Arrow: The Sin-Eater review, S5, Ep. 14

Sin-Eater was a great example of Arrow operating at its best. There was a slew of terrific action sequences, meaningful flashbacks and strong character development. This episode didn’t lack for big moments, but it was the smaller character beats that really made Sin-Eater another standout.

China White, Cupid and Liza Warner escaped from custody and had a plan. They weren’t wasting time on some ill-conceived revenge plot. No, they were gunning for Tobias Church’s secret money stash. With so many other big developments going on it was refreshing to see competent bad guys just going for a big payday.

I loved how well the trio played off each other. Without being as obvious as some other Batman homages, this trio cold be Arrow’s equivalent to the Poison Ivy/Harley Quinn dynamic. It didn’t hurt that they could hold their own against Team Arrow.

Even with a somewhat bloated support staff, Team Arrow doesn’t feel overstuffed. The writers are still giving Green Arrow enough moments on his own or with one of his allies. That helps since Arrow isn’t surrounded by a mini-army on every mission.

Rene and Curtis have established their own buddy cop dynamic while Dinah is reluctant to assume the Black Canary title. I think a lot of viewers are fully on board with Dinah as Black Canary II already, but wanting to earn the title makes her look better. And it was great seeing Quentin give Oliver that fatherly pep talk he’s lacked in his absence. Arrow doesn’t have the obvious family dynamic like The Flash.  Yet Quentin’s scenes with Thea and Oliver prove he can easily be that father figure they and the show needs occasionally.

arrow - the sin-eater - oliver, adrian, lance and pike

With the ACU on his back, Oliver had to explain Arrow’s side in the death of Billy Malone. I’m glad that wasn’t just a forgotten plot and came back to haunt Oliver in a big way this week. While the police captain gives Arrow a pass, the news of the cover-up somehow got leaked to the media. Was it Prometheus, his mother or Oliver’s ex-girlfriend?

The mayoral subplot has really picked up the last few weeks and this packed the biggest surprises. I didn’t see the Susan story line playing out with Thea going all Mamma Queen to get her out of the picture. The writers played coy with Susan’s motivations. Was she stringing Oliver along just for a story or did she really care?

In a nice misdirection, it turns out Susan wasn’t using Oliver and just wanted him to be straight with her. But now that Thea and Felicity blackballed Susan out of her career with a fake plagiarism scandal there’s no telling what she’ll do next. It was a nice touch that Oliver was rightfully worried about Thea and didn’t stay on the moral high ground too long.

The flashback scenes were good despite being too brief. An entire Bratva flashback episode wouldn’t be a bad idea at some point. It did neatly frame the episode’s Sin-Eater focus.

arrow - the sin-eater - cupid, china white and liza warner

Director Mary Lambert delivered some fantastic action scenes. The Green Arrow/Lance against the ladies was exceptional. This season the show’s directors have seemed to make more of a conscious effort to incorporate the arrows into Green Arrow’s fights. Sure, he’s going to utilize his martial arts skills, but it’s good to see Green Arrow not immediately putting up his bow at the start of every fight.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Sin-Eater was another strong episode for Arrow with intense action and even better character development.

Photo Credit: Robert Falconer/The CW

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