Aloha! Arrow Photo Recap E314, “The Return”

I usually don’t take photos of the flashbacks, but this week most of the happy fun times were back in 2010 Starling. Open on Lian Yu, Where Oliver and Thea are basically killing time between angsty memories and mosquito bites.

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Oliver complains that Malcolm taught Thea to cheat, and Thea answers that that is silly because Malcolm doesn’t think anything is cheating as long as
you’re breathing at the end. Oliver can’t really disagree.

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After
eating some lobster-chicken hybrid I don’t want to think about too much
(is Lian Yu irradiated?) the siblings talk about the island and how
Oliver and his sister no longer have secrets except for THAT ONE. Thea
asks her brother if he ever thought he’d be back in Starling when he was
there before, and that takes us to…..

***FLASHBACK
ALERT*** Waller briefs Maseo and Oliver on Chien Na Wei’s purpose for
being in Starling, which is to sell the Omega bioweapon and have a
badass headsuit. Turns out one of the bidders for the formula works with
Queen Consolidated, so Amanda needs Oliver, but threatens him with much
deading if he contacts his family, plus she’ll nix anyone he contacts.

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Goddamnit, Amanda, you actually make it worse when you explain.

Somewhere
in a bar Quentin grows hair and feels sad. Even sadder is when Laurel
shows up to figure out why he isn’t at work, and we see Lance drunk, who
is frankly less depressed than Lance sober so at least there’s that.

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Oliver
and Maseo follow their man to QC and Maseo is telling him he has to
sneak in to get some files off his company computer with his magic
fingers when Oliver is distracted by someone coming out of the building.

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***END FB***

Night
on the island, and Thea wakes Oliver up when he mutters Sara’s name in
his sleep. She asks him why he never mentioned she died, and he tells
her that Sara had secrets that weren’t his to share. When she asks if
the LoA killed her, he goes to take a walk at night through a scary
landmine island to clear his head. This makes perfect sense because
Oliver is part owl. I lied. This makes no sense. He goes to the
A.R.G.U.S. containment cell to gruff monologue at Slade, except Slade
isn’t there.

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Oliver
remembers the very specific shade he threw after he locked him up, and
sprints to find his one still-living family member. He’s all GOTTA
BOUNCE and tells Thea that he was keeping him prisoner there. Malcolm
takes this chance to call and tell Oliver that yep, you guessed it, he
freed Slade so Oliver can revisit Season 1 and then tells him his cell
will no longer work in a minute.

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Oliver
negates the function issue by going full Hulk on the phone, and even if
both siblings think Malcolm is insane, so is Slade, so they run.

***FB
ALERT*** Oliver and Maseo watch Thea go visit his and his dad’s graves
(Awww!) and score drugs (UGGHHH…). Tommy shows up to scare off her
drug dealer and warn her that his birthday party that night is 21 and
over.

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Thea
“you’re not my brother”’s him and he says Oliver seeing her like this
would break his heart. She says that he seems to care about her more
dead than he did alive, and I remember how much I hated entitled addict
Thea and just how bangable Tommy was. In the bushes, Oliver watches and
haz a sad.

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***END FB***

On
the island, Oliver runs with Thea to his father’s grave, so he can
lovingly dig up the gun he hid there. He gives it to his sister in case
she needs it, and sees Slade’s tracks. He warns her, but it’s too late.
Slade comes at him from the trees and knocks him out, and Thea soon
after. At least he remembers to say a polite hello.

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When
Oliver wakes up, he and Thea are in Slade’s cell, where he informs them
they will stay, unhurt because he is going to kill a couple in a car
fire and let the city believe they are gone while they rot in his cell.
Oliver tells him to keep him and let Thea go, but anyone who has been
through Villains 101 knows that dog won’t hunt. Slade says he’s lucky
she isn’t dead and asks Thea if she knows about Shado.

Thea
talks some pretty good smack about him being a sick SOB and her voice
gets all anger-deep like her brother’s and it’s ADORABLE but this isn’t
only an enemy-it’s an enemy that was once a friend, and Slade knows just
what to say. He tells her her brother “likes his secrets” and that if
he had told him what had happened to Shado, maybe Moira would still be
alive. Oliver loses it and shouts, “That’s ENOUGH!”, which Slade takes
as his cue to model-walk away and leave him shouting after him, the same
as Oliver once did to him.

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***FB
ALERT*** Oliver sneaks into QC and man their security must suck. He
very believably is still in the finger-reading system and no one will
ever look to see whose finger accessed the files and this all made
perfect sense so just BELIEVE IT. He finds a couple of files in a
private folder of his father’s called “For Thea” and “For Oliver” and
downloads them onto a drive.

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Maseo
warns him to scoot because someone is coming, but he hides instead and
OMG it’s S1 Felicity, whose looser ponytail and goofiness I miss. She
sees a picture of a frankly demonic Oliver and it must be fated, you
guys, because she tells it (and the man himself, listening) that he is
cute, pity he’s dead, and a quick reminder to herself that it is more a
problem for him than her (wait five years!) and that she really needs to
stop talking to herself.

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Her
metahuman babble powers have the intended effect of making both us and
Oliver’s wig smile but I can’t say I regret them not meeting at this
point, because Oliver is nowhere ready to value this little treasure.

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Maseo
looks at the info Oliver lifted and tells Amanda that the meeting for
the bid is in 4 hours. When she asks about Oliver, he says he probably
is “checking on the weapons.” Haha, no.

At the Merlyn mansion, the
brothers Diggle grump at each other and look like a fine pair of
bookends while working security for his party. Andy Diggle has maybe
five lines total (chiding his brother for being an ingrate and calling
him ‘ayou big dummy’ for divorcing Lyla being the best) but they are all
GOLD.

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You
can see where John’s patience and teasing with Oliver comes from: he is
modeling his brother. Andy even notices the homeless dude walking into
the party with a dirty green hoodie! My respects to Momma Diggle, and I
HATE YOU H.I.V.E.

