Full disclaimer: I didn’t watch Constantine on NBC. Sorry! But even without knowledge of the character or the show, I enjoyed this crossover (is it still a crossover when one of the crossed shows is cancelled?). John Constantine and Oliver had great bro-chemistry and the little bits of interaction he had with the rest of Team Arrow were great as well. 10/10, would enjoy again.
As my recap subtitle tells us, we deal with the restoration of Sara’s soul to her body. Psalm 23, where the title derives, relates to Arrow in ways you wouldn’t expect.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalms 23:2-3 KJV
Star City certainly is a valley of the shadow of death right now. Oh, and Other Realm/soul!Sara was found by water (or magic hot tub, close enough). Re-ensouled Sara is probably gonna be looking for her “paths of righteousness,” leading her to Legends of Tomorrow.
This episode, for me, was basically the re-ensoul Angel arc from Angel season four, especially with the magical crossover and dream sequence.
In order to bring us John Constantine in the present day, we learn that Oliver met him on the island five years ago. Lian Yu is a nexus that draws in bad people. (Clearly). I loved Constantine’s command of every situation he’s in. He immediately knows there’s something more to Oliver, he’s quick to shoot out the tires, and he only nearly dies when Oliver saves him in the cave. I can see why his confidence is appealing. I can’t say I’d watch it as a TV show still (sorry!), but I definitely would like more appearances on Arrow. It was a perfect fit. (Unlike The Flash, where it wouldn’t be. Like how Supergirl would fit perfectly in a Flash crossover, but less so on Arrow. But basically: GIVE ME ALL THE CROSSOVERS.)
I wonder if we’ll see what Constantine took later. I must say, it reminds me of a Sailor Moon wand.
Well, until John lops off the ball of the Orb of … something. (My captions didn’t come on for the DVR replay.) But the staff is a spell book that he’s gonna tuck away for safekeeping.
Before he goes, Constantine takes the tattoo from his arm and places it (MAGICALLYYYY) onto Oliver’s stomach, giving us another tattoo origin! It’s supposed to protect Oliver from his current island nemeses, but I guess it worked for longer? Since Oliver didn’t die last season when he totally should have. All in all, this was definitely the most interesting the flashbacks have been in ages.
In the present, Oliver calls Constantine to get him to help with Sara. Now how did John know it was Oliver calling? He had that particular number stored in his phone?! Or has really great caller ID from what’s probably a burner phone that gets recycled every so often. A number that’s probably new-ish — if not from the last six months, with Oliver retiring and coming back, then from the last five years — because island Oliver didn’t even have a phone to exchange numbers… So clearly they’ve met since…! MORE CROSSOVERS OFFICIALLY HAVE TO HAPPEN.
Who else missed this reference the first time around?
Brilliant Take That to NBC.
Constantine pulls some magical mojo so they can go to the Other Realm to get Sara’s soul back.There, they have to fight… soul protecting league of shadows looking dudes…? I think we lost all plot logic here, but I almost don’t care. I say almost because, while Constantine fights the Boss of the level, Oliver and Laurel are supposed to help Soul!Sara out of the hot tub. But even after John says “anytime today would be nice,” THEY STAND THERE AND WATCH HIM FIGHT WHILE SOUL!SARA DROWNS A LITTLE. Uhm, guys! GET A MOVE ON!
They get Sara back (yay!) and Oliver walks his new bro out, telling him that Damien’s in town. Constantine doesn’t like that and tells them to basically run. And then he dips because he ain’t got time to mess with Damien Darhk, apparently. This is probably not the last time we see him though, so see ya later, John!
Canaries Fly Again
We know from last week that Sara escaped from being kept in a dank, dirty basement, but it wasn’t just to find a comfy sofa. At first, it seemed like she was back to her early-Canary days — saving women from violent attacks, but then it becomes clear that Sara is looking for Thea. Seeing as how Thea killed her, this definitely makes sense. (But if Sara and Thea have a Pit connection, why did Sara not sense her earlier? She was looking for her in Thea-type places but places Thea hadn’t been to, but then suddenly she has a connection to her? Most Arrow plot holes are ignorable, but this one bothered me upon my rewatch.)
