Arrow TV Reviews

TV Review: Arrow, “Sara” – They Didn’t Tell the Dad?

It was the dumpster. That was the extra element that made Sara’s death in Arrow’s season 3 premiere so infuriating to so many fans. She was worked into the episode for a quick little cameo just so they could kill her off at the end. That hurts, sure, but it all happens so fast you’re still kind of processing everything. She was shot in the gut with not one, not two, but three different arrows, signifying that she must really be dead. Yeah, but, no one stays dead on this show. Heck, I still call total bullshit on their explanation for how Malcolm Merlyn survived his “death” in the season 1 finale. Then they dropped Sara from the roof of a building and had her first hit a trash dumpster before finally landing on the ground, her Canary mask none-too-subtly falling at Laurel’s feet. Just in case you still had doubt, the blood surrounding Sara’s head on the pavement was a clear sign of, “Yeah, she’s probably not getting up from that.”

To some, that bit with the dumpster was an indignity too far. It was a needlessly ugly final moment for a character the show had spent two full seasons building up, her absence being felt throughout the first season and her surprise “return from the grave” driving much of the second season. This was the girl who fought to protect women, battled her own demons and homicidal tendencies, was Oliver’s equal in almost every way, and ultimately sacrificed her shot at a normal life to be a hero and save strangers. Sara Lance did not deserve to fall “broken and beaten into the trash,” her death serving no other purpose than to give Laurel an excuse to turn vigilante.

Or maybe you didn’t even notice that Sara hit a dumpster on her fall to the ground, or you did but, eh, no biggie. Maybe you’re not necessarily happy to see Sara go but also not necessarily weeping over her demise, believing her to be an unnecessary intrusion into the more traditional origin story we’d expect from the Black Canary we know from the comics. Maybe you don’t give a damn about the comics, and you’re simply confused why the hell Arrow just killed off Black Canary, quick to argue “And don’t give me that ‘Well, technically, she was only ever known as Canary’ crap!”

This is the type of baggage we carried with us into “Sara,” Arrow’s first real effort at truly exploring the immediate aftermath of one of its character deaths. Regardless of what we think of the manner in which Sara was dispatched or what it means for the long-term future of the show, “Sara” was an episode which had to give some sense of meaning to tragedy. We needed to see how each character was going to react to Sara’s death, and we wanted to see what this means for where the rest of the season is heading.

Arrow Sara Ep
Do you think characters on this show ever tire of talking to Oliver’s back?

We didn’t have to wait long to find out, at least on that bit about how the characters would react since “Sara” opened with Oliver, Roy, and Felicity immediately discovering Laurel waiting for them with Sara’s corpse in the Arrow cave. It is a gut punch of a moment, particularly the quiet, sad way Oliver says, “Sara?” in reserved disbelief. Felicity is immediately emotional, Laurel looks to Oliver for guidance and comfort, and Roy mostly looks on, following Oliver’s lead.

And then we immediately cut to a Hong Kong flash back which, beyond dropping Tommy (Colin Donnell) back in, had little to offer the episode other than to make some labored connection between the reserved leader Oliver was in the present and the self-sacrificing leader he became in the past. Not every episode needs flashbacks.   Moving on…

Whedon-Angel Waiting in the Wings
That’s Fred in the middle in the front row

Arrow, with its brooding, taciturn, crime-fighting star, so often reminds of Angel, Joss Whedon’s Buffy spin-off about a vampire with a soul (“How lame is that?”), and no one does death better in genre TV than Whedon. One of Angel’s finest hours came in its final season when the character of Fred (short for Winifred, played by Amy Acker) was more or less killed off (hallowed out from the inside and possessed by an ancient god-like creature to be more exact). Fred was picked by Whedon as the one to go because she was the one whose exit would be directly felt by every single other character. If you love that show it is an absolute agonizing hour of television to watch just not as Fred dies but as all the heroes surrounding her ultimately fail to save her, emotionally devastated as a result.

