This week on Arrow: we turn the spotlight on the Lance family as Laurel (Katie Cassidy) mistakes being bitchy for grieving and former Detective Lance, now Beat Cop Lance (Paul Blackthorne) gets far too psychoanalytic in his pursuit of the bad guy who got away.
Let’s bitch it out…We’re three episodes into the new season so it’s time to move away from the foundation-setting and begin addressing exactly what this second season is going to be all about. ‘Broken Dolls’ doesn’t quite manage that feat, straddling the past and the future as the story of both Lances is firmly rooted in regret for the past, even as the development of the as-yet-unnamed female vigilante (Caity Lotz) begins to take off. Particularly observant viewers may begin to make the connection between the two stories, though for now all we know if that there’s a new player in town and she doesn’t have Ollie’s (Stephen Amell) newly acquired sense of morality when it comes to killing.
The case of the week – an escaped serial killer named Mathis (Michael Eklund) with the moniker of Dollmaker thanks to his penchant for turning victims into…well…dolls – is a bit unusual for the show. His crimes are what we normally see on crime procedurals like CSI & Criminal Minds (and would therefore normally turn me off), but there’s enough character beats involving Beat Cop Lance and his obsession with the case as a proxy for “saving” his dead daughter Sarah. Beyond that, however, Mathis isn’t particularly memorable and the whole enterprise loses a lot of credibility when the undercover sting involving Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) somehow goes awry despite Oliver and a dozen cops being within spitting distance of the bad guy (Side Note: Mathis didn’t strike me as particularly tech savvy, and yet Felicity was unable to trace his call? How does that work?)
Meanwhile, everyone’s least favourite overly made-up lawyer Laurel is still blaming the Hood for Tommy’s death in last season’s finale. If Beat Cop Lance’s storyline is a bit predictable, Laurel’s is paint by numbers simple. In fact Laurel requires a kidnapping and a near death experience to realize she really blames herself, not the Arrow (as daddy Beat Cop renames him). While I still really like Cassidy, it’s hard to defend her role on this show when the writers give her these kinds of storylines, which are not only predictable but do little to engender the character much sympathy. Time to snap out of it, Laurel! Especially when
Hot Paul DA Adam Donner (Dylan Bruce) is waiting in the wings to sweep you off your feet…
- I don’t know if it’s because events on the Island are mirroring the current situation in Starling City better, or because we get more of Manu Bennett’s lovable gruffness, but I enjoyed the flashbacks more this week. The cliffhanger-y developments – Slade’s face getting burnt, Shado (Celina Jade) being MIA and Oliver in the brig aboard the enemy ship – promises plenty of interesting stuff to come
- Roy (Colton Haynes) gets the unenviable role of tracking down the female vigilante, which means chasing street urchin Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) and getting whacked in the head with a pipe. The only thing that saves his bacon is a desperate text from Thea (Willa Holland) about Mama Queen (Susanna Thompson), suggesting perhaps that this vigilante knows about Oliver’s secret identity. Or that I read into things far too much. One or the other…
- Speaking of Moira, she gets her day in court only to learn that
Hot PaulDonner is seeking the death penalty for her role in the 503 deaths in the Glades. Bummer – hardly seems worth getting dressed all fancy-like for that news
- Finally, Arrow moves one step closer to a legitimate connection with the Dark Knight (and Batman Begins) when the female vigilante – oh hell, when Black Canary – learns that Ra’s Al Ghul wants her to return (which helps to explains her ninja skills). Black Canary’s answer is a stabby no (way to kill the messenger!) but I expect we’ll see more of her former comrades shortly. Everyone knows that ninjas are like termites: find one and pretty soon they’ll be coming out of the woodwork
- Sin (upon laying eyes on Roy): “Back off, Abercrombie”
- Roy (when Black Canary cuts his face): “Not my face” Always the pretty boy
All in all ‘Broken Dolls’ is a decent episode, despite the focus on questionable grieving practices. What were your thoughts? Are you annoyed with Laurel? Were you pleased to spend more time with Beat Cop Lance? What the heck was up with that terrible sting operation by Ollie and co.? And which mystery is more compelling: the female vigilante or the events on the Island? Share your opinions below
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW