Everything about ‘Crucible’ screams: we need to talk about Sara (Caity Lotz)! In a surprisingly forthcoming fashion, the identity of the mysterious female vigilante is revealed to be the youngest Lance daughter. Cue no one’s surprise.
Let’s bitch it out…‘Crucible’ introduces a substantial new bad guy (actually a previously believed good guy is really just revealed to be a bad guy). While Alderman Blood (Kevin Alejandro) seems headed for a nice arc as the new Big Bad – and really, how could he not with a last name like that? – ultimately this second reveal is immaterial. Villain or not, the story that this episode wants to explore is how Black Canary, aka Sara, is essentially Oliver (Stephen Amell) from back in S1. She believes in killing, she’s afraid to connect and she believes that her life ended “back on the island”. In a lot of ways we’re meant to use Sara as a barometer to measure how far Oliver has come: she’s everything he once was but no longer is (particularly since the events of the finale*)
*While I appreciate that we’re not diminishing the events of a finale in which 503 people were killed, it’s a little frustrating that the only one who seems to merit real attention is stupid Tommy.
The title of the episode tells us everything we need to know. It’s about Oliver trying to guide Sara out the third type of crucible: a maelstrom where the individual has come to enjoy the pain. For Oliver this means trying to get Sarah to understand the impact that her absence has had on her family. Lance (Paul Blackthorne) became an alcoholic following her death and big sister Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is currently undergoing her own grieving trial by fire. Of course whether or not we give a crap about Laurel’s descent into pills, booze and poorly informed driving decisions is another story. The important thing that Arrow‘s writers want us to know is that families who lose adult children on mysterious islands get seriously messed up.
In effect this episode is solid – there’s decent action, a few not-so-surprising twists and Cathy Lotz is off to a great start playing Sarah. I do feel, however, that there’s a bit of a been there, done that vibe to the proceedings because we’ve seen some of these ideas tossed around in the Huntress storylines from S1. Lotz brings a fresh energy to the show and I like that her identity hasn’t been dragged out for half of the season, but I hope the mopey Lance storyline doesn’t dominate the proceedings for too long.
- After sitting out for a few episodes, fembot Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) returns to mock Oliver and talk about capitalism. It’s a step up from her first appearance, but I’m still waiting for boob guns or a robot arm to show up
- Oh yeah, there’s a whole blah thing about a “Guns for Bucks” thing in the Glades and Roy’s (Colton Haynes) friend, Sin (Bex Taylor Klaus) getting shot in a drive-by, but I don’t really care because it’s blatantly emotionally manipulative and uninteresting. Frankly I just don’t get Roy’s desire to protect this girl. I understand that he’s got this junior protector thing going on, but his emotional interest in Sin’s well being is far too significant considering they’ve meet once
- I think that the writers hate Katie Cassidy because her storyline is just garbage. They’ve already done the driving under the influence story with Thea (Willa Holland) and the whole “I can’t get over Tommy” bit is played out. Just let her have inappropriate hot sex with
Hot PaulDA Donner (Dylan Bruce) and move on!
- Finally, our Island flashbacks this week feel incredibly redundant: Ollie gets shot, heals himself and realizes that Sara didn’t die during the initial boat crash. These scenes don’t really tell us much we a) don’t already know or b) can’t guess. But hey, 42 minutes aren’t going to fill themselves and they paid for Ollie’s flashback douchebag wig so they might as well use it
- Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity (discussing the circumstances around Sara’s demise): “Don’t you have any happy stories?”
- Felicity (discussing the gun tracker): “Guess which company makes the beacon. Here’s a hint: the CEO? Always late” Oliver: “Nice”
What are your thoughts on ‘Crucible’? Are you completely tired of Laurel? Are you getting deja vu from Sara’s storyline? Are you surprised by the Alderman Blood reveal? Are you feeling the Sin/Roy connection? Sound off below
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on The CW