¿Qué pasa? Arrow E303 Photo Recap, “Corto Maltese”

At beginning, we get a flashback, but not Oliver’s. Thea’s.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Starling City, Six months ago. We see Thea get into Malcolm Merlyn’s car and she asks him where they are going. He tells her she can choose, as he is “a very well traveled man” who has been everywhere.

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She tells him that they need to get out of the country, however, since he is trying to hide the fact that he is still alive from both the police and the Arrow. He compliments her ability to tell when people are hiding something, saying her mother had that quality, and I wonder where the hell it was for S1 and half of S2 but he admits she is right, saying that anyone finding out would be “unfortunate, for both of us.”

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He wants to know why she reached out to him, and she responds by saying “I don’t want to feel this pain again. I don’t wanna hurt, or get hurt, ever again. And you seem like someone who could teach me not to”.

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Oh honey, it’s adorable that you think this is possible, or healthy, and by adorable I mean sad. It’s really sad. ***END FB***

Present-day Star(ling?)City, the Arrow chases a man through traffic and into an alley, where he has to be shot him with a trick arrow with a line attached, because that’s what happens to you when you decide to run away like an a$$hole who doesn’t know you’re there to serve plot.

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Turns out the man was a witness to Sara’s shooting (his fingerprints were on the green glass shard he found on the roof where she was shot), and Oliver wants to know what he saw. He mentions he was drinking on the roof when “a blonde” arrived who told him to leave and he did, because “she looked like she could handle herself.” Oliver leaves, disappointed, and the guy says that whoever The Arrow is looking for, “he wouldn’t want to be him.”

Back in the basement of Verdant, Oliver tells Felicity, Diggle and Roy that it was “another dead end”. Felicity complains that it took her a week to reconstruct the partial fingerprint using a “predictive indexing algorithm”, cracking a joke about how it was appropriate “since it was his index finger. Oliver makes eye contact with her for one of the two times this episode, saying nothing, and she wryly adds that her comment is “not particularly relevant, now.” She is taking their aborted attempt at a relationship much better than he is, but I guess that’s what a badass new job and not being crippled by PTSD does for you.

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Diggle tries to reassure Oliver that they will find the killer, but Oliver says they won’t, as “the trail’s gone cold”. Felicity interrupts to say she hates to go, but has to leave for work. Roy mentions that he didn’t know Tech Village opened that early, and Oliver interrupts by asking if she figured out “where in Italy Thea’s staying”. She says Thea is not in Italy at all, and that when she pinged her cell “it came back Corto Maltese”.

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Diggle cracks a joke about the Queens and islands as she leaves, and Roy tells Oliver that Thea’s letter said not to look for her. “That letter was addressed to you, not to me,” Oliver sidesteps. He is watching Laurel go through the loss of her sister, he explains, and “it’s time for my sister to come home.” Roy accepts, nodding, and goes to get his bow from the rack. Oliver asks what he is doing, and Roy very nobly says that Thea is gone because of lies he told her, so he owes it to both Queen siblings to “make it right.” “No”, Oliver asks, a slight smile breaking through. “What are you doing? You can’t travel with that.”

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Roy puts it down, sheepish, as he admits he has never been on a plane before. Oliver looks at Diggle, who shrugs, because DIGGLE IS US.

At Chez Dyla, Diggle is joking with Lyla about shooting his daughter’s future beaus with his Glock when he tells her that he is looking forward to spending quality time with baby Sara in the next few days.

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Lyla calls him out on lying about the diaper thing, but asks why the time off, did he quit Team Arrow again? Digg answers that Oliver is going to Corto Maltese for a couple of days. Lyla asks if he would mind going along. It turns out a fellow ARGUS agent (and “old friend”) in Corto, Mark Shaw, hasn’t checked in in a while and may be in danger. If he doesn’t check in in the next couple of days, she would have to report him to Amanda and she wants to avoid it. Diggle agrees grumpily, saying that baby Sara “better not do anything interesting” while he’s gone and proving again that Beyoncé is the Socrates of our generation.

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Neither of them seems to have an issue with Lyla revealing Shaw’s identity as an ARGUS secret agent to Dig. Hold on to that nugget.

