After stumbling across the promotional images for Episode 15, The Promise, I was a little impatient for that to arrive – this episode felt as if it’d just be getting in the way. How wrong I was. Arrow’s 14th instalment balanced the action and ongoing family dramas to perfection with a strong villain and predictably, an excellent ‘GIVE US NEXT WEEK NOW’ ending.
The Clock King, played by the excellent Robert Knepper, is introduced straightaway as a bank robbery unfolds. He’s directing his henchmen through Kord Enterprises *comic book reference klaxon*, with ridiculous second-by-second precision – obviously fitting in with his name. From his eerily chilling church bell theme, to his ruthless execution of one of his henchmen, to his devotion to being precise with time – he was no doubt a strong villain and thankfully didn’t meet an end, meaning he could pop up to test the Arrow team again.
Unlike some villains we’ve seen – Cyrus Gold, Bronze Tiger, Merlyn… – Knepper’s villain provided a far different threat. It was both technological and psychological, as opposed to physical. In some ways you could argue he was a threat for Felicity, who was really struggling to feel part of the Arrowcave – something now appropriate to discuss…
After Oliver and Sara had a steamy kiss at the end of 2×13, it appeared Sara was here to stay in the Arrowcave. Something we discovered early to be true, with Oliver, Diggle and Sara all having a battle with warrior sticks – or whatever term you’d like to coin. It was in this scene we already saw Felicity’s insecurities, she didn’t really say anything, simply watching things unfold. But you could see she didn’t really know how to take things. Then we had Oliver, Dig and Sara discuss their various – ridiculous – array of scars. Further making Felicity feel isolated. The icing on the cake was where Sara revealed she could analyse blood types, making Felicity really question her role in the Arrowcave.
Whereas one of Felicity’s main contributions was once golden one-liners, this season – although they’re still present – we’ve really travelled deeper with the character. We know a little of her backstory, her adoration for Oliver, her vulnerability, her fears and her insecurities. Emily Bett-Rickards has been brilliant in all roles, conveying vulnerability superbly while terrific with Felicity’s more humorous side.
Ms Smoak did get to play the hero in the end however, defeating Clock King by uploading the very virus he used to destroy the Arrowcave onto his cellphone, causing it to malfunction and knock him out. She even picked up a scar to boot with a gunshot wound, before joining the ranks of Oliver, Diggle and Sara with her top off to get stitched up – she must feel she’s really one of the team now (please note, that is said in jest, she was always one of the team.)
Diggle is right, Felicity is “irreplaceable” and very much here to stay. It was a nice episode of development for her, beating her insecurities and having Oliver reassure her she’s still ‘his girl’ while having her get out in the field too.
As was mentioned above, Oliver and Sara had that steamy kiss and now, appear to be a couple. There was something pleasing that it wasn’t a meaningless love-a-thon unfolding, and it was the beginning of something a tad more meaningful. Caity Lotz and Stephen Amell have a good chemistry between them and of all the women Oliver has been with, a lot, I think this combination is proving the most likeable thus far.
Sara was thrown a welcome home/welcome back to life party at the Queen Mansion, providing an opportunity for Quentin to showclass his staggering development even further as he pretty much forgave Oliver and shook his hand. In fairness, the daughter he thought Oliver had led to her death had come back to life – so, technically, there was nothing to hate him for anymore. But STILL! It really seemed he had some perspective on the situation…
Something his other daughter, sadly could not replicate.
Laurel was nowhere to be seen at the welcome home/welcome back to life party though did agree to a family dinner, with Lance revealing he was hoping to resurrect things between himself and Dinah.
Obviously, things didn’t go to plan. Dinah revealed she’s seeing someone, crushing Quentin’s ambitions. Laurel realised Sara and Oliver are a ‘thing’ before storming off. Oh dear, oh dear.
But at last, we had some really, really harsh words coming from Oliver to Laurel. Oliver has been remarkably patient from Laurel, even refusing to have a go at her when she was trying to condemn Oliver’s mother to death. He told her she’s blaming everyone but herself, scolded her over many, many things before exploding at her for thinking she’s the only one having a hard time before telling her he’s done caring.
I must admit having a subtle fist pump, it was just long overdue someone let rip at her. Call it ‘tough love’ if you will. In fairness, it seemed to do the trick. Laurel went to see Sara – who now has a job at Verdant – and made things right, revealing she knows she’s in trouble. In some ways that was fist pump number 2 for me. It was pleasing to see that she’s realised things and it was probably the first time in a while I genuinely felt for her. It was a nice, heart-warming scene nonetheless and hopefully, AT LAST, Laurel will sort herself out and get her life back in shape now. She did attend an AA meeting at the end – so there’s your first step.
The episode finished things with Thea summoning Oliver to the Queen Mansion with an ’emergency’. Having sensed the tension between her brother and her mother, she was eager to get them talking – as Oliver deduced. However, Mumma Queen wasn’t alone with a certain Mr Wilson present. Slade came over to shake his hand with Wilson’s smile soon fading to a far colder look.
I’m not really sure what else you can say about it except ‘!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ – things are boiling up nicely ahead of the final run of episodes of Season 2.
Finally, the flashbacks more set up next week’s island centric ‘The Promise’ though we got a little backstory about Sin and Sara. Sin’s father’s plane was shot down, presumably by the freighter, and the man himself died at the scene. This was after he asked Sara to make sure his daughter’s okay, handing her a picture – turning out to be Sin. It’s testament to Sara that she made sure to find Sin and look after her. It was a nice touch and nice to have a little depth to how those two met.
Now we await next week, ‘The Promise’: island-centric, freighter-taking, Slade Wilson in Queen Mansion epicness.
Here’s the promo: