Time to go down the rabbit hole,
Alice Oliver. This week’s episode of Arrow featured some very fun, but very unexplainable magic. It’s all okay, though, because that mumbo-jumbo came from John Constantine, our favorite dabbler of the dark arts. Matt Ryan’s reprisal of the Constantine role was highly entertaining and, as Thea aptly put it, yummy.
This episode focused the most on dealing with the recently resurrected, soul-less Sara Lance. She’s on the hunt for blood, specifically Thea’s, due to the aftereffects of the Lazarus Pit. Before long, Oliver discovers that Sara’s alive, and he’s understandably upset. Luckily, he knows a special someone who can help with the mysticism that’s way over Team Arrow’s heads.
A particular eye-opening moment from this episode was the stand off between Thea and Sara at the hospital. Thea openly stated that allowing Sara to kill her would be best, which proved that Thea still carries a lot of guilt and possibly self-hatred. She will likely never be fully over killing Sara or those men at Nanda Parbat, and there is a part of her (a suicidal part, maybe) that really thinks she deserves to be killed. I hope this idea will be explored further in Thea’s character arc.
The flashbacks to Lian Yu were much more frequent than in previous episodes this season, due to the fact that Oliver and Constantine met there. Serendipitously, Constantine takes Oliver as his hostage to get away from Conklin and the drug lords. While these scenes unfold, we learn more about Constantine’s abilities as Oliver slowly earns his trust. The flashback storyline was enjoyable, but strained believability. It felt a little forced, even for a man who dabbles in magic and hunts down treasure. However, the characters interactions (especially between Oliver and Constantine) helped make up for that. He meshed very well with every Arrow character he met.
Constantine’s character is so charming and engaging that even the most ridiculous magic or stunt he tries to pull off are well received. For instance, his magic muttering didn’t seem idiotic, nor did his scratching his back with a dead peacock feather (which is hilarious considering NBC’s logo and that Constantine aired on NBC). It just made him seem appealingly roguish and eccentric.
My biggest complaint about this episode is that I wish there had been more Constantine. Matt Ryan did a fantastic job, but the use of Constantine was limited. He didn’t show up in Star City until late in the episode, and he (conveniently) already had the list of ingredients needed to perform his ritual. Still, having him grace the TV for a chunk of the episode was a wonderful thing and those who put this episode together really did him justice.
Constantine helping restore Sara’s soul may have been the primary focus, but a strong secondary part of the episode was further exploring Oliver and Laurel’s relationship. As expected, they had a dramatic confrontation, not just about Sara, but also about their history. At the heart of the matter was Laurel asking Oliver to see things from her perspective, to offer her the support she feels he’s never given her because he doesn’t see her as an equal. And I think that’s true, at least a little bit. Oliver accepted her into his team, and even admires the progress she made becoming the Black Canary. But there was probably a part of him that still saw Laurel as being beneath him, so it was easy for him to pass judgment on her for bringing Sara back.
Having said that, I personally think Oliver has every right to judge Laurel for her bad decisions. Her selfish desires got people killed, and she keeps pushing her pain onto others. That’s not okay. Plus, she’s spending a lot of time being judgmental herself. But that conversation allowed these two characters to reconcile a bit, and it came at a good time. Perhaps now they can start building a proper friendship. Oliver is on a roll with the Lances, it seems, so next up: Sara. I have a feeling he’ll have a heartfelt talk with Sara sometime soon about what she’ll do (cough, Legends, cough) now that she’s back to normal (well, normal enough). Because this episode focused so much on Oliver and Laurel’s relationship, it was no surprise that they went into that other realm together to rescue Sara’s soul.
It wouldn’t do to not mention Damien Darhk, small as his part was. He’s still up to no good, and even Constantine knows him and is intimidated by him. Darhk continues to be a fascinating, formidable, and even funny character, despite his screen time in this being a couple minutes. He has Lance run an “evil errand” of hooking up a device to a server farm to erase info on a bunch of names, including Andy Diggle. Darhk has made it clear in the past that things have to go his way, and that he’ll eliminate anything or anyone blocking his path.
Speaking of Andy, let’s take a moment to talk about the Diggles. We learn that Andy was targeted by HIVE because he was working for the competition. The details are still obscure, but Lance and Digg both realized that Andy was killed because he was committing crime in competition with HIVE operations. Poor Diggle has spent so long trying to uncover more about his brother, and when he finally gets the information he wants, it’s not pretty.
