In the third season mid-opener, Diggle, Felicity, and Roy fear that Oliver might have died during his showdown with Ra’s al Ghul. Meanwhile, Laurel, who is now the new vigilante Black Canary, must save Starling City from powerful crimelord Danny Brickwell, also known as Brick.
The show’s third season has admittedly not been as strong as the previous season. Many of the episodes were meandering around the mystery of Sara’s death, and most of them dealt with episodic threats like Komodo or Cupid. Beyond the fun team-up with Flash, the season did not feel as strong as the last two. However, between “The Climb” and this episode, the main story with the League of Assassins is starting to pay off, and Oliver’s absence allows his supporting cast to shine.
Felicity buries herself in work and prevents Ray Palmer from completing his suit. Her preoccupation with more of her friends dying is understandable, but it also brings danger to Diggle and Roy. Her reaction to Oliver’s “death” makes sense, but her worship of Oliver might have worsened that. Would she be so protective of her other friends if someone else had died?
Brick’s scheme to free all of the criminals Oliver and company captured since Slade’s defeat was an ingenious idea, bringing some levity and impact to the crime in this week’s episode. Vinnie Jones, while an unexpected choice for the villain, provides sufficient menace and weight to him.
The flashbacks in Hong Kong do not establish anything new this week beyond leading up to the twist ending. Tatsu and Maseo’s revelation as Oliver’s saviors bring more importance to the Hong Kong events, while introducing a rather surprising solution to Oliver’s “death”. It should be interesting to see what events led to Maseo’s alignment with the League of Assassins.
Overall, Oliver’s disappearance brings an interesting start to a three-part event. Between Team Arrow dealing with grief, Black Canary’s debut, and Brick’s rise to power, the series is displaying some interesting new elements to the season.
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