By: Kyle Shultz
Last we saw our Emerald Archer, he went toe to toe with The Demon’s Head and was greatly out of his element. The battle was over as soon as it started, only for Ollie getting a sword ran through him & then kicked off the edge of a cliff. No pun intended, but as far as cliff-hangers go, that’s a pretty damn good one. Since Ollie’s apparent demise, “Left Behind” focused on Starling City without their hero & the effect his absence puts on his team. Seeing the dynamic focus from Ollie’s perspective to his Team’s perspective without him was something that I really enjoyed.
This episode allowed Roy and Diggle to get more of their much deserved screen time, and Roy seems to be the one taking charge & it doesn’t exactly seem like it is a problem with the team. I’m glad that Roy is the one that feels the need to take charge in Oliver’s absence, and when Roy was charging after those men in the van, hearing one of them say, “that’s the Red One” was actually really awesome to hear. Probably the closest thing we’ll get to hearing Roy mentioned as “Red Arrow.” I like Diggle in this show, especially when he’s in scenes that actually prove the writer’s care about his character; this episode was a good episode for Diggle. Diggle & Roy tried their best in this episode & they certainly had some damn good scenes, especially the fight scenes. It was awesome seeing the duo do the best they could in Ollie’s absence.
The third part to Team Arrow had some much stronger stuff to deal with as Ollie’s absence affected her differently than it did Roy & Diggle. Felicity has always been this moral compass for the show. She has always been the person that would show concern for anything Oliver and the Team went out to do. I get more enjoyment out of seeing Emily Bett Rickards play around with the more heavy emotional stuff than the typical ditzy/charming Felicity; it really shows Rickards’ range as an actor. I especially loved how she basically broke down in front of Ray after he asked if she could help him figure out what’s wrong with his gauntlet. Ray had some impressive & familiar scenes in this episode, mainly because we are getting steps closer to his Atom suit being a thing, though I just want to know how will he do as a hero, because he has seemingly no training at all. The smarts & the tech yes, but he isn’t exactly Arrow or Arsenal.
This episode also had the debut of another somewhat obscure DC Villain in the name of Danny “Brick” Brickwell, played excellently by Vinnie Jones. In the comics, Brick has this stony red skin color, & his skin is basically stone, which makes him virtually invulnerable, so seeing him come into this show was interesting to hear. His character in the show isn’t really too different. His origins aren’t really explained in the comics, & I don’t think we’ll ever hear his origins in the show, which is fine by me. Jones seems to have a lot of fun with this character, which makes me thrilled because Vinnie Jones is definitely a favorite actor of mine. Jones is no stranger to playing a gangster, so having him in this show is a pleasant experience. Brick is a character we will see throughout a couple episodes. I love that everything Team Arrow has worked for this season has basically gone to waste, Brick came in and wiped everything clean. That shows me that this character will be around for awhile & isn’t some simple one & done character, though I have a feeling that once Ollie comes back, he’ll handle him easier than he handled Cyrus Gold, which I hope not, I want Ollie & Brick to put up a fight.
Speaking of fights, the fights in the episode were amazing, especially the shootout sequence in between Roy & Brick’s men. I love how each episode there seems to be something about a fight scene that impresses me; the scene with Roy running down that pipe with the bullets tearing through the pipe was well shot & choreographed. In the flashbacks, we saw Ollie & Maseo go after something called “Alpha” which has me on the edge of what it could be, my guesses are as good as anyone. The hunt for the “Alpha” turned out more as it turns out to be a hunt for Tatsu, which I am glad they’re addressing that. Though, with how this episode ended with Maseo bringing Ollie’s corpse to Tatsu, it’s clear that Tatsu did survive that kidnapping all those years ago, & Ollie’s help all those years ago made Maseo help Ollie in the end.
The topic of Ollie’s revival is a big discussion. Some thought it would be the Lazarus Pit; others thought he didn’t die. Whatever the case, I sure hope that his revival isn’t a “he wasn’t really dead, just in a coma” type thing, because the guy was on a cliff for days, a big gaping sword wound, there’s no way the guy was still alive. Either it be Lazarus Pit super juice, some of those magical herbs that Ollie used frequently throughout season one & two, or something else entirely, I hope it is something that catches me off guard, mainly because the Lazarus Pit is out the window.
Team Arrow is growing with each season. This season we have Arsenal in full scarlet gear, & now we will have Black Canary. Ending this episode with Laurel donning the black tights & blonde wig was something Black Canary fans have been waiting for, for a long time. I’m just interested to see how they address the whole lack of her fighting experience & I really cannot wait to see how Ollie reacts to Laurel’s ultimate decision in following in her sister’s footsteps. A character I hope they bring into the team is Wildcat; I really want to see his character expand in this show, we haven’t even seen him since Arrow knocked him out with the boxing glove arrow back in episode six, I really want to see him back.
“Left Behind” focused on Starling City & Team Arrow without Arrow, and the overall effect left upon Team Arrow with Ollie’s absence & placed the show in a great return for its first episode of the New Year. The lack of Oliver Queen certainly didn’t hurt the overall pace; in fact I think it worked a bit better than expected. Vinnie Jones is starting his reign to take over The Glades as Brick, & we finally get to see Katie Cassidy’s debut as Black Canary, the next several episodes in the season look promising.
Overall Grade: 10/10