Well how about that for a bait and switch? Looks like Roy may still be departing the show even though Diggle and Felicity came up with a way to fake his death, allowing Ollie to get some of his own medicine when he doesn’t tell his friends what he’s doing, Arrow allowed Roy to leave the show in a way that Colton Haynes could return if needed. Of course, even if he was actually killed off, there was no guarantee that he was gone for good, with The Lazarus Pit in play and all, but given that Haynes’ contract ran up round about now it makes sense for him to depart the show. Whether he’ll crop up again on the spinoff or on Arrow remains to be seen, but this was an excellent send-off for the character who’s been pushed to the side for most of Season 3, suffering from the casualty of too many cast members, which looks as though this is something that the show’s going to try to remedy with the spinoff taking Atom and Sara Lance with it.
This week, the villain of the week was once again underdeveloped, but then that wasn’t really the focus of the episode, being largely about clearing Oliver’s name and getting Roy out of jail. Whilst it was cool to have a metahuman on the show (and speaking of Flash crossovers, the brief appearance of Cisco to interact with Ray after their friendship had grown in All Star Team-Up was good to see), as The Flash normally gets all of them aside from Solomon Grundy in Season 2, Deathbolt didn’t have that much of an impact as he came head to head against Ray in the Atom Suit. He wasn’t really given much focus beyond the fact that he robs banks, and the fight scenes between him and Ray this week were mostly disappointing as well. We didn’t get to see Oliver don the suit because that would pretty much ruin the plan to make Roy take the fall. It did allow for some nice dynamics between Ollie and Ray, though.
Switching back to the subject of Roy, Colton Haynes put in an impressive performance this week showcasing how much his character has grown over the course of the season. Yes, he’s been pushed to the side, but it’s a completely different Roy to whom we first met. Whilst his final goodbye did end up feeling rushed and disjointed, the whole build-up to this was handled very well. The idea of the Arrow having to fight against criminals that he put away was fun to watch, even if it was something that we’ve seen before (Two examples that jump to mind are Rorsarch in Watchmen and Paul Walker in Fast & Furious 6 etc), and the death did almost have me fooled for a while, with some good build-up being handled there. Once again it looks like when a character will have a really good episode around them, it often means it’s going to be their last, as was the case with Moria in Season 2.
But let’s get to the big one: Thea’s death, at the end of the episode. It was inevitable that Ra’s wasn’t going to let them get off so easily and him showing up in Thea’s apartment was just enough for you to know that something big was going to happen. Whilst it looks increasingly unlikely that it’s going to be permanent, given that the Lazarus Pit should see Thea brought back in exchange for Oliver becoming the Head of the Demon, it allowed for some nice tension and a jaw-dropping way to end the episode, returning to the cliffhanger scales that the show was capable back in Season 2, with Moria’s death being one of the biggest of these. As we enter the final episodes of Season 3, it looks like we’re set for a grand finale indeed.
So, Broken Arrow was one of the stronger episodes of an uneven third season with a very interesting cliffhanger. There’s plenty of potential here for Season 3 to go out on a bang even if there are a few logic issues, such as Roy’s confession probably wouldn’t be enough to let Oliver go and then just leave him alone after that, and there are also, at the same time, a possibility of some early hints being dropped for The Flash/Arrow spinoff show, in the form of Deathbolt (Doug Jones) not getting his metahuman powers from the particle accelerator. That could be really interesting in the long run, and it’ll be fun to see how we get there.