On the D/L – Arrow

Jan 22, 2015 | Posted by in TV

Season 3 Episode 10 – “Left Behind”

It has felt like a long time since Arrow went off the air but now it’s back. Team Arrow are trying to keep up appearances in Starling City during the absence of Oliver Queen as a new threat emerges.

Oliver’s presence in the present day sections of the episode was very minor which allowed the rest of his team to shine. With Oliver being away Roy, Diggle and Felicity are working hard to keep the streets safe and are doing a capable job of doing so. I’ve been wondering for a while how effective the team would be without Oliver and I’m glad I got to find out here.


Oliver Queen lies “dead” on a ledge

I found it interesting to see that the group lacks a sense of leadership. They seem to be trying to function as equals but too much seems to go wrong without anyone in charge. We see this play out twice in the episode in ways that compromise their objectives. Logically I think Diggle is the best choice to be in charge when Oliver is absent given his combat and tactics experience as well as the fact that he is the only one completely focused on the mission. Both Felicity and Roy are far too easily distracted to be in charge. Oliver’s leadership gives them direction as well as someone to rally behind. This is something that has become really clear in his absence.

Of course Oliver was never going to be gone for good but I appreciated that the episode didn’t bring him back to the team by the end of it. It’s also great that the flashbacks are starting to feel increasingly relevant to the present day. In this case they were intended to establish the camaraderie between Oliver and Maseo which will eventually result in Maseo owing him a debt that comes to be repaid now.

The mission depicted in the flashback was a pretty standard one but as a vehicle to build the friendship between Oliver and Maseo it was excellent. I liked that Oliver seemed to let his morality get in the way and not kill one of China White’s troops to then have it turn out to be a plan to follow him and save Maseo’s wife. Oliver clearly shows that his true loyalty is with Maseo and not Amanda Waller.


Diggle goes toe to toe with Brick

Malcolm Merlyn had a significant presence in the episode and I found it to be a little clumsy. He acts so mysteriously that it comes across as pretty uneven. First he lets himself into the Arrow Cave to tell the team that Oliver is probably dead then he nips off to the site of Oliver’s battle with Ra’s Al Ghul to retrieve the sword before coming back to tell them that Oliver is probably dead. The biggest problem I had with this is I’m not sure what his agenda is any more. In the last episode it seemed apparent that his plan was to either have Oliver or Ra’s Al Ghul out of his hair to lessen his list of enemies but he says here that he was counting on Oliver winning that fight to cancel his debt.

Why he would assume that Oliver would win that fight is beyond me. Malcolm should probably be aware how skilled Ra’s Al Ghul is relative to Oliver so would know that Oliver is no match for him. Unless he has some higher agenda that isn’t yet known which actually wouldn’t surprise me. Barrowman did a great job of projecting an authentic sense of regret over what he has caused. Whether he was genuinely regretful or not is up for debate. Malcolm has lots of blood on his hands so why should one more make him feel bad? The scene where he told Thea that they have to leave Starling City seemed really out of place as well. Why he would decide this now isn’t very clear.

I like the way that each member of Team Arrow dealt with the news of Oliver’s death. Each reaction felt perfectly in character and it drove the plot forward in interesting ways. Diggle was clearly torn up about it but chose to focus his energies into honouring Oliver in the way he feels appropriate. He feels he owes it to his friend to carry on the mission so uses that as a coping mechanism by approaching things one at a time.

Roy’s reaction is a little more subdued as he just feels lost. He feels overwhelmed by the prospect of being the only archer in Starling City and can’t see a way to continue without Oliver calling the shots. I liked that his conversation with Thea seems to be the thing that makes him realise that. Thea misses her brother and asks Roy to task the Arrow to find him. Thea’s not stupid and knows Roy is the man in the red hood because it would be painfully obvious to her given his previous obsession with finding the Arrow. When Roy realises that there is nothing he can do but lie to her the weight of his secrecy overwhelms him and he feels that he’s not cut out to lead the life that Oliver seemed to make look easy.

Felicity’s reaction is a much more emotional one. This makes sense as she has lost her best friend as well as the man she loves. Emily Bett Rickards is great at playing Felicity barely holding back her grief. She is constantly rushing to be on her own rather than break down in front of people. Her focus was on the mission for a while but I liked how her heart just wasn’t in it without Oliver. Her decision to quit was really shocking and I wonder if Diggle and Roy can handle the mission without her.


Roy dodges gunfire

Seeing how Felicity reacts to the loss of Oliver leads to some of the most interesting parts of the episodes. Her conversation with Ray Palmer where she tells him that his plan to be a costumed superhero is a misguided idea because it won’t bring back his fiancée back. She is really harsh with him and clearly upsets him in a big way. Ray Palmer’s reaction to this conversation was fantastic when he told her that she has no right talking like that as she has no idea what Anna was like in a combination of shock and anger. Brandon Routh consistently brings his A game to his performances in this show. I’m all for an Atom spinoff if there ever is one.

This episode introduced us to a new villain named Brick (Vinnie Jones). His plan to take over the Glades is a fairly ambitious one but I get the impression that he’s more than capable given that he’s invulnerable and intelligent. His plan to steal evidence so that there’s nothing to convict criminals that can join his team is really clever and gives him an able supply of expendable henchmen. Vinnie Jones plays this character as imposing enough and he should present a credible threat for a while. He’s no Slade Wilson but I like him so far.

Laurel suits up as the Black Canary for the first time in this episode. It was left until the end but it made dramatic sense for her to do so. Up until this point she’s been content to train because she trusts Oliver to get the job done but now that he’s gone it’s given her the push she needed to take on the mantle. There’s an awkwardness to her taking down the criminals but that’s to be expected given that it’s her first time out. This development has come organically so I hope it gives her lots of challenges over the next few episodes.

  • 8/10
    Left Behind - 8/10


A strong return for Arrow with lots of plot covered in a single episode. Oliver’s absence hasn’t hurt the quality of the show at all and it has taken the rest of the cast in an interesting direction.

Each character’s reaction to the apparent death of Oliver Queen is done really well. Every reaction felt unique to the character and the plot moves forward in interesting ways as a result of how they react. In particular Felicity’s reaction becomes very significant in how she chooses to deal with it and abandon the mission. I wonder if Roy and Diggle will be able to handle things without her.

The new villain in town, Brick seems like a formidable threat who is perhaps not at the same level as Slade Wilson but should provide an interesting diversion for a while. His invulnerability coupled with his intelligence is a great asset to him and he seems to be more than a match for the fractured Team Arrow.

This episode is brought down slightly by Malcolm Merlyn’s confusing motivations. It seems that he counted on Oliver winning his fight with Ra’s Al Ghul rather than either result being preferable to him. His plan once seemed clever but now seems confusing. It could all pay off in the end but for now it seems a little clumsy.

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