NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulling Out the Arsenal

I got several notifications during both the East Coast and West Coast airings of this episode that said, “You were right.” And even though the following act proved me both right and wrong (somehow…), I feel so validated and honored that people listen to me. And that I am right.

If you’re reading this recap, then you’re going to be spoiled for the exit of a major character on Arrow. Continue at your own risk.

Okay, now that you’ve watched the episode or read any major entertainment site headline that told you exactly who was leaving the show, OMG ROY! I am glad to be proven both right and wrong: I knew he was leaving the show, but I really thought he would die. I figured his death would propel Oliver to the League of Assassins and would push Thea into either being Oliver’s sidekick or being a temporary nemesis. But instead ROY LIVES, and it is Thea who will push Oliver into becoming the new Demon’s Head.

If you’re still with us, this week’s episode of Arrow — fittingly called “Broken Arrow” — changes a lot of the series’ dynamics that will take us to the end of the season and beyond. There’s the business with Roy, the awkwardly hilarious Oliver/Felicity/Ray trio, the existence of metahumans in Starling City, and what happens to Thea.

I am so glad Roy’s alive! I knew something would happen to him, but the thought of the team losing another member so soon after Sara (and so soon after the trauma of Oliver being dead then alive again) would have been too much. As I stated earlier, I could see its narrative purpose, but I am glad they didn’t go that way. They crafted the reveal well. Even though I knew that Roy would die in the episode (I was spoiled via texts and tweets that said “you were right” since I watched the episode later in the evening, but then not spoiled by it being a reveal), my heart still sank as he lay bleeding on the floor.

I was sad to be correct and disappointed in his manner of death. But then they turned it around on us and Oliver who was locked out of the info loop. It’s about time really, he’s spent all season making unilateral decisions where he chooses what’s best of the team without informing them. Now he knows how it feels. I loved this moment of Team Arrow working together (without the Arrow).

Side thought: Is this the first episode where Oliver doesn’t suit up as the Arrow? I feel like there must be another (and I even mean early on where he wasn’t exactly in a suit. Even in the pilot he wears a hood at some point), but I can’t think of it. But aside from his virtual reality stint, he doesn’t really get to do much heroing. He’s a “broken arrow” indeed.

Roy’s absence is going to be interesting considering the end result of the episode. It seems like the kind of thing where they’d call him immediately to come back, I mean, it’s THEA after all. They’ll have to do some explaining as to why he doesn’t run back. But it’s nice to know that he can return any time, whether on Arrow, The Flash, or the new superhero team up show. Good luck on your other adventures, Roy.

Ray annoyed me less on Arrow this week than he has ever before! Progress?

(I’m still a bit miffed about Felicity co-signing his stalkage on The Flash this week, but that’s another story.) Humility looks good on you, Palmer. The awkward tensions between Ray and Felicity (after his “L” bomb drop — I’m sorry “l” — last week), between Oliver and Ray (because Oliver needs to rely on Ray for help and has to watch the love of his life make googly eyes at him), and the surprisingly good vibes between Oliver and Felicity all made for great dynamics and one liners.

When the metahuman starts robbing banks in Starling, Oliver is anxious to help, but with Lance’s men tailing him, he can’t suit up or fight crime. Felicity offers Ray’s help (with her cutest face) and Oliver reluctantly agrees because he is all out of options. Ray is way too hyper (he should lay off the caffeine a bit…) and has little sense of “right place, right time.” I know people have begrudged Felicity’s somberness this season, but she has a stronger sense of when a light-hearted joke is lifting the mood or completely inappropriate.

Ray has still has no skills beyond his tech, which Oliver calls him on after his failed run in with Fake Cyclops, but with Oliver’s mentor help, Ray manages to pull through in the end. It was great seeing Oliver SO uncomfortable in Ray’s lab. His crossed arms, the visible tension rolling through his body, the awkward high-five that must have merely been reflex…

Oliver was so physically uncomfortable and restrained.