At Ted Grant’s boxing studio, Laurel walks in wearing her badge and her f-u lipstick and he jokes that she “must not be there for a self-defense class”.

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Laurel is there to speak to him about one of his students, who witnesses place at the scene of a break-in the previous night. “Not possible,” Grant says, and it is obvious he is lying. He tells Laurel that he and the student were sparring that night, and neither her warnings about lying to the DA or threats of perjury matter to him. In his mind, he is lying “to protect a good kid who made a stupid mistake out of this system,” and that perjury is “a big word” and he, “just a dumb fighter.” image

He tells Laurel that the city is full of “good people that get dealt bad hands,” lose people, lose themselves, and that they come into his studio to “work out that rage”. He says he’s gotten good at picking out the types, and that Laurel is one of them. She says that if she’s angry, it’s because she is “dealing with someone willing to lie to a D.A. just to protect a punk kid.” Ted doesn’t think that is the case, but hands her a flyer that proclaims “LEARN TO FIGHT! Defend yourself effectively!” just in case she has something she needs to come in and work off.

Corto Maltese. The boys of Team Arrow arrive looking golden in the light and dewy with sweat. I already love this episode.

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Roy asks about Thea, and Oliver says he would like to speak to her alone first at the address Felicity gave him for her. Roy and Diggle head into the hotel (WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS???) and Oliver heads off to the lovely mansion where Poppa Merlyn is hiding with his lovechild.

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Oliver knocks on the door and there is no answer, which is good, because on the other side of the door Malcolm waits, bow drawn, to shoot Oliver if he tries to come in.

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A gardener comes by and asks in Spanish, “¿Señor? ¿Cómo puedo ayudarlo?” (Sir? How can I help you?) I flail helplessly as it is revealed that, on top of his other stellar skills, OLIVER SPEAKS SPANISH AY DIOS MIO. “Estoy buscando a mi hermana,” he responds. (“I am looking for my sister.”)

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The gardener says he must be “Mia’s brother” since he can see the resemblance. Oliver smiles tightly at the alias, but asks if he knows where “Mia” is. She woks at a cafe, which the gardener offers to kindly show him, and they leave. Behind the door, Malcolm exhales and lowers his bow.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Early days in Corto Maltese, Malcolm and Thea sit by some hot coals where he is brewing “a meditative tea” that is going to activate her “mind and body.”

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Thea jokes that she’ll need more than tea to learn to use his weapons, but Malcolm tells her that the Buddhist warriors from who he learned believed that first you fight with your mind. He sets a bucket of cool water in between them, telling her he began just like her, “devastated” by his wife’s death. Hurt and angry, and that “the pain was unbearable-like this”, he illustrates, taking a ladle of hot wax and pouring it over his hand, suspended over the bucket.

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Thea, upset and forgetting that he is crazy as a basket of monkeys, wants him to plunge his hand into the cool water, but he doesn’t flinch. The “simple truth” that every warrior must learn, he says, “that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional”. He takes her hand and holds it over the bucket, tipping the ladle as she asks him not to do what she thinks he is going to do. “You asked me to teach you,” he answers not unkindly.

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***END FB***

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Corto Maltese. At the cafe, Thea is serving a table (IN SPANISH) when Oliver calls her name and she turns. The siblings are obviously happy to see each other, and they hug. image

Thea wants to know how Oliver found her, and he gently reproaches her that it “isn’t precisely the Amalfi Coast.” As they sit down at an unoccupied table to chat and Thea tells a waiter in Spanish that she’ll be right there, Oliver asks if she didn’t flunk Spanish. Thea jokes that she “skipped it all together” and it is the first clue to him that his little sister is not the same. He compliments her haircut, and she apologizes for lying to him about Italy. “I just needed some space.” Oliver says she has had five months, and when she tells him that “this is not just a visit,” he shows her the ticket he bought for her (SRSLY WHO IS BANKROLLING THIS TRIP?). He tells her he understood why she left when their mother died, but lays his cards out “Thea, I miss you, and I would really like it if you came home.” “I miss you too”, she answers earnestly, “And I love you…so much…but I’m never coming back to Starling City”. Oliver looks down, disappointed and I can’t even these two are adorable and heartbreaking.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Malcolm is pouring hot wax on his baby girl’s hand and this %$#@! is crazy. Thea must think so, too, because she plunges her hand into the cold bucket and tells him that she can’t, and she is sorry. “There is strength in you, Thea, and if you can’t see it in yourself…” But she is starting to panic, saying that she is not like him, and that she can’t do as he asks. image