The other side plot involved Curtis and Felicity, and their relationship remains an outlier from the main workings of Team Arrow, although I expect that to change once Curtis becomes Mr. Terrific. I’m still really enjoying the dynamic between them. They shared some great dialogue when Felicity asked for help decrypting the message from Ray. Which led to the big surprise at the end: Ray is alive and in serious trouble. Having Curtis stay up all night with his energy drinks was funny, but another part of the episode that strained believability. Why would Curtis be so dedicated to this favor? It was too convenient that he’d put his life on hold for something that wasn’t time sensitive. But hey, anything for Felicity Smoak, right?
Meanwhile, Oliver’s campaign for mayor is looming in the background, and it now has a new face associated with it: Alex Davis, campaign adviser. He was nothing more than a talking head in this episode, but he did provide a convenient excuse for Thea to remind Oliver that if he wants people to believe his “United” platform, he shouldn’t push away his friends, especially Laurel.
So what’s the verdict? I give the episode 9 out of 10. It was so wonderful to have Constantine as a guest star, and the episode was well done overall. But Constantine’s involvement/screen time wasn’t enough for my liking, and some issues arose with believability and convenience moving the plot forward. It was a super fun collision of DC comic characters, though, and I really hope Constantine comes back to Arrow now that they’ve opened up the world of magic.
What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments and enjoy some quotes from “Haunted”:
Felicity: “This is your overlord, Felicity Smoak.”
Thea: “We have a P.A. system?
Oliver: “Yet another decision I might live to regret.”
Diggle (about Constantine): “Where did Oliver find this guy?”
Felicity: “I’m just glad that the latest person from Oliver’s past isn’t another gorgeous woman.”
Thea: “Well, he’s [Constantine] a very specific kind of yummy.”
Oliver: “Ugh, I’m going to pretend I didn’t read you just say that.”
Laurel to Oliver: “My sister, she’s out of her mind right now because of something that I did. A decision that I made. Did you ever stop and think, for one second, about what I might be going through? I’m sorry about what happened to Thea. I really am. I love your family. Always have. I just wish that sometimes you would give a damn about mine.”
Felicity: “Code 47 at a nightclub on 9th. A blonde woman going cray cray. And since I’m down here . . . it’s probably the blonde woman we’ve been looking for.”
Oliver to Felicity: “Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my parents. Or Tommy. And I think about what I would give just to spend another minute with them.”
Constantine: “You know, if I knew you were surrounded by so many pretty girls, Oliver, I would have stopped by sooner.”
Oliver to Constantine: “I need you to punch me in the face.”
Felicity: “You are not even allowed to say ‘energy drink’ while on company time ever again.”
Curtis: “That’s okay! I think I might be having a cardiac incident anyway.”
Felicity: “Curtis! I need you to do something for me.”
Curtis: “Felicity, look at me. Gym clothes, gym bag. Do either of those thing suggest anything to you?”
Felicity: “Physical fitness, but then I remembered . . . you’re a tech guy.”
Curtis: “I am also a bronze medal decathlete.”
Felicity: “Bronze medal, huh?”
Curtis: “Beijing 2008.”
Felicity: “Beijing . . . as in the Olympics?”
Thea:”If she [Sara] kills me, she’ll be okay.”
Laurel: “If the only way to save Sara is to kill you, then that’s no cure at all.”
Constantine to Oliver: “I’m not a bad guy. A little hardscrabble sure, but . . . I’m on the side of the angels, mate.”
Constantine to the orb: “There you are, my pretty girl.”
Darhk to Lance: “Are you sticking around for a cupcake or something?”
Oliver: “Did you two spend your spa weekend in Nanda Parbat?”
Thea: “It’s the only place we could get a reservation.”
Alex: “Your personal Chappaquiddick.”
Thea: “Wait, like the game from Harry Potter?”
Oliver: *exasperated look*
Lance: “What do you want?”
Darhk: “Well, a new beginning for the world. A nice glass of Merlot. Not Necessarily in that order.”
Constantine: “You watch yourself with that one, mate. He’ll make what you saw in the other realm look like a bloody gnat.”
Oliver: “Any advice?”
Constantine: “Yeah, leave town, while you still can.”