If I could give out my own television awards at the end of the season, Arrow would win for most consistent writing. And best stunts. And best new exercise performed by Stephen Amell...This week’s Arrow, “Salvation,” was written by Drew Z Greenberg and Wendy Mericle and was directed by Nick Copus. Copus also directed “Trust But Verify” which also featured some amazing stunts, so it was great to have him behind the camera again. Greenberg is new to Arrow, but past credits include Buffy, Firefly, and Smallville to name a few and to prove he's got the pedigree. Once again, I find myself asking about how much of the season has been plotted out by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. Each episode delivers a little more of the backstory of the Island while still taking us forward in the present and weaving a theme through multiple plot lines of the episode. This week’s theme is isolation.
Once again, the episode examines what Oliver is doing. One of the things I really like about the show is that it never allows the characters or the audience to simply become complacent about what Oliver is doing. Felicity is bemused when Oliver is determined to save Nichols, who he was about to threaten, when Nichols is kidnapped by the “Savior” (Christopher Redman). As Oliver points out, others don’t exert the same control as he does. This nicely picks up on last week’s episode when Oliver was trying to limit the collateral damage caused by The Huntress. And he’s not wrong. Oliver is trained for this, and Diggle (David Ramsey) even comments on how calm Oliver is. When the Savior says he is just like Oliver, Oliver quickly points out that he isn’t anything like the Savior – he doesn’t kill people in cold blood. But it is a very fine line. In many ways, this story thread is paralleled by Moira’s (Susannah Thompson). Moira has a very dubious moral line when it comes to protecting her family. Is she right to set up Frank to be killed in order to save her own family? At least, in the end, she does plead for and save Frank’s daughter Amanda.
Who else caught the Easter egg shout out in Dinah’s last scene this week? She says she’s going to catch the RED-eye back to Central City and will be there in a “flash.” The Flash, who wears red, lives in Central City in the DC universe...
Just as Oliver is really down on himself, Roy doesn’t fight it when the Savior wants to execute him. Roy tells him “no one is going to miss me. I’m just a waste.” Roy is only echoing Thea (Willa Holland) calling him a waste earlier in the episode. The Hood insists that Roy deserves a second chance to prove himself, and it seems by the end of the episode when he pulls an arrow out of his pocket that Roy is on his way to trying to redeem himself and to becoming Speedy or the Red Arrow. Roy, of course, is also an isolated figure – like virtually all the marginalized people living in The Glades. Thea represents a connection for him, with not only another person, but also a family and a mentor.
Felicity is deeply shaken by the death of the DA, which she feels responsible for. Rickards continues to turn in wonderful performances. Felicity tells Oliver that she is feeling very isolated, and by the end of the episode, he reaches out to make a connection with her too, telling her she can always tell him about her day.
I had a few minor logic quibbles in the episode – such as why would a city decommission an entire subway system and still have running cars in it? Though it was a super cool place for a hideout and viral broadcasts. And why did he target Roy in particular? I did think the reveal at the end that The Glades was the source of the mysterious logo was also a bit anti-climactic and obvious. However, these are all very minor quibbles on my part. Overall, it was another great episode, tightly written and character driven. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.