Arrow: 3.19 Broken Arrow
The conflict against Ra's Al Ghul took its first casualty as Roy Harper (aka Arsenal) left the show. It was a bold move in an episode that delivered one surprise after another. Given the events of recent weeks, there was a strong sense that Arrow was not going to be the same show it was after this season ended and with Roy taking the fall for Oliver as the cliffhanger to the last episode, the show certainly delivered on that idea.
Colton Haynes might not have been have been the strongest actor on the show, but he served Roy well and he will be genuinely missed; apparently it isn't a temporary departure but the end of Haynes as a series regular that was planned by the actor and the producers two years ago. As to how we got there, Broken Arrow threw a number of curve balls at the audience. First Roy was stabbed to death by a prison guard before Oliver could break him out and then it was revealed that the officer was one of Lyla's colleagues.
As it turns out, Roy, Felicity and Diggle hatched the plan all along to save Oliver in what was one of the most surprising moments of the episode. But it still ended with Roy publicly dead and leaving to start a new life. I wouldn't be surprised if Arsenal makes the occasional guest appearance in Arrow, The Flash or the new spin-off though. He's a ready made hero that could fit right in to help save whatever is going on, on a particularly day.
Poor Thea, she just got back with Roy before he turned himself in and then she wasn't even let in on the secret. Though given the even bigger cliffhanger, mourning Roy is the least of her problems. Ra's Al Ghul turned up in her apartment to step up his plan against Oliver. Her attempt to fight him was both bold and futile; you could imagine Ra's laughing inside. But the fight - if it really was one - was over quickly as he ran the same sword he 'killed' Oliver with through Thea, leaving her body to bleed out.
Has Arrow pulled the wool over the audiences' eyes by faking Roy's death before actually killing Thea? I am not so convinced; even if Thea is dead then there is a certain Lazarus Pit that might come into play next week - will Ra's Al Ghul force Oliver to take over in exchange for bringing Thea back from the dead? I suspect so.
Had these events been enough, Broken Arrow would have been a strong episode. But of course, what elevated the episode was the threat - a metahuman from Starling City with the ability to absorb energy and blast beams from his eyes. This was definitely a case of the worst timing ever and as such the perfect time to introduce a super-powered threat from The Flash into the mix. Doug Jones made a great villain in Jake Simmons, using his abilities to rob bank and kill people left right and centre. Given the situation, there was no possibility of Oliver donning his hood, picking up his bow and arrow and joining the fight without giving himself up to Captain Lance.
Enter the Atom; if Oliver Queen is going all dark these days then Ray Palmer is his polar opposite. With his bright, cheery and optimistic his boy scout enthusiasm, it was interesting to see what happened when they were forced to work together. The results were a lot of fun; Oliver controlling the suit remotely while Ray hunted down Simmons, demonstrating some impressive fighting skills. It literally was Felecity's two worlds coming together. Of course when her life was at risk, Ray demonstrated he had the determination to take Simmons down himself - of course an armoured suit helped him with that.
The coda was fun too; Ray travelling to Central City to lock Simmons up the in Star Labs prison vault. Even more intriguing was Ray and Cisco's discussion that Simmons wasn't in Central City at the time of the Star Labs explosion? A new kind of metahuman; I wonder what effect this might have on Arrow's sister show. On a side note, I suspect the next episode of The Flash featuring the Atom may have taken place chronologically before Broken Arrow but it didn't really matter that much. I love how both shows compliment each other, with characters like Cisco, crossing over into each show.
So an excellent episode of Arrow that continued to shake the very foundations of the show. Lance discovering the 'Arrow cave', the loss of Roy / Arsenal, the 'death' of Thea; these are huge moments that means the show can never go back to the way it was. There is certainly no way Oliver can take up the mantle of Arrow again without undoing everything Roy fought for. The flashback this week served little purpose again, except to exonerate Amanda Waller, but the present day storyline more than made up for that. With just four episodes left, season three is shaping up to be the most thrilling year yet.