Arrow Season 4, Episode 5 – Quick Impressions (Spoilers)
Does anybody have a cigarette? Nobody’s going to judge you if you’re basking in this week’s post Arrow afterglow. After all, “Haunted” is a fun, enjoyable episode which saw Oliver cross swords with the revered chain-smoking, street magician Constantine. Technically this wasn’t a crossover since NBC cancelled Constantine earlier this year after its first season ended. The best thing about NBC’s Constantine is lead actor Matt Ryan, he’s back as the same titular character and he hasn’t lost a bit of his roguish charm.
But if I’m being honest with you, “Haunted” wasn’t exactly the Constantine episode I was expecting. This wasn’t an episode about Constantine so much as Constantine was the plot device to a couple of story lines. To the writer’s credit, they were able to purposefully use Constantine as a means of rescuing Sara’s soul and on the island, obtain a staff that might come into play on Legends Of Tomorrow.
One of the challenges in bringing Sara back from the grave is how to sell it the audience in a way that feels earned, knowing that the Lazarus Pit changes people. The right man for that task is Constantine, mainly because when it comes to the occult he’s always knows exactly what to do and has the mystical powers to do it. Add in a bit of smoke and mirrors, it’s easy to overlook that Sara’s soul was brought back pretty effortlessly. Had the writers had more time and budget, a whole episode could have been dedicated to rescuing Sara in the after world, instead of simply pulling her out of the pool in a matter of minutes.
If you boil it down and dirty, Constantine’s guest appearance is a big step up from a causal encounter. It’s more like friends with benefits and Constantine is a great friend to have in Oliver’s back pocket. So a big takeaway is that Constantine is set up for a possible return to the Arrowverse in the future.
The other benefit is that Constantine is like supernatural lubricant to ease, make that throw us head first into the world of mysticism. Sure, we’ve already seen Lazarus Pit at work and we’ve already seen Damien Darhk’s magical powers. But if you think about it, it’s pretty crazy how Oliver and Laurel went into the after world. And they reacted like it was all a normal day’s work. Somehow with Constantine leading the way, it’s easier to just go with the flow and not snicker at how ridiculous this after world scene could have truly been.
Oh Laurel, don’t worry … I’m going to talk about you even if this episode is all about Sara. But before you throw a temper tantrum let me put away these wine glasses you might throw and while I’m at it, lock up the liquor cabinet. In all seriousness, Laurel is right to defend herself to Oliver about resurrecting Sara, it’s just how she does it is laughable.
So Laurel is pulling out the inequality and hypocrisy card? Yes, Laurel has every right to be as self-serving and self-righteous as everyone else, yet there’s a lesson to be learned. The flash forward in the premiere not only brings up the question of who’s in the coffin or that Nyssa tinkled in the pool so that no one else could get resurrected. It’s if Team Arrow, in a season about mysticism, will learn the consequences of messing around with the natural order of things and that nature has a way of balancing things out.
One final thing about “Haunted” is that the writing device of withholding secrets or the truth as a way to generate dramatic tension between characters is getting played out. Captain Lance is on the money when he facetiously points out Laurel’s consistency in lying to him last season that Sara was alive and in not telling Oliver that Sara was resurrected. That’s not to say that Team Arrow should be an open book, but it’s a glaring trope which in some cases can undermine certain story lines and characters.
“Haunted” is a solid, entertaining episode which could have benefited from focusing more on the guest star Matt Ryan as Constantine. Even though this wasn’t as Constantine centric as hoped, for the most part “Haunted” is a satisfying adventure deep into the supernatural world. It’s not a bad thing to leave us wanting more. And it’s exciting that’s Sara’s soul is restored, we didn’t actually see her at the end which could be a sign she’s comes back different than expected?
What do you think about Constantine’s guest appearance? Did you love or laugh at Laurel’s rant?