Arrow continues its trend of success in its final season with the third episode, Leap of Faith. Directed by Katie Cassidy, this third episode maintains a focus on Oliver and his sister, Thea. This episode doesn’t move the larger story forward until the end, but that isn’t a problem. It is still entertaining nonetheless. The episode sees Oliver and Thea teaming up with Talia Al Ghul. Their mission: to retrieve an artifact before the Thanatos Guild. Much like Episode 1 being a tribute to season 1 and Episode 2 doing the same for flashbacks of Season 3, this third episode wraps up story arcs that have occurred since the third season of the show.
Stephen Amell and Willa Holland are the highlight of this episode. Their interactions were some of the best they had together in the whole series. With the show coming to an end, It’s nice to see Oliver have closure with his only living family member. The opening scene featuring Oliver and Thea fight not knowing it is each other was a great way to set the tone of the episode as well. Seeing how far Thea has come and that she can hold her own with Oliver, even briefly, was fun to watch. It’s after this that we see Talia, who is training her own League members. It’s the common enemy they have (and Talia’s debt to Oliver) that bring them together against the Guild.
The Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones vibe this episode gives off is a testament how each episode of this season is unique. Seeing Oliver, Thea, and Talia do their best to stay one step ahead of the guild made for great television. Talia’s inevitable betrayal pushed Oliver and Thea’s narrative forward in the best way as well.
While there is phenomenal action in this episode, the best parts of it are the quieter moments. Oliver giving a solemn hello and goodbye to Thea was hard to watch. After his knowledge of what happened to her on an Earth in which he wasn’t there to look out for her, Oliver’s more protective side comes out. This leads to a mountaintop conversation that has had eight years of buildup to it. Oliver and Thea come to an understanding with each other in an emotional dialogue. Even more heartbreaking is Thea’s optimism regarding Oliver’s fate. She believes he’ll make it out the other end and see her again. Oliver himself isn’t so sure.
This pensive yet focused and driven Oliver has been a highlight for me this season. As someone who has accepted their fate, but still wanting to make sure everyone else makes it out alive anyways. After Thea and Oliver make amends, the two go together to take down the Guild as well as Talia. The action sequence in the dungeon is easily the best set piece in the episode. Watching Oliver singlehandedly take down the guild and Thea defeat the daughter of Ras Al Ghul was amazing.
After that, the plot thread of a rogue League of Assassins and Thea’s story arc come to a close. After retrieving the artifact for Oliver that reveals grim details of the crisis to come, Thea makes a choice. Choosing to help Talia form a better league of heroes, she says her goodbyes to Oliver. Still, optimistic that she’ll see him again. Throughout this episode the flash forwards had Mia and William work with Connor to take down his brother JR, leader of the Deathstroke gang. Moreover, Mia’s rash decision making leads to a casualty among their ranks and right when all seems lost, a shocking cliffhanger occurs. Oliver is mysteriously transported back to the bunker, as well as Mia, William, and Connor. Leap of Faith’s shocking ending certainly set up an interesting episode next week.
Despite great intimate character moments, Leap of Faith still doesn’t move the larger story forward all that much, and is weighed down by flash forwards. Moreover, the episodes shocking conclusion doesn’t have me all too excited, as to me it seems a sign that Oliver might lose focus in the episodes to come. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 8/10
Arrow Airs Wednesday Nights @ 8PM on the CW