Reviews

‘Arrow’ Review: 5 WTF Moments from ‘Time of Death’

Cate Cameron/The CW

Last night’s Arrow was a mess. This show and I have had our differences over the past two seasons, but this episode left me saying, ‘WTF?’ more than it made me care about anything that was happening onscreen.

Time of Death” went back to the villain of the week formula that I’ve never been a fan of and we got to see the Clock King in action (side note: has Robert Knepper ever played a good guy?). In his mind, he was committing crimes for the right reasons because he needed money to help a sick family member, but he also became Felicity’s nemesis when he attacked the Arrow Cave.

The action scenes throughout the episode were good and I did enjoy seeing Arrow, Canary and Detective Lance meeting up to do their thing after they all ditched Sara’s welcome home party. I also really loved seeing Digg look out for Felicity throughout the episode. Their friendship is awesome. Speaking of friendship, another highlight was Sin running to hug Sara and then having to pretend she’s never met her before. That comedic touch was awesome (not so much the backstory that Sara is looking out for Sin because her father died on the island. That was overkill).

Other than those things, and Thea finally getting some lines, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this episode. It was all over the place and I alternated between feeling rage and secondhand embarrassment for my favorite characters. So let’s get to the worst of the WTF moments the episode had to offer:

5. Oliver Queen, Hypocrite Extraordinaire

One of my biggest issues with Oliver in season one was how much of a hypocrite he was. He judged criminals for their bad behavior and then proceeded to kill them, which really didn’t make him any better than they were. He deemed Helena a villain for doing the exact same thing that he was doing. It made it really hard for me to root for this guy on any level.

But season two changed that. After Tommy died, Oliver realized that he needed to be better and he stopped killing people (unless absolutely necessary like the Count). And while Oliver’s vigilante side is still holding up and doing the right thing, he really needs to work on his regular persona. Oliver spent the episode being condescending to Felicity, instead of noticing that she was feeling left out of the team she’d help build (more below). Everything Oliver said to Laurel made me want to reach into the screen and slap him (more below), but it’s the inane fighting with Moira that remains one of the worst offenses.

I get that Oliver is hurt that Moira lied to him. But she was doing it for a good reason. She wants to protect Thea from learning that her father was a psycho (not that Robert Queen was a prize). But Oliver is judging Moira for the secret while he continues to keep it from Thea to protect her. WTF? How does that make sense? Oliver thinks Malcolm is dead so if he believes Moira is the absolute worst for keeping the secret, why is he lying to Thea? Because he’s a hypocrite – it’s okay for him to protect Thea, but not Moira, apparently.

4. Sara and Oliver are in a relationship

Even though the show has always had some element of romance, I’ve never been overly invested in any side, mainly because I think all of the women deserve someone better than Oliver (see above). But when the last episode ended with Oliver and Sara in a heated embrace, it seemed wrong. Oliver has been in love with Laurel since we met him and he felt terrible about cheating with Sara. There have also been feelings brewing between Oliver and Felicity. So when Oliver and Sara suddenly hooked up, it seemed like a right place, right time kind of mistake.

However, that’s not the story the show is selling us. Instead, we’re supposed to believe that Oliver and Sara have decided to have an actual relationship. Forget that their tryst tore the Lance family apart. Forget that Oliver said that he can’t be with someone he could care about because of the life he leads. Forget that he was in love with her sister. Forget that Sara had a very real love for Nyssa. Seriously, WTF? Do the writers not realize that we watch all the episodes of the show and instant romances don’t make sense? We need buildup. If it was just hot sex between two vigilantes, fine. But kissing in the cave, kissing in the bar, Oliver going to the Lance family dinner…Sorry Show, this one is too hard to swallow.

3. Felicity takes 10 steps back

Since her first scene, Felicity has been an awesome addition to the show and the producers clearly saw that since they made her a regular. This season, Felicity has had a newfound confidence and it’s fantastic. She stands up for herself, she lets Oliver know when he’s behaving badly and when she makes a mistake, she learns from it and comes back stronger. So seeing her get left out really sucked. Oliver, Digg and Sara were comparing battle scars and Felicity was awkwardly talking about her wisdom teeth. But we’ve all been left out before so it was easy to feel for her.

But then the show kept driving the point home while slipping in hints that maybe Felicity was jealous that Oliver and Sara were in a relationship. She said that wasn’t the case and I believed her, but then the episode just kept pushing. Felicity was devastated when the Clock King was able to beat her security. So she became determined to find him and went after him by herself, which was where the WTF completely took over. The team followed her there and wasn’t happy that she’d gone on her own. Sara felt the need to point out that she’d put on a leather jacket. It was one of those moments that felt like a kid playing dress up and getting shamed for wearing her mother’s lipstick and I’m sorry, but Felicity deserves better than that.