What’s happening with Sara isn’t healing anyone’s pain. It’s making it worse.”
Well, until they get her soul back…
This usually ends up being the problem with any supernatural/superhero show: audiences can’t take the stakes of death seriously because there are usually ways to get people back. The Pit has cheapened anyone’s death, but I think the show is at least trying to make it seem harder than just a bubble bath and a snap of the fingers. We have yet to see how re-ensouled Sara is mentally, but we have to assume she’s alright if she’s gonna be saving the world on Legends of Tomorrow.
(We also know she goes off to be with the Legends, so she chooses not to stay in Star City with her sister and father.) But it’s taken three episodes and a fantastically timed crossover to get her back. We don’t want Tommy and/or Moira to deal with this do we? Or whoever is in the grave at the end of 4×011? The Pit may be a Get Out of Death Free card, but I also don’t think the characters will choose to go through this route again. If they do, something worse is going to happen.
He’s Got Terrific Energy
Someone pointed out to me that Curtis’ gym clothes are reminiscent of his Mr. Terrific outfit, which is a cool Easter egg. Curtis tells Felicity that he is a bronze medal decathlete, tying in Mr. Terrific’s Olympic strength. Just like most of the heroes on this show, we are on Curtis’ journey with him as he becomes Mr. Terrific, but a lot of the skills necessary, he already has.
I saw some reaction on Twitter about Felicity giving Curtis a job she could clearly do herself, which made some people uneasy. A few things here:
- Felicity is hella busy. She’s a CEO and the Team Arrow overlord! Plus some Oliver campaign stuff too probz. Give it to Curtis and he can take care of it while she does other stuff!
- Maybe there’s some tech on there that Curtis and his equipment can handle faster than hers (are the Arrow cave computers still glitching like they were last week?).
- She clearly just wants to work with Curtis, get to know him more, see what he can do. Test his skills a bit, but also place her trust in him. The more she gives him and he proves he can handle it, the more she can come to him with Team Arrow stuff.
- I bet cleaning up that audio would require her to listen to Ray’s “last” words over and over and over again. Who has the energy for that? Especially when you can get someone you trust to do it.
I like their dynamic and don’t think it’s taking away from Felicity to provide more Terrific Smoak time.
Anyway, Curtis clears up the message and they learn that RAY IS ALIVE. DUH! Next week is clearly Terrific Smoakin’ ATOM time!
Furhther in the Darhk
Damien asks Captain Lance to delete some files from a massive server. Since he’s working undercover for Oliver, he takes the information to him. Oliver sends Diggle with Lance and they figure out that he’s deleting names — the names of former H.I.V.E. members? Or just assassin hits? — including Andrew Diggle.
According to Darhk, Andy got himself involved in drugs, weapons, murder over in Afghanistan, so H.I.V.E. had him killed. His story doesn’t quite make sense, especially since:
1. We saw Andrew bodyguarding with Diggle when Oliver came to Starling during the flashbacks last season. Was he a crime lord then?
2. Why would H.I.V.E. care about Andy being a crime lord? Was he trying to edge in on their turf?
3. How did Diggle not suspect anything about his brother. Or was he just willfully blind?
4. If the answer is coming from Damien, put little trust in it.
Diggle gets Andy’s file in the end, but we don’t get to see it. Hopefully this gets explained soon, because Darhk’s explanation wasn’t an explanation at all. Though I did like how confused he was that Lance was asking about him. More villains need to question when their henchmen start asking random questions. Hope Lance didn’t blow his cover…
We already knew Oliver wouldn’t abandon his friendship/partnership with Laurel in order to run for Mayor. While I am solidly an Olicity shipper, I do root for CanArrow as a crime fighting partnership. Laurel just needs to get her life together, learn to process grief, and acknowledge that her mistakes are mistakes and that maybe she shouldn’t have done them.
