Arrow: 4.05 Haunted
Despite a great central performance by Matt Ryan and some bold and very dark storytelling, Constantine only lasted one season on NBC before it was cancelled. While the series wasn't perfect there was hope from the fans that it would get renewed. Sadly it didn't, though in truth it probably wasn't the right show for the network anyway. And then a miracle happened; after months of rumours The CW announced that it was bringing back John Constantine over for a guest spot in Arrow played again by Ryan. Judging by tonight's episode, let's hope it is the first of many.
The resurrected Sara was the key focus of this episode, running around Star City attacking violent criminals and women who looked like Thea. Just as Thea was unable to quell the bloodlust in her - her 'murderer' Ra's Al Ghul was dead - neither could Sara. A wild animal with no soul, she was focused on hunting down the woman who killer her and unfortunately that was Thea Queen herself.
Oliver discovering the rabid Sara in the nightclub was a great moment, one that led to a major, tense heart to heart with Laurel. The show hadn't really addressed their relationship for some time; he might have accepted her into Team Arrow as the Black Canary but in her eyes she never viewed him as an equal. Of course this is probably right. One season of training isn't quite enough to make the skilled equal of Green Arrow but it was more about that acceptance; they have been working together for a while but they aren't close like they used to be even in those season one days. And so while this episode was about fixing Sara it was also about fixing Oliver and Laurel too.
Amid the central drama of Sara's return there was also some great character moments for Quentin, working as a double agent for Damien Darhk and going on a mission with Diggle to plant a device that would wipe records in a FBI facility. We're still very much in the building of the bigger picture but it was nice to see Quentin a far more central figure and Diggle learned some startling truths about his not so clean brother Andrew. I wonder if he really is dead - of the many resurrections is a return of Andrew Diggle on the cards?
On the other side of the city, Felicity continued to work with Curtis Holt to uncover the hidden recording in Ray Palmer's last message. The fact that he is alive wasn't all that unsurprising but how he comes back will be. And while Holt remains separated from the rest of the ongoing story I really like the addition of his character this season.
And the flashbacks were great too. I was expecting Constantine's arrival at the end of the episode to fix Sara but I was surprised we got the origin of their relationship too. The character's arrival on the island in search of a mystical artefact has added some real mystery to these scenes. It certainly appears that there is far more than just drugs at play and makes it a little different now from the season two flashbacks. I just hope they continue this theme as Oliver gets more enveloped in his undercover mission.
But it was Constantine's arrival in present day Star City that really shook things up. Damien Darhk may have brought an element of the supernatural to Arrow but this was full on magic. It is a bold but confident development for the show and his journey with Laurel and Oliver into the afterlife to rescue Sara's soul was thrilling stuff. White-eyed zombie assassins and the amusing scene of them running out of the chamber - and back into the chamber - added some levity to the proceedings.
Given the successful re-establishing of his character, it is not surprising that fans have restarted their demands for a Constantine season two. He made a great impression here and given his knowledge of Darhk I hope that there will be more of him before the season's end.
Haunted ended with Sara restored, Oliver and Laurel closer again and Ray about to return while magic became a proper presence on the show. I have to say that while The Flash has been fun this season, I think Arrow has beaten it with its newfound confidence and bolder storytelling, proving that it doesn't have to be all dark to be dramatic and entertaining.