He pulls her in for a hug, and tells her it’s all right. “It’s not your fault”, he says, staring off into the distance, “it’s mine”. ***END FB***

Starling City, Offices of QC. Ray is talking to a man in a suit when Felicity walks in. He starts talking at her very fast, and then excuses himself as he has been working all night and is on his third espresso. She stops him right there and says that she wants to list a few hard boundaries, which include no late-night emails, no personal errands and no coffee. “There will be no espressos brought to you by me. I stand very firm on that.”image

“I admire your conviction”, Ray smiles, but says that the man in the suit is Jerry Conway, HER assistant, and that the coffee in question was one he was going to bring her, unless of course she is “anti-latte in general.” Felicity utters a weak thank you as Jerry leaves, clearly off-kilter, but Ray has moved on, showing her a table full of partially burnt hard drives from QC’s Applied Sciences Division that survived the fire that “some whacko” (Spoiler alert, that wacko is the blonde he’s speaking to) decided to set. “I’m sure they had their reasons”, she says primly, and guesses that he wants her to retrieve what data she can. image

He is pleased that they are going to work so well together, and tells her he has a lot of work and has to go. She questions why she is leaving his office if that’s the case, and he sets her straight with a small smirk. “I’m not. I’m leaving yours.”

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Corto Maltese. Diggle is looking for Mark Shaw at his usual day drop to verify that he is okay for Lyla, and Oliver has tagged along, joking that he “doesn’t know how to vacation like a normal person”. When Diggle spots him and says “Got him”, Oliver responds by saying “I got you.” Diggle grins and heads off towards Shaw, telling Oliver that “he’s a friendly”. When he approaches him, however, Shaw draws a knife on him and Oliver, watching from a distance, flinches. image

Diggle blocks him, saying he is with Lyla Micheals. Shaw tries to get a pass code out of him, but Diggle clarifies that he is not with ARGUS, just “Lyla’s Baby Daddy”. He says that she was worried when he didn’t check in, and that she sent Diggle to find him. Shaw threatens him if he’s lying, but Diggle tells him to reach into his jacket pocket for his security transcoder. Shaw sticks what looks like a small USB into his phone and it verifies John’s identity. image

Diggle comments that he is pretty jumpy, and Shaw says “better jumpy than dead”. They walks away and Shaw tells him that he has had eyes on him all week. It turns out someone stole the ARGUS files on their undercover operatives and is willing to sell that info. The actuals, as they are called, are a “digital encoded omnibus” of all agent details, including data on their covers and families, including women and children. Diggle starts as he realizes someone could get a hold of information that would threaten not only Lyla, but baby Sara.

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SC. Laurel is at an AA meeting, confessing that a week ago “something happened that I can’t share with anyone for several, complicated reasons” and that she thought she was going to want to drink, but wasn’t really even tempted. What she is, it turns out, is angry. “I don’t know what to do with it or where to put it, I just–” and she stops as Quentin walks in to the same meeting, thanking everyone for letting her share as another woman takes her turn.image

The woman, Erica, shares that her boyfriend, who still drinks, and she got in a fight, and shows the group the bruises on her collarbone from where he obviously hurt her. She knows she should leave but she can’t, she says, and wonder if there is a group she can go to for it. After the meeting, Laurel and Quentin talk and Laurel tells her father that Erica has been making statements like that every month, that they are getting worse, and that her boyfriend has 8 pending charges for assault in several cities. Lance tells her that it takes everything in him not to go after a guy like that, but that “the day that cops start bringing their badges into AA meetings is the day that the drunks stop coming”.image

CM. Oliver is standing out of view with a bluetooth while Diggle drives with Shaw to the sale of the actuals. He questions that there are only two of them and if he shouldn’t call for backup, but Shaw pulls a gun out of his glove compartment and tells him that’s the only backup he’ll need.

