Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for episode 3.03, “Broken Dolls,” of The CW’s Arrow.
This is an episode where Quentin Lance shined. It was obvious that his character was greatly disturbed about one of his former collars, Barton “Dollmaker” Mathis, escaping jail, and going back to making his victims into dolls.
The episode reveals the reason why this case is so close to him is because it happened after he lost his daughter, Sarah, when the Queen’s Gambit sank. The Dollmaker kept killing until Lance was able to catch him. This left Lance more vulnerable because he was not able to save the girls like he wasn’t able to save Sarah. Yet, Lance decides to join up with The Arrow (Yeah! New nickname.) in order to help take the murderer down. I loved the interaction between Lance and Team Arrow.
Lance is the one who reaches out to them for help by calling Felicity. I love the bond he and Felicity seem to have. They have gone from him arresting her on suspicion of helping The Hood to considering her a kind of comrade in arms. (I guess that’s what happens when you defuse a bomb with another person.) Felicity is one of the reasons why Lance reaches out to The Arrow: Felicity vouches for him. Lance has slowly realized The Arrow may not be as bad as he once was, and him changing The Hood’s name to The Arrow is proof of it. As Laurel tells her father, Lance has seem to have done a complete 180. Lance is realizing the law cannot always offer the justice needed, and it’s the reason why he joins forces with Team Arrow in this episode. This case is close to him, and he needs to stop The Dollmaker or he will live with a certain amount of guilt.
While it is evident Lance is hurting, he is able to understand why he is hurting, and try to overcome the hurt while he is able to identify Arrow and Laurel as being ones who are hurt as well. While keeping an eye out on Felicity while she is undercover, Lance is able to have a real heart to heart conversation with Arrow, opening up to the other man. This is the first time we see him opening up with a character that is not Laurel. One reason why he opens up is because he knows Arrow must be broken as well since he decided to become a vigilante. Lance also recognizes a certain change in The Arrow, with the latter trying a new, non-lethal method. It’s one of the reasons I believe Lance chooses to avoid seeing who is under the hood. Lance sort of has a new-found respect for Arrow, thus the new name, and respects Arrow wanting to keep his identity a secret. Another reason could be plausible deniability. By never seeing who Arrow is, Lance is able to protect Arrow’s identity. He will never have to testify on who Arrow really is, if he does not know who Arrow really is.
Finally, Lance realizes Laurel is broken. He knows there is another reason why she is all gung-ho in capturing Arrow, besides him being the vigilante. He knows something is buried deep in Laurel that she is not revealing. He calls her out on it, and after Arrow saves them, she opens up to him about the guilt she feels about Tommy’s death.
The episode also showed a group and a family breaking. The island group was broken in this week’s episode. First, Slade and Oliver leave Shado by herself, and while they are gone, Slade warns Oliver about forming attachments. The rift between the group is small, but it is slowly growing throughout the episode. It is close to the final part of the island story where we actually see the group torn apart because someone is shooting at them. Oliver lies on the ground about to go unconscious while a part of Slade is on fire. Oliver later wakes up to finds himself in some kind of prison, alone with no sign of his friend. Earlier in the episode Slade called it home, but it was destroyed. They no longer had the home they built with each other.
Then there is Oliver and Thea being broken about their mother’s trial. This is emotionally breaking both of them emotionally especially once the death sentence is put on the table. There is a good chance they will lose their mother. What is amazing is Moira is one of the more stable characters in this episode. She has come to terms with her guilt. But she also reveals to her lawyer there is a part of what she has done that she never wishes her children to know, which limits the defenses available to her.
Finally, there was a better look at the Black Canary. After she helps him escape from Laurel and the SWAT team, The Arrow tells Roy to find her for him. This leads to the introduction of a new character, Sin, who already knows Roy’s nickname, Abercrombie.
Sin is Black Canary’s go-to girl, and both of them are quickly becoming favorites for me. I learned who Black Canary was weeks ago, but what really piqued my interest was seeing her confrontation with the man in an outfit similar to Malcolm Merlyn’s Dark Archer outfit. I can’t wait for this story to unfold, and I really wish we’d get to keep this Black Canary. However, one of my only questions is: Does the Canary already know Oliver is The Arrow?