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ARROW Review: “Beyond Redemption”

By on October 29, 2015

Arrow -- "Beyond Redemption" Pictured (L-R): Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance -- Photo: Dean Buscher/ The CW

By Justin Carter

About 3/4 of the way through this week’s Arrow, our villain of the week, a corrupt-ish cop named Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley) tells Captain Lance “I’m just a desperate cop that got backed into too tight a corner.”

It’s supposed to be her way of justifying why she’s leading the former anti-vigilante task force into murdering drug dealers for their money, but it’s also best used to describe Lance’s heel turn in working with Damian Darhk.

The show has typically presented Lance as Arrow’s moral center, a way for the show to call out the reasonably sketchy stuff the costumed heroes do in the name of justice, so allying with the season’s big bad definitely came a slap to the face. Paul Blackthorne plays Lance like hard-boiled detective straight from a Noir film, but he makes it work because he has always had a more than justifiable gripe with Team Arrow lying to him about the death of his daughter. It was inevitable that someone would find out that he was a double agent, and I was banking on it being Laurel, maybe even Felicity. Instead, it’s Oliver who learns the truth, and that ends up being the smartest move for this thread.

Having Oliver and Lance reverse roles definitely leads to one of the series best scenes. A lot of flack has been given to Stephen Amell for how he plays Oliver, but he’s really great facing off against Lance here. The detective turned captain has always verbally torn down Oliver at every point, but it was easy to see that Oliver kept trying to win his approval because he saw Lance as a father, making this betrayal sting like nothing else. Nothing could make this okay in his mind, not even Lance’s often used excuse of protecting his daughters or the city.

As satisfying as it is to watch Oliver tear him down and vent basically 3 1/2 years of frustration at not getting his father figure’s approval (and again, it’s a great scene), it’s still heart wrenching to watch this happen to Lance, of all people. And that’s not even getting into his seeing a resurrected and completely feral Sara. This is the third time he’s lost his daughter, and each time gets more devastating than the last. It may have been a moment of utter weakness, but the decision to even think about just putting his daughter down felt totally in line with what what’s known about the character.

If anything good comes out of Lance’s fall from grace, it’s that it does give him the chance to redeem himself later on. He delivers an utterly comic book speech to Warner about Justice–and when I say that, I mean complete with the emphasis–that spurs her to turn herself in, and that speech alone gets Oliver to trust him again, or at the very least to use him to get intel on Darhk. Since Oliver’s mostly an emotionally stable human being now, it gives Lance something to do, which is a plus. Unfortunately, this increases his chances of being the one six feet under, and after this week’s episode, killing off Lance could be a monumental game changer.

Additional Notes

  • There was other stuff that happened among all the LancePain. Oliver tells the others he plan to run for mayor, and that goes about as well as you’d expect. Also, Felicity gets a voicemail from Ray before he died but won’t listen to it because, c’mon. It’s Felicity.
  • The team gets a new headquarters, and it looks AWESOME.
  • Next week marks the arrival of one John Constantine to help with Sara (and possibly Thea?) getting her memories and soul back. This is gonna be a fun one!

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