The latest episode of "Arrow," titled "Beyond Redemption," follows four story lines: Sara's return to the land of the living, Oliver and Lance's hunt for dirty cops, Felicity and Curtis' discovery of Ray Palmer's last message and Oliver's run for mayor. Each of these stories pose a profoundly thematic question: is any person, any city or any soul beyond saving? This is a question that the Green Arrow himself has been asking for years, as he has fought countless demons within his own life and in Star(ling) City. Tonight that question was asked of two members of the Lance family: Captain Quentin Lance and his daughter Sara Lance. With Sara's soul literally gone and Lance's soul in an alliance with Damien Darhk, both Lances are on the verge of losing their very selves, and Oliver must do everything in his power to get both of them back on the right path.
The episode kicked off with Oliver (Stephen Amell) continuing his plans to fully reunite Team Arrow by building them a new "Arrowcave." This new cave/base of operations features state of the art technology, paid for by Palmer Tech and furnished by S.T.A.R. Labs. "The Flash's" very own Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) helped Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) build an Arrowcave that is worthy of an entire team of super heroes. Thea (Willa Holland), Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Diggle (David Ramey) are all stunned when they see their costumes and weapons on display along side Oliver's Green Arrow suit. Even Felicity got her computer gear upgraded, after it was destroyed by card-throwing villain Double Down on last week's episode. The new base is located directly below Oliver's new campaign headquarters, which ironically enough, are also Sebastian Blood's old campaign headquarters.
The case of the week hits home for Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), who calls upon Team Arrow when two undercover SCPD detectives are killed. Felicity discovers that the detectives were killed by cops, former members of the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. Thea and Diggle lay a trap for the cop killers and Team Arrow ambushes them. Unfortunately the task force is ready for the team, leaving Laurel's Canary Cry and the entire team incapacitated. The rogue task force members escape with a huge cache of drugs and leave Lance and Team Arrow in the dust. Felicity however tracks down the leader of the team, Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley). In the process of tracking Warner down, Oliver and Felicity discover that Captain Lance is working with Damien Darhk. This discovery sends Oliver into a full blown confrontation with Lance, which is by far the best scene of this entire season so far. For the first time in years Oliver finally has the moral high ground on Lance, and he is not afraid to take it.
In this scene, shrouded by the darkness of Lance's apartment, Oliver tells Lance that he has always seen him as untouchable, as the most righteous man in Star City, living above reproach and compromise. This posture of righteousness has always made Oliver feel like he wasn't good enough, and in that moment -- with no arrows, no suit, no voice changer -- it's just Oliver and Captain Lance. The best quote of this scene has to be: "A part of me has always wanted to show you I was a better man. I never expected to find out that you weren't." Oliver burns Lance to the core with these words. Lance has fallen victim to the same plague of hopelessness the city has fallen into, and Oliver is finally the man to bring him out of it. This scene was reminiscent of all those times in season one where Lance shamed both Oliver and the Vigilante for not being worthy of his daughters or the city.
This revelation draws upon some great themes from seasons past. From the time Oliver was dating Laurel in high school, to the times he was fighting to save Starling City in past seasons, he has always wanted Lance's approval. It was in this incredibly visceral and heartbreaking moment that Oliver and Lance are finally honest with one another, helping Oliver realize that he no longer needs Lance's approval. He and Lance are no longer living on different planes of existence, one fighting to uphold the law, one fighting outside of it. Tonight Oliver and Lance are the same, two broken men, making the best choices they can to save the people and the city that they love. This moment catalyzes Oliver to go through with running for mayor, because he realizes Star City does need heroes fighting within the public eye, not just outside of it.
In addition to this scene, one other moment was absolutely heartbreaking. Watching Captain Lance contemplate killing Sara right after she's been brought back to life -- Sara Lance, his beloved daughter who he was helpless to save, his daughter who has been dead for more than a year before Laurel put her body in the Lazarus Pit in Nanda Parbat. According to Malcolm Merlyn, Sara shouldn't even be alive. When Sara came out of the Pit she wasn't herself. She was violent, non-verbal, unresponsive and likely deadly. When Laurel told her father what she did, Captain Lance completely freaks out when he sees Sara alive again. Laurel's attempts to jog Sara's memory by showing her photographs of their family don't work, which gives Sara the opportunity to try and kill Laurel. This situation leaves Lance desperate, forcing him to seek out Damien Darhk for help. Darhk, a man all too familiar with the effects of the Lazarus Pit, advises Lance to kill Sara, now that she is without a soul. In a fit of terror and emotional weakness, Lance pulls a gun on his own daughter, in the hopes that killing her would be better than keeping her alive with no hope. Thankfully Laurel's intervention prevents this from happening. By the end of the episode Sara is gone and Lance and Laurel are left without her again.
The episode concludes with Oliver confirming his run for mayor of Star City and Felicity finally listening to the goodbye message Ray Palmer left her before he "died." Thea helps Oliver craft a perfect speech, having Oliver boldly speak out in public a line from his all too familiar opening monologue of the show, "After five years in hell, I returned home with only one goal: to save my city." This declaration to run for mayor is Oliver is another echo to the character's comic book history, as Green Arrow was mayor of Star City about a decade ago in DC Comics.