$#@! Everything. Arrow Recap 322, “This Is Your Sword”

I am literally drinking as I write this, so if this degenerates into random consonants and pictures of goats, you’ll know why. One of the platitudes being fed to us shortly before this ep was that “it’s always darkest before the dawn” and that certainly came to pass. 322 is a dark cave, and it is full of terrors.

Let’s go spelunking! First, the entire flashback because it sets the tone.

***FLASHBACK IN ONE TAKE*** Akio’s got a fever. The inoculation didn’t work on him because he is too young. As the boy starts to lose consciousness, his mother tenderly holds him on her lap, tells him everything will be okay, and sings to him as she rocks him like a baby.

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Me at home:

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Maseo is eager to get a cure from Shrieve and convinces Oliver to go with him to a restricted army base. They kidnap Shrieve so he can mix the cure in the correct ratios, but when they arrive back at the pharmacy, Tatsu is crying over the body of her son. Turns out Shrieve lied about the cure, instead making them bring along his insulin because on top of being a heartless bastard, he’s also a diabetic. ***END FB***

 

R’as is telling Oliver about how he can’t become the Heir to the Demon until he has severed all ties with his old life. His new beginning, therefore, rests upon his destroying Starling with the alpha-omega bioweapon.

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As Oliver chews on this, R’as gives a shoutout to Maseo, who it turns out was the man who gave him the bioweapon in exchange for his acceptance into the League. This shocks Oliver, but he barely has time to react because R’as gives him his itinerary for the next day or so: Marry Nyssa, fly to Starling, destroy the city, and ascend to R’as.

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Even though he nods obediently, when R’as leaves, Oliver and Maseo lock eyes. This is not something they previously discussed.

In Starling, Diggle is chasing criminals with no mask, to the point where one of them is even like UM DUDE WTF NO MASK? Diggle compliments his own intelligence because it turns out his plan was to have this kid lure him to his gang, then have Laurel bust their collective eardrums and prime them for a beatdown.

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Laurel finishes with her batch and turns to probably ask Digg for a milkshake, but he’s busy beating a single dude WAAAY too many times until Felicity shouts at him to stop.

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John heads back to his house, where Laurel and Felicity have stopped off to meet with him. Laurel wants to go back out there, but Felicity rightly points out that Digg was out of control, and is in denial about his anger. Digg denies he’s in denial, and throws the bag of peas Felicity gave him for his hand down to illustrate his point. He says that Oliver was his best friend and “He kidnapped…my wife.”

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His voice is rough with tears, but so is Felicity’s when she asks if he thinks “that justifies hospitalizing people?” John admits it doesn’t, and promises it won’t happen again. Felicity admits “life sucks right now,” but he can’t take it out on the criminals. Laurel puts her absolutely unhelpful two cents in, asking how Felicity can be so sanguine after what happened last week. “Because I know that that wasn’t Oliver,” she says, and John points out that now she’s in denial.

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Felicity denies it again, saying that their Oliver, “my Oliver died the day he joined the League. This is SOMEONE ELSE!” Laurel and John both look at her, and wonder aloud that she really believes that. “I have to,” she says quietly.

 

At Thea’s loft, she is packing up to go and Malcolm is encouraging her to stay, because “Mr. Harper went to a lot of trouble to fake his death“ and pointing out that she knows he can’t come back here.

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Thea points out that she’s not sure about things right now. Malcolm tries to empathize that not many people have had her experiences and he understands her confusion, but Thea hasn’t spoken yet about coming back from death. She tells Malcolm she would have rather died than have Oliver join the LoA, and that she remembers that the entire reason why this all happened: Malcolm brought R’as into their lives.

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Malcolm suddenly points out she is no longer at risk from the League and perhaps it’s better for her to go. His acceptance worries Thea, but she just wants to be with Roy right now.

 

Nanda Parbat. Dinner with  the mopiest family since Dark Shadows. Nyssa is so angry she’s going carb-free, and R’as chooses to treat it like she’s dieting to fit in her dress because there is literally no occasion in which he can decline being a dick.

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Their dinner conversation is an exercise in patriarchy, as Nyssa points out she would rather die than wed Oliver and R’as is like YEP those are your options. Nyssa says she once held the title of “daughter” with pride, and he points out that perhaps “mother” will suit her better.

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Can you choke to death from a grape? I sure hope so. The conversation goes from bad to worse when he tells his daughter that she will bear Oliver a child and is to be given “no choice in the matter,” any more than her mother was. The thought that she is the product of rape is enough to mute Nyssa for the time being, and R’as turns his conversational skills to Oliver, and they discuss why he’s so wasteful with his food. HAHA just kidding it’s more ascension $#@.

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Al Sah-him states that while he is ready to ascend to R’as, he is still “coming to grips with marriage.” He says that perhaps a walk will do him good, turning down the offer of a guard to protect him. As he gets up to go, Nyssa grips and steals a knife from the table and hides it in her robe.

