Arrow “Beyond Redemption” Review (Season 4, Episode 4)

Arrow "The Candidate" Season 4 Episode 2 (2)

People have a tremendous capacity to lie to themselves. We hold on to that pair of pants that’s two sizes too small because we keep telling ourselves we’re going to lose enough weight to fit into them. We stay in relationships we shouldn’t because we keep telling ourselves that the other person is going to change. Every day we lie to ourselves about something or other because sometimes we feel that’s the only thing we have left to hold on to. We end up telling ourselves those lies so often that we end up convincing ourselves that the lie is the truth. We become so convinced that of the lie we’re either unable or unwilling to see the truth even when it’s slapping us in the face. Such was the case in this week’s Arrow.

Team Arrow spent this episode chasing some corrupt cops. When they finally drew the cops out and confronted them, they found out that that particular squad of cops was actually organized by Captain Lance to hunt down vigilantes. In the wake of Starling City’s decline, the officers had started stealing drugs from drug dealers and selling it to other drug dealers. The ring leader kept talking about how they weren’t criminals, despite all evidence to the contrary. They were stealing and dealing drugs; they murdered two other cops; and they kidnapped Captain Lance. All of that sounds pretty criminal to me. They kept telling themselves that they were just desperate but, as Captain Lance pointed out, everyone is desperate. Being desperate does not excuse the choices they made. Perhaps Laurel should have been listening when he made that speech.

Laurel and Thea brought Sara back to Starling City, but Sara wasn’t getting any better. Laurel was keeping her chained in the basement of her building, and she kept saying that Sara just needed a little more time to “get back to herself.” As if that weren’t bad enough, Laurel took Captain Lance to see Sara claiming that she’d figured out how to give him his little girl back. I’ve already said how selfish Laurel’s actions were. I get that she had a hard time dealing with Sara’s death. I also get that she wanted the Lazarus Pit to be the answer to relieving her of her grief. However, clearly Sara isn’t Sara anymore. Even if Laurel wanted to believe she could find her, the fact is, Sara is nothing more than an animal right now. So bringing Captain Lance to see Sara like that was beyond cruel. He’s already had to lose Sara twice, and it wasn’t right of Laurel to try and draw him into her delusion. And make no mistake about it, Laurel is delusional. All of the evidence points to Sara not only not being herself, but not ever coming back to herself. Malcolm and Nyssa told her that and neither of them would benefit from lying to her. But even if Laurel didn’t believe Malcolm and Nyssa, she can see with her own eyes what Sara has become. Sara is no longer human. Trying to pretend otherwise is going to do nothing but cause more pain in the end. Laurel has convinced herself that if given a little more time, a little more love, and some photographs, Sara will come back. Laurel has so convinced herself of that lie that nothing, not even the obvious truth, can make her see anything other than what she wants to see. The problem is, Laurel’s commitment to her delusion is going to put a lot of people at risk now that Sara has gotten loose.

Laurel isn’t the only one who is delusional. Captain Lance has been working with Damien Darhk to save Starling City, and his secret was discovered. When Oliver found out what Captain Lance has been doing, it shattered Oliver’s view of the Captain. For a long while, Captain Lance held the moral high ground. Even when he was chasing Oliver down way back in season one, it was still the right thing to do. Oliver was working outside the law, and Lance was trying to enforce the law. His personal feelings toward Oliver made him a bit more zealous in his pursuit, but it was a just cause nonetheless. I developed more respect for Lance during the second season when he finally stopped allowing his personal feelings to cloud his vision as to what The Arrow was trying to do. Technically, The Arrow was still working outside the law, but if Lance wanted to help and save people the way he claimed, his work with The Arrow afforded him the opportunity to do that. However, ever since Lance chose to work with Ras al Gul last season, I’ve been pretty disappointed with him. He’s making back alley deals with all sorts of dangerous people in the name of saving the city, but for what? What’s left to save if you let the likes of Ras al Gul and Damien Darhk take over the city? He claims that he had no idea Damien Darhk was a bad guy, and maybe that was true in the beginning. However, after doing some digging on Darhk, why would Lance continue to get deeper and deeper with him? I get the feeling Lance knew long before Darhk started threatening Laurel that Darhk was bad news. But like he said. He was desperate. His desperation led him to make some bad choices and now innocent people are dead. Which is why the way he’s been treating Oliver is so hypocritical. Ever since Oliver got back to Starling City he’s been trying to atone for what he feels is his responsibility in Lance losing Sara. He’s also been trying to earn Captain Lance’s respect because he believed that Captain Lance was a better man than he. It’s always disappointing when we realize that the people we hold is such high esteem are just as flawed and human as we are, and that’s what happened to Oliver. He still doesn’t think Lance is a bad guy, but his armor isn’t quite so shiny anymore. And sometimes, that can be worse.

All in all, this was a pretty solid episode. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Oliver running for mayor because I don’t think he understands that there’s more to governing than just reuniting the city. That’s definitely a part of it, but he’s going to need to take a crash course on government if he expects to actually help anyone. One good thing to come out of Oliver’s discovery of Lance’s associates is now Team Arrow has an inside man in Darhk’s operations. That puts Captain Lance in an extremely dangerous position though because if (or when) Darhk finds out that Lance is a double agent, Darhk will not hesitate to kill him. I’m digging Team Arrow’s new secret lair. It’ll be excellent if they could get the power working properly. But I suspect that might have something to do with whatever message Ray left for Felicity. Maybe this time they can actually keep the secret lair a secret. That would be a nice change. Now that Sara’s on the loose, Laurel is going to have to come clean about her and Thea’s little trip to Nanda Parbat. I’m sure that conversation is going to go well. I guess we’ll get to find out next week. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?