The CW‘s Arrow Restoration TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 3: Restoration found us with the original members of Team Arrow: Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) or “OTA” as dubbed by Felicity. Restoration was all about honesty and healing. There were a few major developments along the way.
Oliver and Diggle began to heal. Diggle’s resentment has been stewing since Episode 1. We know Diggle protects Oliver’s blind side and Restoration showed what happens when Diggle decides to drops his defense – or, in this case, ignores his phone. Diggle and Felicity are the only people who can really take Oliver to task for his actions with some measure of success because they have always been clear about their moral standing. Thea (Willa Holland) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), on the other hand, are morally ambiguous so their judgment holds little sway. When Felicity shamed Oliver and Diggle into working out their issues, it was pretty powerful. She made them see that separated they are more vulnerable, a fact they both wanted to ignore. Sure they have fought separate battles in the past, but it was always when their trust in each other was somewhat sound. Oliver and Diggle are OTA – Original Team Arrow – and if these two are broken, everything else is. They needed to restore the bond.
In Restoration, Felicity showed she was not only capable of handling corporate duties, but also stubborn heroes. She wielded a martial authority that made you go “whoa!” Not to mention that Felicity handled herself like a boss with an automatic weapon! What I like about Felicity’s general depiction is that her toughness seems organically evolved. (She went from easily-abducted-Felicity in Season 2 to fighter-survivor-Felicity over two more seasons). Still, it was funny that Felicity was able to win against Double Down (JR Bourne) when Oliver failed in his earlier battle with the same guy. Of course, Amell played the comedy in that irony perfectly.
Much like Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), I was not impressed with Double Down as a villain in the Arrow universe. He was a bit lackluster and completely ineffective. He seemed to be only a channel through which we learned that Darhk is working on a project called “Genesis” under a time-table that is being imposed by partners in HIVE. Phase 2 is underway and Phase 3 is close at hand…whatever that means. Clues abound in the tooth that Diggle snatched from one ghost’s mouth. With half the DNA of a normal human being, these “ghosts” are not human at all. What does that indicate for Darhk’s plans in Star City? One thing Arrow is really good at: creating more questions! In the end, I found McDonough‘s Darhk to be even more intimidating compared to Double Down, especially when Darhk was disappointed. (Note to self: do not disappoint Mr. Darhk.)
Thea reunited with her dad, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and it was not pleasant…for anyone involved. Nevertheless, I truly enjoy the scenes between Holland and Barrowman. Their father-daughter-warrior-king-warrior-princess dynamic is beautifully layered. Thea came to her father with an old spark of naïveté that was quickly rewarded with Merlyn’s twisted logic: she needs to murder or suffer. He actually encouraged her bloodlust in order to help suppress it. This father-daughter relationship is no where near typical, and that is what makes it so rich.
Sara (Caity Lotz) comes back … sort of. I had mixed feelings about this story line. Laurel, in typical Laurel fashion, marched into Nanda Parbat demanding to use the Lazarus Pit with all the entitlement of royalty. Merlyn refused and Nyssa (Katrina Law) concurred. So, then what? What does Laurel have to trade? Nothing, really. Laurel went there hoping for sympathy in a place where none exists. Nyssa was right when she told Laurel her desire to resurrect Sara is out of grief not love. I empathize with Laurel to a point, but she makes all her decisions based on emotion. Sure her emotions made her a good lawyer, but not a good vigilante/hero. Also, I can not help but compare Thea’s situation to Sara’s. Both Oliver and Laurel love their sisters. Thea was gone only hours while Sara has been deceased for months. Sara was a member of the League and thus, may be more entitled to its perks. So, why did Oliver’s wish to save his sister seem more acceptable than Laurel’s? The difference, I see, is that Oliver traded his life for Thea’s resurrection – even if only for a little while – a point Merlyn mentioned. Laurel has nothing to sacrifice for the restoration of Sara’s soul. So, once again, Nyssa was right, Merlyn’s decision to resurrect Sara using the Lazarus Pit was an ill-use of the power. Destroying the “fountain of youth” was a bit overboard but I understand. Although I love to hate Merlyn, and wish to see Barrowman many more years in this universe, I am not weeping for Merlyn’s loss of longevity. That madman needs the threat of mortality to keep himself in check. Meanwhile, Sara has come back from death as a feral being with Laurel none the wiser of what she has resurrected. (I have to mention, though, that the resurrection sequence was slightly on the comical side given it only took seconds for a decomposing corpse to be fully restored. I mean, I happily suspend disbelief for this show, but I would have thought there should have been days of waiting for Sara, rather than less than two minutes of waiting. Just my opinion.)
We saw a little more of Oliver’s bad side in the flashback sequences this time. Oliver witnessed cruelty, condoned it, and even tortured someone. He also shielded the slaves from more cruelty by inflicting the harm himself whenever possible. Still, it is hard to ignore that when Amell plays dark, he is really dark. I just wish there had been more explanation as to why Oliver is there on the island again other than, yet, more details as to the potency of the drugs being produced – unless that is the mission: get the drug. In that case, the island saga would come full circle in terms of having the possession of a drug being the objective (i.e. Slam as the new Mirakuru for plot purposes).
Curtis (Echo Kellum) was let in. I was really looking forward to seeing Felicity string him along much like Oliver and Diggle did with her in Season 1. Instead, Curtis’ introduction to the Arrow team was hasty and epic. His scientific knowledge will be invaluable and he will be fully aware of the importance of his work, which will be refreshing in this series where the team struggled with managing their many lies to family and friends. At the end of the episode, OTA’s restoration was beautiful, Sara’s restoration was a mess, but Curtis’ calm acceptance of Felicity’s secret cinched it for me. Felicity’s little bit of honesty really made a difference in a few relationships in this episode.
Finally, Felicity’s phone is “acting up”. Really? The phone is trying to communicate with her, or “someone” is. Come on, Felicity, you can figure this out.
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