TV Review: "Arrow", 3X14: "The Return"

A flashback episode that doesn't feel like a complete waste of time? That's what we got this week in Arrow! Seriously, how crazy was this episode? So much happened in the flashbacks (That's right, they weren't just a complete waste of TV time this week)! From Diggle's brother to Tommy to Killer Oliver, this episode had it all.

There were two different elements at play this week: Oliver returning to the island in present day and Oliver returning to Starling City in the flashback. Both deal with a homecoming of sorts and both feature their fair share of intriguing moments, and surprisingly the flashbacks take up a majority of the episodes runtime. What to get started on first. . .

I'll start with a negative because there aren't many so I figure I can get it out of the way. In this ep, Thea has a lot of screen time. AND she . . . actually no, that's it. That's my gripe. She's still not interesting, it doesn't matter what the situation is. The problem lies with the character itself. Seeing her in the flashbacks was a reminder of why I hated the character in the first place. Maybe it was the writer's way of showing how much she's grown but I can't help but think the opposite. Her finding out she killed Sarah was great. Maybe now she'll use her head and not be so bullheaded all the time. Thankfully said flashback also brought in Tommy Merlyn, a character we lost too soon in season one.

Don't get me wrong though, there's some other stupid moments (Thea being able to reach the unlock button from in the cell) but holy crap did this episode have some awesome moments. Some people may have not like Felicity's cameo in the flashback since admittedly it was a little hammy but I felt it was a nice nod that makes it seem as though they'll ultimately settle with the Oliver/Felicity romance. And bringing Oliver back to Starling was one of the best decisions they could have made. So many juicy moments from that. 

I think that there was certainly a better option than the route they took in bringing Slade back. Really, Merlyn released him in order to truly test Oliver? Giving up the fact that this puts his daughter in insurmountable danger (this guy fucking destroyed the city last season and was an unstoppable force), why should he trust Oliver to save her when he already said before that he didn't think he could beat R'as. And Thea certainly hasn't proven to be capable of outdoing Ollie in anything, let alone combat. The whole thing is confusing and, even though we got an appearance from Manu Bennett who is still absolutely fantastic in the role, I can't help but feel they could have brought him back for something bigger. Seeing as how he ends up in the exact same place that he started, it felt even more useless. Still, Slade is brilliant and I'll take what I can get when it comes to the character. 

I think that the biggest win of the episode comes when Oliver kills Thea's drug dealer in the flashback. Not only was it brutal, but it finally answered a longstanding question I had: why is flashback Oliver not a killer yet? He'd been through enough tribulations at that point, I didn't understand why he hadn't reached that point. Now that he has, I'm excited to see where he goes, as he's only getting colder and colder. It's a nice contrast from the wise Oliver in present day.

The show has walked a fine line when it comes to retconning the series and this one was certainly close. Not gonna lie, I was a little worried at a few points that they'd say some of the characters saw Oliver when he was in the city but thankfully that didn't happen. As long as they refuse to do that, I'll be happy with whatever they decide to do in the flashbacks. Oh wait, they're going back to China?

God dammit.
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About zombievictim

I'd like my writing to further represent me as a person by providing different insights into the things currently on my mind. Whether it's writing about a movie, TV show, album, book, wrestling event, experience, or life lesson. I don't plan on making this a personal blog where I treat it like a diary. This is just supposed to represent… Me.
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