Fave Quotes from AwkwardCity Times:

None of you are a DUFF Felicity, and Robbie Amell isn't here.
None of you are a DUFF Felicity, and Robbie Amell isn’t here.

“Stop calling it a team up, Ray.”

“The moment you gt in over your head…” “I’ll run. Fly, probably.”

“Stay focused, Ray.” That’s his Felicity line!

“There’s a decent chance you and Palmer are related.”

Oliver throwing ample amounts of shade. But the glare Felicity gives him leads to this look which I took a photo of from my phone because I happened to be paused on it’s brilliance.

scared oliver
Is that fear, Oliver? LOL

“Do you get this anxious when I’m out in the field?” “I honestly can’t think of an answer to that question that doesn’t get me in trouble.”

I really love mentor Oliver.

“If you rely on the suit more than you rely on yourself, it’s going to get you killed.”

Then, when Roy is attacked in prison, Oliver wants to run after him, but Felicity and Diggle won’t let him. When he gets outside (completely ignoring Diggle, which we’ll talk about briefly later), he and Felicity have a heart to heart.

“You’re struggling with doing nothing.”

“Right now you need people to help you. You need to let them.”

“I was told once that a man cannot live by two names. Right now, I can’t live by either.”

I thought this season would be Oliver working towards learning to deal with the duality of his selves towards the end of the season, but rather they’re erasing both and applying a new one upon him which is I presume will lead him back towards Starling with a renewed sense of identity. I wasn’t expecting them to burn himself to his core, but as Felicity says, no matter which suit he wears, he’s the same man (that she LOOOOOOOVES, but she caught herself).

“You need practice in letting people help you.”

Yeah, I’m just quoting every Oliver/Felicity moment because it’s not only about their relationship — and Felicity needing to make BANK off her of her Superhero Psychiatry Practice (even at 5¢ a chat, she’d be making some good money with all the help she’s provided Oliver, Diggle, Laurel, Ray, and Barry), but also about instilling these words in Oliver through someone he trusts. I can’t imagine he’ll learn the lesson right away, not with him impending League of Assassins role, but I’m hoping they will come back to him when he needs his humanity the most.

Back to the plot, when the evil Scott Summers goes after Felicity, Ray and Oliver must work together to save her. She’s not completely helpless, she manages to get away in time for Ray to come in (with Oliver’s instincts) to save the day. Wasn’t there a show in the 90s about Virtual Reality crime fighting maybe? VR5? It reminded me of that show.

“I really hope you played video games as a kid.” “I’m trying to concentrate.” Also, there was Felicity’s line on the Flash about Ray being a Barry in an Oliver like body and here is Oliver in Ray’s body? No wonder poor girl is confused and in denial.

In the end, Ray sees Felicity and Oliver’s special connection (partly because Diggle the shipper DIPPED and let them talk alone. He’s an expert at navigating the third wheel) and it makes him think about a lot.

Of course this is a wonderful shipper moment (the way she scoops his arm thooooo!), but it isn’t just about Felicity. Roy just sacrificed the life that he knows, his relationship with Thea, and his position on Team Arrow to save Oliver’s life. That’s love right there.

Our Cyclops rip-off (his name was Simmons, which is close to Summers), named Deathbolt by Ray and Cisco, is taken to the particle accelerator tunnel prison.

He also looks a bit like Peter Capaldi (the 12th Doctor from Doctor Who)

Cisco realizes that the guy’s last known address in Central is not where he was on December 11th, when the particle accelerator went off. Fake Cyclops was in Starling (!), meaning that the dark matter blast spread beyond Central City! This does a couple of things:

  • it establishes metas in Starling City — are we officially, finally breaking the “no powers” rule? We’ve had it on and off since they introduced the Flash but then backed off again when Barry went home.
  • it opens up the door for there to be another city infested with metas that Ray will go find and save

I know Cisco appears on Arrow sometime soon (probably next episode right?), which I’m glad for because more of him on our TV screens is a wonderful thing.

