In a magical episode, Arrow has finally given us John Constantine: exorcist, demonologist and master… dabbler in the mystic arts. Continuing from last week’s episode, the team are keeping tabs on a blonde woman spreading mayhem. It’s only when the Green Arrow interferes in one of the blonde’s attempted murders does he find that his target is Sarah Lance. Or, what’s left of her. They recapture Sarah and, with the aid of Constantine, Ollie and Laurel bring Sarah’s soul back from the pits of hell.
A truly artful piece of writing has Sarah wanting Thea’s death due to the Lazarus Pit’s lingering effects. As opposed to the usually beautifully choreographed fights, this episode of Arrow has Thea scrambling away for her life. The scrappy confrontation between Sarah and Thea in Laurel’s apartment is brutal and made me flinch as Thea was slammed into tables, mirrors, and desks. At one point as she ran, Thea tried to leap over a staircase railing. After the beating from Sarah, Thea crumpled upon when she landed and tumbled down a whole flight of stairs. The aftermath of Thea in hospital shows just how bruised and broken she was, right before Sarah tried to kill her again. And although not what Arrow usually gives us, the first confrontation is now up there with one of my favourites. Brutal and painful.
In addition to Sarah running wild, Team Arrow still has Darhk to worry about, and this villain’s new plan left Diggle and Captain Lance scratching their heads. To keep the fact that Captain Lance is now a double agent, the unlikely pair team up to complete Darhk’s mission of erasing people’s files from a large computer hub. However, as the names are erased Diggle spots his brother’s name. It’s a storyline that almost deserves its own episode, the reveal of who Diggle’s brother really was. The revelation had the potential to be for Diggle what last episode was for Lance. But this episode of Arrow was already very over crowded with the introduction of Constantine and the impact was lost to Sarah’s resurrection.
That is this episode’s biggest downfall. The transitions between a lot of scenes felt stunted and made me wonder if my copy was corrupted. This is seen when Ollie is saying that Lance shouldn’t attempt Darhk’s mission without back up which then suddenly leads to Lance standing in Diggle’s apartment. The sudden shift in time and space is jarring but, with the large content of the episode, it seemed necessary.
The same goes for when Ollie, Laurel, and Constantine visit hell. The rescue of Sarah is very quick and, as the peak for the episode, it felt weak. Ollie and Laurel merely had to pull Sarah from a replica Lazarus Pit while Constantine sparred with a Leaguer Spirit. The contrast between Constantine’s fighting style and the trained heroes of Team Arrow was very interesting, especially how he chose defence over offence as he recanted a spell. However, there wasn’t much shown of Ollie and Laurel as they pulled Sarah from the Pit. Briefly, the audience can see grotesque hands holding Sarah back and trying to pull her under. But I wanted to see more! The scene was missing Sarah’s terror or even the strain of heroes against the grotesque hands. And this was just as much Laurel’s journey as Sarah’s. Apart from her over eagerness to rush into hell without directions, there wasn’t any distress from Laurel when she saw the situation her sister was in. This again all comes down to the lack of space to move in the allocated time.
However, this episode not only points toward Legends of Tomorrow with Sarah and the secrets of Diggle’s brother but it also saved a character. No doubt this episode had other plans but the writers and actors of Arrow thought it important to save a brother hero. The introduction of Constantine was fantastic and his character easily fell in step with his DC comrades. And it’s because of this that I can ignore the rushed feeling of the episode. In fact, if they already did have an episode before inviting Constantine over, the writers have done an amazing job in producing this story and seamlessly adding the master of dark arts.
So, although rushed, this episode has hit some remarkable story points of the season and created an amazing, scrappy confrontation. I only hope Constantine takes Ollie up on his offer of help in the future or vice versa, no matter how big or small the problem is. And boy, does Team Arrow have a very big small problem to deal with next episode.
Quote of the Episode: This is your overlord, Felicity.