Sara is not Fred, who was actually pretty similar to Felicity. Plus, Angel had 4 ½ seasons to build up its relationships so that Fred’s loss would be so deeply felt by everyone around her whereas Sara has only been an active character on Arrow for one full season with Caity Lotz never being upped to a series regular but instead always just a special guest star. So, it’s ridiculous to fault Arrow in comparison to Angel in this scenario, but there were times during “Sara” where it was both disappointing and interesting to realize that truthfully not all of the characters were actually that close to Sara. Obviously, Oliver, Laurel, and Captain Lance are as close as can be. However, Roy sticks to the background like a good sidekick most of the episode because what kind of relationship did he really have with Sara? Beyond that time he stood up to her when Oliver’s orders didn’t make sense, or when she almost killed him after he became a super soldier? Diggle immediately springs to action to assist Oliver, claiming Sara was his friend too, but speaking as someone who has admittedly not gone back and re-watched any of season 2 I don’t actually recall them being great friends, although certainly on good terms with each other. Felicity was often fairly funny around Sara, but as the season progressed she also took on an ever-present air of jealously, seemingly over Oliver’s renewed romantic relationship with Sara.

arrow-season-3-episode-2-header1
You can’t tell, but he’s doing his best James Van Der Beek ugly cry face on the inside

That was what the writers had to work with in “Sara,” forcing Felicity to not lament the loss of a close friend but instead the disruption of the assumption she’d made that Sara was always going to be around because she seemed so invincible, like a Wonder Woman-esque Amazonian warrior. It does cause to me to ponder how much more effective Sara’s death could have been if they had done it later in the show’s run so that when everyone in mourning keeps referring to her as their friend we wouldn’t have to pause and wonder, “Wait, were they really that close?” Then again, they’d already established the notion of Sara being a fellow soldier to Diggle, ex-lover to Oliver, beloved sister to Laurel, source of jealousy for Felicity, and…um…not much to Roy, and the point of “Sara” wasn’t how close anyone was to her but how her demise impacted everyone.

  • It caused Felicity to decide that, basically, life is too short to wait for the guy rotting under his hood when the world is presenting you other opportunities
  • It caused Oliver to decide he doesn’t want to die in his physical (and metaphorical cave), but he doesn’t really know how not to
  • It caused Laurel to act out in anger and vengeance, which might seem more like the actions of someone being somewhat unnaturally pushed into becoming a vigilante, but it is actually in keeping with how she reacted to Tommy’s death
  • It caused Diggle to re-emerge from his very brief retirement from Team Arrow, pledging to be there Oliver because they’re like brothers to each other at this point
  • It caused Roy to … I don’t know – think about calling Thea without actually doing it, after finally coming clean to Oliver about a note Thea left behind, this after months of silence on the topic.

It did all of this while everyone but Felicity went into soldier mode, attempting to track down Sara’s killer even though we all knew this first guy (Komodo) would simply be a mis-direction because surely the “Who shot Sara Lance?” mystery wouldn’t last for just one episode. The exact mechanism by which Sara would supposedly be connected to Komodo was flimsy at best, but you went with it because you knew you were mostly watching these people work through their grief the only way they knew how. Heck, the very start of this investigation featured Oliver examining the crime scene, with the remarkably mournful way Amell re-enacted the crime serving as a testament to his increasing ability to communicate so much while otherwise appearing to do so little. The same could be said of every time Oliver checked his phone during the episode to see if Thea had called him back yet.

None of character’s reactions rang particularly false to me, even the part with Laurel going as far as trying to kill Komodo, although Katie Cassidy’s delivery of “You took the bullets out of the gun!” came off a bit odd. I was repeatedly drawn in by Amell’s complete mastery of his character, and only winced once or twice during Cassidy and Rickards’s big dramatic scenes. Laurel’s discussion of Sara’s stuffed animal was particularly effective because it felt so real and relatable.

Where I take issue with “Sara” is in the idea that they chose not to tell Captain Lance that his daughter was dead. I understand the internal logic of the situation, and already in this still very young third-season they’ve hammered home Quentin’s failing health. So, Laurel’s concern about what this news would do to him is not necessarily invalid; it just feels wrong. More specifically, it feels like the type of thing the writers completely manufactured because they simply cannot stomach a season in which family members on the show aren’t keeping big secrets from each other, and now that Queen of Lies Moira is gone and pretty much everyone knows Oliver’s secret you have to throw in this odd, “Laurel (and Team Arrow) knows Sara is dead, but is keeping it from Quentin to protect him” scenario. The result is that when Laurel cried out at Sara’s sad funeral, “This isn’t right! She doesn’t even get a fresh grave? It’s so perverse!” I agreed, and wanted to add, “Her dad should be allowed to say his goodbye at a proper funeral!” True as that may be, that wouldn’t have fit in with “Sara”’s idea that such an ignoble end is awaiting Oliver as well at some point down the line if he doesn’t do something to change it.