She did get to save the day by first taking a bullet after pushing Sara out of the way and then using the Clock Man’s technology against him. Felicity was adorable when she was high on pain killers as Sara patched up her wound. But then we had to watch Oliver pat her on the head (or touch her face) and tell her that she’d always be his girl. I know some fans were happy with this, but to me, it was condescending and awful. Again, Felicity deserves better.

2. Laurel has to apologize

I’ve been wondering for a long time why the writers hate Laurel so much. They keep telling us that her story is coming and they told us we’d get Laurel-centric episodes, but I’m not sure they have the same definition of ‘centric’ as the rest of us do. Instead, we’ve repeatedly watched Laurel fall apart, lose everything and then get pushed further and further into the background. Last night, despite her reservations, Laurel agreed to host a family dinner to help her dad with his plan to get back together with Dinah. Laurel was rewarded for her efforts by getting a front row seat to Oliver and Sara’s new relationship and then she was told to calm down in her own home.

Laurel left and Oliver chased after her, but it wasn’t to apologize. Instead, it was to tell her that he was done with her and it was time that she took the responsibility for her own problems. Here’s the thing with this speech: it was partially true. Laurel does need to crawl out of the bottles she’s buried herself in and get her life together. But Oliver was NOT the person who should have been telling her this, especially in the harsh way that he did. He’s the one who cheated with her sister. He’s the one who has been lying since he came home. He’s the one who showed up at a family dinner where he’s slept with both sisters. I seriously wanted to break my TV.

The speech did get through to Laurel and she sought Sara out to explain herself. Katie Cassidy and Caity Lotz were fantastic in this scene. I loved that Laurel just wanted her sister back and she realized that she’d been drowning the entire time too. But why didn’t Sara apologize too? Why does all the blame fall on Laurel? She’s not the one who cheated.

1. The CW Spoiled the Ending

All the blame for this one goes purely to the network. Earlier this week, The CW released the episode stills for next week’s episode, “The Promise.” Those pictures featured Slade Wilson at the Queen Mansion with Oliver, Moira, Thea and Sara. So when Thea got Oliver to come home early to try and work out his differences with Moira and she said that she was in a meeting, I think anyone who has been on the internet this week knew what was coming.

Sure enough, Moira introduced Oliver to Slade and the man got up to shake Oliver’s hand. This would have been a cool ending, a surprising way to let Oliver know that Slade was alive in present day…if the pictures weren’t already on the internet.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Do you think the writers are trying to pack too much into each hour? Would the show be better without the romance factors? Were you surprised by the ending? Has Oliver regressed? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

  • Eyn

    I liked a lot what you said about Sara and Oliver’s sudden relationship. It didn’t feel bad for me that they slept together in the previous episode because it felt like a “just sex”moment, but a relationship?? Really? And I liked that you mentioned Nyssa, Sara tells us that she loved Nyssa and we think that they’ve been together for 4 years or so, but seing her doesn’t get any of her feelings back (when she left her like 2 months ago). It is not believable.

  • Jonbee

    First…I want to point out that I read comics when I was young, but I didn’t read Green Arrow. I am not completely aware of how accurate this show is compared to the comics. I have been home sick with the mumps and with nothing better to do I saw Netflix has Arrow Season 1, so I decided to check it out. I got hooked right away because I liked the fact that the show
    took a different approach to the super hero by making Arrow a vigilante.

    Having said that I would like to voice my opinion on what I agree and disagree with regarding this review and the show on a whole.

    I was willing to overlook the fact that in the SHORT 5 years Oliver was missing he became an expert marksman with a bow, an exceptional martial art expert and a captain within the Russian mafia. Oh and not to mention Oliver can also speak
    fluent Russian and Mandarin. Completely preposterous…LOL! Anyway, I don’t get this entire episode either and agree with some of the points Mandy makes about the show. It’s funny that this guy thinks he can continue to judge people. Take
    a look in the mirror man!

    In addition, again we have a ridiculous disguise that would never work in real life. It worked for me in the first season because Oliver would stay in the shadows when meeting with Laurel or Detective Lance. Unfortunately, this concept was dropped now that he has a mask covering his eyes. Here is a suggestion…the next time you cast someone for a role make sure they don’t have a distinguishable mole or whatever that is on the right side of Stephen Amell’s face just below his bottom lip. If Arrow was meeting with people he didn’t know all of his life, then I could believe they would not recognize it’s him, but Laurel or Detective Lance not
    able to see this is completely silly.

