Well, almost. But two of the biggest season reveals finally happened in this week’s Arrow: Thea found out Oliver is the Arrow and Captain Lance FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY found out about Sara. There are a few things each character is a bit, ahem, fuzzy on… (how long has Sara been dead? Who killed Sara?), but it will finally be nice to get past both of these distracting omissions. Now, besides the circumstances of Sara’s death, we just need Lance to know Oliver is the Arrow and most of our major secrets will be out in the open!
(*can’t of course) Ahh! Is Christelle an Ensign now? Probably.
Aanndd, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Oliver isn’t happy with Laurel’s hands on involvement in the streets, but he’s a bit outnumbered by the team who explain to him that they did what they needed to in order to survive and save the city. It takes a few talking-tos for Oliver to start to accept that, but before we get to that — Malcolm enters the Arrow Cave.
WHEN OH WHEN are these guys gonna change their locks?! This episode has every single major character except for Lance step foot in the foundry! Every single one but him (and Ray I guess, but I’m not counting him).
Sidenote: Oliver and Felicity’s tension is SO palpable in this entire episode. Aside from her pulling rank later in the episode, her open derision of him is so painful but still really great to see, especially because it isn’t explicit until that later moment. She still shows up. She still does her job. Especially since the mission is more to her than Oliver now. But that doesn’t mean she has to play nice. I miss quirky, funny, innuendo Felicity, but it’s a little fun getting to see this darkly snarky side.
Malcolm tells Oliver the last thing he wants to hear: It’s time to tell Thea. Oliver resists initially, but he actually goes and takes her down into the cave! She sees the weapons and the computers and the hood and she… thanks him. Oliver’s tension during this moment was SO TIGHT. And of course it’s his sister and it’s a big deal and she might leave him, but she’s also the first person in a long time that he’s told on purpose in the moment, without it being an accident or a necessary life or death thing. Roy found out when Oliver was trying to calm his mirakuru rage, he told Dig during a vertigo binge, Felicity when he got shot, Tommy when he needed to save Malcolm’s life, Laurel was told by Slade, even Barry was told by Felicity and Oliver pitched a fit about it.
Thea was the first (I feel like I could be forgetting a purposeful moment, remind me in the comments if I am) person he told in this way. So he’s nervous. And it goes completely against his expectations. Instead of railing and being angry at being lied to once again, she’s thankful. She realizes that every time he was out lying to her, he was saving someone’s life. It’s also rare for Oliver to be so thoroughly and genuinely thanked for what he’s done for the city. Especially as him, Oliver, not the Arrow. Not a victim who’s thanking him for their life. It’s poignant that this moment with Thea comes in the middle of the five-year-journey of the show. A major turning point.
So Oliver tells Thea his biggest secret and they have some major bonding scenes. There are TWO hugs and Oliver actually smiles for the first time since, I wanna say, the premiere? But of course Malcolm and the League ruin things. Thea is DONE with Malcolm’s lies. Her tenuous trust in him, spawned by her desire not to get hurt again, is easily broken when she realizes that Malcolm knew Oliver was the Arrow and was someone she could trust. She remains in the dark, however, on exactly what Malcolm’s involvement was with drawing the League’s attention to their family to begin with. And let’s not forget that Thea killed Sara and she still doesn’t know. Will that be the information that drives her from Oliver later? She mentioned in Corto Maltese that the secrets that made her mad were about HER, not him. His reveal that he’s the Arrow doesn’t affect her much, so she’s unbothered by it. But knowing that both of them held back that she killed Sara might turn her over the edge.
And League of Assassins Hanson/Chord Overstreet wannabe decides now is the time to make his move. Right after he and Thea MmmBang on the couch of her loft, she sniffs out (literally) that he’s from the League.
Roy and Malcolm are on hand to save her (they happened to be near by once she stopped having sex? That’s not weird at all!), but MmmBop pops a cyanide pill before they can drag any information out of him. (Oh wait, this means MmmBop is on Maseo’s League side, not his Oliver side as I wondered last week!) Since Roy defended Thea to Oliver and came to her rescue, he’s back in her good graces, but Thea and Oliver HAVE TO GO BACK! TO THE ISLAND.
Malcolm says they must conquer their fears in order to face R’as. Oliver is up first, so they must return to Lian Yu. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the Lost Island was really Lian Yu. They both have hatches and a tendency to inspire bad things to happen to people. Lian Yu just needs a friendly smoke monster.
Over on the Laurel side of things: Oliver is deeply unhappy that she’s out in the field. He’s struggling with the idea that the team is making decisions without him. He also claims he’s concerned that Laurel is masking her grief with another addiction. Rather than pills and booze, she’s becoming an adrenaline junkie. But Laurel volleys back.
YOU TELL HIM, LAUREL! (Oliver really needs to stop having conversations with women in the Verdant back-alley. He always gets his ass handed to him.) Oliver doesn’t really have any moral high ground to judge her. His adrenaline addiction has become a way to help the city, but it wasn’t always so pure in motive. Laurel then undoes this confrontation when she goes after Vertigo even though she doesn’t have back-up and doesn’t know what she’s doing. She gets hit with vertigo TWICE and both times she sees Sara. The Sara illusion basically says all of the things the audience was thinking.