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Walking to the meeting, Diggle starts asking Shaw if he isn’t concerned that someone will see him, and how he knows about the dropoff. Shaw says he’s been the home agent in Corto Maltese for the last three years, and that he’s got “this third-world garbage down”. Diggle’s doubt shows on his face, and he circles Shaw, who asks him what’s wrong. Diggle responds questioning whether there is a buy at all, checking the clip on the gun Shaw gave him and discovering that it is empty. He comes at Shaw only to have the later tase him, and as he goes down, Oliver rises despite Diggle telling him not to. image

Shaw has a gunman backing him up, however, and Oliver is forced to stand back as Shaw drags Diggle to one side and steals his transcoder, telling him that there is a buy, and thanking him for giving him the means with which to decode the actual. image

Oliver runs after Shaw, but he escapes in the Jeep, leaving both men behind.

CM. Thea is taking the trash out to the cafe dumpster when her bag breaks. image

As she is bending over to pick it up and toss it, Roy comes around the corner and jokes that she “should have gotten the heavy duty ones” and compliments her hair. Thea sarcastically asks if he and her brother are “travel buddies” now, and he starts to help pick up the trash, simply and sincerely saying, “Nah. I was worried about you.” Oliver told him that she wouldn’t come back and he was going to try to convince her. She tells him he can’t. He says that he gets that she’s hurt. “I lied to you. I lied right to your face. But I need you to know that when I said I wanted to leave Starling City with you, that wasn’t a lie.” image

Thea tells him she didn’t leave just because of him. Her mother and brother lied to her, and she had to get away from Starling City and “all the secrets”. She tells him she found herself in Corto and when he asks her if it isn’t kind of lonely, she answers that it’s what she likes about it. No one there thinks her as Thea Queen, or Thea Merlyn, lies to her, or tries to protect her with secrets. “All I ever wanted was for you to be happy, Thea,” Roy says, “I’m sorry if I got in the way of that…and I’m sorry I hurt you.” image

He tells her that if being there makes her happy, she should stay. He isn’t the same impulsive boy she left behind, and as he is walking away, Thea stops him to ask how he has been, saying that he looks a bit tired. “I just haven’t been sleeping much lately”, he tells her, and walks away as she goes back into the cafe. As Roy rounds the corner, Malcolm comes into frame and it is obvious he has listened to the whole exchange.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Thea and Malcolm are hugging when she pulls away from him and asks what he meant when he said it was his fault, not hers. “I thought I could do this differently, but I can’t,” he explains. “I need to train you as I was trained.” He places one hand on her shoulder, and it looks like it’s for support. “Treat you as my student, not my daughter,” and he holds her steady as he brings up his other arm and STRIKES HER IN THE FACE.

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Thea falls to the ground, asking him what he’s doing, but he strikes her again, and again she falls. “The only way to forge steel is to temper it with fire,” he says, and Thea gets up on all fours as he advances on her, reaching behind her for one of the swords on the rack and unsheathing it as she threatens him with it.image

“Stay away from me, you sick son of a bitch,” she snarls, and the smile that breaks out on Malcolm’s face is an 11 on the creep-scale. “Now we can begin,” he tells her. image

***END FB***

CM. Back at the hotel, Diggle is updating Lyla on events over Skype and she tells him that they have discovered there is a buyer headed to Corto Maltese, but not his identity. She says that Amanda is sending “a wet team” over to his location and when Diggle says they won’t get there in time, she says that “they might,” and advises him to “keep his powder dry” and stay put. image

“Copy that”, says Diggle, ending the call. Oliver, sitting behind him, wryly asks, “We’re not keeping our powder dry?” image

“Hell no,” Diggle answers, already walking away.

