Felicity‘s (Emily Bett Rickards) assumption that the city’s new leather-clad vigilante isn’t so much obsessed with the archer but Laurel (Katie Cassidy) leads to an official rooftop meeting between Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and Black Canary (Caity Lotz) who is revealed to be Laurel’s presumed dead sister Sara. Sara’s sudden arrival raises several questions for Oliver who knew Laurel’s sister survived the shipwreck but has no idea what to do with her reappearance in Starling City, and from Sara’s conversation with Sin (Bex Taylor-Klaus) we know she’s not so sure either.
In the episode’s B-story Green Arrow turns his attention to a would-be kingpin known as The Mayer (Clé Bennett) who is smuggling military-grade weapons into the city to make himself the undisputed ruler of the Glades. Diggle (David Ramsey) reaches out to an old army buddy (Audrey Marie Anderson) to find out more about how the weapons are getting into the city while Ollie runs into a pair of obstacles in the ever-smug Sebastian Blood (Kevin Alejandro) and his less-than-helpful co-owner of Queen Consolidated Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) while trying to set-up a Cash for Guns event in the Glades to get as many of the weapons of the street as possible.
While dealing with Sara’s return and trying to take down The Mayor, who shows up guns blazing at the gun buyback, Oliver is also approached by a concerned Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who asks for his help to try and stop Laurel’s downward spiral that nearly got her arrested for drunk driving. Putting his issues with one sister aside, Green Arrow asks for Sara’s help to take down The Mayor and later tries to convince the Canary to let Sara Lance live once more for her sake as well as that of her family.
There are a surprising number of subplots in “Crucible,” but none of them unnecessarily weigh the episode down. We’re also given flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the ship where he’s tortured, shot, and runs into an old friend. The season uses the episode to begin exploring the character of Black Canary while also beginning a dark turn for Laurel and introducing the audience to the true face of Brother Blood just as Oliver is starting to like the man. I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and the revelations of events that turned Sara into a member of the League of Assassins (who come to town looking for their missing member).