She’s baaaaack! Ever since it was announced Caity Lotz would be returning as Sara Lance to star in the Arrow spinoff Legends of Tomorrow I’ve been eagerly awaiting her return. Like many fans I felt Sara’s story was cut off prematurely and mourned her loss. This episode, aptly titled ‘Restoration’, sees her return. Although how much of her truly remains is still to be seen.
But how did we get there? Picking up from the end of last week’s episode where, after learning from Thea of the healing powers of Lazarus Pit, Laurel decides the two should take a visit to Nanda Parbat. They come in on Malcolm and Nyssa “sparring,” although Nyssa makes it clear to Malcolm that given the chance she would kill him.
With Sara’s body in tow, Laurel announces she wants to use the Lazarus Pit to resurrect her sister. Nyssa is stunned and Malcolm immediately says no. Laurel is unfazed and insists that he bring her back since he is the one responsible for her death, and if the pit worked on Thea, it can work on Sara. Malcolm tells her that Thea wasn’t fully dead when she was lowered into the pit and it hasn’t been used in years to bring someone back from the dead, if ever.
If we’ve learned anything about Laurel over the years though is that she isn’t easily dissuaded from her goals. She tenderly speaks to Sara’s casket, assuring her she won’t give up and her father will be so happy to see her (an irrational thought process if I’ve ever seen one). Nyssa enters and Laurel is surprised to learn she doesn’t want Sara brought back. She had counted on her support. While Nyssa misses Sara too she says she’s seen the terrible effects the Lazarus Pit on her father and doesn’t want that inflicted on her “beloved.” This request is coming out of grief, not love, she says. Sara’s gone, she’s accepted it and Laurel needs to as well.
Later, in another awkward father daughter moment between Thea and Malcolm, he tries to explain the side effects the pit had on her. It’s bloodlust. Thea is terrified by this new murderous urge in herself and pleads with him for some normal fatherly advice. He relents and tells her there is an old man in the mountains who may be able to help, and they’ll leave in the morning.
When the next day rolls around though Thea awakens to assassins in her room and swiftly kills the men, seeming to enjoy and relish in the violence. Afterwards she’s horrified though and confronts Malcolm, who tells her that the old man was a lie and he sent those men in there to be killed. The only thing that could satisfy her bloodlust is to hurt the person who initially her, and unfortunately he’s already dead. Now she’ll just have to kill every few weeks to keep it in check. Thea is understandably furious at this deception, and what she sees as his insanity, and tells Laurel the two are leaving now. Malcolm is desperate to make it up to her and attempts to compensate by agreeing to allow Sara’s corpse into the pit after all, although it’s doubtful it will work.
Although there seems to be hesitation across all other parties, including Thea, Laurel is insistent on continuing and they lower Sara’s body into the Lazarus Pit. Nyssa enters and you can see anger in her face, but more than that sadness and pain. Nothing happens at first, but then Sara jumps out with abnormal agility and begins attacking those around her, behaving in a crazed manner similar to a feral animal and needs to be chained up.
Laurel is excited to have her sister back, oblivious to the fact that something really is wrong. Nyssa in retaliation for her former lover being forced back into life destroys the Lazarus Pit. She looks Laurel in the eyes and tells her that while Malcolm may be responsible for Sara’s death, what happens to Sara now is on Laurel. A few quick thoughts on this arc:
1. If using the pit fills you with bloodlust for the person that hurt you, won’t Sara go after Thea and/or Malcolm?
2. Destroying the pit was a smart move on behalf of the writers. Now death can actually mean something again and the stakes are upped.
3. It’s great to have Caity Lotz back, and I hope she sticks around for more of this season before heading off to Legends of Tomorrow. I’m interested in seeing how she, especially in this altered state, relates to Nyssa, her sister, and Oliver.
Meanwhile, the Original Team Arrow (adorably called OTA by Felicity) is having a restoration of their own as Oliver and Diggle struggle rebuild their relationship. It seems like old times as the two men are out on the field with Felicity in their ear, she muses. Though the two are working together though it’s apparent there’s still a deep divide between the men.
