Arrow Recap: Crucible

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If you were looking for more Black Canary, last night’s Arrow had you covered. 

Isabel Rochey is at a party at Queen manor. Turns out it’s an attempt to get investors for the company but Oliver isn’t there. Why? He’s busy fighting some guys with machine guns. Military grade weapons to be exact, says Diggle. No big. He makes his fashionably late appearance to the party, which Laural and Sebastian are also in attendance for some strange reason. Anyway, a bunch of small talk later we find out the guns are being used by a local gang lord calling himself The Mayor. He’s currently ruling at a makeshift City Hall and kills people like it’s no big deal. The most backstory we’re given on him is that he was no one before the earthquake. So why is he such an evil dude now? Shrug. Guess we don’t need to know.

Meanwhile Laurel is sick to death of people asking if she’s ok. “I should be used to traumatic events,” she says. Yes. Yes, you should. But this gives Felicity a thought. What if Black Canary is actually following Laurel? Turns out, she’s correct, and The Hood catches her in a trap. He also came prepared for her sonic device. And then…She calls him Ollie! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN! He takes off her “disguise” and reveals Sara Lance, Laurel’s long dead sister. We get a quick, reshot, flashback to the Queen’s Gambit where the two were about to get it on and then the boat sank. I’ll give you some time to let it sink in, Sara says before using some sort of back up explosion on her sonic device to get away.

At the Arrow Lair, the team discusses Sara Lance. Did Oliver lie about her dying? Sort of. Not really? Like he originally told everyone, he thought she drowned, but it turns out he saw her a year later. But then he thought she died again. This is just like General Hospital! Instead of spilling it all to the team then and there, Oliver clams up and shouts about how he lived five years where nothing good happened, and yadda, yadda, her family was better off not knowing.

At the Watchtower, Sin and Canary have a chat about her running into an old boyfriend. My family thinks I’m dead, says Sara. Hey, mine too, says Sin, or they wish I’d never been born. Well this is a cheery room. Sin asks why Sara saved her and she replies with, “No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.” As if we didn’t already love her enough.

Back on the case of the gang with the serious guns, Diggle meets his old ARGUS pal, Lyla, to ask if she knows anything. She confirms they came from a military based and then…woah…hold on…flirt alert!

At the Queen offices, Sebastian Blood meets with Isabel and Oliver. Oliver suggests doing a cash for guns event to get them off the street, to which Sebastian is all, you’re just trying to save your family name again. At this point, if I were Oliver I’d say no, that’s not it, but even if that was the reason, it’s still getting guns off the street so shut your pie hole, Sebastian. But that’s not how this goes. Sebastian makes a quick exit to “think about it,” while Isabel yells at Oliver for being too loose with the company’s  money. “No on invested at your investment party,” she says, adding she wants to make the city safer but Queen Consolidated is what they should be focusing on.

Laurel’s boss Adam invites her out for dinner, she reluctantly accepts and WOAH THERE, Laurel! Just because your boss is paying for dinner doesn’t mean you have to down your glass of wine like it’s water in a desert. Hold on…flirt alert! But unlike the last one, Laure is super freaked out her boss is coming on to her and books it. Right into her car. While drunk. And of course she’s pulled over. She tries to use her name and job title but it doesn’t work on this cop. Luckily for her, he calls her dad who chooses probably the worst time to tell her not to follow in his alcoholic footsteps. “Don’t compare my one mistake to your drinking problem, DAD! I’ve had a really hard time lately!”

At Verdant, Sara shows up out of costume. That’s brave considering Thea runs the joint now. Anywho, she wants to know if Oliver told her family she was back and then…DUN DUN DUNNNNNN…she asks about Slade! Whaaaaaaaaat? Oh man. I can’t wait to find out what happened with her the last few years. She tells him a year ago I started hearing about the vigilante and knew it was him but he wants to know how she learned how to fight. So now I’m really confused. She only came back because she wanted to make sure her family was safe after the quake and then, knock, knock. Dad shows up. He just wanted to tell Oliver about what happened with Laurel and ask him to be a friend to her. He attempts that but Laurel just gets angry and defensive. “He’s the one with the problem, not me,” she says. Uh huh.

