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‘Arrow’ Review: “Salvation”

Arrow Review Salvation
The CW

Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its eighteenth outing of the series “Salvation,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) races to track down a new vigilante villain known as “The Savior,” who soon ensnares Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) in his web, while Laurel learns a shocking secret about her sister’s disappearance from her mother Dinah (‘Doctor Who‘s Alex Kingston).

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “The Huntress Returns” saw Oliver reluctantly cooperating with a returning Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw) to track down her father, while Tommy wrestled with Oliver’s secret and Thea attempted to get Roy Harper to leave his life of crime with a job at Oliver’s club. So, what does the eighteenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 17 episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “Salvation!”

With the others watching a news report, Oliver resolves to go after Glades slumlord John Nickel, while the man himself is abducted from his high-rise apartment by an unseen figure. When Oliver arrives at the scene in costume, he finds only signs of a struggle.

Back at the lair, Oliver urges Felicity to find anyone else with a grudge against Nichol, not wanting there to be any other dangerous vigilantes out there, but when Oliver prepares to go out again Diggle reminds him he’s been working too hard. Back in the past, Oliver and Slade negotiate for Fyers to meet them, proposing a trade of the Scylla monster circuit-board for a way off the island.

Thea and Roy get hot and heavy on his couch, before being interrupted by a knock at the door. A thieving acquaintance of Roy’s brings a gun for an impending heist, but when Thea finds the weapon she reminds him that he could get a real job and quit living the criminal lifestyle. Roy offers to carry the gun without bullets to allay her, but Thea storms off and leaves the scene.

Elsewhere, Laurel returns home to find her parents hard at work tracking down the girl in Dinah’s photo, but Laurel presses on her father that she involved him in hopes that he would talk Dinah into accepting the truth. Quentin points out that Dina’s evidence does seem compelling, as the girl in the photo wears a Starling City Rockets cap Dinah knew her to have taken all those years ago. Meanwhile over at Big Belly Burger, Diggle points out that Oliver’s been even more closed off after what happened to Helena and McKenna, but the conversation is interrupted by a mysterious video popping up on everyone’s phones. Oliver watches the link as a man identifies a captive John Nichol and lists his crimes, before coldly shooting him dead.

Returning to the lair, Felicity finds herself unable to hack the website, though Diggle’s contacts identify him as a wanted figure known as “The Savior.” Soon, the Savior presents his next figure to the camera, ADA Gavin Carnahan, who allowed thugs that killed the Savior’s wife to go unprosecuted. Felicity soon uses the detail to identify the killer as Joseph Faulk, and dispatches a plain-clothes Oliver to save Gavin at the registered address.

Elsewhere, Moira meets with Frank Chen (‘The Dark Knight‘s Chin Han) to warn him that Malcolm will soon demand a name of those who attempted to assassinate him, putting them both at risk. Over at the CNRI, Thea attempts to solicit Laurel’s advice about dating bad boys, to which Laurel warns her away. Immediately after, Laurel gets a call from her source that the woman in her mother’s photographs in fact returned to the United States, and has a nearby address.

Oliver races to the location Felicity gives him, but finds it completely abandoned. When the address appears to move, Oliver races across rooftops to catch up, but soon finds the next address to be little more than a vacant lot. Their efforts prove too late however, as the Savior kills ADA Carnahan, distressing Felicity. When Oliver returns to the lair, Felicity vents grief about her responsibility for the death, but Oliver assures her it wasn’t her fault.

Oliver remembers back to the island as he and Slade met with Fyers and his men, but Fyers quickly turns the table by threatening to kill Yao Fei’s daughter Shado (Celina Jade). Yao Fei protests, but Fyers’ men hold him down and ask Oliver his decision. Back in the present, Laurel invites her parents to the CNRI to see that the woman in the photo was nothing more than a random tourist, shattering Dinah’s hopes. Meanwhile in the Glades, Thea goes to confront Roy on his way to the robbery, but the pair find themselves interrupted by the Savior, who abducts Roy and leaves Thea behind on the ground.

