Arrow: 4.06 Lost Souls
This week saw the return of old heroes as Atom and the original Black Canary entered the mix, both back from the dead and a little bit traumatised to boot. Sara attempted to rejoin the Team Arrow but her passion for the fight made Thea look completely sane while the discovery that Ray had been a prisoner of Damien Darhk led to a divide between Oliver and Felicity. Of course like much of this season of Arrow (and The Flash season two) it was about setting up characters for their leading roles in Legends Of Tomorrow but it still felt like a natural fit for the on-going storyline regardless of the approaching spin-off.
It was never really a surprise that Ray Palmer was alive given his presence in the Legends Of Tomorrow trailer but what worked here was that it wasn't another resurrection like Sara. Becoming DC's version of Ant-Man (there was even a throwaway reference to his encounter with cockroaches) he had spent the last six months trapped in a sealed clear box while Darhk's men attempted to obtain his suit, assumingly to harness the energy for that mysterious magical device the villain was using at the episode's end.
Ignoring the question of Ray managed to do simple things like eat, sleep and go to the toilet in his clear cage, the effects of his imprisonment will be an interesting development of his character - at the same time I liked that even after the trauma of what had happened he was still his usual chipper self which should fit right in with the light world of Arrow at present. And despite Darhk it really is; it no longer seems odd to see Oliver smile several times an episode and even when his relationship with Felicity hit a snag it wasn't overly angsty.
Felicity too got some good development this week as she put all her energy into finding and saving Ray even if her frustration at not helping him earlier spilled over into the rest of her life. Despite the fact that she could easily be jaw clenched irritating and cliched, her returning mother Donna brought enough warmth and compassion that I was really engaged in her attempts to help her daughter and I loved that her and Barry texted behind Felicity's back.
Oliver and Felicity's argument over the comms was very funny - particularly everyone else being forced to listen in, as was Diggle sitting between them in Arrow HQ as they got into another fight. Fortunately it was a conflict that was easily resolved by the episode's end because we don't need all the relationship drama that last season had overshadowing this year.
Curtis Holt continued to become more involved in the show and had two fantastic moments. Meeting Oliver for the first time and putting his hand in front of his eyes to determine whether he was the Green Arrow (in his estimation, Oliver's jaw wasn't quite right) and zip lining into Darhk's headquarters to help rescue Ray.
In fact the whole final scene was brilliant. From Oliver's 'capture' and double bluff with Darhk to Thea and the Canaries fighting off his henchmen while Diggle went undercover. Curtis restorting Ray to his full size was certainly a 'yes!' moment and it was great to see the good guys win even against such a powerful villain like Darhk.
John Constantine's arrival on the island last week has really opened up the premise of the flashbacks too; the search for magical relics has added a whole another dimension to this already great setting and it is far more interesting than last year's - something I have noted in the last couple of reviews.
My only frustration was that Sara left at the end. There is a trend in superhero TV shows for characters to make a sudden departure for 'personal reasons'. Barry's dad did it in the season two opener of The Flash and Sara did it here though at least this was a little more believable; giving up the fight to stop the darkness within her and I guess as part of her progression towards the White Canary. I also noted that she was heading off to see her mother in Central City; perhaps a visit to Star Labs is on the cards?
Lost Souls wasn't the most eventful of episodes but the rescue of Ray Palmer was thrilling. It was a chance to explore the characters of Oliver, Felicity, Sara and Ray after the events of last season and her restoration by John Constantine last week. Most of all, it was fun, possibly more fun than The Flash at the moment and who would have said that last year?