We finally know who saved Laurel (Katie Cassidy) from the island at the beginning of the season, it’s Ben Linus, sorry, I mean Cayden James (Michael Emerson). Emerson is, as always terrific in this episode, and I can see why people were excited to be having the Lost star join the cast, he brings a level of quite, detached menace and gravity to a role that the series has often failed at in the past.
With his character having been introduced late the last season through Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and her dealings with Helix I was genuinely surprised to see him return. Arrow has name dropped villains before their appearances in the past, such as Ra’s al Ghul and Damien Darhk, but whenever they’ve done it in the past it’s felt like set up, here it’s more of a natural continuation of a story that we were led to believe had already been resolved.
The return of the Felicity/Helix story fits in really well at this point in the season, and goes to help develop the return of her relationship with Oliver (Steven Amell). In the past I didn’t really like the relationship between the two of them, but this season it’s been progressing and developing at a very different rate, and has definitely benefited from Oliver no longer being the Green Arrow.
It’s nice to see Oliver be the one left behind when Felicity has to rush out of the restaurant to go and help the team, and for Oliver to be the one at the bunker directing the team over the comms whilst Felicity is in the field in the last act of the episode. It shows the level of growth that both of them have been through, taking on roles and responsibilities that neither one of them would have felt particularly comfortable in only a few seasons ago.
This episode also saw Black Siren show up yet again, this time working alongside Cayden James, killing what appears to be random citizens across Star City. Using the same bad guy twice within the first four episodes of a season may have felt like overkill in the past, but there’s something great about the way that Katie Cassidy plays a villain that makes it always entertaining. Her rivalry with Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy) gets put on the back burner this week, instead choosing to give her a moment with Diggle (David Ramsey) as the new Green Arrow.
Whilst at this stage it’s hard to see Cayden James going on to be the big villain for the whole season, Laurel’s Black Siren can definitely last the whole year as long as the writers keep using her in these interesting ways. Sadly, some of the episode didn’t work as well as it should, and it all revolved around the tech/hacking side of the episode. Whilst this is a universe where you have to suspend your disbelief a little (it has speedsters and giant shark men after all), one of the most unbelievable aspects is the almost magical way that people use computers.
Our heroes are presented with a problem where the whole internet is about to be destroyed, with a predicted casualty rate in the hundreds of millions, and Felicity stops it in about ten seconds on keyboard. The biggest issue she had in stopping the bad guy was getting to the computer she needed, not the actual tech side of things.
And whilst we’re on the subject of tech, I really don’t think that the entire Internet is housed in one giant warehouse in America that can only be accessed by three people, none of whom have any kind of bodyguards or security; this is possibly one of the silliest things the show has asked me to believe in, and that includes the man with the magical rag suit that contained a nuclear explosion.
Despite these silly mistakes, the episode managed to remain fun and entertaining throughout, offering great character moments and superb action sequences.
Arrow airs on Sky in the UK. Let us know what you think of the season.