This week’s episode of Arrow, “League of Assassins,” was very Black Canary heavy, with which I’m totally okay. After the “promise” last week that Sara Lance would tell her family that she’s alive, one might expect a confrontation or two, but what this episode mostly illustrated was the strength of family and the importance of being honest (the lesser Oscar Wilde play). But, in a show like this, even the most hopeful episodes involve a fair amount of violence. Hey, it’s an action show after all.
We begin with a flashback to the Queen’s Gambit that fateful night and a slightly different version of the familiar scene from the pilot (to reflect the new actress). Sara wakes up in Oliver’s house and walks downstairs to find Mr. Queen on the couch. She can’t sleep, and it seems she’s back to not wanting to tell her family she’s alive. He can’t really understand why she wouldn’t, but he respects her choice. Nice of him.
At the prison, Oliver comes in late to a meeting with his mom, sister, their attorney, and the DA and finds that Laurel is sitting second chair on her murder trial. The DA offers them a plea bargain of life imprisonment, not much of a bargain in anyone’s estimation. Moira Queen says she’ll think about it. Oliver follows Laurel out, angry that she’s doing this. He again asks if she’s okay, which, if you’ll remember, she’s not a big fan of answering.
Sara has another flashback to her floating on a piece of debris from the Queen’s Gambit and is picked up by the freighter Amazo. She’s brought back to the real world when Oliver comes in and again states his concern about her not telling Quentin or Laurel. She says she’s done things that they’d never understand or accept. She’s done “things there’s no forgiveness for.”
Just then, an assassin, dressed in the same garb as Malcolm Merlyn, breaks in and picks a fight. Ollie and Sara are able to make him not kill her, but he gets away. Ollie’s super angry and takes Sara with him down to the Arrow Cave where she meets Felicity and Diggle, who more or less welcome her. Sara admits to them that the man was a member of the League of Shadows, and that she’s a member herself. Oliver’s angry, of course.
He gets even more angry because Moira wants to take the deal, even though her lawyer thinks the jury will understand she acted under duress. Thea storms off and the lawyer follows, but Oliver knows his mother well enough to know when she’s hiding something. Whatever it is, he says, they can handle it. However, she says she’s made up her mind. Now Oliver’s even more angry and wants someone to hit.
Felicity is able to track the assassin based on dirt he tracked into the house (amazing) and Oliver goes to get the drop on him. The assassin is more than a match for Oliver and he proves this by catching an arrow Ollie’s fired without even turning around. Sara came with Ollie, though, in the hopes of getting the drop on the bad guy. Unfortunately, he’s got backup of his own in the form of two other assassins. You’d think guys in very distinctive black outfits would be easier to spot. Ra’s al Ghul has taught them well.
In the fight, Sara is slashed up the spine but doesn’t feel it too much, and doesn’t even flinch when Oliver sews her up. It’s determined that the assassins will go after her family if she doesn’t return to the League. Oliver goes to make sure Laurel’s safe and Felicity offers to go tell Quentin to get out of town. Oliver takes Laurel to dinner while Felicity runs up to Quentin after his shift and tells him to leave town because assassins are after him. You know, like a crazy person would. Needless to say, he doesn’t heed the advice.
Felicity heads back to the cave and tells Dig and Sara that she failed and Sara, much to Diggle’s chagrin, goes off to protect her dad. Quentin is leaving his house and thinks he hears something, or someone, around him. He turns and draws his gun, only to see that it’s Sara. FIRM EMBRACE!
They go to a Chinese restaurant and Mr. Lance is very surprised to see that his daughter speaks it fluently. They talk about how she wasn’t sure she wanted to tell them she was alive. After all, her parents got divorced, though apparently not because of her, and Quentin found solace in the bottom of a bottle. A patron drops a napkin holder and Sara jumps up and grabs a knife. She’s a bit edgy, yeah?
Quentin asks if she’s in trouble, and she tells him it’s he who is the one who is in trouble (sentence silly on purpose). Then, to my complete and utter amazement, the former Detective Lance actually uses deductive reasoning, which it seemed he had lacked the entirety of the first season, and realizes that Sara IS the woman with the mask who’s been beating the tar out of bad guys in Starling City. Shocking.
Then we get another flashback to the boat and we see that the pirates, or at least the pirate captain, takes orders from a dapper older white guy named Dr. Anthony Ivo. He takes Sara into his quarters and locks the door. She is understandably scared. He tells her everything’s okay. She asks why he’s keeping people in cages and he replies that it’s his work and that he’s going to save the human race. Crazy person talk. Can’t be good.
Back in the present, Ollie walks Laurel back to her door and she goes in for the kiss, thinking that’s the reason he wanted to spend time with her. He rebukes her, or rebuffs or both, and she gets upset and says that everybody always pulls away from her: her sister, her mom, her dad, Tommy, Oliver; everybody. Can’t argue with a trend like that. Laurel notices that her door is open already and Ollie goes in to see if the coast is clear. He finds a knife sticking out of the wall, but apparently that’s nothing to be worried about. When Oliver leaves, Laurel, who hasn’t had a drink all evening, pops some pills. See? She’s better.
Sara takes her father to the clock tower for safekeeping from the assassins, but unfortunately they show up. Sara grabs her metal staff and Quentin draws his gun. A fight ensues in which the assassins spring booby traps set by Sara. Always know your surroundings. The booby traps only slow them down momentarily but before they can get too dead, Arrow slides in and aids the fight. Eventually, Quentin shoots one assassin with his backup pistol and Sara snaps the leader’s neck. She tells the third one to go tell al Ghul that her family is off limits.
Sara admits to her father that she wishes he hadn’t seen her kill that guy and that she’s sure he doesn’t want anything to do with her now. He says she’s the bravest person he’s ever met. However, Sara says she can’t tell Laurel or her mom that she’s alive, and Quentin can’t, either. In fact, she has to leave, because the assassins won’t stop and they aren’t safe. She takes off and Lance is left with Arrow. He asks the vigilante how he keeps so many secrets, because it’s only been 30 seconds and it’s already the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Poor guy.
This scene, however, has given Ollie an idea about his mother. He and Thea go to visit Moira and tell her, unequivocally, that whatever truths come to light during a trial, they won’t stop loving her or think any less of her. They just want her around. This leads to Moira changing her mind about taking the plea.
Back in the cave, Oliver finds an old bottle of clear Chinese alcohol that an “old friend” gave him and pours two glasses, one for him and one for Dig. He just feels like drinking. He learned a lot about the burden of secrets from this ordeal and he begins to tell his friend about the five years he spent on the island. However, he wasn’t on the island the whole five years.
We again close out the episode with Oliver on the ship getting tossed to the floor and Sara standing over him. He begins to speak and she kicks him. Prisoners don’t speak. This does not look good for Past Oliver.
I didn’t expect to be so wrapped up in the Black Canary storyline thus far, but I totally am. My one fear is that, because of her arc and it being so compelling, the other characters aren’t getting as much of their due as they should. Specifically Diggle, I think. However, by the looks of the next episode, “Keep Your Enemies Closer,” we’re going to get a lot more of Diggle’s personal vendetta against Deadshot as the heroic trio head to Russia for some cold-ass adventure.