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Arrow S3.02 Sara Review

The late Sara Lance lends her name to this episode and it feels entirely fitting. Her loss not only overshadows the drama but drives it. This story could feel like a wake but Sara’s death proves to be a crucible, used to reveal some powerful emotional truths about Team Arrow.

As predicted, it’s pretty clear that Laurel is being lined up to inherit her sister’s role as Black Canary (could that final shot of her holding Sara’s leather jacket be any more of a signpost?). Laurel’s an active character for once: the way she twists Kelso’s broken arm in the hospital gives us a hint of her inner vigilante, and while it plays as a jarringly brutal note for the character it’s an improvement on her victimly drift into booze and pills last year. If it’s a way for the writers’ room to finally make her a vital part of the ensemble then hoorah. Just a shame it had to come at the cost of Sara’s death. It feels like a popular character being ritually sacrificed for the sake of a less popular player.

Arrow Trivia

Not to be confused with the two Marvel Comics characters of the same name, Komodo is a recent addition to the DCU, debuting in Green Arrow 17 in 2013. He was the business partner of Robert Queen and ultimately betrayed him, setting in motion the events that cast Oliver away on the island.

The episode delivers two surprises. Tommy’s back, albeit in flashback, and I can’t imagine we’ll see more of him during Oliver’s Hong Kong sojourn. Like Laurel, he feels like a ghost of Arrow’s fumbling first season, but he’s a good choice to test Oliver’s moral code as Amanda Waller shapes him into an assassin. Thea’s end-of-episode reveal as Malcolm’s ass-kicking protégé is an amusing left turn for the party girl. Maybe we’re about to end up with a show where everyone in the cast has a black belt in ninja goodness.

Komodo makes for a fairly featureless villain but he’s not the thrust of the story. Ultimately “Sara” is about Oliver and Felicity and both Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards do fine work here. She’s especially good, showing the depth of Felicity’s emotional wound, but Amell owns it for his delivery of the line “I don’t want to die down here.” Feeling searingly honest, it may be the most human we’ve ever seen Oliver.

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Felicity says that she “always envisioned [Sara] as this sort of Amazonian warrior, invincible…” Is it a stretch to take that as an acknowledgement that Wonder Woman exists in this world?

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Did You Spot?

AmerTek Industries exists in the DCU. A malevolent military industrial corporation, they were first seen in Steel 1, back in 1994. CEO Tom Weston is also an established figure in the comics.

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Did You Also Spot?

The street reference of 3rd & Lemire is a shout out to comic book artist and writer Jeff Lemire. Best known for the Eisner-nominated Essex Country Trilogy he’s also behind the recent Green Arrow arc The Outsiders War.

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Best Lines

Felicity: “Do you even know how difficult it is to ping a clone off a hacked transband multiplex?” Roy: “No. But only because you weren’t speaking English just now.”

Arrow is broadcast in the UK on Sky 1 HD on Thursday nights, and in the US on the CW on Wednesday nights .

WritersJake Coburn, Keto Shimizu
DirectorWendey Stanzler
The one whereOliver investigates Saras murder and discovers another masked archer operating in Starling City but is he the man responsible?

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Available platformsTV
Nick Setchfield
Nick Setchfield

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.