On the Arrow Season 3 Episode 13 Round Table, we're talking about the new team dynamic, the various truths revealed, the Canaries and the one remaining secret looming on the horizon.
Join TV Fanatics Hank Otero, Paul Dailly, Allison Nichols, Carla Day and Carissa Pavlica as they discuss these topics by dropping your thoughts in the comments.
Talk about the new team dynamic now that Oliver is back.
Hank: I'll be honest, it was a little irritating at first but I totally get it. I think by the time Oliver accepted the new dynamic, so did I. I'm still annoyed the guy was "dead" for like a minute (or an episode) and look how much changed. It's fine, I'm actually enjoying Laurel as Black Canary which I didn't see coming in a million years. This was one of my favorite episodes of the season.
Paul: I quite like it. I expected there to he some arguments. You can't band all these vigilantes together and expect them to agree on everything. I'm with Henry about Laurel. I was skeptical at first, but it's giving her a character a reason to stick around and I'm enjoying her far more now.
Allison: I liked seeing everyone stand up to him. They didn't settle for how things were. Team Arrow had to adapt, and it was hard. I think Roy standing up to Oliver was my favorite. I'm curious to see how this new dynamic will continue to unfold.
Carla: I love it. Oliver made the decision to leave the team behind and he died for it. Then when Oliver returned, he betrayed the team by partnering up with Malcolm. They moved on and Oliver has to come to terms with the new team evolution. The conversation between Oliver and Diggle summed up my feelings on the matter. It's a new day and there's no going back. What's important is that they protect the city without regard to Oliver's ego.
Carissa: Carla made a good point. Oliver made the original decision. Look where that got him. It was time for him to step back and reassess, realizing he wasn't all knowing. Much of what the team accomplished in the past wouldn't have been achieved without the full team effort and input. Anyone surprised at Roy's attitude hasn't been watching. He's always been loyal, but has never stopped questioning. It's one of my favorite things about him.
Which reveal did you find the most compelling and why?
Hank: I've got to go with Ollie sharing his secret identity with Thea. She certainly didn't react the way I was expecting and it's nice the writers can still manage to surprise us. That reveal is going to bring the two closer together. Who knows with everyone wearing masks now, why not Speedy?
Paul: I agree about Oliver coming clean to Thea. I expected her to be annoyed at him for a few episodes. Instead, we got to see just how mature she has become. I never expected her to flip with Malcolm. I think Malcolm probably thought it would bring her closer his way.
Allison: I loved Laurel telling her father about Sara. Paul Blackthorne broke my heart with his physical reaction to the news. I was crying. This was the reveal I had been waiting for since Sara died, and the writers delivered a heart wrenching punch to the gut.
Carla: I felt both reveals felt authentic. Oliver being the Arrow may have been kept secret from her, but the revelation cleared up so much uncertainty in Thea's life and relationship with Oliver. That relief was more important than the lie. For Lance, it was utterly heartbreaking. I'm glad he at least figured out and accepted Laurel as the Canary first.
Carissa: If Oliver had chosen to tell Thea on his own, I would have picked that, but being pushed by Merlyn sullied it a bit. Laurel finally telling her dad about Sara, especially when she was given yet another easy out as he guessed her suiting up, was really well done. Paul Blackthorne finally had a moment as his portrayal of a broken father losing his baby daughter for the second time was gut wrenching.
None of the truths revealed were as damaging as expected. To what do you attribute that surprising development?
Hank: I think both Thea and Lance probably had a feeling about what was going on. I mean, Thea connected the dots with Roy. Perhaps she was just in denial about Oliver? I'm glad she chose to look at the revel in a positive way. Quentin already knew it was Laurel kicking butt in that wig. Sin told him this new Canary wasn't Sara. It seems to me like he just had to hear it out loud; that Sara was gone again. It was quite an emotional scene, and both Paul Blackthorne and Katie Cassidy pulled it off with flying colors.
Paul: Again, I agree with Henry. The seeds were planted in both developments for a while now, so it was nice to see that there wasn't any lasting repercussions for our key players.
