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Recap / Arrow S 4 E 5 Haunted

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Season 4, Episode 5:

Haunted

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arrow_s04e05.jpg
For one night only.
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Sara is on a rampage across the city attacking women who look like Thea before finally finding and trying to kill her. Oliver calls in John Constantine—who he had met on Lian Yu and assisted in recovering a mystical artifact—to restore Sara's soul to her body. While assisting Quentin in a mission for Darhk, Diggle discovers his brother's records are being erased, and finds out the truth about Andy and why he was killed by H.I.V.E. Felicity and Curtis discover Ray Palmer is still alive.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Discussed. Since Oliver is the only person crazy enough to run, he's basically guaranteed the mayor's seat. But winning with 10% of the vote will make his life much more difficult than winning with 90%.
  • Actionized Sequel: To Constantine, since John wasn't much of a fighter on the show. He could throw one solid punch, but in combat wasn't skilled. Here, he can at least hold off a swordsman (albeit during an out-of-body experience, outside the physical plane).
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  • Affably Evil: Damien Darhk continues to give sage advice on how to deal with the soulless Sara between his instructions to Captain Lance. Darhk is also courteous enough to bring information about Andy Diggle as a reward for completing a H.I.V.E. mission with efficiency.
  • All That Glitters: Recovering the artifact (a large jewel on a wooden staff), John breaks the jewel off and hands it to Oliver to bring back, explaining that guys like Reiter see the flashy stuff but it's the staff that contains the real magic.
  • Anti-Hero: Constantine still is one. He's a snarky conman, but still "pure of heart".
  • Awesome, but Temporary: Matt Ryan's guest spot as John Constantine is seen by many as the highlight of the episode (and is largely its entire point), which the producers have repeatedly described as a "one-off".
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: How Quentin and Dig escape. Too bad Dig didn't know the plan before...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sara's soul is restored, and it seems she's back for good. However, Diggle learns a sad truth about his brother.
  • Broken Pedestal: Diggle finds out his brother had been into criminal activity and had been assassinated by H.I.V.E. to eliminate competition.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The spot in The Underworld where Sara's soul is being kept prisoner takes the form of a facsimile of Nanda Parbat where intruders keep getting back to where they started for all eternity — unless you have someone like Constantine who can navigate the place.
  • Canon Welding: The Constantine series wasn't created as part of the Arrowverse, so the flashback story has to take an awkward detour to fit him into the show and explain Oliver calling him up. In fact, aside from setting up how Sara comes Back from the Dead for real, this episode's primary purpose is integrating that show into this universe.
  • Chick Magnet: Given a Lampshade Hanging. Constantine says that he'd have come to see Oliver sooner if he knew he were surrounded by so many beautiful women.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Constantine manages to defeat a shade of a powerful assassin using a levitation spell to remove his footing.
  • Continuity Nod: Beyond the past Arrow moments, the episode is rife with nods to Constantine.
    • When John's face is shown for the first time, his show's theme music plays, and reoccurs through most of his scenes.
    • John mentions restoring a soul, likely the events of Episode Five of Constantine, where he and Papa Midnite did that after a voodoo ritual was distorted.
    • John gripes about angels trying to force him to do things, like Manny always did. Although there's a bit of a Continuity Snarl there.
    • John escapes handcuffs yet again, as he did when he met Jim "The Spectre" Corrigan.
    • The place where John stores mystical items is likely Jasper Winter's mill house from the series.
    • John's business card returns (he never got new ones made), and yes, the phone number still works.
    • John is never seen smoking, only stomping out a cigarette and asking for another, similar to the smoking restrictions NBC had on the first half of the series.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • John mentions being ordered around by angels against his will, in a flashback five years before the episode. John only encountered Manny a year before this episode. However, his interactions with Manny seemed to indicate that this had not been the first time he had encountered angels, so it's likely he's had problems with him, or at least his species, before.
    • Oliver having known about Constantine since the start of the series makes it pretty odd that he didn't call in that favor while he was dealing with Ra's al Ghul, or more to the point when he realized that Damien Darhk was a full-blown sorcerer.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Just as Conklin seems to have undeniable proof that Oliver in the flashbacks isn't telling the truth because of the communications kit, Reiter is busy interrogating John Constantine, who is an outsider infiltrating the island and providing a convenient scapegoat.
  • Crossover: Technically, with Constantine.
  • Deadpan Snarker: John Constantine has not changed since his show ended.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Like her father in the previous episode, Laurel gets pretty close to it when she believes that she will have to kill her sister.
  • The Dreaded: Constantine's advice for Oliver once he hears that his enemy is Damien Darhk? Run.
  • Foreshadowing: When Oliver and Laurel pulls Sara's soul from the "pit", she's wearing a white negligee.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Look closely, and on Curtis Holt's sleeve, you can see the words "Fair Play" written on it, in reference to his future identity as Mr. Terrific.
  • Freudian Trio: The rescuers of Sara's soul.
    • Constantine, the guide during the Journey to the Center of the Mind (Superego).
    • Oliver, friend of both Constantine and Laurel and only focused on the mission (Ego).
    • Laurel, usually acts reckless which Constantine called her out for when the journey began (Id).
  • Genius Loci: In the flashbacks, Constantine warned Oliver that Lian Yu draws bad people to it.
  • Hero of Another Story: Constantine, who walks into the flashback plot to recover a priceless artifact before walking right out.
