Posted October 1, 2017 by Jasmin in Reviews

REVIEW: Arrow – S03E14 – The Return

Episode: 3.14 – The Return
Writers: Marc Guggenheim, Erik Oleson
Director: Dermott Downs
Air Date: February 18, 2015

Flashbacks on top of flashbacks, with a side of flashbacks! That about sums up “The Return” as we go from Hong Kong to Starling City back to Hong Kong then on to Lian Yu and back to Starling Again. [Spoilers!!!]

We ended last week’s episode with Waller bringing Oliver back to Starling on their hunt for China White. “The Return” starts with him and Maseo wandering Oliver’s old haunts in search of clues for the auction White is holding for a bio-weapon. Oliver is forced to sneak into Queen Consolidated to get information. It’s almost like A Christmas Carol, where Oliver has the opportunity to see what his world is like now that he doesn’t “exist” in it anymore. Thea’s drug problem has begun; Walter and Moira are a new couple, as are Laurel and Tommy; Quentin Lance’s alcohol problem is just beginning; Diggle’s brother, Andy, is still alive; and Felicity is the same person we currently know and love.

After seeing what has become of his family and friends, he turns emo and decides that he doesn’t care about Waller; he’s going to stay in Starling to fix the mess he caused. Brooding aside, his plan is short-lived when Maseo shows up and leads Ollie away at gunpoint.

This flashback sequence is bizarre. Not because of what has happened in the wake of his death, but because the characters he’s observing seem so out-of-place. That was the intention, I’m sure, but it doesn’t come across as genuine. Everything in this part of Oliver’s past seems forced. Except the way that Sara’s death is handled both in the past and again in the present.

Everyone lying to Quentin about Sara came to a boil last week when Laurel finally came clean. There were lots of tears but no anger… Until now. Quentin has closed himself off again, making derisive comments to Laurel about how she’s put a black mark on the Canary (hello, Black Canary). He said some pretty awful things to her in the past about her and Tommy and he’s said some hurtful things in the present about being lied to. I hope their relationship can survive this, because I don’t want to go back to disliking Quentin the way I did in season 1.

There is a glimmer of hope in the present day when on Lian Yu, Oliver realizes that Merlyn betrayed them (surprise) by setting Slade Wilson free. Slade Wilson is back!!! However, my excitement at the return of Arrow‘s best villain is short-lived. Another surprise, genuine this time, is how well Oliver and Thea work together to neutralize Slade. Her combat skills are not on Ollie’s level (yet) but she doesn’t give up. And when she finally wrestles the gun away from Slade, Oliver stops her from killing him.

After being told that she killed Sara, Ollie tries to talk Thea down by telling her that this is what Merlyn wants her to become. It’s a heartfelt speech, and lucky for Slade, Thea thought so too. Instead of fatally shooting him, she merely wounds him so they can get him back into his cell in the A.R.G.U.S. prison Oliver left him in last season.

While it was fun to see some old faces, “The Return” didn’t do much to move us forward. Oh, and that Shrieve that Waller brought in to “de-brief” Ollie back in Hong Kong… What was that all about? Is Arrow taking up metahumans in a whole new way by introducing the Creature Commandos?

Rating: 7/10

There has been a lot of talk about Ra’s al Ghul, but not nearly enough of the legend himself to warrant such worship. Having Merlyn and Slade back in the fray helps, but this League of Assassins storyline is dragging. Season 3 opened with such a bang, but the excitement can’t seem to keep its spark. With 9 episodes left, there’s still time to finish strong. C’mon, Arrow, don’t fail this city.

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Jasmin loves Batman, sci-fi, and movies with lots of explosions. When she’s not writing about geektastic things, she’s probably playing video games or watching sports. Her ultimate goals include traveling the world to watch tennis and working for BioWare to revive the essence of the original Mass Effect Trilogy.