Arrow Season 2 Review “Crucible”

A crucible is a container designed to withstand extremely high heat without breaking and without allowing the contents to be altered. In the modern vernacular, a crucible is an extremely difficult personal test or trial. I’d say both definitions apply to The Arrow. This episode of Arrow revealed how things just keep getting more complicated for Oliver. Hopefully this crucible will help push Oliver farther down the road toward hero.

It seems that villains are coming out of the woodwork since the destruction of The Glades. This time, it was a gun-runner calling himself The Mayor who showed up making trouble in Starling City. Actually, he was just an opportunist who jumped at the chance to become a big shot after the earthquake caused so much chaos. Oliver attempted to stop The Mayor by anonymously sponsoring a cash for guns program in The Glades. Everything was going well until The Mayor showed up and starting shooting. After a bit of research and some help from Dig and Felicity, Oliver was able to locate The Mayor’s next shipment of guns and neutralize him. The Mayor wasn’t a particularly interesting or intimidating villain of the week, and he was more of an afterthought than an adversary. The most interesting part of that whole story was watching The Arrow and Canary kick The Mayor’s butt.

The big reveal here is that not only is Sarah Lance alive, but she’s Canary. Or at least she will be. Felicity figured out that the masked blond chick wasn’t following Oliver around, she was following Laurel around. So, they set a trap for the blond chick and low and behold it was Sarah Lance. Oliver knew when he first got back to Starling City that Sarah hadn’t actually died on the Queen’s Gambit. He initially thought she had, but he saw her about a year later while he was being held prisoner on the pirate ship. Whatever happened to Sarah after that convinced Oliver that she was really dead this time, so he was supremely shocked to find that she’s the blond chick. When he told Dig and Felicity who she was, they were both dumbfounded, but they were more confused as to why Oliver let everyone think Sarah died on the boat. Perhaps it has something to do with Sarah possibly being the one who tortured Oliver on the floating prison. Of course, Oliver didn’t share that particular piece of information with them. Dig and Felicity pressed Oliver for answers, but he’s still not ready to talk about everything he endured for those five years. They let it drop, but it’s clear they’re worried about Oliver.

I’ve known since before the season started that Sarah was going to show up again, but I wasn’t sure I wanted her to. It was such a big plot point for both Det. Lance and Laurel that Sarah had died, and it was actually a very big defining point of their characters. Laurel became the kind of bulldog attorney she is as a result of Sarah’s death and Det. Lance became the kind of determined cop he is because of Sarah’s death. I’m not saying that they chose particularly healthy methods of dealing with their grief, but at least it was productive. I also figured that Sarah’s return would set up an Oliver/Sarah/Laurel love triangle, and I am generally not a fan of love triangles. They’re usually not done well and they drag the story down. Basically, I wanted Sarah to just stay dead. However, now that I see the way that she’s back, I think I’m beginning to change my mind. Criminals are popping up left and right in Starling City, and The Arrow cannot be everywhere at once nor can he take them all on alone. He could use some help, and however damaged Sarah might be, she looks like she could help. Granted, she’s more into killing people than The Arrow is, but it seems she’s willing to try another way. Also, she can handle herself in a fight and she already knows The Arrow’s secret identity. She initially came back to Starling City to watch over her family, but maybe Oliver can help her realize a higher purpose. The Arrow and Canary worked well together, and I wouldn’t be opposed to our trio becoming a quartet.

In addition to dealing with crazy wannabe warlords and Sarah’s return, Oliver had to try to navigate the corporate world too. It ain’t easy living a double life. Oliver’s attempts to balance being The Arrow with being Olivier Queen, CEO are becoming more and more complicated. Oliver’s obligation to himself to save Starling City is in direct conflict with his obligation to the bottom line at Queen Consolidated. He is perpetually late for corporate functions if he isn’t absent altogether. His seeming lack of focus and dedication to the job makes his business partner Isobel Rochev both annoyed and exasperated. Though you wouldn’t know it to look at her since she seems to lack any expressions. Oliver needs to drop to his knees every night and thank God for Dig and Felicity. They are seriously two of the best friends/hero helpers a guy could have. They help him keep his head on straight and they’re always there to help him cover at Queen Consolidated.

Laurel is officially wearing on my nerves. She’s developed a bit of a drinking (and pill) problem since her encounter with The Dollmaker. Apparently, that near death experience was the last straw. After a few too many glasses of wine at dinner, Laurel got pulled over for DUI. Lucky for her, the cop who pulled her over called her father instead of doing what he should have done which is take her drunk behind to jail. Det. Lance tried to talk to her, but she threw it back in his face that he’s an alcoholic, so Det. Lance asked Ollie to talk to her. She essentially called Ollie a hypocrite and told him to leave her alone, she could handle it. I’m not overly surprised about that. Most people that have a drinking and/or drug problem won’t let anyone help them until they realize for themselves they have a problem. My problem with Laurel is that she was talking out of both sides of her mouth. On the one hand, she’s reiterating all of the traumatic events that have happened in her life the past few months. She admitted that she’s having a hard time dealing with all of it too. But on the other hand, when the people who love her show up and try to help her, she gets all self-righteous with them and pushes them away. She’s already whiney and this behavior doesn’t help her at all. I get that she’s having a hard time dealing with everything. I can’t say I blame her there. She’s been through a lot in a relatively short period of time. But don’t ask for help and then get all high and mighty with the people who came to help you.

All in all, pretty good episode. I knew there was something I didn’t like about Sebastian Blood. It wasn’t just that he’s a loudmouth. It’s appears he’s also a homicidal lunatic. I hope he’s going to meet with the sharp point of an arrow sometime in the near future. I’m wary of how far down the substance abuse path we’re going to have to go with Laurel because quite frankly, I’m not particularly interested in seeing that story. In all honesty, Laurel actually seems kind of superfluous to the story right now. Perhaps she’ll be more essential later in the season, but right now she’s just extra weight in an otherwise interesting story. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow? Were you surprised at Sarah Lance’s return? And how does she know Slade Wilson? Does Isobel Rochev actually have emotions? Sound off in the comments.

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