries” begins a new arc which in turn continues forward the plot elements from “Uprising”. This episode features the return of Werner Zytle (Peter Stormare) as the villain Vertigo. As the title suggests, the episode has a focus on Laurel as she battles through the demons she faces in her life after Sara dying. It was pleasing to see Laurel triumph over them and painfully tell her father the cold hard truth about Sara’s fate.

The most notable moment in the episode was the act whereby Oliver finally reveals who he is to his sister Thea. Surprisingly she took the revelation well and they became a lot closer. It was great that the writers did not play up the reveal to stressful levels as it would come off a bit clichéd and add more to Oliver’s plate.

The flashbacks have provided another new twist: it appears than in the time people thought he was dead, he had returned to Starling City.

Score: 8/10

The Return

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“The Return” was an interesting flip on the usual format, in that the present day events take place on the island while the events of the past took place in Starling City. Here we find Oliver training Thea to eventually fight in the future war to come. Malcolm Merlyn however, decided to play a game with them by releasing Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) to bring back Oliver Queen’s killer instinct. It was pleasing to watch the character interactions between Oliver and Thea. Stephen Amell and Willa Holland have such great chemistry together as brother and sister. It was also great to see that communicated through not just character dialogue but also in the physical battle with Slade.

The flashbacks were rather illuminating in showing how Oliver is so close and yet so far to his family. The three years away at this point have made him into someone with skill, but who is still a little selfish. With a bit of help from his father, it develops Oliver further into the hero we saw in the first episode, as he picks duty over his family. It was interesting to see the lives of his friends and his family in how they were coping without him. Seeing the before and after of the characters in present day to how they were in the past, always provides an entertaining contrast.

Score: 9/10

Nanda Parbat

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“Nanda Parbat” returns to the Arrow vs. Ra’s Al Ghul overarching plot in a big way. Here, Thea sells out Malcolm Merlyn and is taken to Nanda Parbat. Oliver then goes to try and save him to save Thea from her own guilt. Elsewhere, Ray Palmer is trying to finish the A.T.O.M. suit.

As of this episode, a revelation about who killed who has finally been known as Thea finally reveals her to be Sara’s killer under Malcolm’s influence. Earlier, the constant search to find out “who done it” was growing rather tiresome. Now new kinds of tensions can be explored. An example of this was Laurel’s fight with Malcom. The sloppiness in her form reflected her state of mind well and effectively.

Oliver’s arc in this episode involves him and Diggle venturing to Nanda Parbat to save Malcolm Merlyn. The team up between Oliver and Diggle was fun to watch and it was great seeing Diggle get in on the action. My only question is: When is he getting a costume?

The episode also featured a good amount of time devoted to the Ray/Felicity arc. We see the call to justice run really strong for Ray, which Felicity’s inclusion results in an endearing dynamic. The reveal of the A.T.O.M. suit was cool visually but it also came across as a pseudo-Iron Man. I hope to see Brandon Routh shrink one day!

The Flashback this week was rather minimal but relevant. It featured a firefight between Chinese aggressors and Oliver and Co. In the present, the revealing twist was that he wants Oliver to take his place. Hopefully future episodes will satisfy my anticipation?