TV Recap: Arrow: “Beyond Redemption”

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When a group of dirty cops enter the local drug trade, Team Arrow enlists Captain Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) help to stop them. However, Oliver (Stephen Amell) is shocked to learn that Quentin has been working with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Elsewhere, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) tells her father that Sara (Caity Lotz) is alive and Thea (Willa Holland) joins Oliver’s campaign.

The producers spent a lot of the hiatus insisting that this season would be much lighter than last, but these episodes get darker and darker. The only difference is that now everyone’s angsty instead of just Oliver. Though nobody had a tougher week than Quentin Lance.

One of the best things about this season is the speed of its storytelling. If this were Season 1 or 2, we would have had to wait at least until the mid-season finale before Team Arrow found out Quentin was working with Damien Darhk. So it was a surprise that Oliver not only found out, but confronted him. Blackthorne has always been an asset to Arrow and Amell gets better every season. They really tore into each other in that scene and it was maybe one of the show’s best scenes ever, in terms of both emotional impact and just quality acting and writing. The moment where Oliver demanded Quentin stop hiding behind his daughters was devastating.

Speaking of the Lance girls, they are really testing the limits of their father’s weak heart. Laurel’s obsession with bringing her sister back has always been just this side of insane, but she really toed that line this episode. She is deep in denial about Sara’s condition and it was at turns sad and disturbing how desperate she was to make Sara remember. That shot where feral Sara was sitting on the floor, still shackled to the wall, with pictures of the Lance family laid out in front of her was really perverse. The only thing worse was watching Quentin consider mercy kill her. Once again, the mere existence of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow assured he wouldn’t, but that still must have caused permanent psychological damage.

That’s actually part of the reason I’m going to upgrade Quentin’s status in Arrow Death Watch. Of the supporting cast, Blackthorne has had the most emotionally demanding season so far and now that Quentin is secretly working against Damien Darhk, it’s only a matter of time before that goes south. Before tonight, it didn’t seem likely that Oliver would be so broken up at Quentin’s grave, but after he said that he’d always wanted Quentin to see him as a man and Lance admitted he still believed in the Green Arrow, it’s totally possible. The only upside is this means I can downgrade Thea.

Her place on this show right now is so weird. Not only does she still seem to run Verdant, but now she appears to be Oliver’s campaign manager AND speech writer. For a girl who barely finished high school and proudly admits that her adolescence was full of all the drugs, she’s doing pretty well. She was even responsible for some of the episode’s lighter moments. The fact that she almost ruined Oliver’s future proposal plans and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Laurel just did not get it was hysterical. Ditto the way she and all the members of Team Arrow were flabbergasted over Oliver’s intention to run for mayor. I could have watched a whole episode of people laughing in his face when he told them. Because he’ll no doubt win that election in 2016, but nobody in their right mind would vote for him.

Arrow Death Watch

Quentin Lance: 75% he’d be an even stronger possibility if it made more sense that Barry (Grant Gustin) would go to his funeral

John Diggle: 20% what a difference 3 episodes makes

Thea Queen: 50%

Felicity Smoak: 0.5%

The shackles keeping Sara in the basement of Laurel’s apartment building: 100%