 

Outside, Oliver’s walk was really an excuse to meet someone in the dark, and it’s not the someone we hoped for (I wonder if someone fic’d it.). He flips his attacker over and says “You’re late,” in his Oliver voice. The man flips up his hood and it’s none other than Malcolm Merlyn, who took the 8:20 from Starling to Nanda Parbat, but reminds Oliver that it ain’t easy infiltrating NP.

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“Don’t joke!” Oliver says as he pulls Merlyn up. “It’s worse than we thought.” Oliver tells Malcolm about R’as plan to fly the bioweapon over Starling the next day, and Merlyn points out that “it’s strangely modern” of the League. Oliver and Merlyn had estimated months before ascending to R’as, and in that time could have dismantled the LoA from the inside.

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“Malcolm,” Oliver says, “we need help.” Merlyn tells him he was “too good” at convincing his friends of his loyalty to the League, and that he himself doesn’t carry much weight with them. “I know someone who they’ll trust,” Oliver tells him. Suddenly, we see Maseo walking towards the fire, but by the time he gets there, Merlyn is gone and he finds Oliver alone. He tells him that there was concern since he has been gone a while, but Oliver says he’s just been thinking.

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Somewhere other than Starling. Thea comes into a garage looking for “Jason.” Roy rolls out from under a car, surprised to see her but covering admirably. Thea keeps up the ruse, saying she has a ‘67 Mustang that needs a bit of work, and that someone told her he was “the guy to see.”

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“You came to the right place,” he whispers. They go into a secluded spot, where they hug and Thea tells him she can’t believe he is alive. He tells her he wanted her to know, but didn’t want to risk Oliver finding out and breaking him out. Not to mention kicking his ass, for which Thea says she would have helped. During all of this, I am distracted by superhot greasemonkey Roy.

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“I had to do it,” Roy whispers, “for all of them.” Thea, probably distracted by the phrase “do it,” asks if there is another place they can go talk. Roy answers his place, and she smiles and says, “That’s such a good answer.” It does my heart good to see these two together.

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They were always so legitimately considerate of each other.

 

Starling City, Palmer Tech. Felicity is visiting with Ray, who is tooling around with a “little idea” for his suit.

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He asks her if she’s okay, because she has a “little cloud” over her, which he correctly guesses is Oliver-related. Felicity, ever loyal, points out that she’s handling it, and maybe that’s a line they shouldn’t cross. He responds that if she ever wants to talk, he’s still her friend and will always be there for her. “That’s non-negotiable.”

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It’s both sweet and weirdly devoid of consent in the way most Ray-edicts tend to be, but Felicity is touched, and thanks him. He asks her for a favor in the meantime, and gets her to sign her name to “some corporate stuff” in her function as VP, which she does. Her phone beeps immediately after, with a text from Malcolm saying that they have to meet. She leaves, and the camera closes up on the papers Ray had her sign: a transfer of ownership to Palmer Technologies.

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Again Ray, SWEET BUT DISTURBINGLY DEVOID OF CONSENT.

 

Nanda Parbat. Oliver and Maseo sit before the fire and finally have it out about the alpha-omega. It turns out Maseo stole it even before Akio died, because he wanted revenge on Shrieve. Then he used it to gain entry into the League because he was not strong enough for himself, “and certainly not enough for Tatsu.”

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Oliver asks him if he could go back to her, would he? Maseo says it’s “immaterial,” as “Maseo Yamashiro is no more.” Oliver insists, saying he doesn’t have to be, and that when he is R’as, he can release him from his oath, set him free. “The League is not my prison,” Maseo says sadly. “From my prison, there is no escape.”

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Starling, either the remnants of the Old Cave or the Alterna-Cave. Felicity, Diggle and Laurel wait for Malcolm to arrive “waving the white flag”, as he told John. Felicity calls him out right away as a sociopath and a liar, and he doesn’t deny it, asking only that they “fast forward” through the usual denials and admit he is telling them the truth when he says that Oliver’s “allegiance with the League is a charade,” born the moment that he realized he would have to capitulate to R’as to save Thea.

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Felicity thinks he is playing with their emotions, while John doesn’t believe he would ally himself with Malcolm instead of them. Malcolm points out that not only is he more “practiced in the art of deception,” but that none of them are “very good actors.” John has had it, and turns to go. Felicity and Laurel both turn to follow his lead as Malcolm keeps talking, saying that they have seen what the LoA and R’as are capable of, and the “the circle of trust” had to remain very small.

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“What changed?” Felicity asks, turning around. John urges her to go, saying that they can’t believe anything Malcolm says. Merlyn admits that “Mr. Diggle is right, which is why I brought along a friend of Oliver’s.” The team turns at the opening of the door to see Tatsu STOMPING IT TO THE DEATH. “My name is Tatsu Yamashiro, and your city is in great danger.”

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It’s not the reaction Oliver hoped for, as Felicity points out that they never met her and don’t know her. Tatsu explains that besides helping Oliver recover from his wounds, her life has been one “of isolation.” To Digg’s point that they have never heard of her, she quietly says that “Oliver doesn’t like to speak of the past.” Felicity points out that he’s not so forthcoming about the present, either.

