Much like The Flash, Arrow returned this week on a high after an awesome fall finale that left viewers asking a question. That question was not “Is Oliver Queen alive?” but “How is Oliver Queen going to come back?” Because it was inevitable with the amount of times that this show (and comic books in general) tease deaths, that Oliver would return at some point because otherwise this series would be getting rebranded the A.T.O.M. or Canary/Arsenal/Diggle show pretty quickly. What surprised me the most though was just how quickly they brought Oliver back from the dead (and by the looks of things, it might not actually be from the Lazarus Pit after all), I wasn’t expecting him to come back that quickly. I had presumed that he’d come back at the end of the trilogy (which is what this episode and the next three are billed as, in a kind of similar way to Person of Interest’s grouping of “The Cold War”, “If-Then-Else” and “Control-Alt-Delete”, which gave that show some momentum and something to build around for the rest of the season and hopefully it’ll do the same here, because Left Behind has certainly got off to an impressive start.
Even with Oliver brought back, he might not necessarily return to Starling City anytime soon which was the indication that Left Behind gave us. We got to see Felicity, Diggle, Roy and Laurel slowly dealing with the fact that Oliver is actually dead (or at least, for the moment) as we saw Diggle suit up to team-up with Roy, which allowed for one of the best lines of the episode from Diggle, with “This Suit is Too Tight”. We got some big material for the entire supporting cast and it showed, with some great acting from David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards, as we saw the emotional fallout that Oliver’s death had on them. Heck, even Brandon Routh got some impressive scenes in this episode with the A.T.O.M sections not feeling jarring and out-of-place like they were before.
The absence of Oliver didn’t mean that the villains wouldn’t take a break however, and we got to see Vinnie Jones make an appearance, in casting that instantly reminded me of his role in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. His role was better executed in this episode though as he looks pretty intimidating indeed as a scenery-chewing villain that will be very interesting to follow over the next part of the trilogy. But hopefully a future villain will come up with a more interesting plan than something that involves the Glades, which seems to be the part of town that the majority of Arrow villains have gone for. Still the new villain should certainly make life fun for the team to deal with given their new situations, especially as Felicity is no longer involved (at least for the moment).
The episode itself also gave Laurel some good material to work with, and even though she delivered a one-liner during her first outing as Black Canary that didn’t actually work – and she may not have used a voice manipulator (which might be a good thing to remember in the future given that her voice will probably be instantly recognised as the Assistant District Attorney), but she got to impress in this episode for the most part and the direction that she takes now will certainly make an interesting addition to Team Arrow going forward, even if her training is not exactly perfect yet.
The flashback materials were pretty fun this week and it allowed Stephen Amell to continue to feature quite heavily in the show as we’re not quite done with the Hong Kong storyline yet. Malcolm Merlyn and Thea shined in their scenes, although Thea still doesn’t yet know about Oliver’s death. If she does ever find out before he returns, there’s plenty of potential there for a good subplot.
Much like The Flash then, it’s good to be back. Arrow has got a lot of stuff to deal with and the upcoming two episodes of the trilogy can’t get here quickly enough. There wasn’t a whole lot where Arrow went wrong and hopefully that means we’ll get a better second half of the season, because aside from a few standout episodes (The Brave and the Bold and The Climb in particular), the first half of Season 3 has been fairly average. Here’s to better things to come.