WTF. Arrow Photo Recap S3E09, “The Climb”

So here we are, the much-ballyhooed mid-season finale. Some people were blown away and deaded, and some found it underwhelming and meh. My mood varied as much as the tone of this recap. It was a memorable one, and a hard left in a lot of ways.

The show opens with Oliver climbing a snowy mountaintop in the dark…

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…and rapidly switches over to the SCPD Christmas Party, where Captain Lance is chugging nog and getting an unexpected gift from his favorite green elf.

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They exchange brompliments about how great the other is, and it’s a testament to their journey as imaginary partners that Lance’s opinion of Oliver is so high. As he goes inside with his new toy, Oliver gets a surprise of his very own.

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At first he thinks it’s Merlyn, but no, just someone with the same taste in leather sportswear. The League of Assassins has come to Starling to finish their Christmas shopping and kidnap the resident hero.

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When Oliver comes to, we find out why. Nyssa A-G says her father is done with Oliver’s excuses for not finding Sara’s killer. He has to find and deliver the killer in the next 48 hours or she’s going to let her minion kill off Starling citizens ‘cause JUSTICE That minion is Maseo, who has taken on a new name that I think is Sarab. Oliver protests that Sara is dead, but Nyssa is all,

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Laurel is a the cemetery boring her poor sister’s soul with inanity when Thea, who was visiting Moira, bumps into her. Before we know it, she is coming clean to Thea about Sara being dead, glossing over the fact that her father doesn’t know and emphasizing she not mention it to Oliver.

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OLIVER? REALLY? Whatever. Your main takeaway is that Thea is upset and scandalized, and Laurel brings sadness everywhere.

At Palmer Tech, Felicity and Ray are supposed to be “weird” but are so much more normal and make so much sense. Basically Ray has finally noticed that he dorked up, Felicity (among with the rest of us) wants to forget it happened, and the Oliver 911’s her and she is all “LATER HATER” and I love my sassy muppet so much.

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When she arrives at the Foundry in yet another coat I need to steal, Oliver tells her, Roy and Diggle about Nyssa’s ultimatum. Felicity says that Caitlin is still analyzing the DNA, but Oliver asks her to hurry.

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Diggle points out that they need a backup in case this goes south, but Oliver is fresh out of contingency plans.

***FLASHBACK ALERT***Oliver comes home from a nice long day of torture and Maseo hands him a dishtowel. Who knows why.

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DUDES. Amirite? Oliver did get information about the super-virus Omega from him, but he haz a sad. Maseo is all, “Dude. City> you.” Except he says it with a tiny bowl of food, cause torture is hard work. *** END FB***

At the Cave, Felicity is catching up on her Reverse Flash news and getting the DNA results from Caitlin in the form of a reassembled genome, which she then runs against SCPD’s genetic markers database. The results come in, but she openly doubts their veracity and refuses to show Oliver until he demands to know who it is.

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Once again we get a nice view of Oliver climbing up this fakakta mountain. image

He almost falls, but catches himself in time. Save that ass, boy.

Back at the Cave, Felicity clarifies that she took a sample of the perspiration on the arrow that killed Sara and that it matched a DNA sample that Oliver gave during his arrest in E105. Oliver guesses that he was set up by someone with a vested interest against the LoA, and that it was Malcolm Merlyn.

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Diggle points out that he was out of the country, but Oliver reminds him he is REALLY good at hide and seek. Felicity starts an image search, even though time is running short.

***FB ALERT*** At BTHK Biotech in Hong Kong, Maseo and Oliver break in and find the empty canister where Omega used to be. I have a  physical reaction to Karl Yeun’s cheekbones. Chen Na Wei had someone on the inside get it for her. ***END FB***

The Police station and Dinah “River Song” Lance is in for the Holidays to spend some time with her girls.

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Laurel, who is surprised to see her mother, makes up an excuse as to why Sara isn’t answering her calls. Don’t try to get one over on Melody Pond, girl.

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At the Arrow Cave, Felicity has found a wacky flight pattern for a plane out of Corto Maltese.

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When Oliver asks when it landed on a private strip outside Starling, she replies that it was the night before Sara died.

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Somewhere out there is a pilot  that is about to find out how high Oliver can toss him.

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After some ‘interrogation’, the pilot makes a decision between dying now or later and confesses that he flew the man they show him (Merlyn) into Starling and offers him security footage from that night, October 7th.

Back at the cave, Roy hands the footage to Felicity, but when she pulls it up, it’s not only Malcolm we see emerge from the plane.

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Oliver now knows that Merlyn lied about staying away from his sister. Diggle says the DNA may be hers, but Oliver tells him that Thea neither would nor could, and even if so, why? Even Roy admits that Merlyn being her father may have hammered the killer nail home. It’s finally Felicity that urges Oliver to look at the facts, pointing out that the shooter was below average height.

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Oliver’s not quite ready to listen, and as he walks away, Felicity’s phone rings. It’s Ray! And because wanting to speak to a woman in your employ about non-work things merits employing techniques that make human rights activists blanch, he pings her phone and shows up at her location despite her EXPRESS DESIRE NOT TO SPEAK TO HIM.

