Sadly, I’ve already used “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” as an subtitle, so I was forced to come up with other options, despite this being the true moment. (Lance is Ross, who finds out last of the last.) So, today’s recap title comes from (in truth, the John Legend song, but more appropriately) the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. Among the lyrics1:
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Today’s episode of Arrow was a mixed bag. I like the chance they took with Oliver’s secret coming out to the public but perhaps at the wrong moment, and I’m not sure about the validity of Lance’s emotions or Roy’s choices in this one. I hope you like to read novels, because there’s a lot to discuss. Let’s dive in!
We thwack in with the sound of the arrow Maseo aimed at Felicity in the cliffhanger last week. As expected, Ray jumps in to save her and takes the hit. Straight to the “S” on his chest. Lance now thinks he has visual proof that the Arrow is killing people and sends troops after him. “…with shoot to kill orders if necessary.” Oliver wants to go after Maseo — in order to stop him? Convince him otherwise? Laurel, similarly, isn’t able to convince her father of anything: to trust her, of the Arrow’s innocence, of the irrationality of his outrage. She definitely deserves the cold shoulder she is receiving, but that doesn’t mean she’s not right.
A lot of Lance’s ire in this episode seems to stem from ever trusting the Arrow in the first place. He keeps going back to the beginning; even after the reveal, he goes back to Oliver letting Sara on the boat in the first place. The origin story to his anger. It’s really no wonder he didn’t connect things sooner (I REALLY wish he’d known all along. Sigh. But more on this later.)
At the hospital, things aren’t looking good for Ray. He’s developed a blood clot that the doctors can’t fix and when he says he has the tech to fix it, they won’t approve the procedure because it’s too experimental.
Then Donna Smoak flies through the door. (I imagine the strong whiff of pungent perfume arrives with her.) She saw the news about Felicity being shot at and came right away.
(I guess local news about a Mayor being shot could have been shown in Vegas, but I’ll excuse their weak ploy to get Donna back in town. I think she might have an ulterior motive and was already on her way, but we’ll see if she’s back next week.)
Getting the flashbacks out of the way, Oliver and Akio run into Shado’s twin sister, Mei!
According to some tweets I saw, she’s not a DC comics character? And I can’t remember if a sister was ever mentioned back in season 1, but clearly they wanted to bring this actress back. Mei invites these strangers to her house, hoping to finally find out the truth about her father and sister.
After she figures that “Tommy” (Oliver’s temporary pseudonym) is lying via the tattoo on his back, she calls the police. But the men after them start shooting up her apartment. Maseo and Tatsu arrive and save the day, leaving Oliver to explain a little of what happened to the Fei’s (wait, her name is Mei Fei?) on the island, giving her just a tiny bit of closure.
Oliver finds Nyssa and asks her (in Sara’s name) to track down Maseo. The whole team suits up (Diggle is relegated to the rooftops and the van, but at least he’s out of the foundry?) and goes after him. The next few scenes are straight up chase scenes as the cops come after Team Arrow who are themselves after The League.
Mavi Amell is hands down the cutest Arrow fan to exist.
Laurel even gets a few punches in! I guess her training with Nyssa is finally paying off. Oliver focuses on the cops, but he should be wondering what else Ra’s might be up to while he’s in town…
Roy gets left behind again…
…and finally shows up in the foundry, weighed down by having to shoot some cops to make it back. I appreciate how they kept trying to show Roy’s muddled feelings on wanting to help Oliver and feeling guilt over his past actions… but more on that later.
Over at the hospital, Felicity is worried about her two favorite guys. One is on the run from the cops and the other needs medical help. Her mother helps her with Ray: if the doctors don’t want to help Ray, do it yourself! Felicity is scared she’ll kill him with his own tech, but Mama Smoak says to take the chance! Then we get this tidbt: “If your father were here…” “he would be arrested.” WHO IS HE? WHAT DID HE DO? IS HE CURRENTLY ON THE RUN? It sounds like Mama Smoak is, if not in love with him, not necessarily furious with him. She speaks about him calmly, so maybe he didn’t completely break her heart? But he did break Felicity’s. But Donna’s talk about taking chances for people we care about… sounds like Mr. Smoak risked himself for his family in some way that maybe Felicity doesn’t fully understand. So many questions about the mysterious Papa Smoak! I hope we get more teases soon.
Then Ra’s takes a leaf out of Deathstroke’s villain handbook and kidnaps Lance, telling him EVERYTHING ABOUT THE ARROW’S IDENTITY! ABOUT OLIVER, SARA, THE ISLAND, EVERYTHING! With this season being the center of the five year journey of the past and present, moments like these feel like a hinge, a transition, the top (or bottom) of a hill in the middle of the journey. We have so much more to go, but something is changing, pushing us to complete the circle. Now, every major character knows that Oliver is the Arrow. (I know, I know, by the end, everyone knows… Shhh. We’re following this in semi-real time.)
Several questions: why oh WHY does Lance believe Ra’s?! We know Ra’s is speaking the truth, but just because Lance thinks the Arrow is lying and killing, doesn’t mean that he should immediately believe what some random person, WHO IS AN ASSASSIN, tells him, even if everything over the past 8 years (starting with the boat crash) suddenly makes sense. You can see in his face less shock and more understanding.
