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[TV Review] ‘Arrow’ Episode 4.04 – “Beyond Redemption”

Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley) blats her way onto the mean streets of Star City as many of our characters contemplate their redemption on this week’s episode of “Arrow“.  Warner, known alternately in the comics as Lady Cop, was formerly a member of Star City Police Department’s Ant-Vigilante Task Force.  Now that the city has gone to crap in the last year after the League of Assassins’ assault on it, Warner and some of her AVTF compatriots have decided to use their equipment and training to take down the city’s drug gangs…while also making a profit on the side.  Unfortunately for them, two patrolmen are killed during one of their raids, so Team Arrow must take them down.

This is, at least in my eyes, easily the best episode of the season yet and (hopefully) the moment when this year’s story finally roars to life.  All of the on-going subplots are well-integrated into this week’s tale, which couldn’t always be said for the previous three episodes.  Damien Darhk appears briefly to offer Quentin Lance some (bad) advice, furthering their relationship, but also not overpowering the A story.  This in turn allows for Oliver and Felicity to become aware of Quentin’s connection to Darhk, setting the stage for a much-need confrontation between Quentin and Oliver later in the episode.

Their heated argument, well-played out by both actors, is a catalyst for everything that follows.  Lance finally wises up to his failures after both the argument and his attempted execution of the now-alive Sara, whom he believes is no longer his daughter due to her missing her soul.  He doesn’t go through with it, of course, but his massive emotional breakdown afterwards leaves him weak enough for him to be taken hostage by the AVTF as he leaves.

In the midst of his rescue, Oliver is placed in a potentially-fatal position and left at the mercy of Warner.  Speaking of Liza, I don’t blame them for not touting the “Lady Cop” moniker.  I’m all for using as many elements from the source material as possible, but somethings are just too dumb to keep intact.  Anyway, it is Quentin who talks her down, not only renewing his own faith in what is right, but also convincing Warner to turn herself in and Oliver to follow through with running for mayor.  At that moment, multiple subplots come together successfully in a way the show has not accomplished since the second season.  Redemption for Lance is found and our favorite police chief is now tasked with continuing his relationship with Darhk, albeit now as a spy within his organization.

Of course we still have a few threads left dangling in the wind.  Ray Palmer is still missing and presumed dead, although Felicity and new pal Curtis Holt made some more progress on that end.  The flashback storyline is also still pure fluff, sadly with no clear purpose in sight at this time.  We also don’t know what Darhk’s true design is, but hey, it’s only the fourth episode.  There’s plenty of time for that.

Lastly, the big elephant in the room is the resurrection of Sara, which only Laurel, Thea, and now Quentin are aware of, when it comes to the Star City crew.  That particular hand will be laid out on the table next week, according to the episode preview, with Sara having now escaped and Laurel having to spill her guts to her friends about what she has done.  Oliver, as we know, will be calling in John Constantine (Matt Ryan) to help, so that should be fun!

Before I go, I’d also like to point out that the hand-to-hand combat looked a bit more accomplished and better shot this week.  There’s a good reason for that: Lexi Alexander, the director of Punisher: War Zone, directed tonight’s episode.  Here’s hoping she’s brought back in the future, preferably on a bigger, more action-packed episode.

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