This week, our Arrow Round Table team tackles "Salvation," discussing the internal development of characters such as Oliver, Laurel and Felicity, as well as what Moira might be in for now that she no longer has Frank to lean on.
Join staff writer Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton - along with special guest Hank Otero from Hanko9.com - and then share your own views in the comments. Pull up a virtual chair and get comfy, Arrow Fanatics!
There was a lot of internal character development in "Salvation." Which did you appreciate the most and why?
Kate: I really love seeing Oliver struggle with being the Vigilante and knowing it'll lead to him having a lonely life versus being lonely and wanting someone. One of the best parts was when he said to Laurel, "I don't want to be on an Island anymore"
Hank: I completely agree with Kate, the "I don't want to be on an island anymore" scene was a standout for me. Again, it's those quiet moments that really showcase Stephen Amell's acting chops. I think Roy's journey this episode was an important one as well. The kid realizes there are other ways to live his life and that just maybe he can do some good in the world. I want to say real quick, that along with "The Odyssey" and "Dead to Rights", this episode "Salvation" is already one of my Arrow Season 1 favorites!
Nick: I thought Colton Haynes really brought it this episode. His character in Teen Wolf wasn't all that great, but he's doing way better as Roy. The quiet, self reflection he underwent as he wondered what could be in his life and what he could do with his life is a pretty big change from the life he thought he would have. He has a new found admiration for the vigilante as well, or at least with his arrows, and it'll be interesting to see if Roy will try to find him or just emulate him.
Carissa: I like being in the minority, so I'll stay there. Seeing Laurel struggle with her parents continued obsession over Sarah and their belief she was alive, especially her father's immersion in the quest, really brought new life to her for me. It seems like she's lead a very lonely life and the betrayal by Oliver and Sarah was the tip of the iceberg. Oliver offering his hand in friendship should open new doors for both of them, and I can't wait to see where they lead.
What did you think of Oliver's decision to finally reach out to people in the name of friendship?
Kate: I think it's really great. I hope that this leads to much more Felicity/Oliver development and scenes. I love these two!
Hank: In order to not "be on an island", it's important for Oliver to create strong bonds with his team. I think he and Diggle have had a pretty strong friendship since early on in the season. It's nice to see him open up and comfort Felicity the way he did. I'm still hoping this remains a friendship though and doesn't take a romantic turn. Either way, it seems like Oliver's slowly making his way back to Laurel, which is going to be a total bummer for Tommy but that's where Laurel's heart is.
Nick: Felicity enjoys the Oliver eye candy in the beginning (and gets an emotional moment with Oliver) and Laurel gets to see Oliver attempt to leave the island emotionally - what's a shipper supposed to do on this show? It's a very profound moment for Oliver because the flashbacks are showing us how Oliver is beginning to shed his humanity to survive, and now Oliver is trying to regain some of his humanity in order to survive in Starling City. It's satisfying to watch Oliver go through the peaks and valleys of humanity and emotions.
Carissa: I'm glad he chose to reach out in friendship instead of reaching for another woman. He has surrounded himself by people who can be fantastic friends if he lets them in, and they will all need him just as much as he needs them. I thought it was a brilliant move.
What do you think will be Malcolm's next move as the Dark Archer?
Kate: Dark Archer and Vigilante show down part two!!
Hank: A second Dark Archer/Arrow showdown is inevitable. I'd really like to see the Dark Archer bring together China White, Deadshot, and Count Vertigo as a kind of "Suicide Squad", a team of supervillains. We haven't seen the villains team up yet, that would be pretty awesome!
Nick: I'm in agreement here, we'll probably see him again in an standoff with Arrow.
Carissa: There's going to be a standoff, for sure, but I'm wondering if it will be before or after Malcolm finds the courage again to bring his son Tommy in on his secret. Because THAT will completely change the game.
Do you think Moira selling out Frank bought her time? Or is she in more danger?
Kate: Bought her more time. I have this feeling that Malcolm knows it was her but is just toying with her. Plot twist!
Hank: I understand doing anything to save her family, but throwing Frank under the bus like that was treacherous and vile. I mean, she came to him and involved the guy in the first place, only to rat him out to save herself. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, since she knew her husband was a target and stood idly by while they murdered him. She also let Malcolm kidnap Walter. What a piece of work this woman is. While selling out Frank definitely bought her some time, I also think she's still in danger.
Nick: It bought her some time, but it's still just delaying the inevitable. She's dug herself into this position, and now she's throwing anyone else in front of the bus she can; it's only a matter of time until it catches up with her.
Carissa: It's Malcolm we're talking about here. He has to have a lot more information about Moira that he's holding back than he's putting forward and she's in grave danger. If we think he didn't glean something just from her stuttering begging for Frank's daughter's life and the price she already paid in losing him then we're not giving Malcolm enough credit. Little by little he's going to learn a lot about the Queen family, and Moira will be the easiest target given her proximity and false sense of security by thinking she has him fooled.
Thoughts on how the "Sarah" lookalike storyline played out?
Kate: Predictable. Sarah's death is a big part of Oliver and the Vigilante and bringing her back would take that away.
Hank: What was the point of all that, seriously? I mentioned in last week's round table that I thought the "Sarah is alive" plot was simply a way to introduce Dinah Lance into the show. Was that storyline really just one big red herring? Or will the writers revisit it? Honestly, I'm not sure we need Sarah to be alive. They should focus on developing Laurel more and forget the dead sister.
Nick: I think the story is supposed to put Laurel in an emotionally accepting place in that only Oliver came back, and, while her sister is never coming back, she can help one of her friends that did. Is pulling the "your dead sister might be alive" card the best way to inch Laurel forward? Absolutely not.
Carissa: I think it was all to show us how deeply damaged Laurel was before the accident, and how much it progressed after. People tend to dislike her, but she has great reason to be the way she is. I can see the Black Canary connection. While Sarah was the light of the family, Laurel seems to be seen as darkness. Not intentionally, but she surely has to feel that way to be dismissed so easily. One false lead and her father dropped her like she was invisible. Very telling, overall.
Why do you think there is such an obsession with vigilantes both on television in general and in Starling City as a microcosm of our world?
Kate: Deep question. I think since western cowboys like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne I feel people have always taken a liking to outlaws and hero's. It's just progressed and evolved since then.
Hank: Is there an obsession with vigilantes? I thought Zombies were the new Vampires haha - Seriously, most superheroes like Batman, Spiderman, Ironman work outside the law. There's just something about helping the little guy that fascinates us, saving the day! When our governments and the police force fail us, taking things into your own hands is an appealing notion. While I was surprised that Arrow killed bad guys on this show, I now understand the writers are working their way from vigilante to superhero.
Nick: It's part of the human condition. That sense of life and gratification that is sometimes overlooked by the rules we put in place. The law isn't always going help the little guy win; these types of themes are a way of expressing and identifying aspects of life that are not just, so they are taken care of in unjust ways.
Carissa: Like I've heard it called, the "unjustice system" takes too much time and too much energy and has too many loopholes to let the bad guys go free. There isn't protection for the victim in our system, only the accused. In a vigilante system, the victim is always thought of first. It's easy to see the appeal. Sure, sometimes a good guy gets caught in the crossfire, but there are more victims left without justice thank I'd like to think. Playing it out on television and in the movies and in comics give us a much needed release.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic 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.