With time to stew, Lance grows even angrier. Partial embarrassment, I am sure, of BEING A DETECTIVE AND NOT BEING ABLE TO DETECT THAT, but the brunt of the anger falls on Laurel, who once again tries to convince her father to trust her (futile!). “On some level, I think I always knew. But when I thought he was still good, it didn’t matter to me.” Lance reveals that he knows Oliver is the Arrow and goes after him with the full force of the law, outing him to the entire city.
Meanwhile, Felicity brings the nanotech to Ray and injects him with it. He seizes for about five seconds and then is all back to normal. With them traveling to the city/show with super powers, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where his shrinking abilities become apparent. The real question is will they manifest once he’s back in Starling City, the no super powers show…
Back at Verdant, the cops come storming in and Oliver BOLTS. For some reason the way he runs away tickles me so badly. He runs to Diggle’s (who answers the door by cocking his gun, BAMF right there!), which is apparently the team meet up spot, and they figure that they are all out of options.
“Please tell me you have a brilliant plan.” “I don’t even have a regular plan.”
Somehow, through all the crap, Felicity still manages to pull out a light jokey word-play from Oliver. Oliver, once again making unilateral decision for this TEAM, heads to the precinct to turn himself in. Everyone follows him there (#SQUAD) and tries to talk him out of it, but he’s insisted on immunity for them. He wants to do this on his own. He asks them to trust him.
I think it would be easier if you clued them in to your plans, Oliver. You wouldn’t have to fight for their trust every single time. They might even have some good ideas to add on… Then comes the scene three seasons in the making.
Lance (taking Oliver to where… Iron Heights or something?), confronts Oliver about literally ALL the crap that’s happened in the last three years and beyond. “I hate to break it to you, but saving people isn’t your specialty.” From lying about Sara on the island to all the deaths that have happened since he’s returned: Tommy, Sara, Moira. The scene hurts, because there’s truth on both sides, despite Lance’s irrational anger. “You Mr. Queen, are not a hero. You’re a villain. But you know that don’t you?”
And we know how Oliver is about intaking guilt and it suffocating him. I think, with the teasers we’ve seen with Oliver in League clothing, plus the fact that there are no other moves to make, this will push him to being in LEAGUE with the villains. Whether because he thinks he deserves it or because it’s the only way to play the game remains to be seen, though I think the latter.
I hope by the end of the season, he can, as he’s tried convincing Roy and Thea to do, relieve himself of that guilt. It’s a standard hero trope, but it would free him to pursue a life outside of the Arrow and make him trusting his team maybe a little easier. But with Lance drilling these failures into him (not acknowledging that Oliver has saved more lives than he’s lost), Oliver looks like he’s placing the blame solely on his shoulders again.
SUDDENLY, there’s a BANG and the van has to stop. There’s Lil Hoodie (as William Shatner calls him) in the Arrow suit, claiming to be the Arrow.
Several things about this moment:
1.) I was hoping for an “I AM SPARTACUS” thing, where others wear green suits (they could get them from the Arrows ‘R’ Us factory where Ra’s made the duplicates for the Shadows)
2.) LANCE KNOWS ROY IS LIL HOODIE! HE’S SEEN HIM AND CALLED HIM OUT AS ARSENAL.
3.) I suppose that’s why they even had that moment earlier when nothing came of it, but that weakens the cliffhanger.
4.) Honestly, I think they felt pressured to include a cliffhanger merely because there would be a week’s hiatus in between (just the way you’d want to end an episode before a break, to keep viewers returning) and chose this moment. True, theory thinking fans of the show like us aren’t buying it, but maybe casual viewers are? But it definitely felt forced
5.) Roy and Oliver, even without Lance already knowing about Arsenal (because then who is in the red hood?!), have completely different body types, so no one should believe this!
I think what will happen might be this: Lance will know that Oliver is the Arrow, but because Roy is confessing in such a way, with this visual evidence, it will be hard for Lance to convince everyone else that it’s not Roy but Oliver. Oliver’s accusation is based on hearsay, really (i think, I know nothing about the law), while Roy’s coming forward with evidence and a confession. (Did Oliver confess at the precinct, was he given a chance?). Plus Laurel would be working the case, unless Lance outs her too, which might ruin his credibility so he probably won’t, which gives Team Arrow more of a chance to control how things play out.
While I don’t want to compare the shows too much — because while being in the same universe, each series follows different rules and established formats — but after this amazing episode of The Flash this week, it’s hard not to see how the weight of so many storylines is tying Arrow down. We’re not getting enough time with our core team, fleshing them out.
I don’t not love Arrow, but the strength with which The Flash is coming out of the gate in their first season has left a lot to compare to with its parent show. But there are upcoming crossovers to be excited about, which may meld the stories into unified awesome!? Fingers crossed.
