Remember when Arrow was just the story of a guy getting revenge on the people who fucked over his less-than-honorable father? Arrow’s grown (and grown up) quite a bit since the first season of the show, a rapid expansion of settings, characters, and people who know that Oliver Queen is Arrow (seriously: remember how many people found out last season?). And every now and then, Arrow stumbles a bit under the weight of keeping so many people and plot lines up and running at any given time in Starling City – unfortunately, “Corto Maltese” is one of those hours, an entertaining episode held back by the sheer amount of material it’s trying to cram in (and in some cases, straight rush through) as it begins to establish the larger stories of what appears to be another wildly ambitious season of Arrow. More
Identity has always been a major theme of Arrow, particularly with its lead character, who has spent the better part of the first two seasons figuring out who he was. As everyone on Team Arrow (which it really is at this point, especially if Laurel’s on board) reflects on Sara’s death throughout the episode named after her, this idea of searching for one’s true identity comes to forefront and frames an otherwise melancholy episode with a few philosophic brush strokes, trying to dig beneath everyone’s pain about Sara’s death for deeper self-revelations.