Inside, Oliver watches Tommy hit on vegan
girls when Laurel shows up. Ollie doesn’t seem real torn up about it. I
personally liked Laurel best with Tommy, and damn it this show kills
all the wrong people. Thea shows up with a fake ID but a thirst for club
soda, and meets up with her drug dealer because that’s Classic Thea.

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Oliver
catches the transaction from upstairs and confronts the guy when he
comes up. The dude recognizes him, and Oliver busts out two aspects of
the early Hood: growly voice and a willingness to kill because it’s
convenient and he feels minimally justified doing so. He snaps the guy’s neck and tosses him over.

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I guess that’s one way to stay under the radar. ***END FB***

In
the cell on Lian-Yu, Thea confronts Oliver about his plan for an escape
and the secrets Slade says he is still hiding from her. He tries to
distract her by pointing out Slade is crayfish but she knows this, and also
how to read his face by now which is why she can tell he’s lying.

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He stalls, saying it’s not the time, and
as Thea lets him have it about thinking of her as a “tiny, fragile,
little thing” you can see the lightbulb go off in Oliver’s mind. The
prison was made to trap grown men. They never planned on a small woman. Thea tries to reach the failsafe unlock, but her reach is a bit short.

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One dislocated shoulder later (which she hilariously consents to), Thea
hits the release on the wall and the siblings are free. Teamwork! As
they climb up, Oliver tells Thea that Malcolm likely told Slade they
flew in, and it’s how he plans to get back.

***FB ALERT***The
police are at Tommy’s interviewing the attendees, and cranky drunk
Quentin takes the opportunity to dress everyone down (“Robin Hood”, “a
little too young” Thea, “Douchebag” Tommy) including his daughter, who
he calls out for having a thing for rich playboys who kill her sister.

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It’s a solid point, but just as he tells Thea he can’t decide if she is
more like Sara or Oliver and points out “how one little boat ride can
turn everybody’s lives to crap,” Maseo shows up with a gun to tell
Oliver he has to go back.

Inside, Quentin tells Laurel that even
if he embarrasses her, at least he isn’t a gold digger that went to San
Francisco for the money after her sister died.

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He reminds her that she went into law to help people, not to help “fat
cats get fatter’. Laurel points out that she might value this more if he
“wasn’t so lit”, but he shoots back that he doesn’t have to be sober to
spot a fake lawyer see what she’s doing with her life.

Outside,
Maseo makes fun of Oliver’s disguise skills and tells him about the bid
plans, but Oliver doesn’t care. He tells him in a loud and very high
and grating pitch that this is his chance to redeem some of the damage
done to his friends and family. Maseo points out the people that will
die if the bio-weapon is exchanged, but Oliver points out those people
are strangers, while he has a chance to save family and friends. “They would be ashamed of the selfish choice you are
making,” Maseo tells him.

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Oliver wins, but gets his handshake hand left high and dry when Maseo
gets in the car and leaves without saying goodbye. ***END FB***

Daylight
on the island. Thea finds a path and almost gets herself shish-ka-bob’d
by her ‘pyscho’ brother’s trap. Oliver pulls a stake out of his arm and
wants to keep going, but Thea asks him to rest for a couple of minutes
so he doesn’t pass out when they run into Slade. Because this is SUPER
restful, she takes this moment to ask about what Slade said. Oliver
argues that they need to focus, but she says that worrying about what he
is keeping from her is preventing that. “Malcolm killed Sara,” he says
quietly.

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She denies it, and says he was on Corto with her. Oliver
explains in careful, gentle detail: Not directly, he used a person and
drugged her so she wouldn’t know what she was doing. When she hears it
was a female, the light starts to dawn for Thea.

Thea: She? She WHO?

Oliver: …You killed Sara.

Thea
is distraught, and yells at her brother for not telling her. “You
weren’t you!” he replies, “You had no control over your actions! You
cannot blame yourself.” My heart breaks for these two, alone and so
tuned into each other in such a sh*t-fest of a situation, and especially
for Thea, who values control as much as Oliver and has had so very
little of it in her life, always taken away by those she values most.
She shouts that Oliver was right, Malcolm never loved her, and she is
“an idiot”. By the time she echoes most of our thoughts and shouts “LIAN
YU? What are we even DOING here?” she is good and ticked, so when Slade
sneaks up and holds a gun to her, he doesn’t expect what comes next.

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Before Oliver can even fully get up, Thea extricates herself and takes
his gun, pistol-whipping him. He actually smiles and compliments her on
her progress before Oliver tackles him and they roll down the hill in a
SUPERHOT pile.

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Oliver does okay before Slade dirtydog punches him in his
wound, and after a couple of go-arounds with both siblings, he pins
Oliver and reminds him that he keeps his promises. This is when Thea
hits him with a log and takes the gun out, pointing it at his head as he
kneels at her feet.

***FB ALERT***

Merlyn mansion. I miss
this place so much. It had really flattering lighting. Oliver walks
through his house looking like a refugee from the BeeGees and settles in
a comfy chair to look at his father’s Skype from The Beyond.

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My already
abused heart lets out a tired sigh when he smiles at hearing his father
say his name. Bless Jamey Sheridan, who I totally believe as someone who would have spawned a specimen like Oliver. In less than thirty seconds, Oliver re-finds his purpose, and a movement its mission statement:

Hello,
Oliver. Well I told myself I was recording this just in case I died
suddenly, but I wonder if it isn’t just easier to…say what I have to
say to a video camera. I’m not the man you think I am, Oliver. I didn’t
save our city…I failed it. I did something terrible and in my efforts
to make it right I ignored my conscience and allied myself with terrible
people. There’s a book…a book with a list of all their names, these
people. I always told myself everything I did, I did for my family.
That’s a lie, because what good is a family…without a soul? You can
right my wrongs. You…can be better than I was. You can save this city.
I love you.

