This week Arrow returns to their villain of the week formula, with a twist, but it’s no less monotonous. Someone is trying to do Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) job for him, and they’re not doing it very well or with the same measure of restraint. Calling himself The Savior, this new “vigilante” kidnaps a slumlord and publicly executes him via webcam livestream. Why is it public? The sicko has linked the livestream into every device with an internet connection: smartphones, tablets, laptops; because, of course he can, he’s a criminal mastermind.
Except, no, he isn’t. When on his second victim, the District Attorney, he lets it slip his wife was murdered and the D.A. failed to get her killers sentenced. Now it’s a personal vendetta, not a crusade for justice. Using the new intel, Oliver has Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) track the livestream signal but they can’t lock on because it keeps moving. The D.A. is killed before Oliver can get to him. Though before that we’re shown a pretty sweet parkour montage of Oliver racing around town trying to find and stop The Savior. So, y’know, it’s not a complete waste of time.
Frustrated, Oliver reverts back to his isolated, “I don’t need anyone,” mindset, which is tiresome because I thought we moved passed this. Apparently the loss of McKenna has hit him harder than we thought. At least there’s this, their failure to save the D.A. allows for a nice moment between Ollie and Felicity, where after watching the D.A. get killed – her first witnessed death – she echoes back to Oliver many of his same fears. She acknowledges what a dangerous business they’re in and that having people you love in your life could become a liability.
While all this Savior nonsense is going down, Roy (Colton Haynes) and Thea (Willa Holland) are allotted more screen time because this is the CW and there’s a quota of angsty teenagers to be met. Interrupting their make out session is a friend of Roy’s, some street thug, who delivers a gun Roy’s to use when they rob a liquor store later. Y’know, like you do. Thea has a problem with this, obviously, and storms out. And I’m left still searching for a reason to care about their blossoming relationship other than Roy becoming The Hood’s sidekick in the future. Which is something this episode furthers, because guess what? Roy’s The Savior’s next target.
Kidnapped while he and Thea are arguing over his dubious choice in friends and employment, Roy’s taken because The Savior thinks him nothing more than another gangbanger ruining the idyllic neighborhood of The Glades. And, y’know what, he’s not necessarily wrong. Thea runs to Ollie because she doesn’t know what else to do. Lucky and unbeknown to her, her brother’s the vigilante. Diggle (David Ramsey) – oh yeah, he is in this episode, isn’t he? – deduces The Savior must be using the old subway system. The Hood arrives in time to kill The Savior and rescue Roy, but not before The Savior tries to explain he’s doing the same “good work” as The Hood. And I’m honestly a little surprised it took us this long for more copycat vigilantes to crop up. Sure, you could argue The Huntress was a copycat of The Hood, but her motivations were given more time to develop. The Savior is Arrow’s version of the dudes in The Dark Knight who start dressing like Batman and carrying around assault rifles. Only The Savior’s really just a sad man who lost his wife and has access to Starling City’s subways as well as a city wide link-up for his webcam. There’s really no time to feel too sympathetic towards him before The Hood puts an arrow in his chest. An arrow Roy keeps because, oh, I don’t know, he may have a fledgeling interest in this whole vigilante biz.
In “Salvation” the subplots turn out to be more interesting than this Savior crap, so much so I’d have rather they’d been the focus of the episode. Moira (Susanna Thompson), on Malcolm’s (John Barrowman) orders, is investigating who inside their organization called for his assassination. We know it was her, as does her accomplice, Frank Chen, (Chin Han) who she then names as the man behind the job. Hey, she said she’d do anything to protect her children. Malcolm, as the Dark Archer, kills Chen while Moira’s warning him to get out of town, leaving her with Chen’s blood on her hands, literally.
The Lance family is still trying to find out the truth about whether or not Sarah could be alive, and in a way it unites them as never before. Which is all too much for Laurel (Katie Cassidy), she believed her dad, Quentin (Paul Blackthorne), would help Dinah (Alex Kingston) come to terms with their daughter’s death, but instead he’s been pulled into the search as well. Laurel does some investigating of her own and proves the tourist in that photo is just that, another American tourist and not Sarah. The finality of the news devastates Dinah, who then reveals she knew Sarah was leaving on the boat with Oliver and could have stopped her. It’s a touching family moment with them all beginning reconciling over the loss of Sarah. Sadly, it isn’t enough to keep Dinah, and therefor Kingston, in Starling City. Looks like she’s not donning any fishnets anytime soon.
Lastly, in the island flashbacks Ollie and Slade (Manu Bennet) try to complete their circuit board for boat off the island exchange with Fyers, but they’re double crossed. Fyers threatens to kill Yao Fei’s (Byron Mann) daughter if they don’t reveal the location of the circuit board, thereby revealing to Ollie and Slade the reason for Yao Fei’s defection. At that moment Fei’s daughter shows off some sweet ninja skills we never knew she had and they all escape. Well, except for Yao Fei who’s shot in the leg and gets left behind.
Ugh. I’m sorry, but this just wasn’t a good episode. A lot of it felt like housekeeping, as in events we needed to see happen to move the plot along, like Chin being killed and Fei’s daughter being freed. And that Savior storyline, bo-ring! I really thought Arrow had turned a corner and was heading towards a solid, climactic finale, but with only five episodes remaining I guess they felt the need for another filler episode.
– I’m glad they ended the ‘Is Sarah still alive?’ storyline with her still being dead. It was nice to see the hope for their daughter’s survival mending some wounds between Quentin and Dinah, but actually bringing her back would have only complicated matters. But who knows! Maybe this is a moment of misdirection and she will return someday. That’s drama.
– It’ll be interesting to see Fei’s daughter join up with the boy’s club of Ollie and Slade. Especially since I’m pretty sure she could kick Ollie’s ass if she wanted to.
– And, uh, The Savior’s dead now, so no need to revisit this story again.
– Umm, can I just list everything about this episode except for the few good moments I included in the highlights? Okay, good.
Next week in “Unfinished Business” Seth Gabel returns as The Count because he left some of the scenery unchewed last time.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.