The Bottom Line

Maybe they were fools to ever introduce the character of Sara Lance, or will rue the day and way they killed her off. We’ll just have to see how season three plays out to know for sure. However, in the current moment her death brought about some fairly big shifts for all of the characters (again, not so much Roy), and helped give us one of Amell’s finest hours. Sara Lance has now officially been converted into a cautionary tale, and “Sara” took the time to let that sink in and give everyone a good cry. Well, everyone except for Oliver. He’s crying on the inside. Plus, not Diggle, what with him being a soldier and all. Roy never really came close to shedding a tear, but Felicity and Laurel, they got some crying in.

Goodbye, Sara.  You were a kick-butt Canary, and there were those who rooted for you and Oliver more than Oliver and Felicity or anyone else:

oliver-and-sara-kiss.jpg.pagespeed.ce._o2zeNbs6A

The Notes:

1. The odd, yellow hue surrounding all of the flashbacks – Is that meant to ensure we can differentiate between past and present, or is simply their way of disguising the fact they’re using Toronto to double as Hong Kong?  Or both?

2. So, who owns Verdant now? Didn’t Isabel claim it in the name of Queen Consolidated at the end of the last season? Beyond that, Thea is long gone which begs the question of who’s managing the place? Is it even open? We at least know that Oliver is living in the Arrow cave now directly beneath Verdant.

3. I almost never have anything bad to say about the action scenes on this show, but that dueling archers on motorcycles sequence was not just too silly but mostly hard to follow.

4. Isn’t that sweet? Diggle named his daughter Sara.

5. Who here had completely forgotten that Felicity is supposedly Jewish?

6. I am officially not charmed by Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, but instead seriously creeped out by his stalking of Felicity. His whole entire “It gets better” moment with her was fine, but when Felicity took the job from him at the end of episode, arriving in his office as glammed up as we’ve ever seen her, it felt less like a personal victory for Felicity and more like she was simply being bought. To me, at least. From what I’ve seen, others find Routh’s character a gosh darn delight.

Second Opinions

TV.com – “Mourning and Moving On”

AVClub – They gave the episode a B+

Last Note: I apologize for the tardiness of this review.  Thanks to anyone who stuck around to see what I had to say about the episode.

What about you?  What did you think of “Sara”?  The comments section awaits your insight!

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8 comments

  1. 506-ish people die for Oliver Queen’s “hero” journey… *crickets*

    One person dies “for Laurel’s hero journey” … OUTRAGE!

    Ding dong, the witch is dead. Sorry, not sorry.

    Before you say I’m only happy because it paves the way for Laurel, check this out. I’m actually really pissed off they are going to turn this into Laurel hero-worshipping her sister who was nothing like a hero. Sara was nothing but an amoral, selfish brat who ended up in a bad situation and then got turned into a hero for saving a kid from a fire once. All her little moral dilemmas and whinings got erased as soon as she hopped back on the boat with Nyssa and the League of Assassins with a giddy little smile on her face.

    That bad situation she was in does not excuse her previous and current sins. We’re supposed to take from her little “no woman should suffer at the hands of men” that something bad happened to her but where was the proof? She ended up with Ivo and became his pet torturer. She ended up with Nyssa, fell in love and was happily an assassin until she got slapped in the face with two kids crying over their dad. She got tasked with taking care of Sin but, seemingly, left Sin alone repeatedly and didn’t even bother to check that the poor girl was okay during the Siege. Then she went to Starling, supposedly to check on her family and as some avenging woman in black protecting people, and then promptly forgot about them once Oliver’s penis was back in play.

    No woman should suffer at the hands of men… what about Laurel? The woman that suffered most at Sara’s hands, and never got a single legitimate apology for it, is now being made to hero worship her because why? She saw her save a kid from a fire once?

    And please stop with the Sara died for Laurel’s journey garbage when, so far, we’ve gotten more character development out of Oliver and Felicity in one episode than we’ve gotten out of them in two seasons thanks to Sara dying. After two seasons of push and pull with various women (mostly Laurel) because “I can’t be with them because of who I am”, Oliver’s finally considering that he’s actually wrong about that. After two seasons of doing nothing but simpering at Oliver’s feet and giving up her whole life for his mission, Felicity finally got the guts to take her own life back.

