Do the showrunners of Arrow have faith in the viewers of Arrow? Our round table participants have their doubts.
Why else would Oliver be front and center after his "death"? Was it right to believe the news of his death so soon? Whose reaction to the events felt the most authentic and what about that introduction of Black Canary?
Those are the deep topics up for discussion of Arrow Season 3 Episode 10. Join TV Fanatics Allison Nichols, Paul Dailly, Carla Day, Hank Otero and Carissa Pavlica as they dig into "Left Behind" and pour your heart out in the comments.
Were you surprised to see Oliver featured so prominently in the episode?
Allison: Not really, well mainly because I was hoping to see a lot of him. The flashbacks were expected, but I was really happy to see little scenes of dead/mostly dead Oliver.
Paul: Yes. After reading reports online that he'd be MIA for the first three episodes back, I didn't expect to see him at all. Not even in flashbacks. I thought this was going to give our other characters time to shine.
Carla: Absolutely. I thought (and wish) they wouldn't have shown him at all. Team Arrow was suffering from not knowing what happened to him and viewers would have felt that same anguish if we were also left in the dark. I feel a bit cheated by his presence and the quick reveal that his life was saved.
Hank: I completely agree with Carla and was disappointed that Oliver appeared at all this week. What was the point of "killing him off" only to reveal he survived the very next episode? I've had few complaints over the years about the writing on this show, but I feel the Arrow writers dropped the ball big time here. I mean, it took almost half the season to figure out who killed Sara. I don't think three episodes without Ollie would have been too much to ask. The writers just proved they have no faith in their supporting characters.
Carissa: I'm with Carla and Hank, as you know if you read my review. There was a great opportunity to show what would be if Oliver and Arrow were gone from this world. What other reason was there not to take it than a lack of faith in the viewing audience? I can't think of one. It's been lost. It was a one time deal, any further attempts won't be taken seriously. I'm disappointed.
If you were a member of Team Arrow, would the evidence provided by Malcolm Merlyn have been enough to convince you of Oliver's death?
Allison: The evidence plus the fact that no one has heard from Oliver in three days is pretty convincing. Even though Malcolm is not the most trustworthy, it doesn't seem like him to lie about something like this. Plus, he brings back a sword with Oliver’s blood on it. I would believe Malcolm.
Paul: I agree with Allison. Obviously the guy isn't to be trusted, but the evidence pointing to him being dead added up. It was really anyone's guess whether he was actually dead.
Carla: Probably. It was pretty convincing and there was no upside to Malcolm bringing them false evidence. Malcolm believed that Oliver was dead. At the same time, no body so ... I think I would have always held out hope that maybe he was still alive.
Hank: The evidence was convincing, but if I were Team Arrow the first villain I'd take out is Merlyn. Slip a little poison in his Mai Tai? Don't get me wrong, I love John Barrowman but his character has overstayed his welcome on Arrow. Malcolm Merlyn needs to go.
Carissa: No. It's as simple as that. I've seen people come back from the dead left and right. First Oliver, then Sara, then Slade. Even Malcolm himself!. Why in the HELL would I expect Malcolm Merlyn, who killed his own son, all of those people in The Glades and then set up Oliver's sister, HIS OWN DAUGHTER to tell the truth about anything? I'd expect him to spill Oliver's blood, sure. But nothing further.
What did you think of Malcolm admitting he set up Oliver to die and what do you believe is next for him?
Allison: I find it hard to believe that Malcolm had complete faith that Oliver would win. He should have had some back up plan or something. I’m not sure what it would have been, but Malcolm put a lot of faith in Oliver taking down an insanely skilled killer. Malcolm admitting his part in all of this is a surprisingly decent thing for him to do.
Paul: I don't believe he had faith in Oliver winning. It just seems out of character for him. Could he have done it to get Thea all to himself? Yes. The guy looks jealous whenever The is in the presence of her brother. I mean, he made her kill Sara in the hope that Oliver would take the fall. He is a master manipulator. Going forward, I think Malcolm will continue to control Thea, until Ollie makes his triumphant return to Star City and kicks the crap out of him.
