Everyone’s desperate in Star City these days, and it’s leading to them doing some questionable things. The Wednesday, Oct. 28 episode of “Arrow,” 4×04, “Beyond Redemption,” sees Laurel determined that Sara’s mind can be saved, Oliver announce his plan to run for mayor, and Lance’s connection to Damien Darhk revealed.
This “Arrow” episode sees Laurel try to do things differently from last year when it comes to a family secret by bringing her father down to the basement of her building to see Sara, who’s still chained up and still feral. “This isn’t back, Laurel,” he argues. “Look at her.” But Laurel thinks that they just need to be patient and give her time, something she thinks is proven correct when Sara talks, only for her sister to then wrap the chains around her wrist around Laurel’s neck. Their father has to separate them.
Knowing Damien’s history in the League and figuring he knows about the Lazarus Pit, Lance reaches out in hopes that the other man can do something to help Sara. The only advice Damien offers is that if his daughter were in this position, he’d put her down. “The most loving act you can commit is to return Sara to her final rest.” However, when Lance goes to do just that – “I’m sorry, baby, but you’re not her,” he tells Sara as he points his gun at her – Laurel intervenes, insisting that Sara is still his daughter, still Sara. But by the final scene of the episode, Laurel heads down to visit her sister only to find Sara gone.
Meanwhile, after two detectives are killed by people outfitted in SCPD gear, Lance works with the team – out of their fancy, impressive new lair – to figure out what’s going on and who the corrupt cops are. It’s during a takedown that doesn’t go the team’s way – they even have a way to disable the Canary Cry – that they get their answer as to who these people are: the anti-vigilante task force Lance reinstated last year, led by Liza Warner, and they have specialized gear.
But while the team now knows who they’re dealing with, the task force also knows that Lance opposes them, and Liza has to deal with other officers arguing to kill Lance because he can identify them. “We went this route because the city is dying,” Liza reminds them. They’re just trying to provide for their families, and Lance is actually a solution, not a problem, in her eyes. That’s why they get the jump on him and force him to give them access to SCPD’s contraband disposal facility. She’s desperate, she tells him, before chaining him up while the task force starts loading up a van…until the team stops them. This time, Laurel has her Canary Cry operating on a different frequency, and with “Liza Warner, you have failed this city,” the Green Arrow binds Liza in place and frees Lance.
And then when Liza gets the Green Arrow in her hold, threatening to kill him, it’s Lance’s words that lead to her surrender. They’re all desperate in this city, Lance admits. And that desperation has led to desperate, terrible actions, but he has to believe that they’re not beyond redemption, that the city can still be saved, because if he doesn’t, when the city dies, so will they. Maybe the way to save their home is to save themselves first, by facing up to their mistakes and facing justice.
See, after Oliver sees Lance and Damien’s conversation on camera, he’s waiting for Lance when the police captain gets home to confront him in one of the best scenes of the episode. Lance tries to defend his actions, argue that the city needed help, that Oliver wasn’t there, that Damien had the resources, people and money and seemed like someone who just wanted to help, but nothing he says changes the fact that Oliver no longer sees him as the man he used to, as the man he wanted to prove he could be better for, as one of the reasons he’s running for mayor.
After taking down Liza and her task force, Oliver is once again waiting in Lance’s apartment for him, this time to enlist his help with Damien Darhk. They haven’t been able to get close to him, but Lance has. He wants him to stay on the inside. He trusts the man who said they can’t stop believing they can save the city.
While Oliver’s original announcement that he’s running for mayor was met with disbelief – Thea even apparently thinking that his announcement was he proposed to Felicity since she asks why she’s not wearing “it” when she walked in – and Oliver starts thinking the city may be beyond saving, to his surprise, Thea has set up his campaign office and brought on interns for his campaign. She’s also written a speech, using what he told her, for him for his announcement.
“United. That’s what this city used to be. It’s what it can be. It’s what it must be again. Now I know that I’m not the obvious choice for mayor,” Oliver says in his speech. “I certainly don’t have a traditional background for leadership, but I can tell you this. After five years in hell, I returned home with only one goal: I wanted to save my city. And with your help, I can. With your help, we will restore our home to the shiny beacon we know it can be. …We will overcome our challenges with help from our friends, our family, our loved ones, those we trust and those we will need to rust again in order to prevail. Because the only way we are going to return our home to greatness is to do so together, united.”
As for that code on Felicity’s phone, she originally thinks that Curtis is pranking her because she traced the IP address back to Palmer Tech and a terminal in his office, but he’s not. He does figure out that the code is two years old and identical to the code for Ray’s old prototype glove. It seems that they may be able to find his last recorded statement, and that could shed light on how he died, but Felicity doesn’t want to relive it, finally telling him that Ray was her ex and hoping that helps him understand. Instead, he tells her that his brother died of pancreatic cancer six years ago, and he’d give anything to be able to hear something from him he’d never heard before. And so Felicity does end up listening to Ray’s final words: “I’m sorry, Felicity. This is my fault.”
Finally, in the flashbacks, Oliver gave the woman a quick Island 101 lesson before returning to the camp. One of the soldiers wanted to see her body, and fortunately, Oliver had planned for just that with his nifty trick, but then on the way back, that soldier found Oliver’s pack, including his computer linked to A.R.G.U.S. Uh-oh.
“Arrow” season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 4 “Beyond Redemption”?