“If I have a judgmental look on my face, it’s because you played with forces you do not understand. And now people are dying because of it.”
Laurel never really acknowledges the consequences of her actions beyond her immediate family. She even berates Oliver for not caring about the Lances. Oliver deserves to be yelled — a lot — but that was an unfair and low blow. He’s always trying to keep Lances safe, always trying to undo his damage from the boat accident. And just because Oliver lied, doesn’t mean that it’s okay for you to do the same, Laurel! Two wrongs and all that jazz.
I did enjoy that the scene acknowledges that Oliver doesn’t take Laurel seriously (few of us do, lol oops), but it’s true that he really hasn’t trained her or given her much of a chance to grow as the Black Canary, which is the only way in which Laurel’s speech rings with any truth. He hasn’t trained her, so he’s been stifling her ability to actually do well in the field. Once he does, will we see better Black Canary moves?
- Spot the Hamilton reference in this recap.
- It’s weird seeing flashback Ollie with the short hair use his really high, still kind of naive, pre-return voice. Mostly because of the short hair. But I DON’T miss the wig!
- “Are you sure it’s just because it’s a dying declaration from your ex? I mean, that is some serious Nicholas Sparks stuff. Don’t judge, the man can write emotion.” I love your depths, Curtis.
- “Are you sticking around for a cupcake or something?” Damien’s villainy really is delicious. (<– that pun wasn’t on purpose, I swear!) He hasn’t quite done anything major yet (aside from killing city leadership, his efforts have been small scale) and we don’t really have an eye on what his end prize might be… just hints and suspicious packages. But his scenes with Lance are wonderful, the two men play off of each other really well. I’m so scared to see what his endgame might be! Never forget that R’as wanted him dead the minute he heard he was in Starling City.
- “What do you want?” “A new beginning for the world. A nice glass of Merlot, not necessarily in that order.” So while the last few villains have had it out for Oliver/Starling City in particular, can we expect Damien’s evil plans to be more world domination based?
- We got several shout outs to past season arcs and characters. TOMMY REFERENCE OMG! Also to Moira, and those three episodes Thea worked at CNRI….
- “This is your overlord, Felicity Smoak.” “We have a PA system?” “Yet another decision I might live to regret.” I DON’T. Felicity installed that PA system 99% so she could say that. Love her. But also, how big is this new Arrow Cave that they need a PA system?!
- Also, the new Arrow Cave has a garage? For their cars/bikes? Lance drove into it and I assume we’ll see motorcycle Team Arrow speed out from it. But where is it in relation to the campaign offices above??
- I really liked Thea’s door move on the stairwell. I hope to never find myself in a chase, but that’s a good fake out move.
- How many windows did Sara break through this episode? I lost count. More work for Star City Window Treatment services.
- Shouldn’t the first thing you do when stealing an ancient artifact be to look for traps?! Did Indiana Jones and Aladdin teach us NOTHING!?
- I love how Other Realm Oliver and Laurel are immediately in their gear. Constantine knew what to bring.
- “I’m not going to just stand here!” Laurel doesn’t hesitate, she takes and she takes… (Couldn’t resist.)
- The musical motif’s Constantine brought with him are fantastic.
- “He’s a very specific kind of yummy…!” “Oh, I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear you just say that.” Like I said in a previous recap, I like that we get lighter Oliver again, who can joke with his sister and his team again. That was severely lacking in season 3 and helped tank it.
- Guys, Oliver says ‘I’m sorry’ for something! OH EM GEE! I think he’s finally growing as a person! Whaaaaat!?
That’s all I’m gonna write now, because this is a week late. Byyyeee!
- Re: grave theory, what if it’s a set up? Like Roy’s death… What if there’s no one in the grave, but they’re all pretending? Hmm. ↩