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He has a sad story though, and that makes it all okay! Ray’s cool! Calm down, everyone. Atom1cflea Disclaimer: If this happens to you in real life run because you are about to be Lifetime-movie killed.image

Summary: Ray’s fiancé Anna was killed by a Mirakuru soldier the night of the raid on the city, and he now wants to use the A.T.O.M. suit to protect the residents of the city. He felt guilty kissing someone other Anna since her death, and he tells Felicity that no man would regret kissing her. image

Because Felicity has no idea that she is a BAMF and a superhero gateway drug, she wryly alludes to knowing one man who does regret kissing her. She puts her hand on Ray’s to hold him down until the cops get there offer him comfort.

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Oliver heads back to the apartment he shares with his sister, and finds her decorating the tree. Oliver tells her that he knew she saw him in Corto, and she admits to trying to get to know him now that she lost both parents. Oliver asks if she came back with Merlyn at any point, and she denies it, saying that she would have called him. They are so sweet it breaks my heart.

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It’s obvious that she is sincere, and that he thinks she is lying.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but  to me, this is and has always been the central relationship on Arrow.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver and Maseo torture the man who stole the Omega, but he doesn’t remember. Maseo tells him they’ll get it out of him one way or another as Oliver points a bow at him. ***END FB***

Dinah and Laurel are out to dinner, and Dinah notices the look on her daughter’s face when she speaks about her sister. She tells her that her mother’s intuition is telling her something is wrong.

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When Laurel, who has been avoiding looking at her finally makes eye contact and nods, Dinah knows that Sara is dead. Laurel tells her mother it has to remain secret because of Sara’s involvement with dangerous people, and that Quentin doesn’t know because it would kill him.

Nanda Parbat. R’as al Ghul stabs dudes with the same enthusiasm I muster for changing my oil, but it doesn’t make them any less dead. I get the feeling that everything bores him.

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Nyssa drops in on Dad to say Oliver’s time is almost up, and he tells her to return to Starling City and remind Oliver Queen that they are “merciless, and only ask once.” He then leaves to watch paint dry.

At the Arrow Cave, Oliver tells Felicity and John that while Thea lied to him about spending time with Merlyn, she super-duper did not kill Sara. Diggle very diplomatically tries to point out that his family is and always has been his blind spot. As he lists the instances, Oliver loses his temper and Team Arrow has a domestic. Felicity shouts at both of them to stop, which they do immediately because they know who’s boss.

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She tells Oliver that she can’t imagine how difficult this is for him, but that John is right. Thea lied to him. Oliver knows she lied about Malcolm, but he says with tears in his voice that he doesn’t want to believe Thea capable of killing Sara. Felicity, always reasonable, says that is why he shouldn’t be the one asking.

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The Arrow shows up at Thea’s apartment and comes in through a window to ask about Merlyn. Thea at first pretends to be frightened, but then attacks him.

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Oliver blocks her with a look of shock on his face but doesn’t hit back. Thea angrily warns him to stay away from her and her “father”, and jumps off the balcony.

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I have a super-stong urge to poke Oliver cause I bet he would fall over.

At the bar in Verdant, Oliver is nursing a grudge when Malcolm walks in after Thea calls him and tells her she got a visit from The Arrow.

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Oliver calmly tells Merlyn that he figured he would never kill again…but he was wrong.

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He picks Malcolm up to choke him against the bar when his phone buzzes and he stops to look. Malcolm has sent him video footage of Thea killing Sara, and threatens him with showing the LoA the footage if Oliver kills him. He tells Oliver that he dosed Thea with a plant that made her highly susceptible and left her with no memory, and even if Oliver tells R’as it was his plot, it was still Thea who fired the arrows.

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Malcolm’s plan is for Oliver to blame himself, gain rights to a trial by combat and kill R’as. Once the Head of the Demon is dead, all blood debts die with him-that includes both Thea’s and his.

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He is glad to see that Thea can still motivate Oliver, and advises that he not take long in making his decision.

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That night in the Arrow Cave, Oliver blames himself for letting Merlyn turn his sister, the kindest person he knew, into a killer. Felicity tells him that even if he blames himself, it ’s not his fault.

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Diggle urges him to tell R’as it was Merlyn, but Oliver tells him about the video. When Roy worries that he will be killed, Oliver responds he won’t, because now he knows what he is fighting for: Thea.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver is super-annoyed that their prisoner won’t confess. Maseo says he may not remember taking the Omega, and tells Oliver about the mind-control drug. He worries that Chen Na Wei may come to find them. At Maseo’s house, we see her arrive and threaten his wife and son. Tatsu tells her son to run, and the two fight each other with swords.****END FB***

Oliver goes to see Nyssa and asks to speak with R’as, who apparently has nothing better to do than hang in Starling, stare at fire, and let’s be frank, be a bit of an ageist.

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Oliver confesses to the murder of Sara. He tells Nyssa that he killed her because she “begged [him] to”, rather than be in the League. R’as tells Oliver that he should let Sarab kill him for thinking he was a fool. Oliver responds by demanding his right to trial by combat. R’as, who I am pretty sure is nodding off, warns Oliver that it has been “67 years” since a man challenged him (shout out to the Lazarus pit!) and asks if he has a death wish. Oliver asks him if he accepts, and he does.

