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.

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