  • Hypocrite: Oliver is once again accused of being this by Laurel. In the end, he tells Thea that he has no right to be angry about them keeping secrets. Laurel certainly has a point, and Oliver is currently STILL keeping a major secret from her regarding her father being a spy for Team Arrow against Damien Darhk. It was also his idea.
    • Ironically, Laurel's speech actually highlights her hypocrisy more than Oliver's. Her accusation that Oliver keeps secrets and doesn't treat her as an equal falls flat when she hid the fact she resurrected a soulless Sara who is out on the streets killing people. With that, Oliver has a damn good reason not to trust her with anything. In the same speech, she complains Oliver never thinks about how she feels, when Laurel's actions have put Oliver's sister in the hospital, while he's busting his gut to save Laurel's sister.
  • Hidden Depths: Curtis won an Olympic bronze medal in the decathlon.
  • I Owe You My Life: In the flashback, Oliver saves Constantine from a non-magical spike trap. Constantine says he owes him a favor, which Oliver calls in during the present day plot.
  • Improbable Age: When Oliver questions whether Alex is old enough to be a political strategist, Thea reminds him that she owned and ran a nightclub before she was even old enough to drink.
  • Irony: Previously, when Roy was on a Mirakuru-fueled rampage across the city, it was Sara who suggested killing him to save everyone else. Now, Sara herself is on a similar type of rampage across the city, and her own sister ponders killing her to save everyone else. In both instances, it's Oliver who (correctly) assumes that they can instead be restored to their former selves, and killing them isn't necessary.
  • Island of Mystery: Lian Yu's status as this is finally explained by Constantine. The island is a mystical nexus that draws darkness to it.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Or rather, to the metaphysical hole where Sara's soul was being stashed.
  • Karma Houdini: Laurel raises Sara from the dead against Nyssa, Thea and Malcolm's warnings. Sara then goes on a blood rage, killing several criminals, attacking multiple innocent women and hospitalizing Thea, while Laurel hides it from the rest of Team Arrow and on Oliver finding out - only yells that he's not thinking about her feelings. The result? Oliver calls in a favor to save Sara, Laurel gets her sister back and Oliver affirms her as his friend and equal.
  • My Card: Constantine mentions giving one to Reiter, and is shown giving one to Team Arrow (sadly, the Running Gag from his show regarding the "Master of the Dark Arts" bit is not used, nor did he ever get it changed).
  • Mythology Gag: Curtis Holt is a bronze medalist at the Olympics, like the comics Michael Holt. His gym clothes also match the color scheme and cut of the Mr. Terrific costume.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Oliver's reaction to Thea saying John Constantine is a very specific kind of yummy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Felicity and Oliver have this reaction when they realize that the women Sara attacked resemble Thea.
    • Unstated reaction by John Constantine regarding the fact that Oliver is fighting against Damien Darhk. He doesn't flat out say the words, but his expression shows it, along with how he gives the advice to get out of the city to avoid him.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The translation of the Egyptian "Keep Out" sign on Lian Yu. Constantine subsequently walks inside, which says a lot about him. Similarly, Oliver also walks right in, despite Constantine's earlier belief that he wouldn't qualify.
  • Power Tattoo: The Chinese script on Oliver's right flank turns out to be one. It starts out on Constantine's arm, and he later transfers it to Oliver as a Chekhov's Gun against Reiter.
  • Reality Ensues: While running from Sara, Thea tries jumping a banister to get down stairs faster by avoiding a landing. She ends up landing badly due to trying so soon after being choked, and falls down to the next landing.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: With Constantine's help, Oliver and Laurel are able to successfully infiltrate The Underworld and bust out Sara's soul.
  • The Reveal: Baron Reiter isn't on the island only to make drugs; he's hunting supernatural artifacts as well.
  • Sarcastic Confession: In the flashback, Oliver dismisses Conklin's accusation that he's a mole by saying he clearly must have parachuted in from a spy plane on a secret mission.
  • Seen It All: After four years of weirdness, Oliver was not that surprised that magic exists. He doesn't even bat an eye when he learns that Lian Yu is literally a magical Doom Magnet either, probably because that explains a lot of what he had to go through.
  • Sequel Hook: As unlikely as it seems right now, Oliver tells John that he can call for his help wherever whenever.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Sara's soul is dipped in a Lazarus Pit-like tub and is wearing a negligee when Oliver and Laurel pulls her out.
  • Shout-Out: A twofer. Alex references the real-life Chappaquiddick incident (which is startlingly similar to what happened with the Queen's Gambit), and Thea confuses him for talking about Quidditch.
  • Soulless Shell: We finally get confirmation that this is what happens to people who are resurrected by the Lazarus Pit. A metaphysical pit holds it until their body is able to kill their murderer.
  • The Stinger: Ray Palmer is alive, and attempting to contact Felicity with his suit's black box.
  • Take a Third Option: Kill Sara or let her kill Thea? No problem, tranquilize her and call in the expert.
  • Take That!: Constantine gets in a subtle dig at NBC, the channel that mishandled and ultimately canceled his show, when he scratches his back with a dead peacock feather. The peacock, of course, is the mascot of NBC.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: It turns out that the golden staff with the red orb on top is the Orb of Horus, which John says is a grimoire (an ancient spell book). Apparently the only important part is the staff, not the orb itself.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Most of what was on the spell book page was spell components. However, why does Constantine need a dead peacock's feather? To scratch his back, of course.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Oliver is understandably furious at Laurel for bringing Sara back from the dead and keeping it secret from him since she's now killing people. To which Laurel gives him one on how she's always been Locked Out of the Loop regarding his own secrets and how he's never been that supportive of a friend, since he point-blank refused to support her when she wanted to take up the Canary mantle.
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