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A brief flash to the mountain, where Oliver has reached the summit and pulls himself over the edge, gasping for breath.

Sarab/Maseo and Oliver are left alone, and we get a brief idea of what happened to bring Maseo to Nanda Parbat, the same year as Sara. He tells Oliver that he does not think he killed her, and that he has no desire to bear witness to his death. Oliver says nothing, so he gives him a location and tells him that he has 12 hours to get his affairs in order before The Thrilla on The Hilla.

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At Sara’s grave, Dinah reminisces about her daughters’ childhood and how Sara wanted to be a doctor. Laurel sees her mother’s grief and promises that she will find Sara’s killer “no matter what it takes” and make them pay.

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Dinah surprises her (and us) by demanding a promise from her daughter: not only to make them pay, but to make them suffer.

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These Lance women will cut you, y’all. RESPECT, MOM.

At the Queen apartment, Oliver walks in to see Thea repairing the window. She lies to him about how it shattered, and he makes one last attempt to warn her not to trust Malcolm, saying that he has discovered things about him, and he doesn’t love her. image

Thea asks that he not make her choose between her father and brother. He tells her gently that he never would, and that because she is his family, he will always protect her.

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Thea, worried, asks what that means, and he pulls her in for a hug. “It means I love you,” he says quietly, “no matter what.”

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Dammit, I love these two bbs. Not only do they hurt my heart but…

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Christ GREEN AND RED SCARVES? Was the entire color scheme of this show designed to put me in therapy? It’s a good thing this is about where my attitude took a dive, because you can’t go much lower when you’re already flat on your back in the basement.

***FB ALERT*** Maseo and Oliver arrive home to find Akiro alone. He tells his father that the white-haired woman took his mother. ***END FB***

Felicity walks into work and demands to know what Ray is doing with “Queen Consolidated,” because this seems like the time to worry about that mess, even if it’s nice to know she can’t remember to call it Palmer Technologies, either.

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Ray takes her “Hey you can trust me I keep secrets for people with emotional baggage” speech to heart and shows her the A.T.O.M. (Advanced Technology Operating Mechanism) suit, born from both processing and weapons tech small enough to fit in his palm. So superhero persona-wise, the Arrowervse has it broody Batman-type, it’s chipper Spidey-type, and now, we’re going to get an Iron Man-type except NOPE cause RDJ.image

Felicity wonders why this keeps happening to her, I wonder exactly the same thing about this entire plot line, and really the answer is that if you KEEP DEMANDING SECRETS FROM SECRETIVE PEOPLE YOU WILL KEEP LEARNING SH*T YOUR WERE LIKELY BETTER OFF NOT KNOWING. Sigh. These two. Whatever.

Now ish gets real.

In the Cave, Oliver is getting ready to go. Diggle wants to go with, but Oliver gently refuses him. He asks Roy to take care of Thea and gives him a hug. John (he calls him John!) shakes his hand. Felicity walks in, and it’s obvious by her quiet “Oh” that she didn’t expect him to leave so soon, and Digg tells Roy to give Oliver and Felicity a moment alone. image

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What follows has been extensively gif’d, dissected and discussed, so add mine to the pile. Felicity is rooted to the spot, one hand on her purse and the other nervously twitching her fingers as she asks where he is going. Oliver tells her that it will be fine and he’ll come back in his fake-chipper tone and Felicity’s voice is the one that drops to a lower register, saying she wishes that his comment “sounded more convincing.”

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The look he shoots her is an acknowledgement, but he stays silent.  She rushes through the next sentence as she places her bag on the table, saying that she wishes he wouldn’t go, but knows better than asking him to stay. Oliver smooths down that bag like his life depends on it, and tells her he appreciates it. She then walks up closer to him and asks him to do one thing, even if he doesn’t want to. Quiet, serious Oliver, who has nothing to lose in his last few moments with her, earnestly tells her that if it is her asking, he will do it. Damn you, Amell. THOSE EYES.image

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“Kill him,” she says quickly, and the shock is evident on his face.image

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Felicity offers that Ra’s al Ghul is one of “the most powerful men to ever walk the Earth,” and even as Oliver tells her he wouldn’t go if he didn’t think he could win, she clarifies that it’s not his skill she doubts, but his ability to take a life. She is “terrified” that Oliver won’t kill him. Just for reference’s sake, this is what Oliver looks like directly after that line. AMELL IS KILLING IT. There is shock at the depth of her emotion, tenderness, and the shifting eyes of doubt. IN FOUR SECONDS.

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Back to the scene. Felicity says she knows that it isn’t who he is anymore, but she doesn’t want to see his humanity turned against him. image

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Oliver slings his bag on and tells her that he isn’t sure if he is a killer anymore, but he knows two things. The first is that, no matter who he is, he is someone  who would do whatever it takes to protect his sister. image

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Felicity, who has been looking into his eyes until that moment, drops her gaze. He then looks at her worried face and and gifts her with one last comfort, pulling her towards him to kiss her forehead. image

For a moment, both are pressing in towards the other with eyes closed, and it’s an instant of perfect faith in each other and the mission. image

Oliver breaks away and looks at her face once more before walking away, and Felicity, somewhere between worry and panic that the actual time has come, asks for the second thing.image

Oliver smiles a bit, shaking his head, and takes one deep breath as he looks at her again.