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This poor bastard. Oliver, now and
forever conditioned and motivated to put selfish things behind him,
gives up his happiness in the interest of the greater good.

At the
site of the future Verdant, China White sets up her armageddauction,
and continues to calmly rachet up her price as her gunmen shoot at the
A.R.G.U.S. operatives above her. You have to love her panache.

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Maseo is
brought down to her so she can order him killed, but thankfully Oliver
picks that moment to come kick ass. China escapes to her car and gives
orders for the Yamashiros to “die tonight”. Oliver finds the spy that
works for his family, and when he sees the bio-weapon chained to it,
calmly tells him he has a choice to make: whether or not he wants to
keep that hand. ***END FB***

Back on Lian Yu, Slade and what has
got to be his FILTHY eyepatch taunt Thea to shoot. She remembers that he
killed her mother and all those other people, but Oliver says he is
paying for that, and she is not a killer. “Tell that to Sara,” she says.

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Oliver, anguished, puts it as simply as he can, in the moral
shorthand they both share now. “What happened to Sara was NOT ON YOU.
What happens to him IS.” He says that Malcolm set Slade free to prove
that they are both killers, and she needs to prove to him that she is
not. As the screen goes dark, a shot rings out.

Back in the
A.R.G.U.S. cell, Slade sports a bandage on his arm and tells Thea that
she is not the killer her brother is. Thea is all AS IF, and leaves the
two men alone. Slade thoughtfully tells Oliver his sister is lost, even
if he denies it, and that she was touched by darkness.

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He asks if Malcolm did it, and mentions that he is an
“interesting man, to do that to his own daughter.” Oliver says nothing,
conscious that he knows too much about his family already. Slade lists
the people he has lost: father, mother, “and now your little sister.”
Oliver turns to leave, but Slade’s next words stop him in his tracks.
“How’s the girl with the glasses? What’s her name… Felicity?”

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Relaxed now that Oliver’s every muscle is tense, Slade
pads to his bed like a tired panther and tosses himself on it, wondering
out loud “How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no more
Oliver Queen?” You intelligent bastard, I both love AND hate you. R’as
may have almost killed him, but there is no one that scares Oliver more,
and it is thrilling to see.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver waits in a
hotel room to tell Amanda he is staying now that she has the Omega back,
but she says it’s not up to either of them. Enter Gen. Matthew Shrieve,
who has come to take Oliver to China to debrief him.

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He tells Oliver
that after this is done, he will take him “anywhere in the world he
wants to go.” Oliver accepts mutely, already starting to not give
fucks.

On the street outside CNRI, Tommy checks in on Laurel and
wants to talk to her about accepting a job there over dinner. As they
flirt and he says that the only 3 little words he has ever used on a
woman are “it’s just dinner,” I note the Stemily-like chemistry between
Colin O’Donnell and Katie Cassidy, and cry quietly into my keyboard.

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***
END FB ***

Night in Starling City. Laurel finds Quentin at Sara’s
grave and finds out that her mother already knows she is gone. He has a
bottle, which he hasn’t drunk, and snaps at Laurel, calling her “Black
Canary” for the first time. She reminds him that he was angry with her
once for not helping people, and that her life was always “headed toward
this mask”.

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He says that that isn’t what is making him want to drink.
He reminds her that her mother and Sara were alike, two “wild spirits”
but that they were alike too, that they had a bond, and she broke it.
“I’m gonna survive this. God has my baby girl, but what you did…I
don’t know how I’m going to live through this.” Laurel, worried,
suggests they go to a meeting. Lance agrees, and tells her which meeting
to go to so he can go to a different one, hands her the bottle, and
walks away. Laurel pauses for only a moment before pouring it out.

Thea
and Oliver arrive back home, and he wants to talk. “What do you want to
hear,” an exhausted Thea says. “Nothing,” he answers, and you guys I
just fucking love them. She is battered, done for, hurt, and wants to
know what he needs from her. He is worried, heartsick and guilty and
wants her to know he doesn’t need anything. LOVE Y’ALL. He does ask her
not to say anything to Laurel, because it would hurt both of them and
she loves her like a sister.

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Thea asks if Laurel knows about Malcolm, and
Oliver answers no, because it would complicate things and despite
everything, they still need him. “I agree,” Malcolm says creepily from
the shadows. Damn it, man! Knock a damn door!

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He responds to Oliver’s
accusation that they could have been killed with the assertion that he
has more faith in them than they do themselves. Thea asks him how he
could do that, and when he thinks she is talking about the island, she
clarifies she meant to make her “kill a friend.” Malcolm, always on the
pulse of the truly important stuff, gets mad at Oliver for telling her
and somehow rationalizes that it is because she is his daughter and he
cares about her.

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Thea, however, doesn’t let him off the hook. She says
she trusted him, and calls the LoA threat an excuse, and says the only
person she is scared of is him. She promises to work with him because
it’s what her brother says they need to do, but with conditions. “I will
be your student. I will be your partner. Even if I have to, I will be
your soldier…but never again will I be your daughter.”

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Baby girl is not to be trifled with.

Meow. Arrow Recap E313, “Canaries”

Last week’s episode was hard to watch over and over again, if only because it was so freaking depressing on every single angle, but this episode brought me back in terms of the balance I like to see on this show, so I felt like I could tackle a recap. Fair warning, you may not agree with my viewpoint and I have seen a lot of complaints about others’ opinions on the show as well, but hopefully we can all agree with the fact that involvement is better than apathy, and that we all have a right to think whatever. That said, on with the recap!

Cold open, Classic Canary vs. New Canary. Not sure why they decided to open with this. You named the episode “Canaries” for crying out loud writers, no need to literally beat it into us. Still, it gave me the chance to see how badass Caity Lotz is again, and that’s good.

