Arrow Episode Recap - Salvation - Season 1, Episode 18
Details: You know the writers of the “Arrow” series are gasping for breaths of fresh air when the opening scene to the newest episode features a shirtless Oliver performing full frontal exercising while hovering over a supposedly working Felicity. Really? That’s the tone that’s going to be set for the episode? Okay, have it your way.
The real beginning of the episode embarks when Arrow determines a Starling City slumlord is the next on his list to be taught a lesson in humility only to have a self-styled vigilante named “The Savior” beat him to it – whaaaa?!? The Savior sends a video message via smartphone to half the population [approximately 417, we’re thinking] of Starling City of his execution of the slumlord for various wrongs The Savior has deemed he has perpetrated on himself and the city and this does not sit well within Arrow’s craw who promptly goes out and performs 37 more chin-ups [joke].
Island flashback #1 intervenes briefly, showing Slade and pre-Arrow Oliver negotiating with Fyers for a boat to get off the island before being rudely interrupted by a Thea-themed storyline involving her relationship with minor thug, Roy Harper [think of him as a male Thea], who informs her that he still likes the thug life. This is your first chance to go to the fridge for a beer or bathroom for a potty break.
After that public nuisance scene, we revert to Laurel, who seems annoyed that her mother and father are taking seriously her mother’s claim that her sister, Sarah, is still alive and not dead from the yachting accident that sent Oliver to the island. In one of the rare instances of credibility and realism in the series, Laurel actually acts within the parameters of her job in the legal department and contacts the Chinese embassy to track down the source of the woman in the photo her mother claims is Sarah – only to find it is a similar-looking but completely different person – thus seemingly nipping that conspiracy theory in the bud [you can never be sure with the writers of this series – maybe that really was Sarah trying to masquerade as somebody else so she could start a new life as a nurse practitioner in Starling City, you know?]
Meanwhile, The Savior sends another video message of him offing the assistant D.A. for failing to prosecute the killer of his wife or some such blather only this time Felicity looks to have a bead on his execution location and directs Arrow to that location only to have The Savior be either absent or invisible. Arrow is unable to find him and Felicity gets spooked by watching the assistant D.A. get offed. Oliver comforts her with a symbolic “there, there” speech and essentially tells her to get back to work.
Moira makes an appearance to remind everybody – but especially Frank Chen – that she’s still skittish about being discovered as the source behind the assassination attempt on Eddie Haskell, Sr./Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer.
At this point, island flashback #2 appears with the continued negotiation process with Fyers turning ugly as Fyers has brought along Yao Fei as support but no…wait!…only as a negotiating ploy, as he produces Yao Fei’s daughter as bait to get Slade and Oliver to acquiesce to his demands.
Having offed a slumlord and an assistant D.A., The Savior now sets his sights a little lower and rather inexplicably goes after Roy Harper – of all the thugs in all the gin joints in the world, he has to go after this one! After subduing Roy with a hypodermic needle to the neck, The Savior sets him up for his 15 minutes of fame on the smartphone video message kill-o-gram only to have Felicity and Diggle finally figure out that he is on a cheaply CGI-rendered [the special effects budget must have taken a hit, we figure] moving subway train and Felicity directs Arrow to the right locations this time.
Island flashback #3 has Fyers rejecting Slade & Oliver’s deal and proceeds to instruct his goons to kill Yao Fei’s daughter, predictably, a fight ensues and Oliver, Slade, Yao Fei and Yao Fe’s daughter escape but Yao Fei is injured in the melee and they are forced to leave him behind, much to Yao Fei’s daughter’s consternation.
Meanwhile, Arrow breaks into the moving subway train and confronts The Savior just as he is preparing to kill Roy. Instead of immediately killing The Savior, Arrow’s plan is apparently to first give a brief lecture to The Savior about the criteria behind being a vigilante, then engage The Savior in a lively debate and – if none of that works – send an arrow or two into him.
In a brief interlude from every storyline in the series, the newly bachelorized Oliver [remember, McKenna ditched him for the seductive allure of Coast City] suddenly invites Laurel to have some din-din with him some time – an invitation which is most surely not going to sit well with the overly-sensitive Eddie Haskell, Jr./Tommy Merlyn, who almost certainly is being groomed as Oliver/Arrow’s adversary in a future episode [duh!].
Island flashback #4 gives us the utterly fascinating detail that Yao Fei’s daughter speaks English. Lame.
The Dark Archer/Malcolm Merlyn/Eddie Haskell, Sr. shows up to kill Frank Chen [in front of Moira] after identifying him as one of those behind his assassination attempt and also showing that recuperating from being hit by curare-laced bullets doesn’t take more than a few weeks at best unless, you know, medical science says differently. Moira freaks out with Chen’s blood on her hands – ah, there’s nothing like good old blatant symbolism when you can’t think of a line to write for your character.
Speaking of symbolism, Oliver’s mystery symbol appears to be a portion of the old subway map currently displayed on Felicity’s computer screen after they were tracking The Savior – how lucky is that!
The Poop and Skinny: This episode also contains a Thea story line involving her with Roy Harper, the sassy street-savvy thug and male equivalent of Thea – as with last week’s unfortunate Thea inclusion feel free to ignore this and any subsequent Thea appearance and use it to your advantage as a beer or bathroom break.
Those hoping for a classic theatrical slow death scene with The Savior involving some leg twitching or chest grasping followed by some extended stumbling around and choking sounds will be severely disappointed.
The series creators are really, really hoping that you will forego your tenuous grasp on reality and overlook the fact that it might take a really long time to get a subway line working and – here’s the tricky part – having nobody notice that you have said subway line working, not to mention using it as an mobile execution base.
Burning question for the next episode of “Arrow” – Since this week’s episode included an obvious Shakespeare reference to the classic “Macbeth” scene but, alas, without Moira proclaiming “Out damn spot!”, what are the odds on a classical literature reference in the next episode and whether or not more than 18% of the series viewers will get it without looking it up on the internets?
As always – it is important to remember that, at any juncture where the situation appears to be dire for Arrow/Oliver and his very life may be in danger – there would be no more show [and therefore no more money to be made] if he were to die. You continue to be welcome.