Arrow: Salvation Season 1 Episode 18 Review

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Arrow continued its upward climb in quality with another standout episode.

This show is really start to prove itself. Salvation was one of the best episodes of the season and has me dreading the summer away from Starling City.

The first major improvement I noticed was that the A plot, B plots, and the island were all streamlined and flowed rather well together. Arrow had sort of been all over the place in the beginning, but now we get episodes that contain just a few stories, giving everything room to breathe and allowing the tension to build naturally.

And the main story this week was one of the most intense yet. A vigilante by the name of “The Savior” is killing people in the Glades, the most downtrodden neighborhood in Starling City. Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity continue to be fun to watch as they track down these villains every week. This was especially well done, however, as the team’s failure led to a very public execution. The scene where Oliver tells Felicity that they don’t always win was dark and set in motion the pulse pounding ending.

When the new vigilante kidnaps Roy Harper, Arrow must track him down in the subway system. In an exciting confrontation, this man asks Oliver what makes them different. It’s thought provoking, especially since Oliver doesn’t really have a good answer for the guy. If Arrow can keep us questioning how much good Oliver is really doing while still rooting for him I will be a very happy viewer.

The island this week also built tension pretty well since we didn’t just have randomly strung together scenes. Who knew starting from point A and getting to point B would be good storytelling? Oliver and Slade lose their bargaining chip, but gain a new member to their company.

A small subplot that also worked was Moira dodging Malcolm finding out about her assassination attempt on him. Keeping the business meeting scenes down to a minimum, I was actually pretty shocked to see Malcolm don the dark hood once again. This show is getting good at surprising me.

Now, for everything I loved about this episode, there was one subplot that just didn’t work. Laurel’s family matters were all over the place with no consistent character motivations or interesting developments. Why is Laurel suddenly against her parents looking for her sister? Why is Quentin suddenly all for it? Why was everyone crying so much? This was the type of melodrama that has plagued the show from the beginning. However, due to this episode’s more streamlined nature it stuck out like a sore thumb rather than blending in. I prefer it that way because Arrow can become an overall better show, but to stick with that subplots cannot be this inherently bad.

So besides the Lance family matters Salvation was nearly perfect. It featured just enough superhero swashbuckling and mythology building to have me both satisfied and psyched for next week. Even some misplaced melodrama can’t take away one of the most tense stories yet on the show. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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