    I do however disagree with Mandy in regards to Laurel.

    Laurel’s attitude toward her sister about not telling them she was alive for five years is a bit farfetched and paints her as childish and self-centered. Don’t get me wrong Oliver and Sara are too, but I think we should take an inventory on Laurel before we cry out in rage that she is the one being screwed over by Sara. First, I would think that Laurel would be more open to finding out the truth instead of pushing her sister away. I mean how can you believe that anyone would react that way toward their sibling after finding out they survived a ship wreck? Are we to believe that this is jealousy because Sara was hooking up with Oliver behind her back? I find it interesting that Sara never once mentions the fact the Laurel sabotaged her chances to get with Oliver when they were younger. If we go back a few episodes it was Sara who snuck out of their parents’ house because she knew that Oliver was attending a party and was going to try to hook up with him. Laurel called the cops, Sara gets grounded and Laurel makes her move. On top of this little bit of history we also learn in this episode, through a flashback of the past, that Oliver was sleeping
    around with multiple women while Laurel was dating him. I just think this is interesting and don’t understand how Laurel thinks she can cry wolf when she has no one to blame but herself. I am not excusing the fact that Sara was sleeping with Oliver behind Laurel’s back, but I think it needs to be understood that Laurel is not blameless and we should not forget how Laurel’s relationship with Oliver began.

    I do agree that jumping right in and making Sara and Oliver officially a couple is lazy writing. It’s because the writers are pandering to the fact that the primary audience watching the show is teenagers and they believe that everything has to be extremely dramatic in order to keep the ratings up. A little surprise here…not everyone watching the show is completely clueless as to how actual relationships work. I’m not saying that something like that could not happen, but typically it would not especially given the history. It would be more believable if another approach was taken instead of these completely crazy twists. Furthermore, Sara having just returned from the dead to rekindle her relationship with her family would not (in real life) result in her bringing Laurel’s ex-boyfriend (who she was hooking up with behind her sisters back) to the first family dinner in over 5 years.

    Preposterious!

    Now on to Sara’s drastic change…

    Like Oliver, we are expected to buy that in the past 5 years she also became a deadly assassin and exceptional martial arts expert. Oh and let’s not forget that in this short time she spent a year working with microscopes, so that takes care of her expertise on hematology…HA!

    This is stupid script writing here.

    Now…on to Felicity and the most unbelievable character relationship…

    First, Emily Bett Rickards is way more attractive than either Lance sister. Once again we have a gorgeous woman made to seem unnoticeable and completely infatuated with the “would be” hero of the show even though he continues to slight her at every turn. The character of Felicity is so silly it just makes me want to punch whoever writes this stuff! We are to believe she is an expert IT person with great skills in all things tech and she is still willing to stay and work for Oliver?! I don’t get this part of the show dynamics at all. I know you can make the argument that she is part of something bigger than life because she is helping to save people, blah…blah…blah, but come on! At some point you would think that someone would have a big enough back bone to
    say by now, “Hey! I don’t need this crap! I’m out of here!”, and then get herself a real paying job. Anyone with that level of tech skill would be able to make themself a huge knot of money in today’s technologically driven world!

    Preposterous!

    One other thing…every show today seems to be on this kick that they can just write in a script, “…character sits down at the computer and hits a key, Presto!, what they wanted just magically pops up on the computer screen…”. The part of this episode when Sara takes one second to look at that blood sample, then asks Felicity if she can use her computer and rolls the chair right over before Felicity can say sure go right ahead before Sara touches one button on the keyboard and magically all the information she needs is there…LOL!!

    Preposterious!

  • Infinight Moon

    5. No. Moira lied to Thea in order to protect herself. Thea was 14 when Moira discovered how bad Malcolm was. In that time, Moira could have told both Robert and Thea what happened. In fact, she should have told Robert before she ever gave birth. Maybe Moira’s reason the last five years have been to protect her, but not prior to that.
    4. From Sara’s standpoint, it makes sense that she would want to cling to the only person she really knows, anymore. Oliver just noticed that there was a new female character as part of the main cast, and that he hadn’t banged her yet.
    3.Agreed.
    2. Should Sara? I mean, yeah, she slept with her sister’s boyfriend. Sisters do that occasionally. It’s been five years, though. Shouldn’t that be water over the boat (that’s the expression, right?), by now?

