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Arrow – Haunted Review

"The character assassination of Laurel Lance continues"

Well, what do you know. Turns out bringing Sara back from the dead really was a bad idea. And it put Thea in mortal danger. Shame no one thought about those consequences when Malcolm, Thea, and Laurel made the choice to bring her back two episodes ago. Oh, wait. The stupidity of three of the show’s main characters aside, I’m really torn on this episode of Arrow. On one hand, the addition of John Constantine added a lightness to the show’s dark tones. But, on the other, using a mystical character as a get out of jail free card for sloppy plotting and character work over the past three episodes isn’t something that should get rewarded.

As I have mentioned before, I’m glad that Sara is back in play on the Arrow chessboard (if only until she spins off into her own series). But having Constantine roll onto the scene and magic away all the darkness within her (I presume the soul restoration also removed the whole “I want to kill Thea” bloodlust as well) was more annoying than anything. Laurel (and Malcolm and Thea) made a horrible and dangerous choice to bring Sara back. While Laurel might not have known all the issues Sara’s resurrection would bring, I seem to recall Malcolm and Nyssa being pretty adamant that it was a bad idea (before Malcolm’s unexplained change of heart), and pretty much telling Laurel why. But, thanks to Oliver being owed a favor from another DC character, Sara gets to be back to normal and Laurel gets off the hook (even though she brought a killer into the city). Oh well, I suppose being frustrated with the storyline doesn’t matter, so long as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow now has one of its stars ready to suit up.

Arrow -- "Haunted" -- Image AR404B_0027b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R) Matt Ryan as Constantine, Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance -- Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Haunted” — Pictured (L-R) Matt Ryan as Constantine, Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance — Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

And that’s really my main issue with these past several episodes. Arrow is taking so much time and energy setting up its latest spin-off that it’s neglecting the main story arc of the series. Damien Darhk has been around for five episodes so far and we really know nothing about him. Heck, he’s barely been a character in the last few outings. Rather, the focus of the series is now on getting Sara and Ray back in the game so they can headline another show. The show’s writers appear all too willing to sacrifice any headway made in turning Laurel into someone with power and agency in order to ensure their new toy gets its leading lady. I was so thrilled to see Laurel become someone other than Oliver’s angry ex-girlfriend last year. Now, in the span of three episodes, she’s become a major liability for Team Arrow and one of the show’s least likable characters. It’s a real shame.

But you know who was pretty likable and a lot of fun? Constantine. I’ll admit that I didn’t watch his NBC show last season, and that my only familiarity with the character comes from the Keanu Reeves film, but what a breath of fresh air. He was remarkably competent and got his assigned tasks completed with a smirk and a joke- all things that have been missing from Arrow in the past few episodes. I’m actually sad to see him exit and would love to see him back on Team Arrow some time in the future. Constantine proved that you can have the darkness that Arrow thrives on, but still maintain a sense of humor in the face of it- an important lesson for the writers moving forward, as their promise of more levity in the series has been an empty one so far.

So, now that Sara is back in action (or, presumably will be once she gets over her re-souling exhaustion), it looks like the next focus for the series won’t be stopping Darhk (or even really caring about what he’s up to, since he really doesn’t do much these days) but finding tiny Ray Palmer and getting him back to human size. I worry it will be just as dull as it sounds.

Arrow -- "Haunted" -- Image AR404B_0241b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as The Arrow, Matt Ryan as Constantine and Katie Cassidy as Black Canary -- Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Arrow — “Haunted” — Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as The Arrow, Matt Ryan as Constantine and Katie Cassidy as Black Canary — Photo: Cate Cameron/ The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts:

— Hey, did you know that Darhk is involved with HIVE? And that HIVE killed Diggle’s brother? Just wanted to make sure, since the show seems to worry we all missed that fact the first five times they told us.

— For those worrying that Curtis might not have the physical abilities to become Mr. Terrific, rest easy. He won the bronze in the Olympic decathlon, so he’s got that athletic ability. While I appreciate the show making it clear he’s more than just a computer nerd, I would rather they show us than tell us in a clunky piece of dialogue.

— So they had Constantine there to save Sara and no one thought to have him remove the bloodlust from Thea as well? They better bring that storyline back some time down the road this season.

— I’m bummed we’re getting so little John Barrowman this season. Having Malcolm off in Nanda Parbat has been a real drag.

 

Rating
7.0
Pros
  • John Constantine was a nice addition
  • We know a bit more about Curtis
Cons
  • Writers just using Arrow as a means to create Legends of Tomorrow
  • All Arrow storyline are stagnant

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Comments

  • Irish Jim

    Curtis is the clumsiest decathlete I have ever seen. I know he is acting, but when the bad guys shot at Felicity and him a few episodes ago, it seemed like Felicity was the more capable person to fight them off. Also, if you had an Olympic Bronze medal winner at your company, you would know it and he would be a celebrity of sorts.

    Arrow’s 2 biggest problems are that the characters take turns doing incredibly stupid things and then they get angry when the other characters point out the stupidity. Heroes are supposed to be somewhat capable. If Team Arrow made this many dumb moves, they would all be dead. One week Oliver is stupid. the next week Laurel is stupid, then Diggle. Even Felicity is being stupid not recognizing someone is trying to talk to her by scrambling her phone.

    Second, the pacing is really slow. 2014-15 was very slow moving. It took forever to deal with Ra’s. It is taking forever to get Ray back. As you point out, Darhk is just cooling his heals waiting for the plot to catch up to him. I think the writers don’t have enough to write about. If they don’t have story lines, they should just cut the number of shows.

    Constantine showing up on the island in the flashbacks is the first good use of the flashbacks since Oliver got off the island the first time.

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeaniusIsMe on Twitter.

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