Arrow: 214 “Time of Death” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
After Laurel going wibbly over Sara’s return in last week’s episode, “Time of Death” had the potential to be an uninteresting ‘feelings-y’ episode of Arrow as the Lance family starts to repair. What actually followed was a well-rounded instalment of the Bonkers Superhero Hour, with focus shared between Lance family drama, a visit to the island which threw some light on an existing relationship, and a fun Villain of the Week whose appearance allowed for some interesting character growth. Add to the mix a pretty heart-stopping moment at the close of the episode, and you’ve got yourself a very fun visit to Starling City.
The episode opens with a meticulously well-timed heist on Kord Industries, a company drawn from the pages of DC Comics and owned by Ted Kord, also known as the superhero ‘Blue Beetle’, carried out by two henchmen working for the clock-obsessed William Tockman (DC Comics’ ‘Clock King’, although with a slightly less ‘clocky’ costume than in the comics). They manage to steal a device which will allow Tockman to break into any bank vault in the world – because why wouldn’t a big company like Kord Industries have something like that? – but by disobeying Tockman’s instructions they alert security, and latterly the SCPD to what they are doing, which in turn allows Oliver to get clued in on the heist.
This happens while Oliver, Diggle and Sara are having a frankly brutal sparring session, followed by a game of ‘Compare the Scar’, which, along with some of the other skills Sara brings to the table, understandably makes Felicity feel a little left out of the ‘Grizzled Badass’ club. Anyway, Oliver and Sara head to a bank that Tockman’s cronies are robbing, and shortly afterwards Tockman hacks into their systems and makes all the computers in the Arrowcave explode, thus rendering Felicity essentially useless for the mission.
Oliver gives Felicity a dressing down for dropping the ball, which encourages her to head out on her own, as Tockman plans to rob Starling National Bank after Oliver makes a large deposit to lure him out. She goes to the bank to try and stop Tockman, and after some techno-babble and some fancy arrow-work from Oliver to take down the henchmen, Felicity jumps in and saves Sara from getting shot by Tockman, then makes the bad guy’s phone explode to incapacitate him, and thus earns herself a scar and a junior membership to the Grizzled Badass club. It’s a fun little A-plot which cements Felicity’s place and her importance as part of Team Arrow, and shows that even with all the super-assassins and the crazy-strong ‘roid rage dudes running round Starling City, there’s still a place for the regular, ordinary people to help.
Onto the Lance family drama, and the Queen family does the only thing they know how to do when an occasion arises, and throws a homecoming party for Sara which starts out great as Sin hugs Sara, forgetting that she’s not supposed to know her, and then making a weird and ill-judged comment about her ‘zombie fetish’ and continuing in strange fashion as Quentin apologises to Oliver about the way he treated him when he returned from the island, and Oliver generally being pretty icy towards Moira. Fortunately he’s saved as Quentin has to leave to attend a crime scene, and calls the Arrow to help out, and thus half the party ends up in an alley in downtown Starling City.
Having refused to attend the party, Laurel is then coerced by Quentin to have a dinner party and try to reconcile with Sara, which swiftly becomes the most awkward family dinner of all time as Quentin assumes Dinah is going to get back with him even though, as she reveals, she is seeing someone else; and Sara also invites Oliver and Laurel realises that there’s something going on between them and storms out like the bratty child she has always seemingly been. However, Oliver chases her down and gives her a good talking to: at this point there was a strange shift in air pressure across the UK as myself and all my fellow members of the Anti-Laurel League punched the air in delight as Oliver delivered the verbal equivalent of a sharp slap around the head.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that Sara, having decided to stick around in Starling City, takes a job as a bartender at Verdant while Laurel finally attends an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with Quentin. It’s nice to see some forward progress with Laurel, and that she’s not just going to be the weird overnight drug addict for the rest of the season. She’s got a long way to go until I actually like her, but her development in this episode was at least a step forward, and at this stage it’s going to have to be baby steps!
Elsewhere, in a brief visit to the island, the gang comes across the wreckage of the plane shot down by Ivo, and find the pilot badly injured. Slade and Oliver return to their base to get some medical supplies, and Sara stays with the pilot, who asks her to find his daughter when she gets back to civilisation and look after her. After some angsty ‘we’re never going to get off this island alive’ brooding, Sara agrees and takes a photo of the pilot’s daughter as he dies: that daughter is none other than Sin, showing that however bad her life got, Sara kept her promise to this stranger. It was good to get a little more context to their relationship, and it made for a tragic, yet ultimately sweet little visit to the island.
Finally, though, Oliver returns home after receiving a message from Thea and finds that Moira is in the middle of a meeting with a potential benefactor for her campaign. After confirming that their relationship is not going to get better, Oliver is introduced to said benefactor, who is none other than Captain Eyepatch himself, Slade Wilson, and the endgame begins.
Despite a focus on the Lance family and my dislike for certain members of the clan, “Time of Death” hangs together extremely well, with a solid, if relatively basic A-plot well-supported by a couple of decent subplots, and what seems like the beginning of the end with the final scene’s reveal. Join me next week with the Bonkers Superhero Hour for an extended trip to the island!