And finally, we get to Thea. Poor sad, lonely, drunken Thea. I can’t even tell if she’s been told at this moment about Roy (or does she think he’s dead still?) but Ra’s chose the perfect time to come after her. Thea weakly attempts to fight back (Why? Why do that to yourself?), but Ra’s SLAMS HER INTO A GLASS TABLE STABS HER AND LEAVES HER THERE. With the insinuation that Oliver will choose to become the Demon’s Head in order to save Thea’s life.

Yikes! Just when we’re losing Roy, Thea gets into some new trouble.

Time for a trip to Nanda Parbat!


  • Lance’s anger is still ridiculously overplayed (though still well acted by Paul Blackthorne, there’s a difference), but his self-satisfied grin as he ransacked the Foundry was three years in the making. This has got to be the final security break right? Whenever they get back to doing stuff in Starling City, they for sure need a new lair. If so, I’ll miss the foundry. It’s a good set.
  • Also on Lance, his words to Thea and Oliver, AFTER ROY IS DEAD, was really a jerk move. Regardless of their “fault” in his death (even though they’ve all made it clear it was Roy’s choice), Lance could have been less of a douche. But I suppose it’s displaced anger. The way Roy “died” because of Oliver not stopping him from surrendering himself is the same way he blames himself from not stopping Sara from going back to the League. Last week he ran down the list of people whose deaths are Oliver’s fault, Roy is one more name. Wow, he really either has to make a HUGE turnaround, or die by the end of the season. I think it has to be the latter at this rate.

  • I don’t care about the flashbacks, and it seems that’s a universal consensus. I have to believe the whole Alpha/Omega virus thing has to have some sort of present day consequences right? I believe it will push Oliver to Russia for season 4, but what does any of this have to do with the present? At least with Deathstroke, we were watching a clear trajectory in the past which manifested in the present. Not so here. Hopefully things become more relevant.

  • Diggle and Oliver fighting in the lab was so terrifying! I’ve read over on Buzzfeed that Diggle goes through some trust issues towards the end of the season, so clearly this is the beginning of that arc, but wow was that scary to see. I need them to be best bros forever and ever, thanks.

  • “I’ve already lost everything, I’m not going to lose Roy too.” Way to ignore Diggle, Felicity, your sister, even Laurel. They’re all on your side. But I’ll pretend you were just Mentor Oliver the whole episode and forgive you for this line. You were stressed and felt trapped, I get it.

  • I know we won’t have to deal with it until possibly next season (since the rest of the season is pretty much lining up to be the Oliver as The Demon’s Head arc), but with Roy “dead” as the Arrow, how will Oliver resume the title? By then Lance will either be sensible or dead (no other options, quite honestly), so the one cop who was sure of Oliver’s confession shouldn’t be a problem, but I’m guessing this will open up the change to being “The Green Arrow” since the “Arrow” is dead. Even though just applying a color to your title doesn’t change the fact that the guy in the same kinda suit already took the fall. I wonder how they plan to handle all of that. We’ll come to this again probably at the end of the season.
  • They teased us, in the Central City moment, with Ray asking how the prisoners eat and CISCO NOT ANSWERING. UGH! We’ll probably never get a proper answer…

Well, we’re heading towards the final arc, which is usually good. In fact, this episode was better than the last few have been, including great lines, character moments, and twists.

Yes, get back on track, Arrow! There’s a lot riding on these last few episodes for a lot of (coughDaredevilcough) fans, so I hope you exceed my utter faith in you.

4 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulling Out the Arsenal

  1. It was quite disorienting to see Oliver not do his Arrow thing, not suit up once (Oliver is always active even if not in the actual suit). That helped me feel how trapped and out of place he felt, he was never allowed to be in his own place cause the Foundry got taken away (yes, I think that has to be the last straw. When all of SCPD has been tramping around in your lair it ceases to be secure.) and he spent all that time in the offices which Ray took from him.