Carla: I didn't and still don't understand Malcolm's reasoning behind setting up Thea and then Oliver. Malcolm knows R'as, so he couldn't have believed Oliver stood any chance to kill R'as. If anything, it puts Malcolm in a more precarious position because of Sara's death, Thea's part in that and being responsible for Oliver's demise. Malcolm will continue to be targeted by the League of Assassins and he will have a target on his back by Team Arrow when the truth comes out.
Hank: Next for him? Death! Yeah I'm hoping the League of Assassins catches up with him. Malcom's motivations stopped making sense after the earthquake machine. The writers wanted to keep Barrowman around, but for no good reason. The compelling adversary from Arrow Season 1 is now a sniveling coward.
Carissa: I don't buy he thought Oliver could take Ra's. It's a load of crap. Malcolm would be far better suited to the task as he knows the man. I really hate saying this, but the only conclusion I can come to is he's being set up for a redemption story. Why else is he Thea's father? Everyone is going to rally abound him for some reason and he's going to become an ally. I said it here, folks.
Whose reaction to the situation rang most true to you and why?
Allison: Diggle’s. His speech to Laurel about how he still views himself as Oliver’s body guard just broke my heart. Diggle has looked out for Oliver in numerous ways. He has counseled Oliver on his morals, his heart, and he always has Oliver’s back in the field.
Paul: I'd also go with Diggle. I liked that he took on the role as the Arrow, but his reaction was heartfelt. He and Oliver have been through a lot. Remember the days of Oliver trying to lose him when he was hired as his "watcher"?
Carla: Both Diggle and Laurel's reactions felt authentic and true to their characters. On the opposite side was Felicity. Her reaction felt false to me. She was whiny and gave up. That's not the reaction I would have expected by the Felicity we've gotten to know over the last two and a half years. I was disappointed in the direction the writers took with Felicity. It was interesting that Laurel stood strong and had faith in Oliver, while Felicity gave up.
Hank: I'm going to go with Laurel, surprisingly (to me). It's no secret I don't like the character, but I do think her reaction was honest and true. Again, I have to agree with Carla about Felicity. What was the writing team thinking while breaking this arc? That's not the Felicity we know and love. It annoys the hell out of me just thinking about it. Plus, Emily Bett Rickards' acting was questionable and I've never felt that way before. Everything about Oliver's "death" after the midseason finale has been weak for me. I'm looking forward to a strong finale, don't let me down guys.
Carissa: Again, agreeing with Carla and Hank on this one. Laurel had the best line of the night, knowing Oliver would be back, and the conversation with Diggle in the Arrow cave was the fantastic. They both lived up to what I would expect of such a situation. Diggle was heartbreaking. Felicity? She has shown nothing but unwavering faith in Oliver and suddenly, at the word of MM and a bid of Oliver's blood, she gives up. It compromised my faith in her going forward.
What was your first impression of Black Canary?
Allison: I loved her. She only suits up because she fears that Starling is unprotected, and in her mind, Starling needs more than the police to protect it. I am looking forward to seeing more of Black Canary.
Paul: She was excellent. I had many reservations about this storyline initially, but having seen the execution of it, I'm really happy with it. She owned the whole scene and will have made Sara proud. Can't wait for more.
Carla: Impressive. Black Canary has the best costume and Katie Cassidy proved that she deserves to wear that suit in one single and short scene. Laurel honored her sister and Oliver with her determination to fill the void left by Arrow's absence.
Hank: I think a part of me will always miss Sara. She was just likable, well written and believable as a hero. The timing for Laurel to take on the Black Canary persona was perfect though. I've got to admit, Katie Cassidy looked great and rocked her scene. I think it's going to be fun watching the Black Canary go through her growing pains and get her ass kicked from time to time.
Carissa: She was driven into the costume out of loyalty to her sister, a desire to save her city and perhaps a bit of grief at the idea Oliver may not be coming back. She knows she's not good enough to get by on skill alone, so debilitates with a sonic scream (cool). She kicked ass. Will she do it continually? Hell no. But Team Arrow can help her fly.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.