Sara’s back in town, just long enough for Nyssa, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul the titular “Heir of the Demon” to come to Starling and win her back. “Heir of the Demon” is jammed packed with potential plot developments that make judging what happened last night hard without knowing what comes of it. Even if it “Heir of the Demon” didn’t have plenty of emotional gobbledygook to chew (mull?) over, the second half’s deadline structure wouldn’t have given a moment of pause anyway. Without looking too far ahead, “Heir of the Demon” continues the series quality of execution.
It’s a little surprising that Sara and all of the Lance family really made it out of “Heir of the Demon” alive. With the shows history of introducing proto versions to characters to kill off, it wasn’t beyond the possibility that Sara would die in some kind of noble sacrifice, which could inevitably draw Laurel into the fold. Or perhaps lose one of her parents. Once Det. Lance was about to spill the Sara beans to Laurel only to be called away, it seemed very likely. Or even the very expendable underutilized Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance, who is more of a plot device than character really. The treatment of Sara Lance mirrors how Nyssa’s approach to her former lover, unsure if she was going to kiss or kill her.
No, Sara gets to live (for now) and come home to a family reunited. There’s a reason why the League henchmen have talked about death as the one true release or other such moments of salvation: living is a struggle. That’s why Ollie has the salmon ladder and many things to punch. Sara must have imagined this moment of reunion often, it doesn’t go quiet as planned. Embraced by her parents but soundly rejected by her sister. Who was so happy at the thought of her younger sister saving her earlier in the episode.
“Heir of the Demon” was extremely Lance centric, pushing Oliver to the side for the most part. All the attention going towards the Lances even meant using the flashbacks to show something other than the Island. This time they were all centered around the Lance family as they were in the days before Sara snuck onto the Queen’s Gambit. The Lance’s were your picture of a stereotypical idealized family. Det. Lance has a full-ish head of hair making dinner. Laurel is apartment hunting to try and finally tame Oliver Queen. Dinah’s around grading papers because that makes it so she doesn’t have to speak. The second flashback to a conversation between Laurel and Sara on the stability of Oliver Queen has many interpretations. It isn’t exactly the best moment for Laurel who once again is locked out of having crucial information due to plot necessity and made to look less than nice. It’s the last moments the Lance family is really whole an even as Moira has to come and break the news to them that Sara was on the ship it’s hard to see how they went from that to what they are now.
What is the point of Laurel Lance now? With Sara very much alive and deeply involved in Oliver’s efforts as the Arrow, beyond some slavish need for continuity, there is little reason to keep Laurel Lance around or at least in a place of such importance. Now this view comes from an audience that has select omniscients, we’ve seen a good portion of Sara Lance’s trials on the Amazo and Island with only hints of her time in the League. Just like we’ve seen Oliver’s struggle, which was the only context that made Amell’s wooden acting in the season’s first half bearable. Laurel has no such knowledge; all she’s has to go on is her projected emotions of guilt and anger. Much like her first arc this season, Laurel is projecting her own anger now on to her recently returned sister instead of taking some measure of responsibility. It’s all a bit maudlin by this point but it’s also the kind of stuff Katie Cassidy is rather good at. Killing Sara Lance is still certainly a possibility but at this point it’d take some major character retrofitting to turn Laurel Lance into anywhere near as likeable or interesting as her younger sister. Sure Laurel has suffered and lost but Sara was with Ollie on the Island, the two share an emotional honesty no one else on this show dose. By this point Sara Lance is the Black Canary. Still where does that leave Laurel? As a kind of shade, destined to haunt the fringes of this show, reminding Sara and Ollie that they were kind of terrible people in their early twenties? These are the types of questions that get raise in “Heir of the Demon” and can’t even begin to answerer.
Moira Queen tries to impress upon and threaten Felicity that keeping and telling secretes have a cost. Team Arrow resident hacker deducing Thea’s true parentage, an element this show is thankfully just dealing with instead of slow burning, is the final crack in Oliver’s relationship with his mother. He tried, really, to be a good son and hope that his mother wasn’t some kind of monster. Finally cutting is mother off in all aspects beyond the superficial yet vowing to keep the secrete for his sisters sake. Arrow easily sliding back into the nebulous alignment of Moira Queen is heartening. For a second there it seemed the show was willing to let her off the hook and get away as the scared mother of two. No, this is a woman who knows the right roll to play most of the time. Susanna Thompson has slowly been upping Moira’s cold and calculating side ever since this mayoral campaign started. Does this make Moira a villain? Not really, she’s selfish and a bit of a siren, than again she was a part of a cabal of Starling businessmen and women to DESTROY THE GLADES WITH AN EARTHQUAKE MACHINE.
It just wouldn’t be a superhero or crime show really without the broken or fractured family trope. Felicity, who comes from her own broken family, tells Ollie the truth in order to keep her new one intact. In doing so Oliver breaks off his relationship with his mother. We are never actually shown the moment of truth just a cut back to Oliver’s cold thousand yard stare, a moment made more impactful by showing us the crater. Sara stayed away from her family and it broke them apart, now that she’s back in the open things still aren’t quite right. That’s why Felicity calls this ragtag team Team Arrow (sometimes), they’ve shared experiences together and know each other better than anyone else.
Katrina Law dose not disappoint as Nyssa, introduced in adequately badass fashion, her preformance left me wanting to see more. Much like Navid Negahban guest spot as Al Owal, Law is relegated more for big moments of action, something this episode delivers in spades. Lotz and Law do make the most of their walk together as the passive aggressive lover tries to bring Sara back into the fold for everyone’s benefit. Nyssa manages to make it out of the episode alive as well so there is the possibility of more.
There’s no real good place to do this but “Heir of the Demon” writer Jake Coburn dose a good job dealing with and moving on from Sara’s bisexuality. Nyssa’s sudden kiss was meant to titillate and shock but in the end it becomes a non issue. Oliver never brings it up. Det. Lance ends up putting it best that he’s just glad she found someone to care about her in the past six years.
The involvement of the League of Assassins and all the talk of Ra’s Al Ghul portends a wider universe than previously imagined. The Suicide Squad will be showing up eventually and overall Arrow has handled rapid expansion rather seamlessly. In that growth it’s easy to see what isn’t there, where was Roy Harper? He gets inducted into Team Arrow and isn’t even given a cameo? Actor contracts are a strict thing but it’s also the kind of thing that can break the reality of a series that has made their own so well.
The Bits At The End
- Where does the League of Assassins get those silk/scarves ropes, the Spelunky black market? Both Nyssa and Snake Venom Dude were able to just throw them up like nothing.
- So who wants to start taking bets on what it is Malcolm did to be excommunicated from the League of Assassins?
- Who wants a Salmon Ladder off/race between Sara and Ollie? I DO I DO I DO I DO I DO"