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!

But first! Our fellow NOC Christelle, who provides those awesomely hilarious Flash recaps got tweeted by William Shatner!

(*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!

I really liked what fellow Arrow blogger Jenn had to say about this scene.

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.

Other things:

  • 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 AnatomyMeredith: “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!

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8 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Arrow: The One Where Everybody Finds Out

  1. IS THIS THE FIRST TIME I AM COMMENTING ON YOUR RECAPS? For shame, me. For shame.

    Commenting mainly because I obviously agree with your assessments. I was a bit thrown off by how quickly Roy seemed to change his tune about Merlyn, but you’re right — I don’t think it’s bad writing; I think it’s just Roy’s really attentive to Thea now especially because the reason he lost her in the first place was because he made a decision without her and hid who he was from her (take notes, Ollie, take notes — you’re half-way there). That foundry scene though, bless. Bless it into heaven it was good. And it’s exactly what Oliver needed to hear (from the team and then John separately) in order to become a better person.

    You made me think about that final vertigo scene — about Laurel leaving to fight and Oliver saving the people who were trapped. Really good observation there and some definite food for thought on Oliver becoming a more people-oriented hero and Laurel’s journey too. I also hadn’t even thought about the tracker but I was offended on LL’s behalf a lot this episode.

    I’ll never stop talking about the Oliver/Thea reveal scene or the Laurel/Felicity one. NEVER.

    Great recap and great title! 😉

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    1. Both were such great scenes and I can’t wait for more. Especially now that Thea knows, once all their island sibling adventures are over with, there are more opportunities for different character pairings. Thea with everyone basically—I loved her concern for Laurel in the foundry—maybe some Thea Felicity for once! Felicity is always sticking up for her and future sister-in-laws need to get to know one another! 😉 And we haven’t had Thea/Diggle since that one time he was her bodyguard. Now that “everybody knows” (using that title was SO FUN!), it opens up for so many great character moments and I am definitely excited about that.

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  2. Once Thea finds out and confirms with Oliver, “You were saving people?” it reminded me of a little sister who thinks her big brother is the coolest person in the world.

    She was (literally) so wide-eyed and young in that moment.. it felt like even Ollie was transported to being a little kid with a baby sister that thought the world of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! If he needs anyone to see him as a hero it is his little sister. I actually couldn’t believe how relieved I was when she found out. All of the sudden they could be real siblings again and actually tell each other all of their stuff. Not gonna lie. Amell’s expression made me tear up a little.

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    2. Oh man you’re so right! She really did become kind of awestruck. And she always thought he was the coolest (she kinda picked up his drug habit and party style bc she was suffering but also bc she missed him and thats what she knew by his example), but it was tainted by arrests and trouble and death. But now she can follow his big brother example with saving people and fighting, which is even better. I really do like the portrayal of their sibling relationship.

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  3. Quentin was beautiful in this ep! Funny and heartbreaking. I like that moment between Laurel and her father. But, yes, he is a cop. It’s not like he can just leave it at “Sara is dead.” He’s gonna dig for more and it will be interesting to see what he finds. I wouldn’t mind seeing him take a piece out of Malcolm though I doubt that would happen. After all, Malcolm has destroyed his family, twice kind of, if you count the Queen’s Gambit sinking. Malcolm has damaged a lot of families, just like his was destroyed when he lost his wife. He can’t justify his way out of that.

    I was a little frustrated with Laurel going out on her own so often in this episode cause it seems so stupid but she has been shut out pretty hard by Oliver so it’s not like she has anyone to turn to while he’s being all hardline about it.

    I thought Felicity’s snark was rather tame. When it came to mission operations (and telling Oliver he needed to get home for Thea) she was totally a pro. Oliver’s leadership skills need some definite work but I saw some hints in that direction as he spoke so calmly to Roy to ask for privacy to talk with Malcolm. (The only reason I can think of for both Roy and Malcolm to be ready outside Thea’s place to come bursting in is that Roy followed her after she left the alley with MmmBop and that Malcolm had listening devices in her apartment. That’s super creepy but we know he uses them. When they heard the struggle they came a runnin’) And then Oliver laid out his plan to leave for Lian Yu to the whole team and expressed confidence in all of them. Much better Oliver. Taking Diggle’s advice makes everything better 🙂

    It was interesting that he didn’t freak out over Thea training to fight like he did with Laurel. Perhaps because she’s already been well trained by Malcolm, perhaps because her life is directly in danger, or maybe he just mellowed a bit by the end of the episode.

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    1. “But, yes, he is a cop. It’s not like he can just leave it at “Sara is dead.” He’s gonna dig for more and it will be interesting to see what he finds.” Yup. Occupational hazard, especially when you’re grieving. And last time she died, he kind of felt like he knew who did it—it was Oliver’s fault and they both seemed to die at sea. He harbored so much anger towards Oliver that was only released when Sara was alive. How will he feel if he learned that Thea (another Queen who) killed his child but not really? There are some parallels here that I guess they’re going to explore. And wow, i FORGOT that Malcolm is the real reason the gambit went down! OMG! That’s an excellent reference! Yeah, Father vs Father needs to happen. And no way Lance doesn’t feel something about Malcolm being the reason Tommy died, kid was around his family for so long and nearly married his daughter (they were heading that way before things went sour).

      Yeah the whole Laurel goes off on her own is still a lesson she needs to learn, but Oliver needs to be more patient in teaching her the lesson because he struggled with it too. He didn’t want to add people to his team and his whole lesson this week was about letting others help you. So Oliver is still struggling with that principle and Laurel needs to learn it sooner rather than later from Oliver’s example. Look at how going off alone got him killed (even if just to the people in Starling). She needs to learn that she’s a part of a team now too.

      “Roy followed her after she left the alley with MmmBop and that Malcolm had listening devices in her apartment.” Yeah, definitely that about Roy following and you’re right of COURSE Malcolm has listening devices. I guess he might also live in the building as well, honestly (though how do you buy an apartment and not have someone recognize your face as a man who died and killed 503 people…..)

      “Taking Diggle’s advice makes everything better” Truer words…

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