“Restoration” is just a small taste of what’s to come.
“Restoration.” At first glance it seems like the episode’s title is describing the return of Sara Lance (I don’t feel sorry for you if this is a spoiler. She’s right there in the Legends of Tomorrow trailer). This clever trick actually describes the restoration of not just Sara, but that of the classic Team Arrow’s trust in each other. The separation of these two teams of Team Arrow Version 2.0 allows for two storylines to get an equal amount of time. Time that is being used to build up the future of the season’s plots by reestablishing Dig and Oliver’s rapport, and moving forward with uncovering the mystery behind the unfortunate side effects of Sara and Thea’s resurrections.
The primary story of “Restoration” ends up being the battle between the Old team Arrow and a minor threat hitman, DC comics’ Double Down (JR Bourne). The trick behind this particular meta hardly seems like an overly threatening challenge for the well vetted Team Arrow, but the drama of the episode brilliantly comes from the continued tension between Dig and Oliver. Both are incredibly stubborn, and “Restoration” uses that fact as a characteristic way of developing their differences as a primary conflict of particular significance. As a sidenote, the story finally picks up Dig’s HIVE plotline from way back in season two. With Dig’s new role as Team Arrow’s heavy hitter, and the supplementary development of his internal conflict with being a family man as well as a vigilante, it means that we’re getting a more complete view of what’s at stake as well as his motivation and capabilities. With all this development, this is also a perfect time to give Dig a more independent storyline, but also present a compelling and convincing reason for Oliver and Dig to attempt to start working together again. There’s another particularly exciting component from Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) being thrown unknowingly in to the world of the Green Arrow, along with a fair few hints at his possible role in future endeavors that will have comic fans jumping out of their seat with excitement.
Meanwhile, the away team have arrived in Nanda Parbat to try to convince Malcolm (the new Ra’s) to allow them to submerge Sara’s body in the Lazarus pit and bring her back from the dead. This leg of the story focuses heavily on the refusal of the Malcolm and the League, along with some appropriately conveyed reasons as to why his refusal is so adament. It gives us a constant reminder of the consequences that Laurel faces. However, Laurel’s bull-headed attitude and addictive personality which Katie Cassidy has been developing at a slow but steady pace as the seasons have progressed, serves as a strong reminder of her character’s intense determination. All the while, Thea’s own side effects are also being expounded upon, with a clever explanation for the origins of said side effects. The consequences of both Thea and Laurel’s quest ends up being a sufficiently explored focus of the episode, sure to cause more drama and friction in the coming season.
Final Word: “Restoration” is a very strong showing for the fourth season of Arrow. Both Dig and Oliver are characters that have been developed lovingly over the course of the series, and that makes their divide as well as their reconciliation, a great way to expand upon their differences as well as their similarities, to get at the heart of what makes them such a good team. Laurel’s dedication to her cause signifies both her love for her sister and her history of addiction. Katie Cassidy gets laser focused for this plotline, making her tunnel vision characteristic as well as relatable. As per usual, the natural chemistry between Stephen Amell and Emily Rickards is still a major high point, but Oliver and Dig working through their their differences has been such a long time coming that it’s easily the most celebrated aspect of “Restoration”. Unfortunately, it is a bit rushed along by the pace, though it’s not enough to drag down the great characterization of the two. Double Down is a simple villain, but effective (and ignorable) enough as a minor antagonist. The effect of his power looks pretty good as well, keeping the illusion going, and meeting the sensibilities of the grounding of Oliver’s world compared to Barry’s. Arrow really owned the Lazarus pit, and gave a sound explanation for its “side effects,” that even the comics haven’t explained (to put that in to perspective, the Lazarus Pit debuted in 1971, meaning that it’s 44 years old, and it’s rules still haven’t been established!) Felicity acting as the matriarch makes for a strong showing of the character, and her and Curtis fighting off Tell is a significant mile marker showing just how much she has developed over the course of the series, while simultaneously introducing Curtis Holt to the team’s work and the “T-Balls” to audiences. It’s easily the best episode of the season so far, though with us only being three episodes in, it probably won’t remain there for very long.