Before we start this off, let’s get one thing straight. Season 3 of Arrow was disastrously horrible altogether, but Episodes 10, 11, 12, and 13 were the best the series has to offer and showed what being heroes really means.
These episodes of Arrow are Oliver Queen-lite; he was off the grid, not reachable, and the heroes in Starling City had to continue fighting and doing their duty to protect the city.
These episodes were the introduction to Laurel Lance becoming the Black Canary (and Episode 13 saw her stepping out of her late sister’s shadow to be the hero she truly was), but it was more than that. These episodes showed a team that we hadn’t seen on Arrow before this.
Roy, Diggle, Felicity, and Laurel all found their place as a part of this team, and it was better than we’d seen on the show. Mostly because Oliver wasn’t acting like the dictator he partially was (until Season 4). He made the final decision on everything, but these four were on their own without the Arrow to guide them. It forced tough calls, especially given their inexperience and lack of assassin training, but was about finding a balance between them and finding the reason they were doing this.
I will admit I continue to be less-than-pleased with how Laurel’s arc was handled; somehow years of self-defense training went out the window and Laurel couldn’t throw a punch, much less take someone’s gun from them like she did in the Season 2 premiere. However, that paired with the support she received from Felicity and (eventually) Roy and Diggle helped build Laurel into the hero she always was.
Episode 13 stands out because it was the team fighting against Oliver upon his return and it marked Laurel officially standing on her own as the Black Canary. No one was going to let Oliver pretend he hadn’t left, and on this show no one stands up to Oliver enough.
Any way, seeing these four (Roy and Laurel, especially) hit the field and fight for the city meant more challenging fights, which led to better fight scenes, and a harder time taking out villains that, with Oliver, would’ve been taken out in one episode. It was genuinely enjoyable to see these heroes struggle at being just that: heroes. It didn’t come easy, they weren’t masterfully trained, it was real and damaging and it proved just how much they’re willing to risk to save their city and the people in it.
Felicity became the makeshift voice of reason within the group because she realized why she joined in the first place: to make a difference and be the person she always wanted to be. She wasn’t at Oliver’s beck and call, she was a hacker hero on her own, and her friendship with Laurel really blossomed during this time, which was also a much-needed adjustment. Arrow lacks female friendships, so seeing that become such an important part of these few episodes was heartwarming.
All in all, these four episodes remain the series’ strongest because we had to see a fight for Starling City that will never match anything else we’ve watched. We saw these four (Roy, Laurel, Felicity, and Diggle) fight against the odds and save the city, and they actually managed to unite everyone in the Glades for a showdown. It was inspiring to see them as heroes in their own right with the ability to make the city safe together, and to make the city safe by having those in it fight for it too.
What do you think? In your opinion, what is the best set of Arrow episodes? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!