Hopefully next season, with this planned spin-off show (which hasn’t been greenlit to series just yet as far as I know, right?), they will focus on the main team (whatever is left of it after this season is over). They are juggling too many balls and it’s messing with fans’ appreciation of the show. It’s distracting to follow so many stories and weakens narrative belief in certain plotlines (why wouldn’t Ra’s just pick someone else? Why is Lance suddenly SO. ANGRY! I get why he’s angry, but it’s past the point of sympathy). We also don’t get enough of Roy or Diggle, I wanna know more of Felicity’s backstory, and we just need more pairings and team ups within our Team Arrow.
Lets focus on those stories and relationships rather than bringing in so many outside factors. (Villains, fine, but with Nyssa, Malcolm, Ra’s, Lance, Maseo, the flashbacks proper, our rogues gallery cluttered with their stories stretched over the season rather than centralized in individual episodes, like the way Deadshot’s was.)
I think so far I am looking at this year as a transition year for both the show (as it comes to terms with not being the only show in the same universe as well learning to balance the show’s popularity with all the awesome things they want to do versus what will work best), as well as for the characters, who as I’ve said earlier and in past reviews, are in the center of the five year journey the writers have planned. Everything is in flux this year and everyone is trying to figure out who they are. Once they do this, the next two seasons may come with more assured characters who know what they’re doing, know how to be a hero. Hopefully.
- I think Ray is the ONLY person who found out who the Arrow was through his own means. Everyone else was told by somebody, whether Oliver himself or a villain or what have you. No one’s figured it out except for Ray using Felicity’s tech (which I only partially count? Possibly because I am a hater? LOL). I don’t know why I find this so interesting, but I think partially it’s because the producers have said that they don’t find Oliver’s secret identity and the tropes that come along with that all that interesting until it is. I think they’ve been waiting to get this internal, city-wide reveal out of the way for a long time.
- Roy and Thea getting it on was definitely a sign that things were going down the crapper for Roy. I noted it last week that I was concerned for him and the episode ender didn’t make it any better (will he die? be locked away in jail somewhere? until they find use for him again?); the fact that he and Thea were happy meant that immediately it was about to go south.
- Speaking of, in the scene at Verdant, Thea gives Roy this impassioned speech about the thing with the cop last year not being his fault. So is she over killing Sara and wanting to be punished for it? Or is she using her words to him to convince herself?
- While I dislike Ray as a character, Brandon Routh had some great comedic moments when dosed on painkillers in the hospital. “You have a not so good look on your face. D’you see his face?” I’d love for more of that. (On the spin off show. Leave Felicity alone, she don’t love you.)
- Laurel really has Nyssa staying in Starling City training her. I guess Nyssa has no where else to go and it’s a way to be close to Sara, but she is Daughter of the Demon and she’s in a small city called Starling? She could literally be anywhere in the world…
- What secrets is Ollie’s giant hat hiding? Besides the secret of the bad wig?
- It’s interesting to me that Felicity isn’t immediately apprehended, despite all of the Arrow’s accomplices being implicated. Lance knew where she was, he was with her hours before. Does he think she doesn’t work for him anymore because she stands with Ray? He KNOWS for sure that she works with him. But never confronted her about it. Was this overlooked in the writing or will that moment come later (based on Charlotte Ross and Paul Blackthorne being in Instagram pics together, it seems like they could maybe share some screen time?)
- I didn’t want to distract from the Arrow vs. Lance momentum I had going earlier, but we can talk about Felicity ignoring Ray’s nano-bitten “ILU” (and her swerve to jello) and her mother’s wisdom that she’s in love with Oliver (she still hasn’t said the words yet) here. I think she’ll try to ignore her feelings, because she’s trying to be with the person who is available and seems right for her, but it should take a few episodes for that to dissolve. Even if Oliver remains unavailable, it will be unfair to Ray, who will bring his own tension to the relationship from her not saying it back. It’s about to be Awkward-city (I bet this was a nickname for Felicity in high school).
- “Do you ever think there will come a time when everything I saw isn’t some sort of weird double entendre?” “I hope not, its one of your more endearing traits.” Agreed.
- “Felicity, did you just have hospital sex? I’ve always wanted to have hospital sex!” “Way TMI!”
- ”He knows the plot to every Doctor Who episode all 34 seasons. He looks like a Disney prince!” Felicity and Ray are Whovians. Like there was little doubt!
- “I want pictures of Queen distributed to every officer.”
“No, a current one, with that scruff he’s always wearing.”
- Diggle saying the foundry isn’t secure is SO laughable.
Everyone but Lance has been there, has access, and can get in any time. I bet next season, they will take cases at the door in the foundry like Olivia does at Pope and Associates over on Scandal.
- I hope Roy brought the spare bow, because those cops are stepping on the one he brought at the end and will definitely confiscate it. There’s a reason Oliver went as himself — he didn’t want his gear jacked as evidence!
They changed it on The Flash when Barry met The Man in Yellow (just for that episode), so I wonder if they will change the line about “to Starling City I’m something else,” but with Roy trying to take the fall, maybe it won’t be necessary. Because I think even with Roy taking the fall for this now, Oliver will be officially outed to the city by the end of the season. Just seems to be heading there.
Okay, I’ve written enough. Did I possibly miss anything? Let’s discuss theories in the comments!