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“I love you,” he says simply, as a statement of fact and at her stunned, sad face, he turns and walks away, leaving her frozen, only her twitching fingers indicating her anxiety.image

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Oliver hauls himself over the edge and walks the flat summit where a stone circle marks the spot of the duel. Maseo and Nyssa stand witness, and Maseo tells Oliver to remove his shirt as is the custom. image

He warns Oliver in a whisper that R’as “The Demon’s Head” al-Ghul is not known for his mercy and if he wants to bow out, now is the time. Oliver doesn’t answer, and he tells him to choose his weapon.image

As Oliver picks two swords, he listens to R’as wax poetic about murder and why he both regrets it and takes pride in it. It is exactly the sort of horseshit you expect from a self-important dude who takes forever to strip off ceremonial garb when he has a poor half-naked bastard waiting to battle him the the snow. image

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Hurry up, R’as. Damn. He says the League exists to replace “evil with death” and you just know he is batsh*t because that’s like replacing poop with vomit. STILL BAD. Then they recite the obligatory monotone sh*t-talk most fighters do before they throw down.

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Nyssa takes a moment to toss her five cents in and mess with Oliver’s head about being envious that he will see Sara first. image

R’as tells Oliver to begin, but Oliver points out that he is unarmed. No matter, says this asshole, he’ll just take Oliver’s knives once he is done, and he punches him in the jaw. Oliver swings, and the fight begins.

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Now we all know that Oliver is a great fighter, but there is a lot of emotion here. Every three of his actions meets with one reaction, and while Oliver’s attacks may force him back, R’as connects every time. He fights Oliver in the same way I load printer paper, efficiently and perfunctorily. He even manages to cut his forearm.

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R’as, late for his stories, finally decides to speed things up a bit and manages to back Oliver near the precipice, sword at his throat. He tells him that he should be proud to have survived longer than most, and Oliver takes the opportunity to twist his arm and force him to his knees, disarming him, and I stand up to cheer. I know there are those of you invested in his vow, but I wanted him to kill the sh*t out of that f*cker.

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But there’s a brief pause between twisting his arm and striking his neck with the sword where Oliver doubts, and it’s a window. image

R’as twists away forcing Oliver to take another, wider swing and R’as grabs his sword by the blade, cutting himself, pops him one in the throat and stabs him in the left side. image

Oliver falls to his knees (since a whack in the larynx inhibits your breathing) and R’as walks over and not unkindly tells him that he shouldn’t be afraid, because “death comes to us all, my son, we can only evade it so long”. By now I am resigned to the inevitable, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to set his stupid robe on fire and punch him in the dong. image

He takes Oliver’s chin and tilts his head to look at him, telling him that he “should consider this an honorable exit.” That said, he stabs him under his right pectoral, looks like between the 6th and 7th rib, straight into his lung.

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There is a moment where no one does a damn thing as the fandom recoils, and then we either all lost our sh*t or thought “I can’t believe they are going to [insert your theory here].” I was in the second group, because never for a second could I, will I, or do I believe that Oliver Queen is RL dead (Comic-book dead is of course, probable), and while poignant, it just felt to me like the writers sticking a bookmark in a book I was really enjoying, and closing it in the middle of the paragraph.

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So Oliver’s bleeding and because R’as has yet to meet a situation in which he can’t be pedantic, he begins to recite a a variation of the prayer for the deceased in something that is supposed to be Arabic.

Oliver flashes back, one by one, to the people who have meant the most to him in his life: Papa Queen, Ma Queen, Thea, and of course, Felicity.

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It is poignant in the sense that, while his alienation, resentment and anger have always been expressed and explored, it is Oliver’s capacity for selfless love that is his true defining character trait. Because he loved his father, he gave up his life to redeem his mistakes. Because he loved his mother, he forgave her every sin and supported her until the end. Because he loved Thea, he climbed a mountain and sacrificed himself to The Demon’s Head.  It is only his love for Felicity that is unrealized, incomplete in its expression, and that–despite my cynicism in the longevity of this plot–is truly heartbreaking.

A dying Oliver kneels, as he once refused to, before his enemy. As the prayer finishes R’as al Ghul lifts his foot, pushes him over the cliff, and throws the sword in the rock, where it buries itself in the snow.

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So this it it. Is Oliver’s “death” permanent? HAHA NOPE. If it was I wouldn’t use bitchy quotation marks. Felicity’s mourning is going to be EPIC, though, and maybe it’s a sign of how much this show has twisted my feelings that I am kind of looking forward to it. For now, however, we’re on hiatus! For any trailer recaps, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv .

