I catch up on Arrow with episode 18 of the first season, entitled Salvation, in a spoiler-filled review.
Arrow S1x18 “Salvation“
I wasn’t able to watch Salvation when it was first aired but I ended up catching up with it and it wasn’t long before I really enjoyed it, and left with the feeling that it was much better than the previous episode, The Huntress Returns. Having also seen Unfinished Business I can tell that this show is starting to fully return to form now, and provide a really engaging viewing for the audience to enjoy.
However, Salvation is not quite as perfect and whilst it is firmly an enjoyable slice of entertainment, it doesn’t quite match up to the level of what that Geoff Johns has written with Dead to Rights, or the very strong flashback heavy episode The Odyssey. But this episode manages to provide an entertaining piece of action, and for the first time – introduces a villain that Arrow hasn’t already encountered before in the DC Comics verse. He calls himself the Savior, and he’s a vigilante – much like Oliver, only this time, he kills. Capturing higher members of the city, he interrogates them – and this is made even more complicated in the fact that Ollie can’t trace the Savior despite Felicity’s advanced tech leading him to exactly where the killer should be.
And when the Savior’s attention turns to Roy Harper, who has recently been suffering from relationship troubles with Ollie’s sister Thea, things start to have a higher risk. Can Ollie save Roy in time?
That’s the main subplot of the story. The other thread that this episode deals with is the Lance family and their quest to find their missing daughter, something that didn’t really deliver as well as it should have and Alex Kingston is actually quite underwhelming as Laurel’s mother – especially given her strong performances as River Song (Doctor Who) in the past. The reference to the fact that she was heading off to Coast City, and the line “In a Flash,” seemed a bit too obvious reference to The Flash for this show, and it’s just another reminder of some characters who I’d love to see on this show, but it wouldn’t bode very well for the realism – particularly as the Flash is one of the more unrealistic characters in the DC Universe.
This episode isn’t the most flawless of them all, with a notable plot hole – why does the Savior, who has been targeting the upper class of the city, suddenly switch to Roy, an inhabitant of the Glades? The switch doesn’t really work as well enough for me and as a result I lost any sympathy that I could have had with the villain, and he would have been a lot easier to feel sympathy for if he had targeted people who had actually broken the law – a problem that is further reinforced by the fact that Starling City, or the Glades at least – doesn’t really feel dangerous enough still, not quite invoking the effects that Batman Begins had with its representation of Gotham City’s Narrows.
There are some great character moments in this story, I really enjoyed the portrayal of pretty much everybody apart from the Lance family – it seems like their characters are all pretty much uninteresting and not having any real depth to them, with the Police Chief in particular being your standard stereotype, and although Laurel has great potential – she isn’t coming into her own at the moment.
However, despite its flaws – I really enjoyed Salvation. It’s a strong addition to Arrow, the great action sequences in this episode with some significant story progress, strong character moments from most of the cast, and an enjoyable free-running scene where Ollie was forced to go without his costume because it was the middle of the day.
ARROW SEASON 1: Pilot, Honour Thy Father, Lone Gunman, An Innocent Man, Damaged, Legacies, Muse of Fire, Vendetta, Year’s End, Burned, Trust But Verify, Vertigo, Betrayal, The Odyssey, Dodger, Dead to Rights, The Huntress Returns, Salvation, Unfinished Business, COMING SOON: Home Invasion, The Undertaking, Darkness on the Edge of Town,