Haunted review – What? You never seen magic, before?

John Constantine was in town for Arrow’s fifth episode as a near demonic Sara strove to end her bloodlust, by killing Thea – again, Malcolm, well done. Your decision making when it comes to your daughter is flawless.

First thing I have to say is, I’ve put my words in a sandwich and been forced to eat them. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this episode, but I was wrong. I really enjoyed it.

John Constantine’s appearance wasn’t something exciting me like it was others, but now, having seen the episode, I really wouldn’t mind seeing him show up again. He felt natural. It never felt as if the writers thought, well, it’d be fun to have Constantine on the show and just threw him in there. He fit the story nicely. Plus, he was a fun character. Matt Ryan is great, and played off the other characters well. I didn’t buy his backstory with Oliver all that much, I’d hope perhaps that, that wasn’t their only meeting in the past – if it was, it’s a little unsatisfactory.

The whole introduction of magic and the supernatural this season is really working for me. It matches the tone Arrow has set out. It’s out of the ordinary, yes, but it fits in nicely.

Constantine arrived to help because of a demonic Sara, without her soul, determined to kill Thea. Sara herself was actually a pretty formidable villain of the week, a demonic League of Assassins member going on the rampage? Yeah, that doesn’t sound a picnic for Team Arrow. By adding the emotional dimension that it’s someone they know, someone they care about and the whole angle of – can we put this person down?

Well, it was quite the conundrum indeed.

The plot was a little convenient at times, she couldn’t find Thea at first, she only went after those who looked like her, before eventually finding her target multiple times? Well, if she’d stumbled across her multiple times, why didn’t she do that the first few times? It felt as if they were just building the plot up for us. It’s a minor complaint though, little more.

The scene where Constantine, Laurel and Oliver go to retrieve Sara’s soul felt a little underwhelming. At first, they went around in circles. Then, Constantine takes on some ghoulish LOA member, floats him up into the air in Jedi-like fashion before stabbing him through the chest. Oliver and Laurel struggle to pull Sara from the pit. It just felt as if they could have done a little more with it. I also felt we could have perhaps had a scene with the newly reunited Lances by the end of the episode, it would have been a nice touch. We got one where Sara presumably recognised her father and her sister, but that was it. Hopefully, we’ll get something a little more substantial in next week’s episode.

Speaking of the Lances, both Laurel and Quentin had their own stories this week. Laurel was a real mixed bag. The scene in which she tells Oliver how it is was very good, it felt as if it was a long time coming. Their relationship has been a peculiar one last few seasons. From being close, it seemed to be dismantled and as I’ve complained about in the past some of their scenes together were cut. I’m not a reader of the Green Arrow comics, but as a Spider-Man fan I can appreciate the value of an iconic love story – as Green Arrow and the Black Canary are. It’s good to acknowledge that closeness between Oliver and Laurel, and hopefully we can build to a stronger friendship – I’m not one to bang the drum for anything more, Olicity has been pretty tolerable this season so far, so there’s no need!

I mentioned Laurel being a mixed bag, the glaring one for me is the scene in the club where she pulls a gun on her sister. Eh? Last week, she stopped Quentin doing the same, we were also shown this week that she was struggling with her decision (understandably so, Sara’s off killing people). We didn’t need that scene. It wasn’t in keeping with her character of late. It just was pure ‘ugh’. We didn’t need to have Laurel pull the gun, she could have just expressed her fear at Sara, before Oliver fired an arrow in her back. That would have been fine.

She’s a character they’ve never managed to nail. They’ve shown she can be good. I actually like her a lot, and hope she’s given some better, more coherent storylines from now. Seeing the two Canary sisters together, out in the field, should be fun.

Lance and Diggle together was a fun little team-up. They’ve got their similarities in some ways when it comes to HIVE. Diggle lost his brother to the organisation, Lance continues to work there for fear of losing his daughter to it. This little team-up also led to a weekly appearance from Mr. Darkh. Oh joy. He’s brilliant, isn’t he? But rather than wax lyrical about Damien, I’ll move to the reveal as to why Andy Diggle was killed. It sucked. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. It was a pretty rubbish generic justification, destroys Diggle’s memory of his brother and makes it a bit difficult to see whether this plot is now closed or not…

Elsewhere, we had Oliver begin his mayoral campaign with Alex proving a typical politician – wanting to spin Oliver to success. I’m glad he didn’t pay much attention to the demand of booting Laurel out of his life. It capped the arc for the former lovers this episode, it was a bit of a sickly sweet ending between them but I don’t mind.

Finally, Ray Palmer lives! That feels like a hashtag. #RayPalmerLives. I think we all saw that coming. It began with a fantastic scene in which Curtis was high from energy drinks and at risk from cardiac failure, it ended with Ray telling Felicity he’s alive and in trouble…

…I wonder where next week’s episode will take us. All I can say is, Arrow’s got me looking forward to its episodes again.

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