It may revolve around family matters, but it advances so many storylines.
What They Say:
Time of Death – Felicity feels left out when Oliver makes Sara a part of the team; a brilliant thief known as the Clock King arms himself with technology that can open bank faults; Laurel refuses to attend a part for Sara.
Arrow didn’t exactly throw us for any loops in the previous episode, but it did make some changes to the dynamic in a very fun way. Putting Sara on his team is going to make for complications for Felicity considering her own feelings for Oliver that she has a hard time keeping hidden. Having Oliver basically call it quits with his mother over the revelations about Thea is going to make a big impact on how a lot of things flow from there, especially since she’s running for office and there’s a lot of potential for problems along there. Even with Oliver intending to put on a good public face. The group dynamic is one that has been in flux for a big this season because all that’s gone on, but seeing it work through things in the previous episode was good, especially with the other family side as we saw Laurel go off the rails even more because of Sara being back in the real world after getting out of the League. At least for now.
The cold open to this episode is really fun as we get a good interpretation of the Clock King using a couple of guys to conduct a robbery by using technology and timing in order to achieve the goal. It’s the kind of slick little piece that’s definitely fun to watch, especially since they have the cases with Kord Industries slapped across it. Being an old school Blue Beetle fan, I’m still holding out hope that we’ll see this introduced in some way in the series with a season focusing on larger corporate issues. That all provides a good foundation to move forward with from there and that throws us into the training side of things for Team Arrow themselves as we see Oliver, Diggle and Sara going at it with a bit of staff work which shows they’re all definitely skilled. But you also have to feel for Felicity in watching them since she knows she’s nowhere near their level by any stretch and any normal person would feel complicated about seeing all of that.
Part of the fun of this episode is that we do get a bit of a party going on here early on that celebrates the fact that Sara is back, which makes sense considering her connection to a few wealthy people. There are some really good moments as we get things like Moira and Dinah talking about the importance of people coming back, but the really big part for me was seeing Quentin talking with Oliver and apologizing for how he was when Oliver first came back. The relationship between the two – in both of Oliver’s form – is really engaging to watch because Quentin hasn’t been sidelined or given minimal pieces here. He’s a fully realized cast member with a solid background and connections to so many people that he has so many faces to wear. But he’s also a father so we see how he’s trying to help others understand the kinds of things that Laurel is going through when it comes to people coming back.
With the villain arc of this episode, the Clock King is pretty nicely modernized and adapted here. It’s not so much the classic sense of obsession with clocks that we get, but time itself as we see how he uses technology to orchestrate the heists while using others to carry them out. There’s an obvious familiarity to it as we’ve seen a number of series over the years and films that work in this manner, but it hits the right notes here with the Clock King’s personality as he orchestrates it all. Interestingly, we see that the Clock King, when discovered who he is, isn’t doing all his crimes for himself, though he chose his muscle poorly at one point which caused a murder. William Tockman is actually doing this to get money to help support his sister and that makes for a more sympathetic villain when you get down to it, albeit one with enough little twists and skills to make him a challenge to find.
Tockman is a good villain to have for this particular episode since the focus on the fight between them is less about the physicality that the other three of the team brings to the table and more about the mental skills and intelligence, which is played as Felicity’s forte. She’s feeling impinged upon in that area some with what Sara brings to the table, but with Tockman being a strong computer science person, there’s only so far Sara can go with it compared to Felicity. Felicity also has a bit of appropriate snark to get things moving along when it comes to Sara and Oliver, but I like that after those two leave, she can admit some of these issues out loud to Diggle. Part of it is her looking for a little validation, but part of it is just self pity which is healthy to work through and to vocalize.
The family dinner aspect that plays out in this episode, made awkward by Oliver going since Sara asked him to go to provide some support, goes out even worse than you’d expect. Quentin is hoping that Dinah will come back since he’s reading signals from her but she’s actually moved on while in Central City and is involved with someone and quite happy with her job. It’s a quick breakdown in events here, especially with Quentin surprised by it all after being so keen on things and then seeing the relationship that seems to be there between Sara and Oliver just sends Laurel off the deep end. She’s struggling with so much and lashing out, which leads to Oliver really giving her the what for with it. While some people don’t care for the drama/relationship side of the series, especially with Laurel, it’s definitely a good aspect of the show because it’s one of those human sides for Oliver to connect with. And he makes a big change here while dealing with Laurel, making it clear that he’s moved on at this point because of what she’s done to herself.
The final act brings the expected confrontation between the team and Clock King, though it has Felicity trying to show that she can be a key player in person, which has happened before. Of course, that just gets Oliver less than pleased by this since he wants her safe, but there’s obviously little quirks that play out that makes her being there important, as well as seeing Diggle providing some real muscle to ensure that the whole place doesn’t blow up. It’s about as short a sequence as you’d expect with Felicity taking the lead, but it works surprisingly well and helps to soften the tension between her and Sara in a good way. What’s really fun is the epilogue where she’s riding a bit high on some oxycodone and is a bit more revealing about her feelings in a very cute way that just makes people like me love her all the more.
The island arc for this episode has a lot going for it from the start as the group thinks they have a chance at escape when a plane flies overhead but ends up being shot down by a missile. That gives us a pretty ruined aircraft that comes down with a single survivor, barely, and a lot of frustration since the radio didn’t survive the crash. The are some interesting moments to it as Sara deals with the pilot and helps him as he’s dying, revealing his twelve year old daughter and asking Sara to take care of her. This actually plays out a bit towards the end of the episode as we get the reveal of who his daughter is, and it makes a certain sense though I have to wonder if there’s a big story at hand with this connection and what it may mean.
Arrow covers a lot of ground here overall but it’s one of those episodes where the villain of the week is less about the villain and more of what kind of catalyst he is. That comes in the form of pushing Felicity to realize things about herself and it’s done pretty well, making for some emotional, light and action moments that will get her fans all happy about it. The Clock King himself isn’t badly done and it works well to adapt the character while providing for some good nods, including another Kord reference which will always please me. The big aspects are the family side of things with Sara being back and explored and there’s a huge amount of payoff there that again changes the nature of several relationships which keeps if moving right along. But honestly, once again, it’s that final scene that gives us what we needed as Slade Wilson begins to make his move against Oliver and how he intends to do it right to his face. Manu Bennett is totally owning this role and loving it.