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Shalom! Arrow Photo Recap 308, The Brave and the Bold

In the home team edition of our #Flarrow crossover, we open in the standard Arrow manner-in the dark, with our heroes on a dangerous mission:

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Oliver, Roy and John assemble around what they think is the home of the boomerang killer. Oliver can confirm, because it’s rigged to explode via tripwire.

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Since Oliver is a control freak, he and Roy shoot explosive arrows at the entrances so they can look inside. Not only is the house empty, but they are confronted by an Argus team that proceeds to verbally pee on the scene and warn them off.

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When Roy asks Oliver if they are, in fact, backing off, he replies by saying, “What do you think?”

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(more after the jump)

Back at the Cave, Oliver asks Felicity why ARGUS is all up in his manhunt, and she answers that the victim, Kai Wu (one of the writers in RL), was an ARGUS’s payroll. Oliver asks Diggle to put Lyla on it, but he says she’ll object because it’s an internal matter. Oliver says that she shouldn’t let people get killed in his city, and DIggle jokes that he must not care about his marriage.

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Oliver says he would, if Digg were in fact married. This is far from the last time this is pointed out.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Amanda Waller walks Oliver into a room with a man tied to a chair, and asks him to obtain information as to the location of a bomb he has planted in Hog Kong. She has very helpfully brought along pokey things to help him do that, and when Oliver asks if she wants him to torture the guy, she says she doesn’t care-she just wants the information.

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***END FB***

At Palmer Tech, Felicity is getting ready to leave for the day when Caitlin and Cisco show up. Caitlin says she is there to help with the DNA identification for Sara’s murder, but Cisco is there to see “the Arrow Cave” and all the toys.

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At said Cave later on, Cisco is putting his paws on everything, Oliver is cranky, Caitlin is in awe and Felicity is unrepentant.

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Caitlin asks where “Mr. Diggle” is, and Roy answers that he’s running down a lead.

At ARGUS, Digg is trying to butter up his “sweetie” into giving up the identity of Captain Boomerang. Lyla says it’s internal ARGUS business, but “Johnnie” says he has told Oliver both those things, plus exotic killers are more their thing. Lyla points out he only calls her “sweetie” when he wants something.

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Downstairs, Boomerang Dude finesses his way past ARGUS security using Kai Wu’s ID. Haha, no, he boomerangs the guard to death when the ID gives a red flag and walks in with a saucy walk and a snappy phrase.

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As the alarm goes off, Lyla is alerted to the breach, and John calls the Cave to tell them what is happening. As Oliver and Roy reach for their bows, Cisco is very impressed by the badassery of it all, and Caitlin wonders aloud if it all won’t be done by the time they get there.

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At ARGUS, agents stand around getting boomerang’ed but thankfully, the boomerangs aimed at Lyla and Diggle, both armed, get lost and don’t make the round trip.

Caitlin must have made a call, because we pan from Oliver on his motorcycle to a yellow streak making its way through Starling City and interrupting Thea tries to unload her DJ hookup from last week.

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There is a super-cool 2-on-1 fight scene with the archers and CB, and right as Oliver is about to take a double-boom to the chest, Barry gets the best entrance of either show to-date, zipping in and catching the boomerangs before they hit, pausing to execute a lovely turn in between.

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Once Barry leaves, Lyla wants to know what/who that was, but Oliver asks for and ID of their attacker. He is Digger Harkness, former Suicide Squad. Lyla “sanitized” this team after a mission gone wrong, and Harkness’s charge malfunctioned.

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He escaped and has been targeting ARGUS agents he holds responsible, and Lyla is at the top of this list since Waller was out when the call was made. Since most ARGUS sites are likely compromised, Oliver tells her there is only one place to keep her safe.

In the Cave, Felicity and Caitlin watch Barry zip repeatedly through the salmon ladder with the same expression most of us have watching a puppy chase its own tail. Oliver’s Wednesday routine (ha!) doesn’t seem that hard to him.

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Felicity isn’t sure Barry should have come since Oliver “doesn’t play well with others,” but he and Cisco are all for it. Barry tells her that their guy needed backup, and then he dashes off to get sushi because the salmon ladder made him hungry. Barry is the pet my parents never wanted me to have.

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Lyla, Oliver and John come back, with pieces of the boomerang that Digg brought as evidence. Barry dashes back and into a chair with his hood down, eating his dinner. His FFW (Future First Wife) Caitlin reminds him that he’s supposed to be keeping his identity a secret.

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He assumed Digg was married (nope) and that he told his wife (double nope). Digg reminds him that he keeps secrets for a living. I wonder how much that pays.

Barry sweetly introduces himself to Lyla as the Flash and offers her sushi. What a guy. When he suggests “working the evidence” however, Oliver calls him to the back to lay down the law. He tells him he appreciates the offer of help, but that Starling is different.

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Barry tells him that he has been practicing what he taught him and following his advice, and Oliver agrees, but says that they will do it his way.

After Barry assembles the evidence before Oliver can finish pontificating about its importance, Cisco examines it and says their suspect didn’t make them. He also has his first strikeout at a name. Ka-Boom-Boomerang sounds like a naughty suite at The Palms.

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He does identify the maker as one Klaus Marcos, and although Felicity can’t find a home address, he was recently arrested by one Quentin Lance.