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Someone must have sent fan mail to the Arrow offices because there’s no truck or alley. Instead, Oliver and Roy chase a perp over rooftops and ultimately get hero c-blocked by Laurel, who I think beats this dude way more than necessary. Oliver pulls her to the side and basically tells her he doesn’t think she’s a hero.

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So Laurel’s solution is to avoid each other in the meantime because it’s way too early in the ep for any kind of sensible resolution.

At the lair, Digg explains to grumpy/protective/control freak Oliver that Laurel never really asked his opinion about suiting up, but he signed off because she “can handle herself out there.”

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Felicity interrupts them to announce Malcolm, Oliver’s “new BFF,” who once again waltzes in because MAGICIAN.

Oliver’s never really happy, but he’s even less happy when Malcolm says the League is aware of his return and likely to strike, so it’s time to tell Thea the truth about her brother so they can join forces to fight the LoA.

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Oliver doesn’t want to and neither does Digg, who warns Oliver he’ll lose her. Malcolm gets in one more good jab at Oliver being a failed businessman, and that’s kind of low.

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***FB ALERT*** Maseo and Tatsu are fleeing Hong Kong, and warn Oliver that he needs to contact his family and the press so that Waller can’t find and torture him. He tells him he is taking his family on a ferry to Shanghai and asks Oliver to save himself, now that he has saved them. ***END FB***

Werner Zytle is outside the courthouse giving a gibberish quote when the guard holding him starts shooting the press.

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Laurel knocks him out, but not before Zytle escapes. Welcome back, Vertigo! There hasn’t been enough grandstanding lately.

At Verdant, Chase tries to get into Thea’s pants in a super obvious way and she calls him on it. Someone’s got to assume the creep-mantle, I guess.

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She hugs Oliver as he comes in, and he quietly tells her he has to show her something. What follows is one of the best-acted scenes on this show ever, which is becoming a standard with Willa Holland and Stephen Amell. Oliver tells Thea that he lied when he said the basement was flooded, and unlocks the door, leading her downstairs in the dark.

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Thea tells him he is making her nervous, and the beat that Oliver takes before flipping the lights on is where you can feel him doing what he does best: biting the bullet and taking one in name of the greater good. Thea walks slowly in as her brother says that she may not believe him, but he lied all this time to protect her.

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She nods her head once calmly to acknowledge what he said, and I love her so much in that moment. Post-Corto Maltese Thea Queen is hands-down THE MOST rational character this season. She takes everything into account so calmly before she reaches conclusions (one of the reasons the eventual reveal of her hand in the death of Sara CRUSHES ME) and even if she hardly ever goes atomic, it’s clear from Oliver’s expression that he expects the worst.

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Thea stops in front of the glass case with the Arrow costume and it becomes clear to her. “The Arrow… you’re him.” And as she lists the times he saved her, lied to her, and when she was angry at him for being a flake, she realizes that every time, he was saving a life. She turns to him with tears in her eyes and hugs him, saying what hardly anyone ever does: “Thank you.”

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Oliver is in shock, and it’s heartbreaking, because I realize watching this that this is a guy that has resigned himself to everything in his life going to shit, and it’s beautiful and wonderful and COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED TO HIM that his sister has showed him faith and understanding. Oh, Oliver, you poor broken bastard. You prepared for everything except someone understanding.

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Back at their apartment, Oliver is telling Thea about how his mother knew and she jokes about kicking his ass (His answer: “You didn’t.”). Thea asks why he was looking for Malcolm that night. Oliver reveals that he and Malcolm know each other, and Malcolm walks in as Oliver tells her that R’as Al Ghul is after all of them, and they need to work together and trust each other. Thea is not having it. She accuses Malcolm of manipulating her and trying to drive a wedge between she and her brother.

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She takes off, and Malcolm tells Oliver, whose phone rings just a moment after, to let her go.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver manages to call his mother and leave a voice mail asking her to issue a press release & that he isn’t dead, but soon after A.R.G.U.S. captures him because NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS to this dude. *** END FB***

In the Cave, Felicity shows Oliver the video of Zytle’s escape. Laurel comes in and tells them that the guard got dosed by a reporter, and when Oliver asks Felicity for his address she snaps that she’s on it. Still mad, then.

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Oliver doesn’t want Laurel to come along, and asks her to step outside. Say what you will about his social skills, but I have to say I appreciate that Oliver has the sensitivity to have this conversation in private. Basically he brings up that she is an addict and that she is using adrenaline to mask the pain of losing her sister.

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Laurel is like “HOW DARE YOU” but it’s not a bad point, so she does what she does best and tosses it back at him saying if anyone is “using adrenaline to hide the pain of real feelings and real life,” it’s him. Whaaaaaaat??

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Newsflash: Oliver isn’t masking dick. He is genuinely a pretty unhappy bastard who has all the feelings all the time and it is transparently obvious to anyone who knows him.

Roy and Oliver go hunt down the reporter who helped Zytle escape, but it turns out he threatened to kill his wife unless he killed them, and shows them C4 strapped to his chest.

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Oliver tries to convince him to give him the detonator, but he pushes the button instead, and both our heroes are blasted out the windows and land on cars below. Zytle watches from a nearby car and gives himself a mental high-five.

When Oliver gets home, he and Thea have a nice chat about his night (“Barbeque?” “C4.”) and how he does what he does. Oliver considers protecting the people of Starling City his job, and that includes Thea.

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He tells her that Malcolm is their best chance of defeating R’as and while she believes him, she says can’t and won’t trust Merlyn.

***FB ALERT*** Oliver gets waterboarded like a mofo and boy I hope someone kills Waller soon. She tells Oliver they erased his VM before she heard it, and finally threatens Thea. Oliver caves and tells her the Yamashiros are on the ferry to Shanghai. ***END FB***

Quentin drops off some files for Laurel and asks if she’s heard from her sister. Not only was she “off” when he saw her a few weeks back, and tells her that Cyn said the woman in black isn’t Sara. Laurel plays dumb, and he tells her that he promised her he would take it easy, and leaves.