The Mayor has a crate of guns from Camp Kirby (nod to Jack?). There’s a GPS on it, which is great, but they turned it off, which is not great, but Queen Industries created it so problem solved! The Hood breaks up the gun party, securing the weapons and a bunch of gang members, but The Mayor not caught. The guns for cash event goes on and none other than Roy is there handing in way too many guns in guns. But he tells them to keep the money, which Thea sees and is all “awwww,” but then Sin shows up. She makes a few digs at Thea, who takes it pretty well, then realizes she doesn’t know Roy is “the vigilante’s delivery boy.” Sebastian and Oliver chat that brings in the title of the episode. “Your crucible was the island,” he says. Some grow strong from the experience, then there are those who die, and those who learn to love the fire, embrace the pain. It’s then The Mayor shows up and shoots at the crowd. They get away even though there were like 15 police officers at the event. Sigh. Oliver saved Sebastian but a few civilians and cops go down, including Sin. But the event was a huge success, taking 800 guns off the streets, and Sin is going to be ok.

The Mayor revealing himself to the public allows Felicity to name him. He’s Xavier Reed and one of his foster brothers was in the military, hence the gun access. New, bigger guns are meant to be delivered tonight so The Hood and Black Canary (still not named as such on the show) team up for a “real fight.” It’s a good, albeit quick, takedown which ends in BC on the verge of killing The Mayor. Oliver stops her but she says, “You can’t save a city with forgiveness.” Just when you think she’s about to let Oliver have his way, The Mayor calls her a bitch. “I really don’t like that word,” she says as she kills him? Maybe? I don’t know, it’s hard to tell, Either way he’s down for the count. Post-game, Sara and Oliver have a chat about what she intends to do now. He encourages her to tell her family but she says they’re both dead anyway, they died on the island. Oh, and also, they’d never talk to Oliver again if she revealed he lied to them. But it seems like she’s going to anyway because Oliver says it’s worth it. Meanwhile, their dad is in an alcoholics anonymous meeting, talking about Laurel, who is now drinking and taking prescription drugs! Anyone else getting flashbacks to comic book Roy’s addiction problems?

Oh hey, The Mayor is alive. He was “arrested” but actually picked up by dirty cops. And then the Scarecrow walks in and I suddenly have no idea what’s going on in this show. He says he’s creating an army of the strong and gives The Mayor some green injection. Is that venom? Oops, he’s dead. “Scarecrow” is actually Sebastian under the mask who’s called Brother Blood by the police in the room.

In our flashbacks this week, Oliver is still locked up on that boat and being questioned. When he doesn’t answer, he’s shot. Well, ok. But then he’s giving a first aid kit. Well, ok. “It’s a test to see if you survive,” says his neighbor, Hugh Jackman from Les Miserables. He sews himself up only to be questioned again. The man has been looking for grave sight. He asked Oliver if they found the bodies and if the bones misshapen? Hmm. He’s finally taken out of cell, probably to be tortured but then one who comes to see him is…DUN DUN DUNNNN…Sara.

A strong episode all around. It was great seeing Black Canary in full-on action mode while also getting a bit of her backstory. I’m really looking forward to seeing that unfold, I only hope they don’t kill her off too soon. (I mean, that is where this is all going, isn’t it?) Though I do have a few questions. Why does BC wear a blonde wig for her costume when she’s already blonde? Her having Sin’s hair would have made much more sense. And why did the creators put Brother Blood in such a Scarecrow-looking mask? I know that’s not what he’s meant to be but I’m sure that’s going to be confusing for a lot of the audience. And what about Laurel’s sudden addiction problem? Unless I missed subtle hints in the first few episodes they really brought that in from of nowhere this episode. But it does really make me wonder if we’re going to see the Roy/Green Arrow drug addiction storyline unfold with her instead.

What did you think of the episode?

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Image of Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."