Broken Arrow picks up the pieces after Roy Harper’s (Colton Haynes) reveal that he is actually The Arrow. Of course, we know that this isn’t really the case, as does Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), but Roy is placed in Iron Heights amongst plenty of criminals who are not exactly keen to see the man supposedly under the green hood.
Whilst this is going on, a new villain arrives on the scene in the form of Jake Simmons (Doug Jones), better known to comic book fans as DC’s Deathbolt. The only difference here to his comic book counterpart is that the rogue consumes energy and turns it into plasma, removing the electrical powers of the comic villain. What’s also of interest is that this is the first meta-human that we’ve seen venture as far as Starling City – usually these type of characters are confined to Central City under the jurisdiction of The Flash.
Make no mistake about it, the inclusion of Deathbolt is merely a side order in this episode, merely here to further push the idea that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) needs to sometimes let others step in and help him out in his crusades – with this particular problem, he has to learn to let Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and his Atom suit help out. The main order of the day here is the imprisonment of Roy Harper and the whole issue of Captain Lance being aware that Oliver really is The Arrow.
With Lance getting a warrant to search the Arrowcave, the disgruntled Quentin is firmly playing with the gloves off. Luckily, Team Arrow are one step ahead and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) have managed to somehow erase all fingerprints in the underground Arrow lair bar those of Roy Harper. Lance knows this is bullshit but he’s unable to do anything about it – there’s a man incarcerated for being The Arrow, meaning his harassment of Oliver is frowned upon by his higher-ups. And where Ollie’s concerned, the admittance of Roy as The Arrow means that he is unable to be The Arrow himself, meaning that Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) has essentially taken the whole Arrow identity away from him in an attempt to further convince him to step up and replace him as the head of the League of Assassins.
Broken Arrow also gives more of an insight into just why Roy is so keen to take Oliver’s place under the green hood, with the troubled Harper seeing this as some sort of redemption/punishment for his killing of a policeman back in Season 2 when he was under the influence of mirakuru. Additionally, Roy also believes that Oliver Queen saved his life and so he has to do what he can to save Oliver Queen’s – in this case, taking the fall for being The Arrow. We also get to see one of the most impressive fight sequences that Arrow has done to date, with Roy Harper fighting off a group of Arrow-hating inmates. This, obviously, was done as merely a taste of what was to come.
With Diggle and Oliver nearly coming to blows over whether to break Roy out or not, it finally happens that the young Harper is stabbed and killed by a rogue prison guard. We thought somebody was going to bite the bullet in this episode, and so it proved. Ish.
Yes, there was that twist, with it revealed that Roy Harper was actually alive and well. It was a brilliant turn of events and one that felt reminiscent of the hard-hitting surprises of Season 2’s final batch of episodes. The only issue – and this is one accusation that was also thrown at the return of Oliver Queen – is that the reveal of Roy being alive could have maybe been held off for a little while, at least until the next episode possibly. And whilst Roy Harper was indeed alive and kicking, poor Thea Queen is seemingly not. During the final few moments of the episode, just as Roy Harper was driving off to a new life who knows where, Ra’s al Ghul paid Thea a visit and would ultimately beat the tar out of her, slam her through a glass table and then run her through with his blade. It’s not been confirmed that Thea is actually dead, although it certainly looks that way. Until next week’s outing, don’t start planning the funeral of the youngest Queen just yet. After all, this is a world in which Lazarus Pits now exist.
Over in the flashback moments of Broken Arrow, it turns out that it’s not Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) who has been hunting down Oliver and the Yamashiros. Nope, we get to meet a rather roughed-up Waller who reveals that it’s actually General Shrieve (Marc Singer) and his army who have been causing all the fuss. Whether we see some sort of Creature Commandoes going forward, we’ll have to wait and see. It certainly could get mighty interesting, though.
All in all, Broken Arrow was an episode that was mighty strong when the focus was on Roy’s decision to take the fall for Oliver. Those moments were excellently played out, with Colton Haynes showing again that he can be a hugely valuable member of the show when given more to do than just being a non-plussed background character with expertly trimmed eyebrows. It was also great to see the softer side of Captain Lance, even if ever so briefly, when he tries his best to “save” Harper from what lies ahead for him.
The inclusion of Deathbolt felt very so-so here, with the character feeling as if he was pulled directly from Smallville’s famed villain-of-the-week formula of rogues. As mentioned, he was merely here to give The Atom someone to showcase his skills with and to push home the point that Ollie needs the help of others at times. The final battle between Deathbolt and The Atom also felt a little strange, with Oliver controlling Ray Palmer’s suit in a way that felt like a cross between Real Steel and Nintendo’s Wii. Still, there was a rather cool line from Oliver earlier in the episode when he explains to Palmer that it’s not his bow and arrow that are the weapon, but that it is he, Oliver Queen, who is the real weapon.
Broken Arrow really was an episode that delivered on multiple fronts and only poses further questions going forward – which is always a good thing. The use of a formulaic villain can be overlooked by excellent development elsewhere. It also got a huge boost with the climactic five minutes that saw the swerve on Roy Harper, the appearance of Ra’s al Ghul and the apparent demise of Thea Queen. And then there's Quentin Lance, who is massively engrossing when in full on dick mode.
The last five of six episodes of Season 2 made for stunning television. Let’s hope that Season 3 is following suit.