Well, that happened.
Arrow made a relatively triumphant return to Starling City in Arrow Season 3 Episode 12 but Oliver's left a little to be desired. It really is that easy to separate the man and the hood.
This was the beginning of Malcom Merlyn's redemption. It's still my belief that he is beyond redemption, but it appears to be inevitable. How does everyone feel about it? It seems to be pretty divided.
All these years, Malcolm thought he killed the man who killed his wife Rebecca. How he thought he would ever feel good about shooting someone in the back is its own discussion, but that's how he did it. From that moment on, he was a changed man. Every decision he made as a result of the death of his wife catapulted him into the next monstrous decision leading to 503 deaths including Tommy's and Sara's at the hand of his own daughter.
Whether he counted Sara's or not, I'm counting it because it's probably worse than all the rest due to the nature of evil required to bring it about.
Oliver's return is wrapped up in Malcolm's redemption story, and I can't help but wonder if Oliver won't someday regret the decisions he's making now as Malcolm regrets what he started all those years ago.
Malcolm: Oliver, I know I wasn't there for Tommy, but I see Thea as my chance for redemption.
Oliver: You turned my sister into a killer and then you put her into the cross hairs of one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
Malcolm: And you won't believe me, but I did so with a heavy heart and expecting a different outcome.
Oliver: Ra's is going to come for me and he will learn the truth about Sara, eventually.
Malcolm: And then he will come for Thea. And me.
Oliver: That's why I have to kill him.
Malcolm: You couldn't before.
Oliver: This time I will have you to train me.
Malcolm: Only the student will have hope of defeating the master.
When Thea was defending her father to Roy, it was impossible not to imagine if her words would be the same if she understood his true nature. She does not. Roy, knowing that, went on to defend him to Team Arrow because when Malcolm rescued Thea during the Siege, he did it without any other motivating factor.
He did it because he cared for her. Yet all the caring in the world didn't stop him from turning her into a killer. How can any logical person justify those two points and come up with a man who is worthy of any trust whatsoever?
Diggle made it clear where he stood when he voted down Malcolm's offer of assistance to take out Brick.
Diggle: That's just the thing. Once we let the ends justify the means, that's just the first step.
Malcolm: Towards what?
Diggle: Becoming you.
It is a slippery slope, walking too closely to someone as mentally dangerous as Malcolm Merlyn. Yes, he took one tiny step toward sanity when he realized that he had one moment that determined the rest of his life, but to truly atone, he will have to be truthful with all, including Thea. Does he guts to do that? He needs to take the chance of losing her forever by telling her she's the person who killed Sara and why, allowing her to process the truth and to determine if she can forgive him.
When Roy was worried they wouldn't have enough manpower to fight off Brick and his men, Laurel thought of bringing in the people who would benefit most; the citizens of the Glades. It was a brilliant idea and reunited us with Ted Grant (who suited up as Wildcat, such that his "costume" was) and Sin.
We've all been contemplating whether Capt. Lance knows deep in his heart that Sara is gone. Can a mask and blonde wig really be that great of a disguise? Not if his conversation with Arsenal ("are you pulling names out of a hat now?") holds any weight.
Arsenal: Captain Lance!
Arsenal: I'm not sure what you...
Lance: Look, I've seen you wearing a red hoodie, I've seen you shootin' arrows at people. You think I don't recognize you with a little extra leather and lace?
Roy: Well, I guess I won't be needing this anymore. [clicks off voice changer]
If he could so easily spot Roy, then he should be able to tell the difference between his two daughters, even in disguise. What I enjoyed about the conversation between Lance and Sin was that she pointedly said that he should know the person wasn't his daughter. She is still that. He put up an argument at the insinuation it wasn't Sara, but he'll have to think about it now. He's a good detective. If he thinks about Laurel's recent injuries, it shouldn't take long.
The fight scene this week was really well done and there wasn't any beating around the bush about Laurel's capabilities in her new role.
Roy: You ready? It's OK to say you're scared.
Laurel: OK. I'm scared. Is what we're doing crazy?
Roy: I've learned it's better to ask that question when I'm not wearing a mask.
Team Arrow (or the Hood Squad as Lance called them) was helping her out and Ted Grant even gave her props during the big melee. They're getting the job done, but there was no hiding the pure joy on the faces of both Roy and Laurel when they saw Oliver's arrow go whizzing by. Arrow made a rousing speech to the city which was shown on the nightly news.
I've been gone and I'm sorry, sorry for what the city has had to endure in my absence. But you did endure it and the evidence of that struggle is lying at my feet. You did not fail this city and I promise I will not fail you by leaving it again.Arrow
As I said at the beginning of the review, Arrow's return was met with a much warmer reception than Oliver's. If all of you Olicity fans were hoping for a warm welcome, you have Malcolm Merlyn to thank for things going awry. It would be impossible to stand by a man who wanted to stand beside Malcolm Merlyn. Felicity doesn't think the prospect sounds at all appealing.
Before you left, the last thing you said to me was that you loved me. Now you're back and the first thing you tell me is that you're working with the man who turned your sister, a woman you're supposed to love, into a killer who killed a woman you used to love! I don't want to be a woman that you love.Felicity
"Uprising" was a bit of a let down. Propping up Malcolm Merlyn comes at a terrible cost. Is anyone considering the cost to Thea? She will discover the truth. The price will be heavy. Will she look back and still believe Malcolm did it all for the greater good? That Oliver did it all for the greater good? How many times has she asked for the truth? How many times has that one request been the root of all of her problems? It doesn't seem this can end well, even if the death of Ra's al Ghul comes of it.
What say all of you? Do you think Oliver being trained by Malcom to kill Ra's is a good idea? Will that, ultimately, keep Thea safe and ward off more issues or will it create new problems? Do you see an end to the lie about Sara coming? Hit the comments!
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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.