Barry and Oliver get into their civvies and go to the police station to get information from Detective Officer Captain Lance.

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Oliver re-introduces Bart Barry to him and uses the ol’ “he’s here with CCPD” ruse that worked so well on him last season. Barry finds out that Lance arrested him for credit card theft on behalf of the Bratva.

Later on, the archers and the Flash meet up at the Bratva’s cyber-crime digs, and Oliver waffles on his current former membership. They They split to case the area, and Oliver briefly stops Diggle to ask why the hell he doesn’t wear a mask good grief if he is okay. “I’m good,” he answers, and Oliver doesn’t push.

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In the intervening 8 seconds, Barry gets bored, so he knocks out and zip-ties all the henchmen, so Oliver kicks down Marcos’ door and Barry zips over to hold him down so Oliver can question him. When Marcos tells Oliver off and gets an arrow through the shoulder, however, Barry is shocked that Oliver is using the threat of pulling it out to get information.

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Oliver gets Marcos to hand over a burner phone Harkness gave him to contact him when his boomerangs were done, and Barry delivers him to Lance’s office. He returns to Marcos’ hideout to accuse Oliver of torture.

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Oliver replies that he interrogated him, and Barry replies that he defended Oliver to his friends because he thought he was a hero and that they “were supposed to be better than them.” Oliver wearily explains that in Central City, “Its sunny all the time and [his] enemies get cute nicknames” but  he’s not there. He then lists, one by one, the deaths he’s had to live through since he came to Starling: Tommy (“my best friend was murdered”), Sara (“a woman that I loved was shot full of arrows and sent tumbling off of a rooftop”), and finally, his mother (“ was killed right in front of me”).

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But Barry cuts him off. He saw his mother die, as well, and he tells Oliver that he doesn’t use his personal tragedies as an excuse to torture whoever pisses him off.

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This led to a rare gem: an Oliver Queen Moment of Truth ™. “Well I’m sorry, Barry. I’m not as emotionally healthy as you are.” image

Barry is flabbergasted and wants to know what is wrong with him but  this is a only a one-hour show. Oliver replies that he agreed to do things his way, and if it’s too much for him, he knows the way back to Central City.

At the Cave, Lyla interrupts Oliver brooding to ask if everything is okay between him and Barry, and there is a lovely moment where they commiserate with each other over being the stone coldest baddest of asses.

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They pretty much recite their crime-fighting motto and it’s a long one, but it encapsulates the two characters so perfectly it doesn’t even matter who said what line:

There are people in the world who deal only in extremes. It would be naive to think that anything less than extreme measures will stop them. Sometimes bravery isn’t enough. Sometimes the world requires us to be bold. Whatever the personal cost.

Felicity interrupts to say she has located Harkness in a building with 10 others. Oliver sends Cisco with Diggle and Roy and when he turns to leave, Barry intercepts him, telling him he’ll race him there.

***FB ALERT***Amanda’s prisoner isn’t giving up his information, and he taunts Oliver with the knowledge that torture is harder than murder, and that he is not capable of it. Before Oliver can get anything out of him, an explosion is visible through the windows.

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***END OF FB***

In the car, Diggle is worried about protecting people he loves, and despite Cisco’s assurance that he is capable, he worries that he won’t be able to in a crazy world full of meta-humans. Cisco points out that the world was crazy before, and he has a theory. “Maybe meta-humans and superpowers were given to us to deal with the crazy.” He thinks that people like Barry are the hope for saving the world (plus they’re pretty cool), and despite themselves, Roy & Diggle smile.

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Oliver enters the building where the 10 men wait, and Harkness isn’t there. He paid them to wait for them, and left a phone. He realizes it’s a trap.

At the Cave, Felicity sees Harkness’ phone turn on despite the fact that she shut it down and realizes their location was traced. She tells Lyla and Caitlin that they need to leave, and as they go, Harkness shows up and a battle ensues that unites the fandom in a common purpose.image

Lyla defends herself with a gun she gets from a drawer. Felicity runs over and grabs an exploding arrowhead from the case and yells at her to take cover, but it is too late. Harkness has hit her in the chest with a boomerang, and he runs away under the cover of the smoke. Felicity calls for Caitlin, and they begin to work to stabilize her.

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Diggle and the boys return, and when Caitlin says Lyla is stable but that she can’t operate there, John looks around until he makes eye contact with Barry, who picks her up and rushes her to Starling General.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver surveys the bomb damage as Amanda Waller berates him. Oliver says he just needed more time, but Waller says that what he lacked was conviction. She says the sentence about people in the world that deal only in extremes and we realize this is where both Oliver and Lyla get it. Oliver tells Amanda he doesn’t have the stomach for torture, but she says it’s because he lacks practice, and that he must cultivate the skill. image

She thinks he has a talent for it. ***END OF FB***

At Verdant, Roy, Felicity, Cisco and Caitlin are in the club, doing tequila shots, since Oliver said he wanted to be alone. Cisco notices Thea, but when he finds out she is Oliver’s sister and Roy’s ex he gets the message to stay away. Caitlin updates them on Lyla, saying she is in surgery.

