This week on Arrow, Halloween’s not quite over yet! This week’s episode is all about being “haunted” by the past and coming to terms with life after death.
Of course, a lot of that “life after death” business is literal. Sara’s back from the dead, Thea’s back from the dead, Oliver’s back from the dead… I could go on.
But “Haunted” isn’t just about supernatural afterlives. It’s also about grief, loss, and the other kind of “life after death”—how to move on after losing someone you love.
As silly as it is, I really liked this episode’s “magical” flavor. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Arrow is more entertaining when it embraces the fact that it’s a cheesy superhero soap opera. Why get bogged down in all that faux-grimdark nonsense when you can have metahumans, magic, and nonsmoking British guys in trench coats?
As I mentioned, Sara Lance is back from the dead! And she has escaped from Laurel’s makeshift prison! And she’s running around town, crazed and disoriented, beating up random criminals… and girls who look like Thea!
Meanwhile, Thea has hired political consultant Alex Davis (Parker Young) to work on Oliver’s mayoral campaign. Davis cautions Oliver that he’s got a lot of “skeletons in [his] closet” (oh Davis, if you only knew), and that he should distance himself from Laurel to avoid reminding people of his scandalous past.
Speaking of the past and the afterlife, we get a flashback to Lian Yu, where Oliver is still (STILL!) undercover as a drug slaver. His cover almost gets blown when Conklin finds his A.R.G.U.S. gear, but fortunately Reiter doesn’t notice that his new employee is a
n extremely freakin’ obvious mole, because he’s distracted… by this week’s special guest star John Constantine (Matt Ryan)! Spooky!
Constantine fills Oliver in on what Reiter’s actually up to on the island—evil magic-type stuff! Lian Yu is a magical nexus that attracts bad people. (Or something? It’s kind of vague.) Anyway, the important thing is that Constantine’s on the island to collect a mysterious
MacGuffin artifact. Oliver saves Constantine from a booby trap, and Constantine thanks him by giving him a magical tattoo on his tummy (like you do) and promising to help him should he ever need a favor.
Back in the present, Damien Darhk orders Quentin Lance to infect some federal computers with a virus. Diggle agrees to help him, because he’s still desperate to get revenge on Darhk and H.I.V.E. for his brother’s murder. When they upload the virus, it erases the records of a bunch of dead soldiers—including Diggle’s brother. Consequently, Diggle and Quentin find out the real reason that H.I.V.E. wanted Andrew Diggle dead—he was involved in illegal drug and arms dealing in Afghanistan.
So, in addition to “life after death” in the magical sense, this is also an episode about legacy, grief, and remembrance. Diggle loses and then rediscovers his brother’s military records—a physical remnant of the past, just as real and painful as a scary ghost.
Oliver and Felicity have their own conversation about death, discussing loss, grief, and letting go. Oliver’s determined to let Sara go permanently, because
he’s a huge hypocrite he thinks bringing her back is too painful for everyone who loves her.
But that point is moot anyway, because Sara attacks Thea, putting her in the hospital. It turns out that the “bloodlust” people suffer from after being healed in the Lazarus Pit is caused by your typical ghostly “unfinished business.” Sara can’t rest until she kills the person who killed her (Thea), and Thea can’t rest, full stop, because the person who killed her is dead.
Even more importantly, Sara’s body may be back, but her soul is still missing. So, Oliver calls in that favor!
Constantine does a ritual and sends himself, Laurel, and Oliver into the netherworld to retrieve Sara’s soul. They fight some scary hooded figures, Sara gets pulled out of a magic jacuzzi, and—most importantly—Laurel and Oliver work together as equals. They’ve had some trouble trusting each other recently because of all the lying, secrets, and drama they’re both addicted to. But they leave all that behind him, and agree to be better friends in the future. They let go of the past, and they get Sara back from the dead.
As the episode ends, Oliver and Constantine pledge their everlasting bro-lliance, and then Constantine leaves for wherever he’s been spending his time recently—The Land of Cancelled, Straight-washed Characters, perhaps?—but not before warning Oliver how super, super evil Damien Darhk is.
Oliver and Laurel commit to being better friends, even if it’s not politically savvy. Diggle comes to terms with who his brother really was, which hopefully will bring him some peace. And Curtis and Felicity, who have been investigating Ray Palmer’s “dying” message, make an amazing discovery: Ray Palmer’s not dead, either.