    Meanwhile, Laurel was still in a cycle of vengeance directed at the wrong person. And I’m not saying I’m blaming her for any of it. I’d burn the damn world down to find out who killed my sister and make them pay. But, really, we’re going to say that Sara died just to serve Laurel’s hero journey? When so far it seems like it’s going to be Sara that gets all the credit for it when she barely did anything truly heroic on her own on the show. Seems to me like Laurel is going to continue Sara’s heroic journey.

    Of course, given the spoilers about Laurel and Ted, he’s going to question her motives and I hope it makes Laurel realize she was hero all along for being a good person all along and by helping people with no ulterior motives other than it being the right thing to do. The difference between Laurel’s journey and Oliver & Sara’s is Laurel was already good with the right motives and now she’s going to realize that doesn’t help if no one else plays by the rules. So she’s going to start breaking them, too.

    Oliver and Sara were morally bad guys who are now working in shades of gray. Laurel was a morally good guy who is going to end up working in shades of gray.

  2. The dumpster was ugly. And then she was ‘fridged’, put in a freezer at Verdant while they tried to decide what to do with her body. That was the ultimate insult but not the final one, which was to bury her at night six months after Oliver threw her a big Welcome Home party. (I agree with you about needing to tell Captain Lance; I’ve been a daughter needing to tell an ailing parent something bad and they’re stronger than we think.)

    I am growing more and more impressed with Stephen Amell’s acting. The writing on this show can get pretty bad but what it lacks, he manages to put in non-verbally. The role of Oliver Queen is so physical, it’s easy to forget how much acting he does, and how well.

    Other than that, this felt like whatever the opposite of a filler episode is. This one was about putting the characters into position for the next part of the season and so it often ended up making them act out-of-character. Diggle is back on the team after a hiatus of less than a day in Arrow time; Quentin is not told of Sara’s death so that he can be shocked a few episodes down the line; Felicity runs into Roy’s arms at Sara’s death so Oliver’s can be free for Laurel; Oliver and Laurel walk out leaving Komodo (who has already murdered two men) so that he can return another day; and the biggest of all, Sara dying to pave the way for Laurel putting on her leathers and mask. (Also did no one on this show ever watch Forever Knight or take French in school? It’s pronounced la craw, not la croy.) And while I liked Laurel’s rage (a strength of Katie Cassidy), I’m left with the feeling of ‘is that all there is?’ for the episode itself.

    Within fifteen episodes, three strong women characters have been brutally executed (Shado, Moira and Sara) on this show while men either live (Merlyn, Slade) or die heroically (Tommy, Robert Queen). That’s a disturbing pattern.

    To address your points:

    You’re the second male reviewer I’ve read who thought that Felicity was jealous of Sara’s relationship with Oliver, which I find interesting since Time of Death bent over backwards (and so did AK in interviews) to say that Felicity was *not* jealous of that, what she was was envious of Sara’s skills as a fighter and everything else she could do well including analyze blood while Felicity was failing at her own job of doing tech to catch Tockman. At the end of the episode,Felicity was happy she took a bullet for Sara and there is a deleted scene later on in which Sara is comforting Felicity after Slade attacked the lair. Long-winded answer, but given all my criticisms of this show, I’m happy that that they made Felicity and Sara friends rather than rivals for Oliver’s attentions. They need more female friendships and with Sara gone, there is only Thea’s with Sin.

    It’s Vancouver that is passing for Hong Kong, not Toronto. Good for all those home actors — Vancouver has a huge Asian population.

    I guess this was the annual mention of Felicity’s Jewishness, although I’ve seen that done at Christian burials. I wonder if we’ll get more this season as Ray Palmer is also Jewish in the comics.

    I’m not sold on Ray Palmer although I thought he was much better this episode than the last. His stalking is creepy but on the other hand, it’s nice to see someone pursue Felicity at last. Between Oliver dismissing her degree to make her his EA, Oliver and Diggle both being unimpressed at what she can do, and Oliver emotionally pushing her away, I like that someone, finally, appreciates Felicity even if he is kind of creepy.

