It’s a Sara (Caity Lotz)-centric episode as the absent Lance daughter returns home. But it’s not the happy homecoming she expects, especially when a lethal ex-lover and her sister Laurel (Katie Cassidy) find out.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Heir To The Demon’ is likely to cause a stir because it introduces a canonical DC character in Nyssa (Katrina Law) – the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul – and makes her a lesbian. This will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers; there’s a historical precedence that fans have difficulty adjusting to characters changes with the result ranging from mild complaints to epic flame wars. In my mind this particular change works because it allows the series to introduce a character that the fans are excited to see and whose sexuality opens new storylines for Sara (For a spoilery interview with producer Marc Guggenheim on the decision to switch up Nyssa’s sexuality, click here).
At the end of the day, this episode is really all about Sara (in case you didn’t make the connection, even the flashbacks are related to her backstory). This is Sara’s homecoming as she’s brought back to Starling City to save her family after Laurel is poisoned and her mother Dinah (Alex Kingston) is kidnapped. The attacks initially seem like another one of the League of Assassin’s ploys to force Sara to return to work with them. That’s still partially true here, but the real motivation behind the traps is Nyssa’s desire to reunite with her missing love. Turns out Sara left Nyssa high and dry when she first came to Starling City and the ex feels a little jilted (understandable – most of us just don’t have super ninja skills to do anything when it happens to us).
Nyssa’s abandonment issues nicely parallel Laurel’s, though their respective reactions are significantly different. Laurel is slightly less happy to see her sister because she aligns Sara’s death with the start of the ruination of her life. In this way the flashbacks serve to tell not just Sara’s backstory, but also Laurel’s. The glimpses into the domestic bliss before the Queen’s Gambit sinks suggests a perfectly normal life (though we know better because Sara is already texting Stephen Amell’s Oliver when she walks in the door in her atrocious wig). Later flashbacks offer visual evidence of the combative relationship between the sisters (as well as Sara’s new to protect her sister by simultaneously hurting her). The final tableaux hint at the bond between Lance (Paul Blackthorn) and Laurel as they grieve together and Dinah is nowhere to be seen.
Narratively Laurel’s blame game works. In terms of character development, it works. As a viewer looking forward to being less frustrated with Laurel, this feels like ‘one step forward, two steps back’. It absolutely makes sense that she’s upset and the shock of suddenly finding out that the sister she thought was dead for six years has been alive the whole time is cause for anger. But blaming Sara for everything that’s gone wrong? Now that’s just silly. Again, Laurel’s in shock (and if we’re being honest knocking back a few stiff drinks probably doesn’t help). Still, the melodrama of throwing the bottle at the door = high camp. Laurel, we say this with love: you need to go to rehab, sweetie.
- I love that this show is being slowly overtaken by Spartacus actors. If Liam McIntyre or Viva Blanca or Lucy Lawless show up, I may just freak out. Make it happen, television gods!
- Arrow has some – if not the – best fight scenes on TV. With that said, Ollie’s battle with Nyssa is solid, though I wish it was longer. I particularly like the moment when she flips onto the table on her back to grab her bow. It almost looks like she breaks her own back.
- With that said, the resolution of the Nyssa vs Sara battle is a tad undercooked. Nyssa is willing to do all these terrible things to Sara to get her back, but when Oliver resuscitates Sara, Nyssa just gives up and releases her from the League of Assassins. It feels a bit too pat, even though I’m certain we haven’t seen the last of the masked woman. It just seems like she throws in the towel a little too quickly considering how much effort she’s gone to (she did almost kill someone after all).
- In other news, Oliver finds out from Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) that Moira (Susanna Thompson) lied about Thea’s (Willa Holland) father and he cuts her out of his life. It’s a dramatic moment and both actors play it well, but this feels like an artificial “only on TV” moment. Plus: is there really any doubt that they’ll reconnect?
- Backtracking a bit: I was seriously annoyed when Moira tried to emotionally blackmail Felicity into staying silent (I’d forgotten that Moira can actually be intimidating, but I have a really strong dislike when characters arbitrarily stay silent on major revelations for the sake of the plot). Imagine my surprise then when Felicity comes right out and tells Oliver shortly thereafter. Kudos for getting that out in the open so quickly.
- Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) tries to play it cool that Moira is stealing his thunder (he tries – unsuccessfully, I might add – to intimidate her), but all this tells me is that he’s a bit of wimp. Slade (Manu Bennett – looking like a million bucks in that suit) is ready to step out of the shadows and kick some butt.
- Oh yeah also Ollie and Sara have sex. Because emotionally damaged superheroes just can’t resist each other…
- Felicity (to Moira, discussing Walter’s silence about the Tempest payment): “I could tell he wouldn’t. British people are terrible liars.”
- Sara (when Lance asks how she met up with Arrow): “Vigilante club.”
- Laurel (to Sara): “Everything that’s gone wrong in our lives is your fault” Way harsh, Tai.
Your turn: did you enjoy the parallels between Nyssa and Laurel? Intrigued by the lady love or put off by the fact that the character has been changed? Is Laurel bound to become even more insufferable now? Will Sara and Oliver become an item or was this a fleeting encounter? Sound off below
Arrow takes a breather for the Olympics and returns Wednesday, February 26th at 8pm EST on The CW