At Verdant, Thea questions Roy about his fashion and how she didn’t recognize her brother with a hood. Thea brings up that Oliver thinks they need Merlyn, and I want to kiss him when he asks her “And what do you think?”

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She says that she wants to run as far from Merlyn as she can and he tells her that’s her answer. Oliver comes to collect Roy and Thea tells him that apparently “he’s been more yours than mine lately” AND THE LOOK ON ROY’S FACE. AND OLIVER’S FACE!

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Oliver is totally the John Diggle of the Theroy ship.

Downstairs Felicity has a tracker signal on the screen and Oliver confesses that he put one on Laurel, because if she’s going to be “reckless” then he needs to know what she’s doing.

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Obvs he’s coming from a place of not having to give Quentin news of the death of both daughters, but I get Felicity’s response (“She’s definitely doing something. I don’t know how reckless it is.”) because really, the entire Superhero career path isn’t exactly risk-free. He and Roy suit up and go after her.

At the docks, Laurel watches Zytle load up a truck when he spies her and shoots her with Vertigo. She hallucinates her sister in full Canary gear, and while I am happy to see Caity Lotz and I get we’re meant to believe that Sara’s words are Laurel’s internal monologue, it just shows me how much more believable Sara was as a fighter, and I’m sort of rooting for her.

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While Laurel lays on the ground bleeding, Oliver and Roy arrive to save her. Zytle sics his goons on them and escapes as Laurel calls to Oliver to help her before passing out.

Oliver carries Laurel into the lair and, as she imagines Felicity as a tearful Sara asking her why she had to die, he shoots her with the cure. In a moment where it seems all his fears for Laurel are coming true, Thea walks in and nervously asks if she is okay. Oliver tells her to go upstairs and follows it with a growled NOW. Thea is taken aback, but says nothing. Roy tells Oliver off for speaking to his sister that way, for kicking her out when he brought her in, and for telling her to work with Merlyn.

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Oliver says that she’s his sister, but Roy snaps, “She makes her own choices, Oliver.” Thea interjects to say they can talk later but asks if Laurel is okay. Oliver, visibly trying to calm himself, quietly tells her she’ll be okay and to please go back upstairs. He turns back around to Roy, who tells him he’s not the only one who can stand up for Thea. “I’m trying to figure out why you’re standing up to me,” Oliver says, and Diggle interrupts to halfheartedly try to calm the situation.

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But as always in the Cave, Felicity gets the last word on what will and won’t fly. She reminds Oliver that he was dead, gone, they got used to doing things their way, and just because he is back doesn’t mean they can go back, or that he can question everyone’s choices.

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There is an interesting pause where Felicity and he stare at each other, and you can feel what’s unsaid. Two of those choices are the ones each has made that keep them apart (Oliver’s to partner with R’as, Felicity’s to not support that choice), and they have both agreed to let the other go forward & keep working together despite misgivings.

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Of course this means that there will be conflict, but it makes me sad to see the degree to which these two (and the whole team) are out of sync with each others’ thoughts and motivations. Do I think these things need to be said? Absolutely. Do I enjoy they saying? Not so much, but I get that this is where where we are, especially with Olicity, who have fractured and now must heal. Oliver has shown that when he is hurt he becomes even more insular and nearsighted, and Felicity that she sometimes speaks without thinking of the impact of her words. Where they both previously took great care with one another, this is a new world where they are being more volatile, and while I understand its place in the narrative, I for one can’t wait until it’s over.

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Oliver looks around the Cave and sees the faces of his team. No one is arguing with Felicity’s point, so after asking to be kept appraised of Laurel’s condition, he leaves.

In the alley outside Verdant Thea decided that banging a dude with a like hairstyle will help get some stress out, and it’s unfortunate that as she drags Chase away by the hand, Roy, who has come looking for her, sees them go.

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Upstairs at the bar Oliver is brooding with either a moderate amount of water or a crap-ton of vodka. Digg arrives to sit with him and THANK GOD, they have a mature, frank exchange about the state of the team. Digg agrees with Oliver when he says it’s not just his crusade any more, but corrects him when he says that he was “gone.” He was dead, John says, and the team was ready to quit.

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“Oliver wants to know why, and Digg’s answer is that they weren’t fighting just for him, but for themselves, and that includes Roy and Laurel. He finishes by framing the situation clearly and concisely: Oliver “started something strong enough to live on past [him],” but the question is can he live with what it has become?

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God bless John Diggle for knowing how to broadcast to this knucklehead.

***FB ALERT*** Maseo joins Oliver and tells him he got himself captured on purpose since he assumed Oliver would, and that he lied about the ferry. When agents come to see him, he asks to speak to Waller but instead they are both knocked out. ***END FB***

In the Cave, Laurel wakes up and tells Felicity that she saw Sara and she was “crazy” to think she could be her sister.  Although I know this was a Laurel-Felicity bonding scene, I pretty much locked in on Felicity’s sleeve and it bothered me throughout, but not as much as the writing.

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Again, I know these characters have to connect on a meaningful level for Laurel to be accepted as part of Team Arrow, but Felicity’s dialogue sounded out-of-character to me. She tells Laurel that “Sara wore her mask just as much to hide her demons as she did to help people” and that Laurel has “a light” that her sister didn’t have. While the message of “just be yourself” is a great one, I wish it didn’t come at the expense of comparing a woman who overcame spectacular odds and became amazingly accomplished to someone who has nowhere near her skill set nor the experience of enduring all she had to overcome.

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I’m pretty sure the point could have made just as clearly and touchingly without speaking ill of the fictional dead by one of the more sensitive characters in the series. In any case, I give up ranting against this, it’s pointless. Their hug is interrupted by a signal from a chemical drum Zytle just opened.