    1. If you liked Sara Lance, the actual episode “Sara” was probably a bit hard to take, not because it was us saying goodbye to the character but because, as you mentioned, they stored her body in a Verdant freezer and then gave her a horrible burial at night without telling her father. It had pretty much nothing to do with her, really, and everything to do with doing something so severe as to set all of these character movements in motion, the severity of Sara’s depressing end probably most directly speaking to Oliver, giving him a Ghost of Christmas Future kind of thing.

      From what I gather, both Amell and Colton Haynes have received some flack for their performances in “Sara” mostly because neither ostensibly seemed to be doing much, but if you seriously think that about Amell then you’re missing the point (as for Haynes, eh). So, it’s cool to see that you appreciated what he was doing there.

      Yeah, seriously, what the hell was with leaving Komodo like that? This is TV – if we don’t actually see the character die/arrested/captured then that’s code for “didn’t die”/”probably got away”/”will break out easily.” I suppose that if Laurel wasn’t there Oliver might have stuck around a little longer, but he needed to get her out of there.

      You not only just referenced Forever Knight but specifically referenced LaCroix! I think you and I are going to get along just fine.

      “I’m left with the feeling of ‘is that all there is?’ for the episode itself”

      I think that’s why I jumped to the Angel referenced in my review – I’ve seen this type of episode done better, in a way that cut me up inside, be it on Buffy, Angel, Vampire Diaires, etc. “Sara” didn’t really do that to me. To some degree, that might simply speak to how much of my passion for Arrow was damaged by a lot of the stuff they did last season.

      Vancouver, of course. I knew that, too, one of those writing the review moments, thinking, “Huh, Toronto doesn’t sound quite right.” I just kept going, meaning to go back and double check on that. I obviously forgot. Thanks for the correction.

      I’ll never not be amused at Felicity’s only-once-in-a-while Judaism.

      After 2 episodes, Ray Palmer seems like the type who will be all fast-talking, too-charming-for-his-own-good arrogance in his initial appearances before revealing that there’s way more to him than we realized. “Sara” was the first hint of that with his attempt to comfort Felicity, which was nice, and I get your point about him at least being someone who’s actively pursuing Felicity out of appreciation. Not even Barry Allen has done that…yet. Plus, Ray’s clearly a more emotionally available person to try and comfort a relative stranger like Felicity while Oliver, who’s known her for years, couldn’t really be there for her because that’s simply not how he is built to operate in a situation such as that. However, even though the show lampshaded by this by having Felicity point it out I still can’t quite get past the stalkerish vibe. I guess, more importantly, I simply don’t think he’s as charming as the show does.

      Fair enough on your argument about Felicity never really being jealous of Sara in the way I indicated. I know everything you’re saying, but with the way the first half of season 2 foregrounded the will-they-won’t-they with Oliver and Felicity I read an extra element of romantic jealousy in Felicity’s reaction to Sara in the specific episode you referenced, although the over-riding gist was clearly that … it was “Fredless” from Angel or “The Zeppo” on Buffy. It was the episode where the team member felt replaced or unnecessary and had her faith in her ability to contribute to the team restored by episode’s end. I just thought that with some of the shots of Felicity looking at Oliver and Sara together that was like the cherry on top of Felicity’s crap sundae. To be fair, I’ve never re-watched that episode or any of season two nor have I seen any of the deleted scenes. If I watched it on Netflix now I might see that I was just seeing something that wasn’t really there.

      Either way, Sara is gone, Laurel is about to start learning how to fight and harness her anger, Oliver is going to work his way out of his metaphorical cave, Felicity’s going to soon wonder if its against Queen Consolidated company policy to go out with your boss, Diggle is going back into the field because, well, because that’s how fast things change on this show, Roy’s going to have his drama with Thea when she returns, and…poor, poor Captain Lance has no idea his once-dead daughter turned-assassins is now in fact dead, buried, and rotting in her grave. Maybe she’d actually always wanted to be cremated, and only he knew that. If only they’d told him.

      I do have a funny (or not, depending on your sense of humor) image in my head of Laurel doing her, “It will kill him!” argument with Oliver about not telling her dad only to then have Oliver convince her Quentin needed and deserved to know. Then you smash-cut to Oliver and Laurel standing in front of not one but two graves, cut to the headstones reading Sara Lance and Quentin Lance, the dates of death one day apart to indicate Quentin clearly suffered a fatal heart attack after learning of Sara’s death. Laurel would look seriously pissed, and Oliver would sheepishly say, “I’m so, so sorry. I really thought your dad could take it. I have failed this city.”

