Arrow is continuing to keep its plots narrowed and focused this week, as everything in motion is interrupted for our characters when Sara has escaped into Star City to create chaos.
The episode opens with Sara’s intentions appearing unclear as she saves a waitress from being assaulted by two men, but it’s revealed through the episode that she’s fallen victim to the same bloodlust that Thea has been dealing with, but that means that the only way she will be cured of it is by murdering Thea herself, as she’s the one that put the black arrow in Sara’s chest about a year ago. Does anyone else remember that it was Thea’s fault? Because I really, really don’t.
This season has been doing a lot of work in its first few episodes for fixing all of the lying and deceiving that’s gone on between Oliver and Team Arrow, and this week in particular has all the gripes laid out in front. A minor, but very strong theme of the episode is the relationship between Oliver and Laurel, first picked on by his new political strategist suggesting he completely distance himself from the Lance family. The irony of this suggestion blows through his life in full force when he sees Sara’s husk rampaging through the city and quickly uses his deductive reasoning to figure out what Thea and Laurel did exactly on their “spa weekend.”
After Thea reveals to Oliver just exactly what Malcom Merlin had done to satiate her bloodlust, he and Laurel have a brutally honest conversation as she accuses him of hypocrisy considering he never told her about what he did to bring back Thea, and comes to the conclusion that he never saw her as an equal. Quite frankly, her honesty with Oliver in “Haunted” is some of the best writing we’ve seen for her as a character since the season premiere, where on the other hand, Oliver’s attitude is a bit unexpected if only because he has a perfect way to help Sara that he could have brought at any time if he had only known the truth. Luckily for the audience, this deus ex machina results in a really cool cameo.
Saved from the bowels of his own hellish TV cancellation, an entirely new audience is introduced to Matt Ryan as John Constantine, a demon hunter and mystics master. From one look in her eyes, Oliver can tell that Sara may be revived physically, but the Lazarus Pit never restored her soul, and Constantine owes Oliver a favor for reasons which are vaguely covered in my Flashback Notes.
Here, Constantine is a refreshing character with a unique personality and set of powers that I’d love to see more of in the DCTV universe in a similar way that Hulk is to the Marvel film universe. Maybe the character doesn’t work on solo adventures, but can be kept mysterious enough that he brings a lot of fun when joining the adventures of the Flash or the Green Arrow or the Legends of Tomorrow. As our seemingly entire cast congregates over a black magic ritual, Constantine explains the process of the Restitution, (kind of the opposite of of an exorcism) in which he, Oliver and Laurel enter a labyrinthian Legend of Zelda kind of dungeon to fight off some hooded goons and pull Sara out of a more metaphoric Lazarus Pit. Luckily, they’re transported in their battle gear instead of a pantsuit. That’d just be rescuing Sara on hard mode. As much as I’ve grieved over how this plot to revive Sara has left me annoyed up to this point, the Constantine cameo, bringing Oliver and Laurel closer to each other and the eventful restoration of her soul make for a nice moment of victory for our heroes at the beginning of what I’m sure will become a very dark season to commence further on.
Constantine bids farewell after he and Oliver bro talk about owing each other more favors, and a note about Damien Darhk and his HIVE agents. Constantine’s parting words warn that “he’ll make what you saw in the other realm look like a little gnat,” which isn’t all too surprisingly considering how cool and collected our season’s villain is so far.
Speaking of Darhk, Quentin Lance is requested by him to upload a virus into a server farm directly, and now being the most quality of double agents, brings the files to be decrypted by Felicity to figure out just what HIVE is up to. Lance is paired up with Diggle to do the dangerous deed, and as a favor to his investigation, Lance questions Darhk about the need to delete the files of dead people, namely Andrew Diggle. Lance and John get the answers they were looking for about the younger brother, but the truth maybe not the most favorable note to how John would want to remember him.
In a very brief tertiary plot this week, Holt assists Felicity in decrypting the rest of his “Nicholas Sparks” message as he likes to put it… and the results upon the conclusion of “Haunted” all but confirm Palmer’s survival, but he’s kind of in trouble depending on when he created that message for her.
–> FLASHBACK NOTES 4.5 <–
→) Oliver’s communications gear is found, here we meet Constantine asking for a break from being wailed on. Smoke if you got ‘em.
→) Constantine had a map of Lian-Yu. Oliver is sent to find whatever Constantine was looking for.
→) Constantine escapes from the cuffs, points a gun at Oliver’s head, and takes him hostage to get to the location on the map.
→) They arrive at the mapped place, and Constantine tells Oliver about the things on the island they people shouldn’t have access to. Probably dangerous magical things. For those of us that don’t know his motivations, he says “I’m on the side of the angels, mate.”
→) Constantine brings Oliver down into a tunnel to draw an artifact from stone, which releases an Indiana Jones-ian death trap. Oliver saves him, so there’s the favor he’s owed for a few years.
Arrow 4×05 “Haunted” (9/10)
Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!
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