At Thea’s apartment she is in post-coital couch glow with Chase when he asks if she wants a drink. Thea agrees, but because Malcolm trained her to recognize the scent of cyanide, she can detect that the wine he gives her is poisoned and attacks him with the cheese knife AS YOU DO.

While they fight he confesses to being a member of the League and he almost slits her throat when BAM ARSENAL. Thank God for Roy, but I do wonder if he waited through the sex outside her door? How did he know?

They fight and Chase pins Roy down when he catches and arrow in the shoulder. It’s Malcolm, who generously promises to kill him fast if he just says “I’m sorry” to Thea first. Chase would rather die than apologize, so he drinks some cyanide. This might be the only TV death I applauded.

In the Arrow Cave, Oliver finds out that Zytle is holed up in a pharmaceutical lab with hostages that he is forcing to produce Vertigo. After a quick eye check-in with Diggle, Oliver invites Laurel to come with him.

At the pharmaceutical company, Zytle monologues just long enough to give Oliver and Laurel the chance to catch up with him and interrupt his monologue with their own. He sets fire to the joint and runs, and while Laurel goes after him, Oliver stays behind to help the hostages to safety. Zytle hits Laurel with Vertigo AGAIN.

We’re treated to more Sara hallucinations, which then WHOA turn into Quentin hallucinations, screaming at his daughter that he had the right to know about Sara, “to grieve, to mourn.”

Back to Sara, who demands to know if she thinks she can be her. “No, and I’m done trying to be,” Laurel answers, jumping Zytle and punching his twice as much as she needs to. She looks up and sees a vision of a smiling Sara, which is later revealed to be a shocked Oliver.

Also, a plane flies by with a banner attached that reads “It’s okay to accept Laurel as the Black Canary!!!” Whoever wrote this scene is not big on subtlety. Oliver checks in with Felicity to tell her they’re done, and she tells him he needs to go home to Thea.

At the station, Laurel walks in to finally tell her father what she’s been keeping from him. He guesses that she is the other blonde crime fighter, and there is a moment where he holds her where you wonder if she’ll follow through, but she does. “No Daddy, what I was going to tell you… it’s about Sara.” Quentin stumbles back, already shaking his head and sits down at his desk crying while Laurel holds him.

We all wanted Quentin to find out, but now that he has I really worry for what this will mean for him.

Oliver comes home to find Thea with Roy. She tells Oliver that she thought she could protect herself. When Oliver asks who the attacker was, Malcolm responds that he was LoA and Oliver asks Roy to give them a moment.

Thea speaks directly to her brother, saying that maybe they do need Malcolm, but that she isn’t going to forget what he did. “Understood,” her father says matter-of-factly, and tells them that to win against R’as, they need to conquer their fears, and for Oliver that means one place on Earth.

Back at the Cave, Oliver tells his team he is leaving again for a few days, and that he wouldn’t do so if it wasn’t for Thea.

He tells them and Laurel especially, that they have shown the city is safe in their hands. Okay doke, then.

Upstairs, Roy has come to see Thea off. He asks her if she is okay with things, but she doesn’t think she will be for a while because of Chase and what happened. Before she leaves, she kisses his cheek, and tells him he can pick whether it’s for saving her life or “standing up to Oliver about Malcolm.”

The Queen siblings are hiking in the place where Malcolm thought they should go, and when the camera pans out we see a shipwreck, and recognize Lian Yu.

***FB ALERT*** Maseo and Oliver wake up in a limo with Amanda Waller. Chien-Na We has left Hong Kong and they tracked her to that location. When Oliver asks where they are, he looks out the window and sees for himself.

Next week, sibling fun on the island and Oliver’s wig stalks his family.

See you then!

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Outlander “A Look Ahead” Promo Recap

I wasn’t going to recap this, and then I got rolled over by a bunch of tweeps who knew my weakness: Tobias Menzies breathing oxygen.  Sure enough, I checked it out and he it started speaking to me.

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Still, I fought it because usually Wednesdays are my nights to drink wine until everything is pleasantly fuzzy, and I really value my me-time. But then THIS HAPPENED. This was Tobias’ reaction to the term “Droughtlander,” and it was so awesome Starz had to add subtitles so no one felt left out of its warm glow. Rain has nothing to do with it. Anyone on Twitter knows this man’s sense of humor is as fine as an perfectly aged cheese. He can’t help the cheek.

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I have no defense against the dimples, so here we go. Let’s hit these last 9 weeks running, shall we?

Over some scenes of stuff we’ve seen before comes some documentation of the accolades the show has received during hiatus, and this is nothing, folks. In the sexual parlance of my HS years, this just the tip. The best is still to come!

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Outlander fans are ON IT. And under it, and probably hiding in its trunk. But LOVINGLY. So where did we leave off again?

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Ah. Right. These kids here. Sticky wicket. But it gets better, right? RIGHT?

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Uh-oh. I mean sure, bad things happen in a drama, but nothing DIRE, right?

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WHAT HAPPENS? Sweet gelatin dessert, is there a Yeti? Is her husband naked? The Yellow King? What exactly are we talking about? Am I about to be Ned Stark’d? DON’T NED STARK ME.

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Excellent. Married sexytimes is the mayo in my Outlander sandwich. Nobody wants a dry sandwich.

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Been there, girl.

Another brief bit from Caitriona, where she tells us that we’re going to love seeing how they “stay together, not just get together.” That’s nice. Not enough shows explore the reality of a long-term marriage between time travelers and gingers.

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This all looks in order.

Brief appearance by Ron, who comments, “It’s going to be dark,” and I wonder if this means more nighttime scenes by candlelight but the next frame makes what he’s referring to pretty obvious.

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I am DEFINITELY NOT looking forward to these scenes. God bless Tobias and his ability to creep me out. Sam describes the Jack-Jamie relationship as one of a sort of “strange, twisted respect.” Not sure Aretha would agree.

