Arrow Re-Nocked: Beyond Redemption (4×04)
Episode four, Beyond Redemption, begins in a warehouse and a drug raid gone wrong. The opening sequence sets up this episode’s villain, SCPD officer Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley), also known as Lady Cop in the comics. A woman who has become desperate enough to break the very thing she set out to protect… the law. I appreciate that the writers chose to use a street level villain for this specific episode, even though she didn’t pack a very resounding punch. Especially after she kills two detectives, then threatens one of her fellow rogue officers and explains, “We don’t kill cops. Unless they happen to be in our way or whatever.” Well, at least in this week’s episode the writing inconsistencies plagued one-off characters and not the central ones. Overall, Warner’s story arc spent more time servicing the episode as connective tissue for the excellent character moments that took place this episode.
Captain Lance has faith in justice for both his family and his city. He’s always seen Oliver Queen as his antithesis, but this episode illustrates how alike they really are. Oliver explains, “A part of me has always wanted you to see what kind of man I really am. I didn’t expect to wind up finding out what kind on man you really are.” This Captain Lance and Oliver Queen confrontation scene reverses their roles from season three, episode eighteen, “You’ve made us criminals! You’ve made us liars and victims. You, Mr. Queen, are not a hero. You’re a villain.” Now through his association with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Captain Lance is the villain in this story, even if he’s trying to protect his daughter, “Stop. Stop hiding behind your daughters!” yells Oliver. Notice, how Oliver plurals the word daughters in that line, because it all ties back to his relationships with both Laurel and Sara Lance. Captain Lance has always blamed Oliver for the tragedies that have befallen both Lance sisters throughout the years. He’s always wanted to protect them from his villainy. In addition, the plurality heightens the scenes emotional context, since the Captain knows that Laurel has resurrected Sara from the dead. All those scenes with Sara locked in the basement made me extremely uncomfortable and it was a little jarring to jump from action to horror with a single editing trick. There’s another Lance parallel scene as he threatens to shoot Sara, “You’re not her.” Back in season three, episode eighteen, Captain Lance sets out to hunt down all of the Starling City vigilantes, including Laurel. He corners her and raises his gun, “What are you going to shot your own daughter?” asks Laurel. Nope, see for Captain Lance, when upholding Star City’s laws of justice endanger the lives of his family, he becomes the worst version of himself… a villain.
“You are one dark bastard. Something very cold inside of you, your terrified of it.” -Conklin
Flashback to Lian Yu, where Oliver tries to save a young woman from the Baron’s men, by helping fake her death with a trick previously seen used in season one. This year’s flashbacks I am really enjoying, because as he gets closer to becoming the assassin vigilante from season one; in the present day he gets that much closer to becoming the hero known as the Green Arrow. I feel like we are finally starting to see the payoff from employing this storytelling device in the show. Granted, for the last two episodes there hasn’t been that much steam in the flashback storyline, but Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) hasn’t been seen since episode two. Fingers crossed that he makes another appearance sooner rather than later.
Now back to saving a dying city… Well there’s a new and improved Arrow cave in town, so let the redemption begin! After a sweet, heartfelt pep talk from Thea, and Captain Lance finding himself back in Oliver’s good graces, its official… Oliver Queen is running for mayor. Meanwhile, Captain Lance will continue to work with Damien Darhk as an inside man; interesting, since in the flashbacks, Oliver’s working undercover on Lian Yu for ARGUS. Oh, “Did you get my text messages,” because Sara is no longer in Laurel’s basement, “Your texts were 911, OMG, ASAP, and five exclamation points. I do not have time to respond to something that doesn’t contain at least one actual word.” Sorry, couldn’t help myself, it’s my favorite Felicity Smoak line from the episode. The chemistry between her and Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) gets better with each episode. Seriously, Sara’s alive, hunting Thea, but no worries, because John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is coming to town.
(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Sarah for guest writing on this Arrow Re-Nocked column! Had to come in and add that in the weekly contest between The Flash and Arrow, I would have given Arrow the point this week! Will the guest writers feel the same? Find out in Agasicles‘ The Flash Zoom-In! – Everett)