Arrow: “Corto Maltese” Season 3 Episode 3 Review

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Just about everyone on Team Arrow had their own goals this week in a fun but sort of scatter brained episode.

The tag of last week’s entry gave us our first look at Thea Queen in Season 3. She’s been training with her father, Arrow’s arch-nemesis Malcolm Merlyn. Now Felicity has tracked her down to Corto Maltese, an island off of South America, leading Oliver, Roy, and Diggle to take a road trip.

The change of setting, and lack of costumes, actually made this episode feel more like a spy thriller than a superhero drama. With Diggle investigating Mark Shaw for Lyla, we got some great moments like Oliver being a great shot with a pistol, much to Roy’s bewilderment.

“What? I never said I didn’t know how to use a gun,” Stephen Amell flawlessly cracks.

But the main story abroad was about getting Thea back to Starling City. This week’s flashbacks were all about her training over the past six months with her father. While some scenes worked better than others (pouring hot oil on her hand is so 1999), it was pretty cool to see Thea more than capable of using a sword.

Oliver’s arc this episode forced him to admit to Thea that even if she doesn’t need him, after losing both of their parents, he needs her. It took two visits to her cafe to get there, but their second conversation was among the best scenes Amell and Willa Holland have shared yet. The fact that they sold it so well made Thea’s choice to go home in the end that much more poignant.

It’s easy to forget that Thea is one of the last remaining core cast members that doesn’t know Oliver is the Arrow. Considering her father knows, and that tantalizing “See you soon,” that may not last much longer.

Meanwhile, Felicity settled into her job at Queen Consolidated working under Ray Palmer, who looks to have some shady motives of his own based on the way he looked at those weapons at the end of the episode.

Then there’s Laurel, who puts on Sara’s coat way earlier than she should have. In an attempt to help a fellow AA member being physically abused by her boyfriend, she puts on a ski mask, the signature leather coat, and grabs a bo staff. It was actually hard to watch her fail, which will no doubt make her eventual triumph that much more significant.

Oliver reasonably denies to train her, especially after what happened to Sara. So she goes to Ted Grant, a former boxer that DC fans will know as Wildcat. Now Laurel has a trainer and the legacy of the Black Canary seems to have some life.

The episode ended with the great cliffhanger of Nyssa al Ghul angrily entering the Arrow Cave with her bow drawn. It could be time for her father to make an appearance.

Overall, Corto Maltese was a fun addition to Arrow that brought most of the heroes abroad while doing some great character work on Oliver and Thea. Laurel got the same treatment back at home. The future is exciting as both Nyssa and Merlyn seem to be preparing for a return to Starling City. Season 3 has no signs of slowing down. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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