The subtitle for this recap is two-fold. With Oliver gone, Team Arrow is like kids whose parents went out of town so they have a big party, but everyone breaks things and they have to scramble to fix the house before the parents return. Only Oliver isn’t coming back (yet). On the other and more obvious side of the metaphor, Laurel’s absurd aversion to telling her father the truth gets frustratingly WEIRD.
This episode had some good parts and a lot of nice character pairings that we rarely get to see, but it had too much going on. The overwhelming amount of storylines should have been consolidated a bit better. Some of it came together in the end, but there was a lot to juggle: Flashback Ollie, Present day Oliver/Tatsu/Maseo, Felicity/Ray, Laurel/Roy/Diggle, Thea/Malcolm/MmBop (the random DJ who suddenly has a purpose — name coined by Black Girl Nerds), and Laurel/Quentin PLUS all of their Brick distractions. And that’s boiling it down to the major relationship lines. There was so much going on, and the ridiculousness of Lance still not knowing about Sara made this maybe my leave favorite episode of the season, despite the stuff I liked.
Okay, diving in. Oliver has a revisionist dream nightmare where he did the smart thing and listened to Felicity when she told him not to go after Ra’s, he declares his love, and they kiss! But mouth bleeding all over your lover is certainly a mood killer (that’s two official Olicity kisses, guys!). Oliver jolts to his more unfortunately painful reality, where Tatsu gives Oliver some magic herbs (magic island herbs from Lian Yu?) — can we say he’s drinking some Lazarus potion or something? “The snow and cold — and your will to live,” seems a bit weak when you have The Pit in your canon.
Tatsu and Maseo have some marital tension and Oliver debates on whether he should hide from it or try to fix it. He doesn’t pick the wiser option, which makes things super awkward. In the flashbacks, we see Oliver and Maseo save Tatsu from China White and their little family reunited. Without the boy in the present, something else must drive them apart for there to be such tension. Side note, in the beginning of the episode I wondered how Maseo knows anything is even wrong in Starling City, but didn’t think much of it. We learn his methods at the end of the episode. With Oliver’s dual stories out of the way (it’s time for him to return home now, he’s not very interesting locked in a cabin during a snow storm), let’s return to Star(ling) City. (Which is it officially now? I must admit, I’m probably gonna always call it Starling.)
Laurel is prancing around in the Black Canary outfit and as much as I want to give her a shot, she took several steps back for me in this episode.
It’s not even her INTENSE lack of fighting skills (someone started calling her #WackCanary over on Twitter. I tried not to LOL until my eyes fell out), but her blatant dismissal of nearly everyone who’s smarter than she is when it comes to being a vigilante.
She flails after a mook and gets her behind handed to her before Roy comes in to save the day. Roy manhandles her stitches — I think he’s purposefully rough on her to try to make her see reason.
“I’ve had training from Oliver and years on the streets. You have a law degree.”
Diggle isn’t in the mood for Laurel’s games either.
Poor Felicity seems like she’s been at Palmer Tech for hours, maybe even all night. She’s sad and wilted and breaks my heart. Ray takes her to a meeting with SCPD and some aldermen and I got distracted from the rest of the scene where he expositions why because I saw Caity Lotz’s name scroll by in the credits. As I learn, it’s just her voice, but man would it be nice to see her again.
Malcolm is still trying to get Thea out of Starling, but refuses to tell her why. When he caves, he tells her his usual half truths, about the undertaking and Ra’s being after their family. Thea wants to stay and stand their ground. “You taught me not to give an inch.” Okay, but this isn’t some random guy who’s after you Thea, this is the assassin who taught Malcolm everything he knows. Thea and Laurel need a support group for people who think they know everything.
Brick crashes the important people meeting Felicity, Ray, Laurel, and Quentin are all at and kidnaps the aldermen they were meeting with. Ray and Laurel attempt to handle things, but they just wave their arms around and Brick escapes. Laurel manages to nail someone with her broken heel, but she’s no Peggy Carter.
In the aftermath, Lance checks in with Felicity who tells him that the Arrow is “gone.” Notice she says gone and it seems like he thinks she might mean something less than dead. He tells her that Sara is back, leading her to wonder exactly what Laurel thinks she’s doing. But she plays along because everyone apparently hates the idea of Lance being able to properly mourn his daughter. Are they doing this because we don’t believe Lance doesn’t know about Oliver? Keeping him in the dark about another major thing? Although, it seems like he really doesn’t know about Oliver being the Arrow because when Felicity told him the Arrow was gone, he didn’t really show concern for Oliver in the way that I think he (reluctantly) would have had he known who was behind the suit. His inability to see these things that are right in front of him is concerning.
Felicity is a little too comfortable fixing Ray’s face and handling his Superman-cut jaw (Ray doesn’t think it’s weird she knows what to do?), which concerns me because patching up wounds so intimately is a Felicity/Oliver thing to do. But their conversation helps them both to realize that instead of fighting for the ones who aren’t with us anymore, they need to be fighting for those who still are.