SC. Felicity is at her desk at QC, reading a blog about “The Streak”, as Barry is being called in Central City when Ray walks in and asks if she’s had any luck “raising their digital Lazarus”. image

She walks over and starts listing everything that’s wrong (hint: everything) when her cell phone rings and she hurries back to her desk to answer. It’s Diggle, and he wants her to look up Shaw in Corto Maltese. image

She tries to demur as Ray is there, listening to everything she is saying by saying she is in a meeting, but habit gets the best of her and she asks Ray to excuse her, saying it’s a friend. “Several friends,” she corrects herself nervously, “it’s a long story.” Ray tells her that he has a feeling she has a lot of stories like that, all of which are long. He asks her if he should come back later, but Felicity isn’t listening, mostly because she is trying to dodge the question but also because the call from Corto cut off.

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As she tries to get it back she answers a second call from Laurel, who is asking her for a favor. “Are we favor friends now? Are we friends?” Felicity wonders out loud, very reasonably. “WHAT?” Laurel answers, because SHUT UP I AM NOT TRYING TO HEAR THAT JUST DO WHAT I WANT. “Oh Dear God,” Felicity says as her office phone rings. Who gave Diggle the number? In any case she tells him that the guy he sent her is a bit of a hacker and his trail is faint, but that with a bit of luck, she’ll find him and email him when she has something, and hangs up. image

Ray’s face as he listens is priceless, he obviously knows something is up, but he is enjoying eavesdropping.  “I’m having a bit of a day,” she tells Laurel on her cell.image

Laurel wants her help finding Erica’s abusive boyfriend, by “googling his phone.” Oh, Laurel. “Pinging his GPS,” Felicity corrects automatically, and when she notices Ray paying attention to every word, asks if she can call her back later. “This what a typical day looks like for you?” Ray asks her. “Believe it or not, this is better than most,” she answers.

CM. The boys of Team Arrow are walking and Oliver asks Diggle to call him when Felicity has a location on Shaw. He is going to talk to Thea again, despite Roy telling him that she doesn’t want to hear from either of them any more. “We both lied to her. A lot,” he tells him.image

Oliver knows, and that is why he thinks telling Thea the entire truth about the five years he was gone and everything he’s done since he’s been back will serve to convince her. Diggle tells him to think about it, but Oliver says that if lies drove her away, the truth will bring her back. “Except you won’t be telling her the truth. You’ll be telling her that her brother has been lying to her, to her face, with almost pathological sincerity for the last two years. She won’t believe a word you say, and you will lose her, Oliver. Forever.”

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“Look around,” Oliver tells him. “I’ve already lost her. I don’t have any other choice.”

SC. Laurel, wearing her sister’s jacket, is stalking Erica’s boyfriend  as he comes out of a bar, and when he goes to unlock his car in an alley, she covers her face with a ski mask and hits him with a metal baseball bat. “I hear you like hitting women.” How about one that likes to hit back?“ image

Her righteousness is short-lived, however, as he takes the bat from her and hits her across the ribs and face, kicking her when she is down for good measure. “You’re right,” he says. “It’s better when they hit back.” image

He gets into his car and leaves her on the pavement, bruised and bleeding.

Later at the hospital, Laurel is in bed when her father walks in, repeating “Oh baby, baby, baby” under his breath and I remember that this is, in fact, Quentin’s child, and he is absofreakinglutley right to be concerned for her. image

She apologizes and he says he’s too relieved to be angry, but that “this is crazy” and he wants to know what he hell she was thinking, going after that guy. Laurel’s reply is at once frightening and terribly terribly poignant, and it really makes me identify with Laurel’s pain, which is totally unexpected. “There’s just something I needed to work out. I know that the world isn’t fair. I know that it’s a terrible place, where people…deserve to be punished…and they don’t. I just…for one night…I needed the world to be different.” Quentin is in a panic, asking her what is going on, telling her she is not being herself and he reassures her that she can talk to him about anything.

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She is staring off into the distance for most of it, but when he says the last part she slowly looks at her father, and there is some pity there. “I know,” she tells him, and looks away. Quentin, conscious of the fact that he is not getting through to her, says exactly the wrong thing, telling her she is “not the Arrow, or your sister” and he wants her promise that she will never do it again. image

At mention of Sara her eyes go to her father’s and then her sister’s jacket, and she quietly, placatingly promises.