They’re chasing after the Ghosts. And although Dig catches one and prevents him from taking the cyanide in his tooth (which Felicity later analyzes), he ultimately gets away.
Felicity suggests the three go out for a drink. Oliver is open to it, but Diggle is not interested and leaves the two disappointed. Oliver tells Felicity he’s done trying to mend their friendship, something that saddens not only her, but the viewers as well. Oliver and Diggle’s bond is central to this show and it’s painful to see their relationship, one of Arrow’s longest and best, falter.
A stranger is waiting in Diggle’s home and reveals himself to be an A.R.G.U.S. agent who gives him the name Mina Fayad, the woman who hired Deadshot to kill his brother, and he decides to tail her. Conveniently, she also works for Damien Darhk and brought him metahuman Double Down to assassinate the Green Arrow. His claim to fame? He can peel off the tattooed playing cards on his body and use them as weapons.
Oliver goes his own way as well and responds solo to a reported robbery. It was a trap by Double Down however. Oliver only narrowly escapes and Dig comes under serious fire as well.
Felicity angrily berates them for going off on their own and demands the two stay and work out their before one of them ends up dead. Dig still hasn’t forgiven Oliver and confesses he is no longer sure whether he would even take a bullet for Oliver anymore, something he never before doubted. Oliver owns that he made a mistake and realizes that he’s lost his trust and respect, but he doesn’t understand why he hasn’t been given an opportunity to earn it back. As this show becomes more fantastical it’s moments like this that keep it feeling grounded and realistic, Stephen Amell and David Ramsey are both excellent and natural here.
Diggle decides to go ahead and confide in Oliver after all, and tells him that he has been investigating H.I.V.E for two years now, showing him a notebook full of possible leads and conspiracies. He reveals the photo of Mina, his first concrete lead, and the pair decide to track her down, together. Via her phone signal they find her, but unfortunately it’s too late, she’s dead. Darhk was angry that Double Down had failed in killing the Green Arrow, as she promised he would, and coolly kills her with one of Double Down’s cards. He turns and promises to kill him as well unless he finishes his task. Felicity meanwhile has been checking in with her newest employee Curtis Holt to see if he can trace the origins of one of Double Down’s playing cards. Fortunately, the cards can be used to locate their owner, but rather unfortunately the owner is able to locate the cards as well. Double Down attacks the two demanding the Green Arrow’s location, and in a surprisingly comedic sequence, chases them through the lab and down to Arrow HQ. Despite her pretty awful aim, Felicity is able to scare him off with a gun.
She comes clean to Curtis and reveals her secret: that she works for the Green Arrow. Having joined Palmer Tech to help make the city a better place he thinks that’s great his boss is doing exactly that. I just want to take this opportunity to say what a great addition Echo Kellum is to this cast. He’s energetic, quick, whip smart, reminiscent of Felicity in the first season and has great chemistry with Emily Bett Rickards. These two have such an easy rapport and their scenes together are a pleasure to watch. I look their relationship evolve from boss-employee to genuine friends, as well as to his eventual transformation to Mr. Terrific.
Oliver and Diggle use Double Down’s cards to track his location as he makes his way out of town. A fight ensues, and Oliver pushes Dig out of the way of an oncoming card and is hit (although not badly). It’s not quite a bullet, but the sentiment was still there and Dig appreciates it. They tie Double Down up, and with their bromance restored OTA goes out for their drinks after all.
As a whole, I was very pleased with this episode. It aptly balanced humor with action and darkness, as the best episodes of Arrow do. There was some strong plot development, an interesting villain, excellent dialogue, and above par acting. In particular I have to single out Katrina Law (Nyssa). Relying more on facial expressions than dialogue, she is able to aptly convey anger, concern, judgement, and above all, heartbreak.
Side note: Felicity’s phone was acting up throughout the episode, as if someone was trying to hack into it. This was never resolved though, so it will likely pop up again soon.