Arrow S2x04 “Crucible”

I review the fourth episode of Arrow‘s second season, entitled Crucible, with major spoilers inside.

 Arrow Season 2 Poster

We’re four episodes in and by now it’s apparent that Arrow is continuing the form that it’s been keeping up. Last week’s episode delivered one of the best in the series and City of Heroes served as a great return to Arrow. And now it’s Crucible’s turn to move things into the spotlight with some mysteries on the Black Canary revealed as things start to get very interesting indeed.

The Mayor is a new wannabe criminal overlord, trying to rule The Glades in the wake of the earthquake – and it’s up to Ollie to hunt him down, as well as deal with Black Canary, Sebastian Blood – and recurring character Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau). Unlike the mystery concerning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Coulson and how he survived the death in The Avengers, which is being dragged out over a long period of time, it’s nice to see Arrow get straight to the punch and in the pre-credits title sequence the identity of the Canary is revealed – as Sara Lance, who was on board the Queen’s Gambit when it sunk – and appears to have survived. This interesting reveal sets up a whole world of future possibilities for the Lance family, with Laurel still claiming the award as the most annoying character on Arrow and this episode doing nothing to change that. The subplot focusing on her character was the only thing that I didn’t find enjoyable about this week’s episode – and whilst it doesn’t quite match the quality of Broken Dolls – you’ll be hard pressed to top a reference to the League of Assassins short of Ra’s Al Ghul (or Talia) showing up in person (or say, the appearance of another DC character such as Superman, but this should theoretically be unlikely for a while) – this episode still remains fun to watch.

The big talking point about this episode will be the reveal of Sara Lance as Black Canary. It’s going to be interesting in the episodes to come to see how/if she reveals herself to her family, with the interesting twist being that Oliver actually knew that Sara survived post the Queen’s Gambit but has kept this a secret from everybody else all this time, as is shown in an interesting flashback scene towards the end of the episode. The flashback scenes were one of the highlights of the lot for me as well – they’re one of the best things about Arrow and whilst there was no Slade Wilson in this episode it was nice to see him getting name-dropped in the present when Sara wants to know where he is. Ollie doesn’t respond, which indicates that the two will most likely have a falling out later down the line because remember – Slade Wilson is Deathstroke in the comics, and we saw presumably his mask being pierced by an arrow back on the Island. So as we see in this episode, I get the feeling that there’s a lot more to come in the flashback sequences – after all, we still have a large portion of the five years to cover.

Caity Lotz’s character certainly impresses as the Black Canary now that she’s given more time to do than fight bad guys, and incredibly, we may have actually been introduced to a Lance that’s actually likable and interesting without having to wait an entire season before they become so – as was the case with Quentin. It’ll be interesting to watch how the Ollie/Sara dynamic is thrown around in later episodes – and how the Black Canary/Arrow partnership is explored as well – another highlight of the episode being the final fight between them and the Mayor – who is an interesting villain that doesn’t really have enough time to develop especially when you consider that the show has to also deal with Isabel  Rochev and Sebastian Blood.

As awesome as Summer Glau is, I’m going to have to give the award of better newcomer to Season 2 in this episode to Kevin Alejandro’s Sebastian Blood. His performance is charismatic and engaging and it’s keeping the audience guessing as to what his intentions may be – the end reveal suggests something sinister, but unfortunately this meant that Isabel Rochev was largely pushed to the side and given nothing much more to do than telling Ollie off for spending money on good projects that he doesn’t have. However, this is understandable – there’s a lot of characters that Arrow has to juggle with now and it’s handling them quite well so far, Laurel aside.

Something else that’s worth mentioning as well is Channel 52’s coverage of a particle accelerator currently in construction, that could easily end up being a great way to show how Barry Allen gets his speed powers. I personally can’t wait to see the introduction of the Flash – who’ll hopefully show up sooner rather than later, and it’ll be very interesting to see how and Arrow operate together as the show goes on – even if they do decide to keep operating together.

In conclusion then, despite not being perfect, Crucible is another entertaining 45-ish minutes of TV that really shows how much this show has improved over Season 1. It’s a great success, and I can’t wait until next week’s episode.

VERDICT: 4/5

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