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Ron’s back to tell us that the back half is all about resolutions, and delving into the political aspects of the Jacobite rebellion, including what it means to the Mackenzie brothers. And Claire and Geillis will also be featured.

And we meet Jamie’s sister Jenny, an eleven on the Sass-meter and more evidence that the Fraser gene pool is worth its weight in gold.

And her sweetie husband, Ian.

PUNKIN.

We see Jenny briefly chastise Jamie and Claire for thinking that “life started when [they] walked though that door”, but I think they make up later because at some point they Thelma and Louise it like pros.

Ron mentions that the final episodes will go in an unexpected direction, and Cait advises us to “have a cushion ready to hide behind”, but I would advise you to fill that that cushion with alcohol, because really, unexpected would be a musical featuring My Little Ponies. That train of thought led here:

But as much as I try to cheer myself up with the usual nonsense, it’s clear this next block of episodes is going to be a tough one.

*sigh*

But oh look, it’s one of my favorite people, back to use one of my favorite weapons: common sense and a sexy knee-high boot.

God, Tobias, you’re right. I don’t really have a leg to stand on here. I mean, I am recapping a promo for crying out loud.

So I ignore Sam telling me that it gets “much much darker” and the quick clips that look dicey, and focus instead on the lovely quotes from industry insiders. If I start seeing subliminal messages in them, I’m sure it’s my imagination.

I can almost convince myself that it’ll be okay, and then some foreshadowing. “These are dangerous times,” Jamie advises Claire, “Be careful.”

Oh Jamie, it’s like you don’t even know the woman you married in haste!

I guess I should resign myself to the inevitable. Hopefully you will all excuse me when my recaps devolve into  Mary J. Blige songs and pictures of baby hedgehogs. Because it doesn’t look so happy going forward.

Man, I REALLY want to know what that table setting did to piss Dougal off. COME ON APRIL.

At the end of the day, my relationship with Outlander is like Jack and Jamie’s. I know it will potentially scar me for life, but I gotta go there. Who knows? Maybe my gag reflex is stronger than I think.

Thanks for reading!

 

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

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Meh. Arrow Mehcap E311, “Midnight City”

Ish got real, y’all. Real sad. And real boring, I’m sorry to say. Last week was actually an easier recap, so this is even shorter than that one, and here’s hoping this week is better. I’m still here for this show.

 

We got a dream sequence where Oliver is all, “Yeah, you know what? I’m gonna stay here and screw this city because I only know ONE thing, not two. Solve your own problems, Thea Queen, I’m about to smear this pink lipstick.”

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I may have paraphrased most of that dialogue, but I had to. It was probably the only time this episode I smiled. So of course he coughs up blood because it has to suck balls to be Oliver Queen or else we all turn into pumpkins.

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Same, Miss Smoak. SAME.

 

Oliver wakes up and stumbles over to Tatsu, who is rocking a smoky eye and brewing him some penicillin. I would watch this show. It’s like Himalayan ER. Or House, because Maseo is pretty cranky.

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Oliver thanks Tatsu, and she credits the snow, the cold, and Maseo, who asked her to meet him. Maseo is leaving when the snow stops, and tells Oliver he should care more about what Starling has become in his absence, and less about what the LoA will do to him.

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Girl running from a dude in an alley only to get saved by Laurel as Fauxnary. She immediately gets pwnd and then saved by Arsenal, who knows at least enough to save the banter for AFTER you beat up the bad guy.

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Roy takes Laurel back to the Cave for some stitches and a talk, and his delivery of “you have a law degree” when he points out the holes in Laurel’s skill set is fighting with Digg’s fabulous “Laurel, what the hell?” to be my new text message notification.

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Proving again that John is the voice of the fandom, he says she’s “certifiable” if she thinks she can wear her sister’s mask, and she tries to justify this mess by saying that the city needs a visible hero, and that since Oliver is gone and Sara is dead, she’s all they got.

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At QC, Felicity is in the office 3 hours early so she can brood in peace
and STILL Ray manages to crash her pity party. He’s meeting with the Mayor about the situation in The Glades so of course she needs to go because that’s what VPs do, they go EVERY PLACE THE PRESIDENT DOES. He mentions he could help in other ways, but
she still won’t fix his chip.

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She huffs that “nothing
you can do or say will change my mind” and this is when I know she is
definitely changing her mind. Never play poker, Arrow writers.

 

Thea’s at Verdant & runs into Creep DJ who is briefly skeezy and when he leaves, by Malcolm,
who is annoyed that she isn’t packing.

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She can’t leave without
knowing about Oliver, and she doesn’t know why he wants
her to go. Malcolm tells her she’s not ready for the truth, and she’s
all BYE THEN and stalks off. Oh Merlyn, no one ever prepared you for a milennial. When he gives up and gets in the car, Roy sees him go.

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There’s a meeting about something with the mayor and Brick is an asshole and I am already done with this plot, I care so little.

 

What I do care about is that Maseo and Tatsu are no longer together, and I SHIP IT.  Damn it, you two, get your shit together. Oliver is like the handsomest marriage counselor ever, but the odds don’t look good.

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There’s a flashback to Tatsu’s rescue from China White in a club. All you need to know is it’s successful, and even tho Maseo gave them the real Alpha, it ended up being fake.

Brief convo between Quentin and Felicity where he points out that the Arrow didn’t show, but Sara was back. Felicity immediately realizes it’s Laurel.

More Laurel unsuccessfully lawyering.

More interesting is Roy, who is my new favorite person as he confronts The Magician himself in Thea’s apartment. Turns out someone other than Felicity is willing to mail a truthigram to Mr. Merlyn.

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He tells Malcolm that he is “poison,” he won’t let him take Thea anywhere and that she will find out about Sara. Once she does, Roy assures him as one in the know, Malcolm will lose her forever. Merlyn holds up his hand and un-invites him from the convo because he’s not family, but I’m still glad someone had the balls to call him out on his utter dickishness to his only living kid, and that that someone was the man who loves her.