“You’re not a hero, you’re a liar.” “Why are you trying to take my place?””If you wanted to be me, you could’ve. Why did I have to die?”
The writers really are rubbing it in, aren’t they? When Laurel finally sees her father in these fever dreams, yelling at her about not telling him about his daughter, the guilt finally sets in and she goes to FINALLY TELL LANCE SARA IS DEAD. THANK GOODNESS. That plot was going on too long. Even though Lance thinks, at first, that Laurel is merely playing dress up in Sara’s clothes while Sara if off somewhere else, his distress when he hears the full truth is painful, even if we were expecting it and even demanding that it happen. Paul Blackthorne did a great job of reeling from the news. The father and daughter weep for Sara once again, as they did eight years ago.
Where Laurel and Quentin’s relationship goes from here is really to be seen. I can’t even begin to predict where they might take it. He could pull a Thea and be fine with Laurel’s actions, but if he’s smart and the writer’s were really listening to our rants on Twitter, then Quentin will be PISSED and their relationship will take a beating. Laurel, in general, took some major leaps into the fold of Team Arrow — her scene with Felicity passed the Bechdel test and I cheered!
Oh, let’s think of what Dig and Oliver have been telling her. “You’re NOT your sister” and “you’re NOT a hero.” Felicity is the first person to tell Laurel not who she isn’t but who she IS.
Something so simple can really turn someone’s thinking around.
Oliver accepts her in the end, at least willing to give her a chance, and she realized that she couldn’t step into Sara’s shoes, she had to be her own hero. But her hazing as a hero isn’t done yet and her relationship with Quentin is her next test.
As a side note, some of us on Twitter began discussing Laurel’s journey and it led to some interesting comments/observations.
What if Sara wasn’t the Canary? What if she was any other hero (canon or otherwise)? Without the Black Canary mantle placed upon her, Laurel could still have wanted to be a hero like her sister when she dies. She could still try to be like her, but then exactly what happens in this episode occurs: Laurel realizes she can’t be the same hero her sister was. She was to be something different (sound familiar?). And thus she becomes the Black Canary without the added pressure of living up to Sara’s/Caity Lotz’ rendition of that specific character. Not fully anyway. I’m sure Sara would have still been loved and awesome, but there would have been a distance between the Canaries that I think would have been beneficial. Growing pains of course happen in real life TV show writing rooms as they do in the fictional foundry.
Anyway, there was some other plot, there was. I think. Count Vertigo tried to do something, Vertigo-laced Laurel beats him into submission. Tatsu and Maseo try to escape (pretended to escape?), but Maseo comes back for Oliver when he learns he was taken. Now they’re in Starling City for some reason. Seeing Starling City five years ago, two years before Oliver’s return should be really interesting, but getting there was little light on drawing me in. It was all of such little importance with these big reveals in the episode.
- There are two suicides in this episode: the bomber guy and Hansen. Just a random observation.
- Love Thea’s call out about how WEAK Oliver’s excuses were, but then WHY DIDN’T YOU FIGURE IT OUT? LOL
- Waller taunting Oliver with Thea included a comic-call back
- “The one with the boy hair.” Oh Quentin.
- Roy has a bit of an echo problem. Last week, he was the SOLE vote to work with Merlyn before Oliver came back. Then Thea says she doesn’t think they should work with him this week and he’s like, “then that’s what you should do.” WHICH IS IT ROY? It’s easy to say this is a writing problem, but it might be writing that’s too good. Roy seems to agree with whatever Oliver wants unless it’s what Thea wants. His willingness to work with Malcolm last week came from Thea. This week, he’s changed his tune because Thea did. A little too eager to get back in her good graces?
- Oliver, it’s shady that you put a tracking device on Laurel, especially without her consent. It saves her life this time, but this is why we don’t like Ray Palmer, because of this kind of behavior. If Felicity was in a place where she felt like fighting with you (and thought you’d even listen), She’d yell at you for tracking your friends (unless she thinks Ray is doing it, then suddenly she glosses over it…). Get her consent and make it an even deal: everyone agrees to get one or no one at all. But that would require Oliver not being a one man band and he’s not there yet.
- The Foundry scene, which I spoke on briefly, was SO tense but necessary.
Felicity channels a bit of a famous line from Grey’s Anatomy. Meredith: “I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke.”
Oliver left and they healed themselves and now he’s asking them to undo that. Not fair of him. He realizes his error, but it’s going to be a slow learning process.
- This week’s Diggle Wisdom was great. Even though Diggle NEVER GETS TO GO IN THE FIELD WITH HIS SPECIAL TRAINING, he still has great scenes like the one he shared with Oliver.
- One more time for Felicity/Laurel bonding and Bechdel passage!
- The scene where The Arrow and the Black Canary take on Count Vertigo is indicative of their places in their heroic journey, or at least the difference between Oliver and Laurel. Oliver is at a place where he realizes the people are more important than catching the villain, but Laurel is not quite there yet. Going after the Count is good, but those people needed help and she didn’t stop to help them. She’s still cooking y’all.
Sorry guys, I really tried to contain it to mostly Thea and Laurel, but then I went on and on and — k, I’m done now. Next week? SLADE, THE ISLAND, AND SIBLING BONDING!