      1. My sense of humor must be twisted because I laughed at that image.

        Greetings to a fellow Forever Knight fan. Nigel Bennett, who played LaCroix, used to live in my area. I would see him picking up his son from school and it was all I could do not to go over and fangirl. And here’s your one degree of separation for this episode: Matt Ward, who played LaCroix/Komodo is a regular on the TV series Remedy where his boss is played by Catherine Disher, who played Natalie in Forever Knight. (If you know of someone who likes medical shows, as opposed to soap operas set in a hospital, I recommend Remedy.)

        My advice is don’t bother re-watching Time of Death. The idea may have had some merit but the execution was bad and the Lance Family Drama at the dinner table on the wrong CW show. Hopefully they can do better when Tockman shows up in Central City later this season.

      2. Forever Knight’s Natalie is still around? I guess I had no reason to believe she wasn’t, but when you go so long without hearing about actors you kind of forget about them. Good for her.

        I always wondered what literally anyone other than Nick must have thought if they ever tuned into LaCroix’s radio show because his monologues were always so clearly speaking directly to Nick. Sometimes I expected LaCroix to actually stop his monologue and cut in, “Nick, you missed your left turn a block ago. Now, you’re going to have circle back around again if you want to make it in time to stop that guy from your past who suddenly showed up in town and threatened your friends.” Then, to top it off, Nick would thank LaCroix, and, somehow, LaCroix would hear him through the radio and offer up the most chilling reading of “You’re welcome” you’ve ever heard.

        And that’s the first Forever Knight joke that comes to mind. That’s awesome that you could have so easily stalked Nigel Bennett, if you so desired, but resisted the impulse.

        Oh, it’s the “Time of Death” episode we were talking about? I’d kind of forgotten that was the one with the awkward Lance family dinner with special guest Oliver. Yeah, no need to re-watch that, although I agree about Tockman – I’m interested to see how he does on The Flash.

  3. I really liked Sara from the start, so i am still sad about their decision to kill her off. I am going to watch ‘Arrow’ until the mid-season finale and then we’ll see… Someone said that Laurel suffered most at Sara’s hands. I think that she suffered the most at Oliver’s hands. That is a fact, i believe. The actor who plays Ray seems great but his character is really strange, at least for now. Felicity is Jewish once or twice a year, i remember lines about menorah 🙂 This was really hard episode for me, it had a lot of pluses and minuses but i won’t get into all of them. Only one thing really bothered me, not telling Lance that Sara died. I mean c’mon writers! That is just wrong, how can they go into soap opera and melodrama and claim that they want high quality show.

    1. “I am going to watch Arrow until the mid-season finale and then we’ll see…”

      Based upon the second season and the start of the third season, I’d say that’s perfectly fair on your part.

      Ray Palmer –

      I read a review which pointed out that the way they presented Ray in the second episode was pretty much identical to Christian Grey early on in 50 Shades of Grey. I don’t actually know that to be true (haven’t read 50 Shades), but I just thought I’d share that.

      Felicity –

      Before I made my joke in the review about Felicity’s convenient Judaism I did briefly check Emily Bett Rickards’ Wikipedia page to see if she’s actually Jewish. No dice, and I wasn’t going to cyber-stalk her beyond that to see if she’s ever specified a religious affiliation. I was just curious, though, because I have several friends who think it’s hilarious that they made a clearly non-Jewish actress a Jewish character when then they so easily could have simply never mentioned her religious affiliation whatsoever. It’s ultimately not a big deal because as we all seem to agree her religion only comes up like once or twice a season, usually as a throw-away joke.

      “not telling Lance that Sara died”

      I’ve seen the producers joke that Arrow is just not Arrow if people aren’t keeping secrets from each other. In this particular instance, they should have resisted that impulse. As I argued in the review, it felt manufactured, fake, and, as you said, “just wrong.” I get the larger point they were trying to make about the potentially rueful fate for vigilantes, giving Oliver a sobering slap across the face, but doing so while keeping Quentin in the dark and likely needlessly stringing this whole thing along just so they can crank out some stories going forward was a mistake.

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