Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ARROW "Haunted" By Canceled Hero

Article originally written for Seat42F. 

It seems like Oliver (Stephen Amell) is no longer “Haunted” by his past on this week’s ARROW, as he finds a way to get along with everyone. This is a great example of how he’s changed, and how being in a relationship with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) has made him softer, in a good way. But not everyone is so lucky, as two dead characters destined for a 2016 spin-off deal with the aftereffects of their deaths in various ways, and a canceled DC television character crosses over.

Let’s start with Sara (Caity Lotz), who is on the loose and murdering people. Her bloodlust has her targeting Thea (Willa Holland), which makes sense because Thea killed her, even if Thea wasn’t in control of herself at the time. A run-in between the two leaves Thea hospitalized and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) feeling bad. But in the end, Oliver (with help) is able to catch Sara, and has a plan to restore her soul.

Enter John Constantine (Matt Ryan, Constantine). Having met Oliver in yet another pointless flashback, Oliver gets the hero who communes with the supernatural to come to Star City and help him rescue Sara’s soul. Constantine is a fun character who effortlessly slides into “Haunted,” serving an actual purpose, his appearance anything but gratuitous. Given ARROW’s penchant for touching the other side from time to time, I think Oliver should keep Constantine’s number handy, even though it seems a little weird he hasn’t been called or mentioned before. I feel like he needs an arc, not just a guest spot.

In the Constantine sequence, we see Oliver getting along with the abrasive man, giving him warm thanks for his help, even though Constantine isn’t exactly behaving in a manner that would trigger warmth. We also see fuzzy moments between Oliver and Thea, and while Oliver and Laurel have it out regarding Laurel secretly bringing her sister back, Oliver brokers peace between them. Oliver even shoots down a political strategist’s (Parker Young, Suburgatory) advice to stand by Laurel. So “Haunted” proves Oliver’s transformation from cold dictator into understanding team player is complete.

Laurel and Thea also have a little moment when Laurel says losing Thea would make bringing Sara back not worth it. Thea and Laurel have been acting like sisters, and it’s satisfying to see Laurel does have a limit as to what she will do for her soulless sister.

Now the question is, how will restored-soul Sara and Thea deal with their bloodlusts, and is this something that can be cured? Obviously, Oliver won’t let them kill people to work out their feelings. How can he help them stop it once and for all? Maybe Constantine can help? But if so, why isn’t he asked in “Haunted”?

Speaking of people back from the dead, Curtis (Echo Kellum) decodes Ray’s (Brandon Routh) message and it turns out the former CEO is alive! He doesn’t give Felicity clear instructions on how to find him yet, but it’s nice to know another favorite character will be coming back, if only briefly before heading to the Legends of Tomorrow spin-off with Sara. How Felicity can save him is put off for another day, but as I said last week, I’m digging her solo plots this season. And I love her speaker voice.

The final subplot of the week involves Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) obtaining Diggle’s brother’s file from Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). The file says Dig’s bro wasn’t as noble as Diggle (David Ramsey) believes. Is Darhk possibly lying and forging evidence? It doesn’t seem so. But I do wonder why Darhk handed over this paperwork. Is he just trying to get Diggle to stay away, one less distraction for Darhk?

“Haunted” is a decently solid episode of ARROW. As usual, the flashbacks are wasted screen time, but it’s cool to see Constantine survive beyond his short-lived series, and I’m very happy with the
interactions between the core characters of late. It’s about time they have some happiness and harmony, even if I’m sure it’ll be short-lived.

ARROW airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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