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Felicity heals Ray and I’m not ready to see these two together. It’s too soon and feels gross. The takeaway is he tells her he’s not trying to fight crime only for Anna, but for the people he cares for. Ugh. OK, fine. God please let this arc end soon and be replaced with a significantly less gross arc.

 

Laurel and Roy are suiting up when Diggle arrives. She won’t stay safe in the Cave and let him go with Roy. She knows she’s not her sister, but she thought Digg would understand.

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John asks Roy to stay close to her, but when they go to save the alderman Brick kidnapped (yeah, that’s happening), Roy and she screw up and don’t capture him, and Brick kills one of them just to make a point. POINT TAKEN.

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Back at the station, Quentin talks to Laurel about her sister because YES, he still thinks she’s alive and yes, Laurel STILL says nothing. Brick calls and wants a parlay with the mayor because Shakespeare. This would totally happen IRL.

 

At Thea’s, Malcolm tells Thea just enough truth to hook her. Basically the story of his wife, but you know, omitting the part where he got her brother killed.

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The book.

 

Felicity comes to see Laurel and no, it’s not a dream sequence. She saw the news and knows she suited up as the Canary. Laurel has a very nice monologue about how Felicity needn’t worry about her anymore because the death of the alderman made her realize she’s not “strong enough to fight for Sara.” So OF COURSE the next thing Felicity says is what Ray told her, that maybe they fight for those still alive. It was well acted, well-written, and I bought into NONE of it. Zero.

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Go figure, and I can’t really say why, but when Arrow is at its best I lose myself in the characters. I forget that I am watching a show, and this entire setup felt so contrived to me that I was painfully aware that this scene was written this way to pull in these specific four characters (Felicity, Laurel, Sara, and Ray via quote) to give them a commonality and a unity of purpose, and it was hammered home a little too hard for my taste. EBR and KC approached this from radically different acting schools. If Emily had chosen to play her sadness bigger, or Katie had downplayed her lines some, this could have been great. Instead in comparison with Oliver and Tatsu’s tragic, permeating sadness at the change in the man they once knew, this felt harsh and overdone. Not to mention THIS:

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At the parley, Brick takes waaay too long to ask the Mayor to move all cops out of The Glades so he can crime in peace and no one knows why Ray’s there.

 

At the cabin, Oliver tries to convince Maseo to stay with them and Tatsu sweetly tells him she still loves him, no matter who he thinks he has become. There is a split second where Maseo breaks his blank stare and blinks during their kiss, and I scream out loud. These poor babies.

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Maseo sees the LoA outside the house and when they open the door, Oliver and Tatsu are hiding and he is warming his hands. Maseo tells them that Oliver was there, and that he was about to leave to follow his trail. When they get suspicious and try to check the house, he kills them.

In the Cave, Digg and Roy drink Oliver’s good vodka and Roy asks if they can’t do this without Oliver.

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Cue Felicity and Laurel, who come down the steps. Felicity admits being wrong, she’s back in, and says that it’s up to them to protect their home. Laurel tells them that the Mayor is going to pull out of The Glades. My takeaway: Laurel still doesn’t believe Oliver is dead, but there are for sure live people that might appreciate a save.

Next up: the clubbing of a baby seal. HAHA NO J/K Laurel uses recordings of Sara’s voice that Felicity fed through an algorithm (et tu, Dr. Frankenstein?) to up the ante on asshole behavior to Quentin and get intel about the case. She cries when he says he doesn’t know what he’d do if something happened to her. GOOD.

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Felicity hits Ray up for his helicopter. This is more Ray than I really needed to see. Just steal it. Turns out Diggle knows how to fly, and he takes Roy and Laurel to the (all together) a warehouse in The Glades where Brick is holding the aldermen. When Oliver gets back, he should just set fire to all warehouses in The Glades. Roy and Laurel do somewhat better this time and free the aldermen, but when Laurel is cornered by Brick, she escapes by kneeing him in the junk, then throwing herself out a window and grabbing onto the helicopter ladder as it flies her away, and just HAHAHAA NOPE.

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Just…no. Ah, show. You kill me.

Props to her stuntwoman, tho.

 

At the cabin, Maseo leaves Oliver and Tatsu behind despite their (and my) pleas.

 

Because my heart isn’t broken enough, Laurel hangs out on a fire escape and uses the voice recordings to have an entire conversation with her dad as Sara. He tells her that the Mayor is still pulling out of The Glades and maybe they can go have Chinese food and talk? When she avoids him, he calls her on it. To his concerned “are you okay” she answers, “I’m fine, Daddy” in Sara’s voice and it is actually beyond fucked up.

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If lying to Thea is wrong, lying to Lance is goddamned criminal. This is a decent man who has endured car chases, shootouts and a high-pressure job and his ticker is still going. F#CKING TELL HIM.

 

At Chez Thea, she tells Malcolm that he taught her to fight and not be scared, and she thinks he should take his own advice. Malcolm gives in for perhaps the first time in his life, and tells her that they’ll stay. His smirk at the end is deeply disturbing, because there is now no doubt in my mind that he meant to stay and this is all a setup. Malcolm doesn’t brush his damned teeth without a plan B.

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Felicity gives Ray back the keys to his helicopter, plus his (now fixed) chip. If she helps him, she says, he may not end up dead. Yawn. K. Moving on.

 

Finally, Thea’s at Verdant and finds Skeezy DJ, who tells her he was in there for “some of his music files” he needed for another gig and boom just like that we know he’s shady because WTF are those files on a floppy? When Thea leaves, he makes a phone call to… Maseo, informing him that The Magician is still in Starling. The worst thing about this news is that I can almost guarantee we’ll be seeing him and his boy-band headsuit again.

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That’s it for this week! Next week, Oliver returns, and the tug-of-war between this show and my feels continues. Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.