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Cisco and Caitlin then wonder how they can work knowing people they care for can get hurt, and that maybe the fact that they work with meta-humans makes their risk seems less real.

Downstairs in the Cave, Oliver is hiding out in full Precious Moments mode when Barry finds him. He tells Barry it is his fault, that if not for his torture of Marcos for the phone, Harkness would not have found Lyla. Barry disagrees, but questions his blame. Oliver explains that what he does not only takes conviction, but a certain willingness to do what is ugly, and that each time he does it, he loses little pieces of himself. What’s wrong is that the parts he is trading away are Oliver Queen, and lately he feels that all he has left is the Arrow.

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Barry, a sympathetic look on his face, tells him that he is full of crap.

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He tells him that while he may feel that he lost his humanity, that it is just that which got him through things. He tells him that he “wouldn’t be a hero, someone who wanted to do good, if [he] didn’t have a light inside [him].” Curiously, that is when Felicity walks in and it is not symbolic at all.

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She ran a facial recognition on Harkness, and she knows where he is, so Oliver and Barry leave to find him.

At the crowded train station, The Flash carries everyone away one by one until Harkness turns and realizes he is alone.

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Barry then reappears with Oliver, whose clothes are sadly not on fire.

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They tell Harkness that there is no place he can go, but Harkness has a contingency plan: 5 bombs armed to go off in 90 seconds throughout the city. Oliver sends Barry off to deal with it while Felicity and Cisco trace the locations, and he and Harkness fight.

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Barry finds the first bomb, but Cisco and Felicity discover they are linked, and if any singular one gets defused, the other four will blow. As time runs out, Barry thinks of a way to solve the problem.

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Back at the train station, Oliver has pinned Harkness to a column with what looks like a garrote arrow, but  he isn’t giving up the information, saying that if Oliver had the heart to torture him, he wouldn’t hesitate and would have done it already.

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At the Arrow cave, the gang is staring at the screen when a red blur takes Roy away. One by one, Barry takes the team and deposits each at a location, and races himself to the fifth bomb. No one’s clothes are set on fire and I’m really disappointed, because I bet Cisco has Batman underoos and I kind of needed to see that.

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Harkness gives Oliver 10 seconds, but the team manages to cut the wires at the same time, and Cisco gets to name the baddie (“Screw you, Captain Boomerang.”) At the train station, sore loser Harkness asks Oliver if he thinks not killing him makes him strong, and tells him it makes him weak. Oliver, who hasn’t turned to see Barry behind him, responds that it shows he has some humanity left. when he turns to walk away, however, Harkness reaches out for a boomerang, and Oliver turns suddenly to shoot his hand into the column.

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At Starling General, Diggle is waiting for Lyla to wake so he can ask her to marry him.

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After his heartfelt declaration of love, Lyla starts wife-ing right by asking him to be quiet so she can say yes.

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Back at the Cave, Team Flash is getting ready to leave Starling, and Caitlin promises to process the DNA in Central City and call Felicity when she has the results. Oliver and Barry return from dropping Harkness at the island with Slade.

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Felicity reminisces about full-body Oliver, and Barry notices a new mannequin set up for the next time he’s in town to do whatever Oliver wants, because Oliver is still a control freak.

Cisco shows Oliver a new jacket for his suit, that is like 25% lighter and can carry 15% more gear.

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And although he wanted to switch out the hood, wifey nixed it because she knows the deal.

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Before Team Flash leaves, the two heroes have some unfinished business that may or may not involve punching each other.

***FB ALERT*** Amanda graciously gives Oliver a stab at torture practice redemption with Ming Na We’s contact, and we can tell this time he’s gonna put his back into it.***END FB***

At an empty warehouse somewhere in Starling, Oliver and Barry are about to selfishly deny the rest of their teams the thrill of seeing one of them beat the other in a fair fight. Barry is still a bit upset about being shot in the back, but tells Oliver that fighting him is like standing still. Oliver says he has experience and strategy.

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Before they have it out, Barry tells Oliver that he was wrong when he said he couldn’t inspire people. “Not as the Arrow, that guy’s a douche,” he specifies, “but as Oliver Queen.”

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That gets a smile and a thanks from Oliver, and he also tells Barry that he was wrong when he though he could kick his ass. Barry says if Oliver’s going to beat him, he better do it fast. WE GET IT, BARRY.

Barry zips off to one end and Oliver walks off to the other, and they countdown to the face-off we’ve been teased with for two episodes.

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…Whose outcome we don’t get to see. POOP, Arrow writers. Still, this means we can imagine any ending we want, and I can’t be the only one that hopes there’s a slashfic alternate ending being written as we speak

Or maybe I am.

Don’t judge me.

For more fun, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.

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Squee! Special Edition Mini-Photo-Recap, “Flash vs. Arrow”

Since I don’t have a death wish, I will limit my kind attentions mainly to two scenes in last night’s The Flash portion of the #Flarrow crossover, and those are the parts that have to do with our visiting (and what the heck, resident) turtledoves. I’m also using colors, in honor of the Flash. I’m a big girl!

Early on, Oliver and Felicity stop by Jitters for gourmet coffee and an exchange of information.