Diggle rounds the corner of the Arrowcave (I guess I just have to call it the foundry since the Arrow isn’t there) with another chorus of “what the hells” when he realizes that Roy is now down with Laurel’s plan to get herself killed. I was trying to be in your corner, Laurel, but you don’t come at Diggle — who knows more than you about everything except maybe whatever you learned in law school — with a “no, that’s not how this is gonna work.” Also, don’t pull his brother into it (although, I forgot Diggle had a brother who died, I thought she was metaphorically referring to Oliver. Oops.)
Somehow this means that the man with the most training out of all of them gets left behind in the foundry. So it’s no wonder that without Felicity and Diggle in their proper places, the “save” goes so poorly.
I appreciate that Laurel isn’t good at this yet, I do, and it leads to hilarious moments like her landing on the van (if that’s what you can call it). That’s not my problem with her. I am ready to see her fumble through, but her stubbornness is so frustrating to watch. She refuses to listen to anyone smarter and more trained than her in nearly any situation. If she possessed that faculty, I could maybe be 100% on her side, even as she trips over air on her way to a save. But she doesn’t listen and that’s why Brick killed the alderman. It was a tough lesson for her to learn, but a necessary one.
Now let’s get to the main ridiculous of this episode and Laurel’s behavior. You know your dad is watching the news, you know he’s missing your sister desperately, so WHY would you think he wouldn’t see a Canary flying around the city and not think she’s in town? Why wouldn’t he want to see her? Why wouldn’t he BE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT HOW BAD SHE IS SUDDENLY? When Felicity and Laurel team up and encourage each other (yay!), Team Arrowless becomes complicit in this lie and furthers it by faking Sara’s voice! And THEN Laurel has the nerve to approach her father AS SARA and give him vague platitudes and assurances. NO NO NO. THIS IS AWFUL AND WRONG AND CREEPY.
Why shouldn’t he know? Is she not going to tell him the rest of his life? He’ll just never know Sara died? His heart will be weaker the older he gets, you can’t keep it from him forever! And it’s having an adverse effect on Laurel herself, the way she was trembling and crying as she imitated her sister was shaking her to her core. This isn’t healthy for her or for her father. The only sensible reason I could see them dragging out this Lance doesn’t know storyline is if they bring Sara back and he never finds out, because this is ridiculous. It’s the only way. This has certainly gone on long enough. Oliver needs to come back and get his house in order.
But back to less rage inducing scenes, it’s really wonderful that Felicity and Laurel share a scene together finally and that it comes as close to passing the Bechdel test as this show has ever come. (They talk about Oliver, but it’s more about saving the city and Sara.)
Felicity continues the realization she had with Ray, that it’s not about Sara or Oliver, but about the people who still need saving. There’s a showdown between the Mayor and Brickwell, who wants the cops out of the Glades in 24 hours. Felicity gathers Team Arrowless for a huddle in the foundry and tells them that they’re no longer on Oliver’s mission, it’s all of their missions now. “It’s our home that is under attack.”
It seems a bit absurd that not 24 hours ago, Laurel and Roy got their asses handed to them and now they’re ready to go out again with more assurance? But at least Felicity is in her position (even if they leave Diggle in the helicopter), so things go more smoothly with Felicity’s eyes in the skies.
The fight goes better this time and the remaining aldermen are saved. But Laurel barely escapes Brick, who may not like to hit women, but has no problem shooting them. Despite the aldermen’s relative safety, the Mayor is still going through with Brick’s threat — no more cops in the Glades. Oh Ollie, what are you coming home to? After Laurel horrifies us by taunting poor Lance with Sara’s image, Felicity gives Ray what he needs to continue work on the ATOM suit. “With my help, you might not end up dead.” I love that Felicity knows her worth and her capabilities. Because Oliver didn’t die due to anything she did, he died because he didn’t listen to her. She’s on a winning streak when it comes to saving supers, so what’s one more to the list?
Lastly, we learn that the MmmBop Verdant DJ who has a thing for Thea is working for the League of Assassins. But is he on Maseo’s Oliver side or Maseo’s Ra’s side?
Oliver returns to Starling next week. What are the odds that he doesn’t return until 50 minutes into the episode?
- The intro was absent last week, did you notice? I didn’t (how do I call myself an Arrow fan and recapper?!). Well now that we’re assured that Oliver is alive, it’s returned!
- Ollie’s flashback wig was in it’s full glory, wavy and silky smooth. I guess he conditioned it before heading to that club, but HE REALLY CAN’T CUT IT?
- While that bar slide was awesome, don’t try it at home. Check out Stephen Amell’s bruised thigh after he pulled that stunt.
- I guess I shouldn’t leave out Roy stepping up and confronting Malcolm. It was a nice way to see him stepping up. He still cares for Thea, but he also promised Oliver he’d look after her and that means trying to distance her from Malcolm anyway that he can. Oddly enough, Roy’s words get to him and convince him to tell Thea the portions of the truth he does.
- I only noticed the second time around that Roy tries to get Laurel to use another weapon besides the bo staff but she clings to it because it was Sara’s. Maybe be better with a weapon she’s actually comfortable with and has training with — oh wait, that’s none of them.
- I hope we see Ted Grant again. Laurel needs to train with some new weapons.
- It’s great seeing Roy and Diggle bonding.