*Yes, this review contains some spoilers! Watch the episode before reading. Otherwise, you're only failing yourself!*
Now THAT is how you drop a cliffhanger, Arrow! Last week, no one really believed Ollie wouldn't be able to escape that scenario and, sure enough, he's able to escape not too long after the episode begins (numerous comments called it but at least it's a nice take on the canary cry). Conclusions like that just feel hollow because it's teasing something that we know is incredibly unlikely to occur. Based on the show's history, the chances of his identity being revealed this soon was beyond unlikely based. This ending, though? Perfect. Masterful. Amazing. Pure fan service. Okay, I'm done with synonyms, but man, talk about getting us stoked, right? Not only does it tease a massive character, it adds so many potential new plot lines to this season, makes a certain character far more intriguing and further solidifies Arrow as part of a much bigger universe. To everyone who helped create that ending: bravo.
The second best thing to stem from this episode comes after the Dollmaker plot is cast aside. Laurel was slowly becoming a very frustrating character. Yeah, she's blaming herself and in her shoes it's understandable. But as a viewer from the outside? It has the potential to grow more and more frustrating. Instead of going all Andrea on us, she undergoes a much needed epiphany and the result's a solid moment between her and her father. It definitely makes up for her being painfully frustrating with him earlier on. Aside from all that, the Dollmaker storyline unfortunately comes off as pretty generic. Every time anyone important is in any kind of danger, you can bet an arrow will prevent something bad from going down! Anyone not important, though? Yeah, they're boned. This story does, however, include a few little easter eggs for us fans. The one man connected to Dollmaker? His name is Tony Daniel, which is also the name of the writer and artist who helped create the character and introduced him in DETECTIVE COMICS #1. Oh, and room 52 had to be a nice little nod to the New 52.
Sadly, the island material wasn't anything truly gripping for most of this episode. It's clear Slade's hurt after seeing Ollie with Shado, but must we really include another love triangle? I sincerely hope they focus on the greater mystery at hand and don't weigh it down with a plot element we've already seen in the show. Oh, and Slade on fire? Please tell me it damaged one of his eyes! Maybe that would help me forget about his totally uncoordinated slip!
A large portion of this episode felt fairly generic for a fair amount of time. I was certain I'd give "Broken Dolls" 2-3 stars at most, but then the show impressed me to infinity and beyond with the final few scenes. There's huge (and much needed) development for Laurel and Arrow comes out of left field with a shocker no one would be able to predict. It seriously stepped up its game and has opened the door to some ginormous potential.