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Shut up, Barry. Threatening people to get things you need is how Oliver shows love. Barry thought Oliver wasn’t helping him and he isn’t. It’s just a small token of his affection. Oliver’s so thoughtful, guys.

Iris shows up with their drinks, and we are presented with a microcosm of this tiny universe.

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HAHA it’s funny because every girl Barry is into so far is into Oliver. Such is the power of those guns, son. It’s bad when you’re not even the romantic lead on your own show.

Meanwhile at the table, Oliver & Felicity are about to settle differences the way they do 99% of the time: Oliver admitting Felicity is right and doing what she wants. At least they turned the chemistry back up to ONE MILLION. Good to know one side-kiss (or two) don’t dim this flame.

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Felicity tells Oliver that they should help Barry catch Bivolo. Oliver disagrees, saying Barry doesn’t want his help, he only “thinks he does”. Pause for Oliver’s ability to read the $#@! outta people, as this proves true, at least as far as Barry’s id is concerned. image

Felicity points out that he stuck up for Oliver when both Wells and his foster dad said he was a bad influence, and Oliver’s ability to read people again shows itself.

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These are the two most together pair of not-together people on the face of planet Earth. That nutty flavor in your coffee? IT’S DENIAL.

———A WHOLE EPISODE HAPPENS HERE, PAY NO ATTENTION——-

And then at the end, Oliver and Barry are once again at Jitters, where Ollie is waiting for one on the road, and Barry has come to apologize for vomiting his rage-diary. Oliver is not at all offended, but he wants to leave Barry with one final word of advice.

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Barry nervously jokes that as long as it doesn’t involve Oliver shooting him in the back… Oliver smiles and replies, “No…the heart,” and both we and Barry are like–

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But he means exactly what we think, warning Barry to let Iris go for both their sakes, because it won’t work out.

It’s obvious he isn’t just talking about them, but himself and Felicity, too.

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It’s a bit heart-smashing, because we can tell he really means to save him heartbreak, but it’s too late for them them both. Even if, as Oliver tells him, “Guys like us don’t get the girl,” it’s not the one-sided decision they are making it to be. You aren’t in love with passive damsels, gentlemen. Good luck remaining immune when they really put their minds to reeling you in. In the meantime…

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Enjoy “The Brave and the Bold” tonight! I won’t be live-tweeting since I will be doing a full recap of that ep and posting it this weekend. Thanks for reading! If you want to read any of my other Arrow posts, they are archived here. As always if you like, you can follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.

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Outlander Offerings, Promo 1. “A Glimpse Ahead”

Well, I am probably making trouble for myself here, but I couldn’t help it. Now that we have a delicious new promo after months of sad Outlander fasting, I had to share some of my thoughts, quick-n-dirty. I’ve read the books and there will absolutely be spoilers, so be warned.

But first, an inspirational image.

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For book lovers, this is most likely where Jamie is rushing back to town once notified of Claire’s incarceration. Or maybe he just really loves sunsets.

This is followed by a voice over by Collum, who is no doubt speaking to Dougal, as images flash by:

“One day, brother, you’ll talk your head off your shoulders…and right onto a pike.”

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Jamie hugs Claire next to what looks like a stone wall, perhaps after the rescue from BJR… That look on his face is pretty dire, and I immediately fixate on the size of his hands. /shudder

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This one is pretty self-explanatory. Gilly D is that one friend whose “clove cigarillo” always landed you in detention, even when you didn’t smoke it at all THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A CONTACT HIGH. *ahem*

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Moving on, this is what Miracle Max was talking about when he meant there are some people you can’t bring back.

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And I’m starting to feel like Dougal’s quest, no matter how noble in concept, is maybe not morally best for all involved….

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And Collum, who is never one to waste words, makes a super-pointed barb at his dear bro, which hints at the coming trouble in the clan. From this point, things speed up a bit.

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Poor horses. They never start it, but boy do they always get to finish it.

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Honestly hoping for Claire here, because Mrs. Claus has enough to deal with this time of year, and I doubt Santa’s got what it takes to battle Randall.

Speaking of Jamie… I’m a bit concerned….

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Let me take a break and grease the wheels. With wine. Ahh, much better.

You know things can’t be good when Geillis isn’t looking smug, sardonic, or otherwise amused. What is going on with the pout?

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You can still count on her accessories game, though. Just because your life goes to hell doesn’t mean your outfit should.

And next, a voice over from Claire:

“I never counted on loving you.” 

Ouch. Pretty obvious what that one is. Upset Claire is really sad icing on the tension cupcake, so I will choose to think instead that it is over something trivial.

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Thanks, imagination. I am guessing from the poor lighting that this is a continuation of third cap above.

And here is Jamie again, presumably moments after we just left him in Captain Randall’s window. Rage shouldn’t look this good on a man.

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And I’m not the only one noticing.

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So frantically finish sewing your cosplay outfits, folks. After the holidays it is three short months until we get more of our fave show, coming atcha hard, with more of what you love.

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Hooray for more Outlander, in whatever shape and whenever it may come! For more fun, follow me here or @conniebv on Twitter.