Over at Verdant, Tommy sees that the Savior has put up his latest live-stream with a bound and beaten Roy, something Oliver notices as well. Thea soon shows up in tears, and when Oliver realizes his sister knows the boy, he rushes off to intervene. Elsewhere, Malcolm Merlyn calls Moira to inform her a captured thug will give a name of the assassins’ employer later that night, unnerving her.

Back at Laurel’s apartment, both Quentin and his daughter desperately try to convince Dinah that Sarah died after all, but Laurel quickly realizes that Dinah’s beliefs hinged on the baseball cap in the photo. Questioned how she knows for certain that Sarah packed the hat, Dinah breaks down and admits she caught Sarah packing for her trip with Oliver, and encouraged her to follow her heart as she once had. The family breaks down in tears at the realization, but Quentin quickly moves to comfort his ex-wife.

Down in the lair, Oliver, Diggle and Felicity desperately try to identify the Savior’s whereabouts, before Diggle realizes a background noise from the recordings is that of a subway train from Starling City’s abandoned transit system, explaining the location’s movements. Meanwhile back in the past, Shado manages to break free of her captives and a firefight breaks out, enabling Oliver and Slade to get away with Shado and Yao Fei. Yao Fei takes a bullet to the leg in the escape, and resigns to buy time as the others flee.

Back in the present, Oliver enters the abandoned subway as a captive Roy concedes that he doesn’t deserve to live. The Savior prepares to oblige his request, but quickly finds himself interrupted by Oliver, who begs the villain to give Roy another chance. Believing Roy another thug and Oliver no different from himself, the Savior prepares to shoot before Oliver impales him with an arrow, killing him.

As Dinah prepares to leave Laurel’s apartment, Laurel invites her mother to call her in the future, while over at Verdant Roy appears to console a crying Thea. Relieved to see him alive, Thea leaves to clean herself up, as Roy retrieves one of Oliver’s arrows from his pocket, and gazes at it curiously. Oliver steps outside and bumps into Laurel, allowing the two time to catch up on their dramatic week’s events. At the conclusion, Oliver invites Laurel to have coffee or dinner with him, not wanting to be alone “on an island anymore.”

Back in the past, Oliver and Slade find that Fyers played them and had his men retrieve the circuit-board during their meeting. Revealing herself to speak English, Shado concedes that while the technology may be gone, she at least knows the man’s intents for the missile launcher. Meanwhile in the present, Moira meets with Chen to warn him of Malcolm’s knowledge, but the Dark Archer soon appears and murders Chen. Moira pleads for Chen’s daughter to be spared, and the Dark Archer reluctantly agrees, leaving Moira to grieve in fear.

Back at the lair, Oliver assures Felicity he’s around if she ever needs to talk, before recognizing the overlaid subway map on her screen to be the same image drawn into his father’s notebook. Noting it to have been in front of them all along, Oliver realizes that the Undertaking and all associated have some connection to the Glades.

While last week’s “The Huntress Returns” proved to be something of a wasted opportunity, “Salvation” returns to the more familiar balance of ‘Arrow’s driven mythology and honest characterization. The concept of “The Savior” falls prey to a few gaps in logic, as ‘Arrow’ is wont to do, but largely serves the purpose of better integrating Roy Harper and the Glades into the ongoing narrative. We enjoyed the few DC winks and ‘Dark Knight’ references as well, but offer particular praise to the impressive performances of Susanna Thompson and Alex Kingston, who injected quite a bit of emotion into relatively few beats. The Dinah Lance story still feels woefully misplaced, but gave some otherwise interesting material to Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), whom we’re hoping ‘Arrow’ can weave more into the central story from here on out. If nothing else, the reveal of the Glades’ relation to Oliver’s notebook should give the series a stronger focus heading into the final hours of the season.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its eighteenth episode? What did you like about “Salvation?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Unfinished Business” on The CW!

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