‘Arrow’ season 3, episode 2 review: Did ‘Sara,’ Tommy Merlyn’s return meet expectations?

Arrow -By and large, we feel like some of the toughest episodes of “Arrow” are the ones that air early in a season. You are trying to establish the villains and the long-term storylines, and as a result of this, there are often many situations where you’re stuck with a cheesy adversary, or a story that does not quite do everything that you would hope that it would.

When it comes to Wednesday night’s new episode “Sara,” the prevailing feeling that we were left with was satisfaction. Not every part of the story was perfect, but there was a lot done right here to help say goodbye to a character who was such an enormous part of the series over the past year or so.

The big reveal that came from this episode was basically no reveal at all. The assassin Simon Lacroix was not actually responsible for killing Sara at all, which we somewhat-expected given that Sara was genuinely shocked to see whoever it was firing the arrows at her in Starling City. Had that moment not happened, this moment of realization for Laurel and Oliver probably would have been significantly more important than it was. They are clearly setting up for something larger here, and while Ra’s al Ghul seems to be the obvious murderer, we’ll wait to see if that is true.

The way most of the characters handled this was pretty well done, save of course for having to watch Sara’s body on the Team Arrow table for as long as all parties involved did. We also don’t quite understand the choice made by Laurel to hide Sara’s death from her dad. While she may think that she’s helping him now, sooner or later the truth is going to come out, and she’s going to feel so much worse about it then. For a stronger character this season, this was a surprisingly cowardly move.

Negatively, the last things we’ll say here is that Felicity taking Ray Palmer’s job tonight felt almost like an afterthought, and while we appreciate the sentiment of Diggle naming his daughter Sara, did the two really have that great a relationship? We never quite saw it.

Now, let’s turn to the excellent: That story regarding tommy Merlyn in Hong Kong was pretty fantastic, mostly because it didn’t change the narrative, but offered us up instead a further insight into Colin Donnell’s late character. It showed that not everyone had given up on Oliver, and while we still don’t understand why it was suddenly okay to let him live, it was just so satisfying to see Tommy again that we didn’t quite care.

Also, a great reveal at the end with Thea Queen going to Malcolm Merlyn’s Badass Bootcamp on Corto Maltese. She’s clearly taken quite a few self-defense lessons over the past five months, and her being able to fend for herself changes things. We don’t know how just yet, but it does.

Despite our qualms here and there with specific decisions, “Sara” was still an important and largely-enjoyable episode, and it has us better prepared now for the stories coming the rest of the way on the show. Grade: B.

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