Arrow “Broken Arrow” Review (Season 3, Episode 19)

When I was in college, I used to volunteer with several of the addiction recovery organizations near my school. One of the first things the addiction counselor used to tell the client is that they could not help them if the client didn’t let them. That is not only true of those struggling with addiction. So often in our lives, we are unwilling to admit that we need a little help. It’s often perceived as a sign of weakness to confess that the load we’re bearing is too heavy. Even if we get to the point where we can admit it to ourselves, it’s even harder to ask someone for help carrying the load much less actually letting them help us. That’s where Oliver found himself in this week’s Arrow.

Ra’s has pretty much laid ruin to everything Oliver has worked so hard for the last several years. He has destroyed Oliver’s reputation. He has taken away Oliver’s ability to complete his life’s mission to save Starling City. He has left Oliver drifting in a sea of uncertainty. For someone like Oliver, that is a very hard pill to swallow. Oliver could probably live with Starling City turning on him. He could probably even live with being hunted by Starling City PD. What he could not live with is being completely unable to take any action at all. It’s just not in Oliver to sit on the sidelines while his family is in danger. Something else that’s not in Oliver is asking for help. Oliver refuses to let Dig, Felicity, or anyone else for that matter carry their burdens alone, so why does he believe he has to bear his all by himself? No one makes it through this life alone. No one. And it’s high time for Oliver to realize that.

I said a little while ago that Oliver has worked so hard to perfect being The Arrow that he’s forgotten how to be Oliver Queen. Now Ra’s and Captain Lance have taken The Arrow away from him leaving Oliver at a crossroads. He can either fight to get The Arrow back or he can step back and let someone else take up Starling City’s salvation. We all know that Oliver isn’t the type of guy to quit, so I don’t see him see him stepping down as Starling City’s protector. However, now might be a good time for Oliver to rediscover Oliver Queen. He’s been through a lot since he landed on the island, and the Oliver Queen who landed there is not the same Oliver Queen who came back to Starling City. He has gone from being a spoiled, selfish, entitled brat to a brave, self-sacrificing hero who has given everything for the people and city he loves. What Oliver has never allowed himself to do is find any sort of balance between being a person and being a weapon. Living life out of balance never works out well in the long run, and however much Oliver may deny it, a great deal of his problem is a result of the lack of balance in his life. Being a hero and being a human are not mutually exclusive states of being. It is possible for both The Arrow and Oliver Queen to exist simultaneously, but he’s got to want it. He’s got to work at it, and he’s got to fight for it. He’s got admit that what he’s been doing is not working and he needs to find another way. He’s got to allow his friends help him find the man that he’s so carefully hidden behind the mask. Hopefully, now that he’s seen the lengths that his friends are willing to go for him, he’ll stop shutting them out.

Speaking of friends, Oliver needs to fall on his knees and thank whatever deity he believes in for Dig, Felicity and Roy. They have saved Oliver’s life in more ways than one over the years, but this episode once again highlighted just how strong their bond of friendship is. They all knew that Oliver wasn’t going to go along with their plan, but they also knew that unless they took action, they were going to lose Oliver. I didn’t know exactly how they had worked everything out, but I knew they had to have worked something out before Roy turned himself in. It was a dangerous plan, but a good one. As far as the public is concerned, “The Arrow” has been punished for his crimes and Lance should be forced to back off. At least for the moment.

I’m still very disappointed with how they’re writing Captain Lance. Despite Roy having turned himself in and signed a full confession to being The Arrow, Lance was still doing everything he could to bring Oliver down. I’ll skip over how completely absurd it was that Lance obtained warrants to search both the basement of Thea’s club and the apartment she shares with Oliver. But when the only evidence he found was of Roy’s guilt, that didn’t stop him from continuing to hound and harass Oliver. Going so far as to assign a couple of plain clothes officers to follow Oliver’s every move. All the while, a meta-human who killed two people by shooting laser beams from his eyes was wandering freely around the city. Did that escape Lance’s attention? How is that guy less of a threat than The Arrow? I’m just really disappointed with Lance’s storyline at this point. He acts as if he’ll be doing Starling City a favor by imprisoning Oliver, but the opposite is true. What makes Lance believe that removing Oliver from the equation will solve Starling City’s problems? Especially when you consider that Oliver is really all that’s standing between Starling City and a whole host of baddies. Lance’s run-in with all of those mirakuru-hyped lunatics should’ve shown him that. Lance’s friend was right that his vendetta has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with Lance satisfying his own personal need for vengeance.

It looks like Ray gained a new understanding of what it means to be a crime fighter. I don’t think Ray is a bad guy, and he’s got good intentions. But what Ray doesn’t have is any training. That was pretty evident during his first encounter with Mr. Laser Beam Eyes. Oliver told Ray to rely on his instincts, but he can’t rely on what he doesn’t have. He has no instincts for being in a fight because he’s never been in one. But Ray being the techie that he is figured out how to let Oliver fight Laser Beam Eyes from the relative safety of Ray’s lab. And it worked great for a second; until the tech was destroyed. But I get the feeling that’s not the last time we’ll see that tech. Ray’s realization that he’s lacking in the superhero skills department wasn’t the only thing he realized. He also realized that the reason Felicity didn’t say that she loved him back is that she doesn’t. Not in the way he wants her to anyway. It’s not that she doesn’t want to because I’m sure she does. But sometimes our hearts and our heads just don’t communicate very well. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Ray that Felicity is in love with Oliver though. Anyone who’s got eyeballs can see that she and Oliver are in love with each other.

All in all, this was a pretty decent episode. I’m still not thrilled with Lance or Ra’s dogged determination to force Oliver’s hand, but everything else was not bad. Ray’s visit to Central City left us with a bit of a cliffhanger about the far reaching effects of the particle acceleration explosion. Everyone thought that the effects were limited to Central City, but it looks like that’s not entirely the case. Which does not bode well for either The Arrow or The Flash. It does bode well for me though because I thoroughly enjoyed the last Arrow/Flash crossover and have been looking forward to the next one. I wish I could say I was shocked to see what Ra’s did to Thea, but I wasn’t. Ra’s seems to have realized that the only way to truly get to Oliver is to attack the people he loves, so Thea was the next logical move. It looks like there’s another Oliver/Ra’s confrontation in the works and it’ll be interesting to see how that one turns out. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?