  • REED RICHARDS

    Katie, When people hate the heroes of a show more than the villains, then the writers should be able to clearly see that they have gone terribly wrong. To expand: That was part of my ditch the instant romance stuff, although I did not elaborate. Yes, Oliver is a huge douche lately, treating his mother Moira like trash and going with Sara to the Lance family dinner like that. And as I mentioned, Slade needs to make real short work of Sara, with Oliver watching the whole thing happen. Between Oliver’s and Sara’s hypocrisy, Laurel’s dirtbag drug habits, Thea dating a street urchin super strength bum who has been missing in action, and Felicity being given short shrift by Oliver one time too many, Arrow has been taking too many wrong turns as of late. The only thing that can save this show now is for the writers to get back to basics, eliminate the distractions that Oliver has in life, and bring on the action. I agree with you kill on Slade killing Sara. But not Oliver. NO WAY!! Oliver does just fine without Sara around. So getting rid of her would be an excellent start! Nyssa, Heir to the Demon and Malcom Merlyn are sorely needed at this point in time!!!

  • Katie

    Thank-you. All this stupid Sara propping was stupid. It was out of character for Felicity to be acting that way but the magic that is Emily Bett Rickards she managed to make the unbearable bearable and endearing from her end. But by doing so you had to project your anger, disappointment and straight up disgust at Oliver the Queen of hypocrisy and Sara the patronizing well adjusted Assassin. They deserve each other. That is said genuinely.

    But the one redeeming thing of the episode. They made Laurel look good. She is actually likable. By downgrading Oliver Queen and making him a back biting bottom feeder Laurel Lance has moved up in the world. She is a LIKABLE and SYMPATHETIC character.

    Oliver and Sara on the other hand are the characters you want the anti hero Slade Wilson to take down. Take em’ down Slade. Kill em’. Then rule Starling. I would watch. Manu is boss. He owns LIFE with that Australian accent.

    You’ll always be my girl. Take it. Shove it. Felicity has always been too good for Oliver. Hopefully those who ship Olicity will finally see that.

    Where is Roy? Just where? Someone tell me. He’s going miss. We need a search party.

    Oliver at the Lance dinner table. SO stupid. They should be crying at how stupid they’ve become. It’s like S1 early episodes all over again. Every time I see Oliver and Sara I just say “get out!” where should they go? Not sure. But just get out.

  • REED RICHARDS

    Sorry, but this episode of Arrow would be graded as pathetic to downright awful. One, there was far too much drama and little action. This balance was what made Arrow so great in the first place; a perfect balance between drama and action. And this episode was far too tilted towards drama and very little action. Clock King was such a lame villain. Taken down by Felicity Smoak? Well, he wasn’t all that dangerous to begin with……In essence; Arrow has too many characters and not enough time for all of them. One, there are far too many female roles. It seems that Dinah Lance will be leaving now that Quentin’s “fantasy” of getting her back was busted to pieces last night. This is good. Sara being back means there is no place for a “grieving mother” now. Two, Sara must die and soon. Slade, slice her to pieces with your sword! Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow, not Batman! This means that a side-kick for Oliver is so stupid idea. Sara sees very little action when she is with Oliver anyway, which means that she has no real purpose except as a stand-alone character. Besides, there is no room in the Arrow lair for two beautiful blondes. And we definitely don’t need Sara playing with computers and analyzing blood playing the role of Felicity Smoak. So Sara must go.

    Who else should be given the chopping block? Good ole Roy! Roy who? That’s the point. Ever since acquiring super-strength, Roy has been missing in action. No space for a superhuman being when the main character is peak human strength and runs around with a bow and arrows. Slade, slice Roy to pieces with your Sword or blow him up with a few grenades! Next, John Diggle. Affirmative action is fine sometimes, but this cat takes the cake. John Diggle is nothing but the token black on the show, along with Walter Steele (Where did Walter go by the way)? and has no real role on the show other than to play Felicity’s older brother from a different mother. All in all, Arrow really stumbled last night. Time for the writers to get back to their original roots, their tested formula, keep the plots simple, the drama and action balanced, and ditch the instance romances and make the villains larger than life! Oliver Queen needs to be tested, taken to the limits of his abilities, and the only way to really do that is to keep the distractions to a minimum. And the biggest test would be Malcom Merlyn returning to haunt Oliver, while using Thea (his daughter by the way) as a cat’s-paw!!

    ARROW WRITERS: GET HOT AND STEP UP YOUR GAME!!!

  • Carlybabes

    It’s always a pleasure reading your perspective. Great article!

  • The Cat Bastet

    Finally someone talks sense about that excruciating “you’ll always be my girl” scene. Between that and the jacket comment, I thought I was watching that movie where a 12-yo Reese Witherspoon is in love with her older sister’s boyfriend. It was humiliating. And Diggle did not need to report Felicity’s feelings to Oliver.