    So when Oliver talked about losing everything I can understand how he felt. He hasn’t lost everyone, but everyTHING he had (QC, Foundry, Arrow identity, Oliver Queen identity) is now gone. I didn’t really mind when he blew up at Dig because when we are upset and in pain sometimes we blow up at someone who we trust and love simply because we trust that they will still be there even after a fight. I don’t think Diggle was very hurt by it either. You could see it in his face; he knew how much Oliver was hurting and feeling helpless and he was trying to get Oliver to be patient without having to break the secret. Diggle makes his living out of keeping people’s secrets and this time he (and Felicity) had to keep his mouth shut even though Oliver was going crazy because he knew it would be best in the long run. TRUST DIG Oliver! But Oliver doesn’t really know how to let go, how to just wait. (But yes, David Ramsey’s comments about relationships undergoing maybe irreparable damage before the end of the season has got me really tense.)

    I thought the reveal of Roy being alive was handled very well. Roy (and Haynes) really impressed me. It really sucked that Thea was not aware of the plan which means she went into that fight with R’as at her absolute lowest. She has had a super rough time this year (what year has she had a good time?) and if anyone is going to have psychic baggage after being brought back to life it is her. (Guggenheim did say that Colton Haynes will be in one more ep this season so I fully expect him to come back because of Thea)

    Palmer was a whole lot more bearable simply because the interplay between him and Oliver was hilarious. We all feel justified in finding him annoying too because Oliver finds him irritating. Oliver has mentored Barry and Roy and now Palmer and that is always fun to watch. He’s quite a good teacher actually. But Felicity still wins in terms of counseling heroes. Maybe she and Oliver should run some joint superhero training business?

    The villain really did resemble Peter Capaldi. That is what was niggling in my mind. Thanks!

    I am all for Cisco being in all the shows. I just love him anytime I get to see him.

    PS On a side note, I know that comparisons between Arrow and Daredevil were inevitable. I just don’t find many of them very compelling. I am all for calling Arrow out when it doesn’t live up to its own standards. It’s just not useful to compare it to Daredevil because they function so differently. Daredevil isn’t required to produce 23 episodes per year and it has totally different rules about what it can and cannot show so it seems less than helpful to make comparisons. Full disclosure, I stopped watching Daredevil part way through their series because I just couldn’t take the relentless brutality and hopelessness. I know the writing and acting were stellar but I just couldn’t handle the rest (and I am a massive d’Onofrio fan). That all being said, quality, powerful pieces of work will hopefully only raise the bar for all dramas out there, not because they are trying to be something else but because when others do something impressive we are pushed to give our best too.

    1. Ooh great point about everyTHING. “We feel so justified in finding him annoying because Oliver finds him irritating” LOL Yeah I think that did help… every other episode it’s ramped up bc no one thinks he’s weird or out of line, but here Oliver was on our side. And when Oliver got him to focus it was more bearable, everyone was briefly on the same page.
      Hahaha yes Olicity Superhero Training and Counseling Services.
      Thank you for your comments on the show comparisons. They definitely do have so many different restrictions and freedoms that it can be unfair to compare them. I haven’t started DD yet (I’ll wait ubil after the TV season is over probably unless I get a full day at home with Netflix when I can just knock it out). But olive you said, when Arrow is not up to its own standards is different than the standards of another show. Arrow does great work with the fact that they have to put on 23 episodes a year and stretch the story out that long. I think this year could have been structured a bit differently, but every show (including the flash, which also has been compared maybe unfairly to arrow) has filler episodes and slow arcs. And they’ve been good about providing a slew of final arc episodes in both of its previous seasons (that final s1 arc pulled a lot of wavering fans and new fans in), so I have high hopes for the last few episodes. Ahead.

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