WARNING MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW
Episode 14, The Return.
Notes before reading: I am NOT a reviewer, I'm merely a huge fan of the Green Arrow comics, and like to believe that I know the series and the characters incredibly well. This review is made purely from the standpoint of a fan, who wants to see his favorite Green Arrow and DC comics characters hit the big screen in a creative fashion, and that I do this review for no reason other to get my thoughts out. If you agree, more power to you, but if not, honestly, it's fine. Not at all a big deal. Rather inconsequential, even.
Now it's finally happened, Oliver has returned to Lian Yu, along with Thea this time. So now that he's there will he have to let all of the skeletons out of the closet? Or will he be able to shield Thea from the islands true horrors? While we also flashback to Oliver's true first time in Starling before his official return.
So we start off with Oliver and Thea, who are moving about the island freely. Oliver being constantly bothered by Thea's nearly never ending questions about his time there. Meanwhile in Starling Laurel is facing her father, whose facing the death of Sara,
In the flashback, Oliver and Maeso are being blackmailed by Waller to get the other half of the experimental weapon. Oliver however just wants to go home being so close, but Maseo convinces him that they have work to do. Oliver agrees, though hesitantly.
It's really good to see Oliver before the Arrow. To see the man he was before the hood. Before he donned the bow and arrow and began haunting the night. It's good to see his struggles to become what he is now, because being a vigilante is far from simple or easy. And it's perfect for the show to showcase why Oliver is far more fit than the others who are starting out much later.
So here we're seeing Thea in a new light, or seeing the inner Thea behind her new found confidence.As she continues to pester Oliver about Sara, who is hesitant to tell her anything. However Oliver changes the subject, claiming that need to focus on gaining the killer instict needed and moving on. Oliver goes to check on Slade, only to discover that to his horror he's escaped. Prompting him to become far more serious.
This is good to see because it does show the resilience of Slade. Even without the Mirakuru. Which great considering in the comics Deathstroke and Green Arrow have such intense heated battles. Each of the two knowing just how to push the other. It's good to see the shows spin on, due to it being far more personal compared to the original. But I think the sheer fact that Slade hasn't wasted a moment since being locked away becoming soft, and is still as prepared as before to take Arrow down.
Now back to Oliver and Maseo, we see Ollie catching a glimpse of Thea, seeing that she's no longer the little girl he once knew. It was far different compared to what he remembered, along with Waller mentioning a new found substance abuse problem, something he had grown worried about. He followed her to his grave sight, alongside his fathers, and saw to his horror that it was true. But was brightened to see that Tommy had been looking out for her, or at least trying. Oliver doesn't have time to dwell though, because he and Maseo have to hack into Queen Consolidated.
Oliver and Thea eventually run into Slade, who quickly defeats and dismisses the both of them. After taking down Oliver swiftly, he has no problems taking down Thea despite her fledgling skill. When they awakened they're the ones imprisoned, and Slade heads back to Starling, planning to make the world believe that they're dead, while they rot in his cell. After he leaves Thea and Oliver have a heart to heart, and he reveals that she was the one who killed Sara.
It's great to see this, because I simply love exploring Thea's character. Seeing the changes wrought by Oliver and his absence, Keeping in mind that this is a drama after all. I think it's great for them to go back to her drug issues, because in the old comics Roy had drug problems much to the dismay of the emerald archer. And it's good to see that shown on this version of "Speedy". But more importantly it donates to her character development as she tries to become strong, not only emotionally, but physically. And Merlyn is testing it.
Back to the past, we see Oliver trying catch a glimpse of Thea, and even his other friends for the true first time since he "left" Starling. It's also the time where he uses a hood in order to conceal his identity, he tries to remain hidden from Laurel and Tommy, but stays close attention to Thea, eyeing her drug dealer. He attempts to get him to back off Thea, though he refuses. Causing Oliver to fight and easily kill him, making him the first in Starling t fall to the hands of the hood. He stays behind just long enough to see the true pain his actions caused, among Laurel and Detective Lance, who have gone on the rocks since Sara's "death". Once again he is pulled away by Maseo, who needs his help.
Going toward the present again, we Thea and Oliver take on Slade for the second time. Seemingly working together in harmony in order to bring him down. Though Oliver is already injured and has trouble keeping up. Thea gains the upper hand however when she gets the gun. Given the option she has to decide between vengeance and justice. Decide between Merlyn and Oliver, symbolically. And she makes her choice, not killing Slade and allowing him to live, as Oliver subdues him.
In the past for the last time we have Oliver making a choice, whether to run or to fight. While Maseo goes off on his own. He watches his father's message for the first time, learning of how he failed this city, but saved his family. Putting them first. He realizes that he must do the same, and helps get the prototype back. Oliver's quite the bad ass in this scene, dispatching the others with ease. Oliver wants to be done, he wants to quit, but Waller claims that it's not up to her. Or him. There's someone much higher up than they.
Now going back to the Lance family, we have Laurel confronting her father. Trying to get him to open up and forgive her for becoming "The Black Canary" however he shuts her down. Claiming that he's not mad at her for becoming a hero, or even for lying about Sara's death. But he's upset that she could lie to him, that their bond was that badly broken. This is good to see because Detective Lance normally doesn't get much of a role, but here we get to see more of his character, as well as Laurel's.
Reaching the conclusion in the present we see that Oliver and Thea "passed", returning to face Merlyn. Thea steps up, finally denouncing Merlyn completely. Making it clear that she is with him for the same reason as Oliver, because it's the best way for them to live and to win. Merlyn is of course chocked and appalled by her actions but accepts it. As he wants to be in Thea's life and will take whatever he can.
In the end things also work out for past Oliver, whose "paid" his dues and is offered the chance to go anywhere in the world. Wherever he wants. But it raises a question, we know he doesn't go back to Starling to stay, so what is he doing in this time? Is this the point where he goes on his journey to become the Arrow? Which is really good to see. It leaves you wondering and that's always the best part.
High Light of the episode for ME.: The greatest thing this episode was undeniably past Oliver. Seeing him in Starling for the first time was interesting. Seeing him observe the wreckage his ghost left behind was intense. I think it was the first real time Oliver understood what he had become, or what he needed to. It was great for them to show his change and his evolution into the Oliver we know and love.
Overall Rating: Great one, another good one to end off with. It delivered on both story and action, giving a good balance of both along with decent character development. 10 out of 10.