CM. Oliver shows up at the cafe and want to talk to his sister. Thea says that between him and “his best friend Roy” she is pretty sure everything’s been said, but he says not by him. They sit down and he says he saw the note admits to having lied to her and kept secrets. “The truth is if I tell you all the things you don’t know about me, I might lose you forever.” He tells her he spent five years “in the worst kind of hell” and that there were things that happened and he did that if she knew, she may see him differently.

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“I will always see you as my big brother,” she interjects, tearing up, and she tells him that whatever may have happened to him in the island or what he may have done, what hurt her most was the lies he told her about herself, and the fact that he knew that he knew who her father was.

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“Malcolm may have been your blood,” Oliver tells her, “Robert was your father…and I lied to you about him, too.” He tells her what he never meant for her to know, that their father wasn’t the man they thought, that he was better, and that he survived the shipwreck only to kill himself later when he realized that there wasn’t enough food and water for both of them to survive.  He’s telling her this secret now because he wants her to realize that her parents sacrificed themselves so they could live, “and if we’re not together…then we’re not really alive. You’re my family, and even if you don’t really need me… I need you.”

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At this point Thea is biting her lip and I am just audibly sobbing. Oliver asks her to please just consider what he is saying, and leaves.

Later that day, Oliver, Roy and Diggle are hiding behind a trash can waiting for Shaw’s buyer.

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When a car shows up, Shaw says he “was expecting Armitage” and asks to see the money. They show it, and when he plugs in the transcoder to his laptop to decode the files, we see Lyla’s is one of the identities it holds.

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Diggle says it’s time for them to go, and Oliver takes out a duffel bag filled with bows and arrows that look like they came from Etsy, and guns for Digg.

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Roy asks dubiously where they came from, and we see a short montage that shows a dude who is supposed to be Oliver but whose arms are WAY hairier stripping their room for materials. “Our hotel room,” he answers. Suddenly, a bunch of soldiers in camo arrive. When Diggle supposes them to be ARGUS, Oliver watches them point their guns at them, however, and says “That’s not ARGUS.”

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One of the soldiers yells “¡Bajen sus armas!” (Lower your weapons!) and Oliver and the others take cover, and at Diggle’s “Go,” start to shoot. Not-Armitage hears the gunshots and asks if ARGUS knows they are there, and Shaw reveals that the soldiers are weapons for hire that he contracted to watch the perimeter. Oliver runs out of Arrows and shouts at Diggle, who throws him a gun. Oliver stands and fires off seven shots that hit six targets, and when he crouches down to see Roy’s shocked face, he says “I never said I didn’t know HOW to use a gun.” image

Roy rolls his eyes because yes it’s cute but try not to get killed.

Shaw is driving off in his jeep when Diggle chases him down and JUMPS ON HIS CAR AND PAWS HIM OUT OF IT like Goddamned Simba because Diggle is a freaking BADASS, and Roy and Oliver aren’t doing so bad, either.

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Oliver manages to intercept not-Armitage and take the laptop from him, using it to beat him in a way that would make Felicity sad if she knew because poor laptop. Outside, Diggle has Shaw up against a truck, and from his bloody nose you can tell he’s been talking to him for a while now. “Lyla was your friend,” he yells at Shaw, upset that he would endanger her and their daughter “for a lousy payday.” Not for money, Shaw clarifies. The actual sale was his “ticket out of ARGUS.” He tells Diggle that he doesn’t know the things Amanda Waller has made him do, or “the person she turns you into.”

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Diggle still says it was no excuse to put a target on his family’s back. Shaw says he didn’t have a choice and asks Diggle to put a bullet in him and tell Waller that he died, but Diggle refuses, although he would like to.

At Casa Merlyn, Thea tells Malcolm that she wants to go home to her brother. “And all his lies and secrets?” Malcolm asks, because he has zero understanding of irony, and accuses her of not coming as far as he thought. Thea says she will prove it to him, and they fight.

