Arrow: Broken Dolls and Crucible

Somebody really needs to tell TPTB at Arrow that they can slow their roll. When you have a 22-episode order, it’s completely OK to take your time.

The last two episodes, “Broken Dolls” and “Crucible,” picked at couple of scabs and then ripped them right off. Gross, yes, but pretty much to the point of where we ended up.

In “Broken Dolls,” Quentin had to revisit a case when a serial killer escaped from prison and picked up the calling again, and soon had Laurel in his grasp. Oliver saves the day but not before he witnesses Laurel finally have the mother of all meltdowns about sleeping with him and then losing Tommy–although her confession to her dad leaves out the sex part.

The Black Canary comes into play as a possible ally to the Hood but she’s more prone to kill than capture, which could be a problem. Her sidekick, Sin, brings Roy calling and when she sees he’s no threat, she lets him go, but it at least helps put Oliver on her trail.

In that episode’s flashback, we found out that Oliver and co. discovered a freighter offshore and then were fired upon. We don’t know what became of Shado and Slade but Oliver ended up in a cage.

In the second episode, “Crucible,” we had reveals all over the place and a wee scoche o’ retcon for good measure. Oliver nearly misses a benefit for his company because he’s hellbent on getting rid of the guns in the Glades. That segues into a deal with the Alderman to do guns for cash on the DL.

Meanwhile, Laurel is falling into the bottle on the regular, sometimes with a pharma chaser, and even a DUI doesn’t get her off that path. Quentin asks Oliver to talk to her and that drives her further down the spiral.

Oliver is dealing with his own drama because he’s unmasked the Canary as Sarah Lance (after Felicity helpfully suggests that maybe it’s not all about him and the Canary has instead been tracking Laurel), and that’s only the first surprise. We learn, along with Diggle and Felicity, that she made it off the Gambit and onto the freighter and he thought he’d watched her die.

Sarah’s cagey about where she’s been all this time, and tells Oliver only that she returned home after the quake to make sure her family was safe and he rightly calls her out that now she can’t leave them again. He brings her in on his vigilante mission and then when Sin is shot, he picks up the tab for her medical and tells Sarah it’s time to stop living as a ghost. Sarah reminds him that if she does that, Laurel and Quentin will never forgive him for the lie and he says that’s OK.

When Oliver reads his team in, Felicity’s heart beaks into tiny pieces and she asks Oliver whether he has any happy stories. In the flashback, we get our answer. We see that when he won’t confess anything to his captor, he’s shot for his trouble and has to self surgically remove the bullet, which turns out to be part of a hazing. Then he’s pitched into a chamber with Sarah where I’m assuming she went full-tilt Amanda on his ass.

Back in the present, after Sarah and Oliver take down the week’s bad guy, he winds up not in jail but brought before a masked man who injects him full of Vertigo trying to amp him up. When he dies, the masked man removes his mask to reveal that he’s the Alderman. He tells the cop who earlier released Laurel to Quentin to get him another one, and the cop calls him “Brother Blood.” So my guess is that’s going to dovetail back to the Canary taking out a ninja fella who wanted her to report in and she killed him in response at the end of “Broken Dolls.”

So, there’s A LOT going on here. Laurel is maximum vulnerable and Quentin’s breaking apart to try to help her and Sarah’s return may bot be the answer but we’ll find out. This was another situation where my spoiler aversion paid off (and the recasting of Sarah helped, too). I had no clue that was coming, and it’s an interesting development.

Roy’s now fully allied to Sin in service of the hood, but Thea’s left in the dark, so that’s going to bite him.

Oliver’s about to get his ass handed to him even though he’s still trying to do right by everybody.

He has a conversation with Blood before he’s target practice and Oliver saves him about bearing a crucible and what it turns you into. He confides that he’s worried about two sisters in trouble, so if Blood is tied to Sarah and knows Laurel has a problem, too, none of that can end well.

Also curious, Sarah asks Oliver what happened to Slade and he doesn’t answer.

Like I said — they can slow it down just a hair.

When we started getting casting news over the summer, I’d worried we might be getting close to critical mass on characters but somehow it’s working. I’m also OK if they hit pause on adding anybody else for a bit to let us catch our breath.

Here’s a sneak peek of “League of Assassins” at as sh-t continues to get real in Starling City.

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