Arrow: “Left Behind” Season 3 Episode 10 Review

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Arrow‘s return gave us an Arrow-less Starling City. But the nature of heroism is to inspire others, and more than a few fresh faces are prepared to fight the battles Oliver Queen once did from the shadows.

“Left Behind” follows the dark aftermath of Oliver’s supposed death at the hands of Ra’s al Ghul in the mid-season finale. No, Oliver isn’t really dead, we know how TV works. The writers approach it in a very interesting way, showing us that they know we’re smart enough to know our main hero is still alive simply by not hiding it. That said, the flashbacks were especially intrusive this episode, taking away from the illusion of the present circumstances. If there was one episode we didn’t need to see Oliver at all, it was this one. His presence takes away from the drama in Starling City just a tad.

But what drama!

Now’s the time for new heroes to step up. It’s often when we’re forced to rise to the occasion due to circumstance that we show what we’re really made up, for better or worse. The remaining members of Team Arrow have to make some decisions about the future of their particular line of work. The Arrow may be gone, but there’s a new villain in Starling City, in the form of Brick (Vinnie Jones). Life goes on.

Roy was perfect the entire episode. Being the only team member to have been inspired by the Arrow from the outside, Roy knows how powerful of a symbol the vigilante had become. And he has every intention to keep that alive. Arsenal saw a ton of great action in “Left Behind,” never outdoing the Arrow but doing what he can to continue Oliver’s mission. Diggle and Felicity are quick to point out the former sidekick’s mistakes, but Roy never falters, donning the red hood night after night to fight for what he believes in. This is the most likable the character has ever been.

His colleagues waver a bit more. Diggle doesn’t fit the green hood as well as Oliver, while Felicity is simply in denial. But once Malcolm Merlyn provides proof of Oliver’s death, their goals suddenly don’t seem so grounded. Diggle continues to go on the field with Arsenal, but a nasty fight with Brick leaves him bruised and bloodied, to the point where Felicity facilitates the villain’s escape so the heroes survive. She quits soon after, leaving Diggle unsure of the future.

When he tells Laurel this, you can see the fire lit in her eyes. Her training with Ted has been mostly off-screen lately, thanks to a Flash crossover and the epic nature of the mid-season finale. We don’t really know if she’s ready to take up her sister’s mantle as the Canary. But Laurel doesn’t care, Starling City still needs saving. More of a tease than an actual reveal, Laurel’s debut as Black Canary was perhaps a little too quick. I still squealed in pure joy, though. The use of the Canary Scream, the baton swing, and “I’m the justice you can’t run from,” all made for such an awesome debut. I can’t wait to see more.

With new heroes stepping up, it was smart to keep Brick around for next week’s episode. Their journey isn’t over yet. Before the end though, we do see Oliver Queen breath again, having been healed by the very family that he’s staying with in the flashbacks. Interesting, but I hope that Oliver continues to play a backseat role while Roy and Laurel get a chance to show Starling City what they’re made of. These two side-characters proving they could be main characters was the best thing about “Left Behind.” The Arrow is gone for now, but I am more than a little excited to see Arsenal and Canary bring in their own brand of justice in the meantime. Grade: B+

Some Other Thought Bubbles:

– So the ATOM suit is going to be like the Iron Man suit.

– With Arrow, Flash, Arsenal, and Canary, not to mention Firestorm and Atom on the way, I foresee a TV Justice League being built!

– Vinnie Jones, who previously played Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand, was actually pretty awesome as Brick. He made for a terrifying villain, and he gave Diggle a great fight scene. Always a plus.

– Great detail that Thea figured out that Roy is under the red hood. Being one of the only main characters left unaware of her brother’s nightlife, she now suddenly seems closer than ever to figuring it out.

– Good god the flashbacks felt pointless this week. I’m more than okay with nixing them after this season and just saying Oliver was “surviving” for two years.

– I seriously can’t wait for next week’s episode. Arsenal and Canary FTW!

 

By Matt Dougherty

 

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