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It looks for a moment that he has beat her, but she flicks the knife she dropped up into her hand and holds it to his neck, and he concedes. As she walks down the hall, she turns and looks at him suspiciously.  “You let me win, didn’t you?” Thea asks, but Malcolm’s only reply is a smile, “I’ll be seeing you soon,” he tells her, “Safe flight”.

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At the airport, the boys are getting ready to leave and drinking coffee when Oliver, who has been staring at the door, sighs and says “She’s not coming.”

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Diggle apologizes, saying he did everything he could, but then Roy spots her rolling her luggage towards them.

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“I’m so glad you changed your mind,” Oliver tells her, and she jokes that she isn’t as sure about “flying commercial.” When she sits down, a gentleman next to her spills his boiling hot coffee on to her hand. We can see the steam rising from it, but she doesn’t flinch. Oliver asks her if she is okay, but she wipes it off and calmly tells him “Yeah, I’m fine.”

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SC. Oliver walks into the Arrow Cave and Laurel is waiting for him. He is upset when he sees the bruises on her face, but she backs away before he can touch her, telling him she is fine. She said she “tried to do good” but “it didn’t work out.” Oliver runs his hands through his hair, exasperated, She tells him that it might sound insane and it may be, but Sara gave her the jacket, and when she wears if she wants to help people like she did. “My sister’s alive again.” Oliver understands, but tells her that Sara had years of training. Laurel knows, and she tells him that is why she needs to start, and she wants his help.

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Oliver, at a loss for words, stares for a couple of beats before simply saying a quiet “No,” and walking away, and when Laurel follows him, indignant, he shouts it and then repeats it again, quieter. He tells her that he wants her to consider what would happen to Capt. Lance is something happened to her. Laurel says that since Sara’s death she has had a fire inside her that she can’t get rid of with booze or pills, and that the other night, even if it did go wrong, was the first time she didn’t feel that way. Oliver apologizes and says he can’t, but that even if he could, he wouldn’t, because Sara would have never forgiven him.

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My kingdom for a gif of Oliver holding his head between his elbows, exasperated.

Diggle arrives him and hugs Lyla, telling her that he loves her, and that he missed she and Sara, that they were all that he could think about.

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She needs to go into the office because Amanda called her in, but Diggle asks her to hurry home, staring at Sara sleeping in her crib.

At the police station, Erica’s boyfriend is being booked on an “anonymous tip” and Lance, who DIDN’T CALL IT IN LET’S GET THAT STRAIGHT winks and him and tells him that it’s a rough break, then practically skips into his office.

At Ted Grant’s gym, Laurel walks in wearing Sara’s jacket to find him shirtless and sweaty-boxing and doesn’t even react (to be fair, the show has set an impossible standard here). “Okay”, she says, letting the bruises on her face provide subtext, “When do we start?” Ted smiles.

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Still at work late at QC despite the hour, Ray is complimenting Felicity on her ability to recover data form the Applied Sciences hard drives that all the techs said was unrecoverable. “Seems like this would be a good time to ask for a few days off then,” she ventures, and Ray points out that she just started. “I know,” she says, “but my friend was struck by lightening and he’s in a coma…or he was… it’s…” “A long story,” Ray finishes for her, and she nods.

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Ray rolls his eyes at her but tells her he’ll see her, and she thanks him, walking out. When she leaves, he turns back to the data, and pulls up blueprints of Top-Secret weapons from a project called O.M.A.C. He looks up, and it’s not a look that you expect on what has been until now, a pretty affable character.

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In the basement at Verdant in the Arrow Cave, Oliver compliments Roy on his performance, and he responds that he had a good teacher. “A judgmental, occasionally temperamental one,”  he teases, and I am thrilled to see Oliver joke back. “Those are the best kind,” he growls, and they both smile.

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Oliver asks Roy if Thea seems different to him, and when Oliver asks if she was maybe seeing someone in Corto Maltese, but Roy says that if Thea was with anyone else, he has a feeling that he would be the last person to know. All of a sudden there is the sound of a metal arrow being notched and as Oliver steps in front of Roy, the camera pans to Nyssa, who is aiming at them. “Where is she?” she asks. “Where is Sara?”

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Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting! For additional fun and hijinks, follow me here or @conniebv on Twitter.

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