4 out of 5 dentists agree. We didn't believe it either.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was one of the strongest episodes thus far of Arrow. Having the focus on the island rather than in the present is a switch, and it give us so much insight into what Oliver went through and how he was forged into the Arrow.
There’s great chemistry between Stephen Amell as Oliver and Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson. There is some wonderful comedy during the scenes when Wilson is training Oliver, with Wilson’s cutting sarcasm not being the least of it! Again, Amell plays a great role in appearing inept and terrified. We see flashes of playboy Oliver, not willing to take things too seriously, but his increasing maturity starts to show through. I enjoyed seeing that he uses Laurel as his motivation to get home, even though he is acutely aware of how much he betrayed her. I’m not 100% sure why Oliver doesn’t speak when Laurel answers his phone call from the island. He could just be overwhelmed to hear her voice and unsure how to begin explaining what is happening; his guilt, which seems to be a driving force, could also explain it.
While we see Wilson as training Oliver in combat, we also see Oliver showing Wilson the meaning of loyalty – Wilson’s own betrayal by his friend has hardened him and made him doubt everybody else’s motives. He is ready to leave Oliver behind but his betrayed friendship with Bill Wintergreen is still too fresh in his mind to ignore. He feels guilty that Oliver is willing to sacrifice his chance to leave the island for the sake of rescuing Yao Fei and his return and subsequent defeat of his former partner shows a reluctant respect he’s finding for Oliver. This now means that there is only one surviving member of the team who sports the Deathstroke mask though (which I’m sure is something that will be significant later on), as is the reveal that Oliver sports an identical tattoo to Yao Fei’s daughter. I’m glad we now see the motivation for Yao Fei’s involvement with Fyers. He had me worried there for a while!
Who hasn’t wanted to see more Felicity Smoak?! I think I heard a collective cheer from the fandom when it was announced Emily Bett Rickards’ character was going to be a regular in the newly announced 2nd season. I love Felicity’s awkwardness, but she really steps up in a crisis and nobody has believed she’s been ignorant to Oliver’s secret identity the whole time, even though she denies she knew for sure what he was hiding. It’s a testament to Felicity’s character that she’s willing to help Oliver and Diggle get Walter back; he’s someone who means a lot to her, but I like that she also says she would cease her involvement once his whereabouts are discovered. She makes some good points to Diggle, in that she is surprised he doesn’t have more of a problem with Oliver killing people. While Diggle is the balance to Oliver’s penchant for vendetta, I think Felicity has an innocence that could help both of them see another side to what the Arrow does.
Oliver is affected by his mother’s pleas for her life due to the love of her children and sees this an indication of her integrity. I’m not convinced of that in any way – I think we’ve seen enough evidence to support a theory that she’s willing to do or say anything to protect her own interests. Oliver’s family is his weakness, and his insistence in assuming her innocence seems to be driving a wedge between him and Diggle. I hope he sees how manipulative she is and lets Diggle steer him in the right direction as far as her actions go. Maybe Felicity can help in that, too!
Arrow airs Wednesday in the US on CW Network at 8/7c and in Canada on CTV at 7/6c