Allison: I still can't decide how I feel about Thea's reaction. It didn't feel all that genuine to me because of how strongly she has reacted against lying in the past. I mean she was upset with the lies when Oliver found her in Corto Maltese. Quentin's reaction about Sara wasn't damaging mainly because he is in shock. This is his worst fear coming true all over again. I'm not sure if he will have things to say about Laurel keeping it from him once the shock wears off.
Carla: For Thea, it was about getting an answer to what was going on with her brother more than being disappointed he lied to her. I agree that her knowledge about Roy helped her come to terms with the reveal right away. Thea's matured to a place where she can see the bigger picture over the lie itself. For Lance, he was devastated as expected. I was surprised he wasn't a bit more concerned with Laurel as Canary, though that could come.
Carissa: There comes a point when you've been lied to so many times that finally learning a large, looming truth brings nothing but relief. While they could have very well have been written differently, choosing this route shows they're ready to step up and move on to the bigger things that matter. Perhaps holding grudges will be a thing of the past.
What did you think of Sara's visit via Vertigo and how it helped Laurel?
Hank: It just made me miss Caity Lotz all over again (sigh). I think it was a powerful way to pass on the torch. Felicity's encouragement helped as well. So much of Sara's backstory remains unexplored though. I hope next season we flash back to her time on Nanda Parbat. That would be a lot of fun.
Paul: If only it was real. I liked it. It pushed Laurel into becoming the woman she needed to become in order to move past Sara and clue her father in on Sara's passing.
Allison: I'm with Hank. I miss Sara so much! She was my favorite character. The pain is still there. I think that Vertigo and Felicity's talk really helped Laurel to see that she doesn't need to fill Sara's shoes. I loved hearing all of Laurel's worst fears about putting on the mask.
Carla: I liked Sara as Canary and missed her, though now I'm ready for Laurel to be Black Canary. This interaction via Vertigo solidified that transition in a beautiful way. Laurel's not Sara and won't ever likely be at Sara's level and that's okay. It's Laurel time to shine now.
Carissa: It was a beautiful tribute to a character viewers grew to love and was taken abruptly and it worked to reinforce the relationship between the sisters. Laurel discovered her own reasons to follow in her Sara's footsteps, instead of becoming her sister. It worked on many levels.
With one looming secret out there, potentially the most damning, how do you think it will impact the remainder of the season?
Hank: If I were writing this, I'd pit Oliver and Thea against Malcolm in a duel to the death. Yeah, I want Merlyn gone already, that's no secret. Of course, Oliver needs to train with him first, learn all his secrets and moves, then take him down. I hope Thea is there in her "father's" final moments, if not the one that deals the actual death blow. I think that would be infinitely cooler than Oliver killing Merlyn at this point.
Paul: I don't want Oliver to take Merlyn down. Ra's should do it. Thea would never forgive Oliver. With Slade coming back into the equation, the chances are that he will help Oliver against Ra'as. How interesting would that be?
Allison: I'm not sure. I was honestly kind of surprised it didn't come out during this episode. What would be really interesting is if Thea started to remember, kinda like Roy did when he was remembering killing the cop under the influence of mirakuru. I can't see anyone just telling Thea outright. She will either need to start subconsciously putting the pieces together, or maybe she will see the video on Malcolm's phone somehow.
Carla: I don't want to see Oliver kill Malcolm. If Merlyn's going to die, it should be either Ra's or Thea who do it. Unlike Hank, I'll be sad to see Malcolm go though and would prefer to have his story continue in some way. If I had my way, Thea would never find out what happened to Sara. That's one secret that should remain.
Carissa: Laurel and Lance will want to kill Merlyn, I'm sure. I don't think it's possible to keep the truth from Thea, but I have no idea how she'll react. I keep hearing Chase's words, "Dare to follow." I'm imagining a time when Merlyn decides he causes more pain for those around him than good (imagine, me, thinking well of Malcolm Merlyn) and he'll take his own life honorably to spare more pain.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 14, "The Return," airs Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8/7c.
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.