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Tatsu once again speaks gently, and her words are all the more painful for their softness. “My son was killed by the virus R’as intends to use on your city,” and Diggle recognizes her at once as Akio’s mother. She tells them Oliver was with her when it happened, and that the danger they face is very real. Laurel isn’t disposed to believe Merlyn after all he’s done, but Tatsu points out that the request isn’t from Malcolm, but Oliver. Digg tells her that, at the moment, that may not be any better.

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Malcolm loses patience and says he is not playing, reminding them that his daughter lives in this city (RIP Tommy, who didn’t get this consideration). He hands Digg a folder with all the information he has on the bioweapon and tells them that he has arranged passage to Nanda Parbat for all of them. If they are in, they should be at Ferris Air before sunrise.

 

“Jason”’s place, unknown. Thea compliments Roy’s apartment, but he says both it and the job at the garage are temporary and he will leave soon, before people “put 2 and 2 together.” She asks about his other night job, and he replies that he is leaving the crime-fighting to the cops, because he just wants to be normal.

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When Thea laughingly asks how that’s going, he admits he’s “so bored.” She triumphantly then pulls out his costume, which she had Malcolm steal out of impound for her.

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He admits he didn’t think he’d see it again, and she says that if everyone thinks Roy Harper was The Arrow, they wouldn’t suspect him of also being Arsenal. “Hmm,” Roy mutters, asking if bringing is costume was the only reason she came. Thea admits it was one of the reasons, and then sets about showing him the other one.

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SIGH.

 

Starling, Palmer Tech. Digg, Felicity and Roy watch footage of the bioweapon attack on Hong Kong, which was previously thought to be a chemical spill. Felicity is worried that her friend is believing a man who lied to them so often “it should be a drinking game,” but John says it’s irrelevant now, because if there is the slightest chance of this happening to his city, he has to report for duty. Laurel agrees with him, but Felicity says she can’t go back to Nanda Parbat. “Not after what they did to Oliver.”

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Nanda Parbat. R’as has a little visit with Nyssa before the big day, and chastises her for speaking to him as if he is a monster.

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“I’m your father, Nyssa.” She asks him why then will he ask her to marry someone she doesn’t love, and he answers in his favorite way: long-ass story about himself. He tells her that once upon a time while out on business, he met a woman who was “breathtaking in her visage and fortitude“ (Jesus what did he do to her?) and her name was Ameena Raatko. Nyssa smiles, recognizing the name.

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He tells her he had taken other lovers, but Ameena had “wit and a fire about her” that he found he couldn’t live without, so he made her his concubine. A servant steps forward with a box which R’as opens, showing it to Nyssa. It contains an ornate necklace and headpiece, his gift to her mother upon the occasion of her birth. “I kept it in the hopes that one day, you would wear it on your wedding day.” It is a tender moment between father/daughter, and you can see them both struggle with the emotion, but this is not a tender family.

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Nyssa throws the gift on the bed, scoffing that he expects her to marry Al Sah-him “because of some trinket.” R’as, quick as a snake, takes his only child by the face and reasserts himself as the asshole we all know.

I expect you to marry Al Sah-Him because it is my will. You defy that, and I will see you suffer the pain of a thousand deaths

He leaves Nyssa with tears in her eyes, but as he walks away the camera pans up from her hand, holding her knife, to her dry-eyed face.

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Palmer Tech. Felicity is alone in the office when Tatsu shows up. She came looking for Felicity, not to convince her of the threat to Starling, but to speak to her about Oliver.

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Tatsu tells Felicity that during his recovery, Oliver spoke of her, and his last thought before the fall was of her. “You love him…still,” Tatsu points out, but Felicity replies that he belongs to R’as now. Tatsu says that if she believes that, she must fight for him. “There is no ‘him’ left,” Felicity replies, sadly.

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Tatsu shakes her head, saying that she thought as she did once, that Maseo, her husband (and here she smiles a heartbreaking tiny smile at his name), was so lost to the League’s darkness, that she didn’t even try to  reach him.

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“Don’t make my mistake, Felicity,” Tatsu whispers, and walks out, leaving Felicity with the images of her city’s destruction.

 

Early the next morning, Ferris Air. Tatsu is packing her katana, which she tells Malcolm was passed on to the eldest son in her family for generations. When Merlyn points out she is not a son, her face is hard when she responds that indeed, she is not.

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Diggle and Laurel show up, wanting to get it over with. Malcom replies that the plane he booked is big enough for all of them-including Felicity, who has shown up at the last minute to join them. She tells Malcolm that is he betrays them, she’ll reveal to the world that he is alive, and where they can find him.

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Nanda Parbat. The team wanders around in the open in THE least covert outfits ever while Felicity bemoans the lack of horses, asking if they can get some next time. “There won’t be a next time”, Digg growls.

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They crest a hill, and Malcolm announces that the stealth bomber they see is how R’as plans to distribute the alpha-omega over Starling. Felicity says she has to be withing 50 feet of it to disable its navigation features, but Malcolm shushes her abruptly.

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Laurel, who must be facing the wrong way, says she doesn’t see anything, but in the next instant Malcolm has nocked an arrow and shoots a LoA member on his nine. “There’ll be more”, he says calmly, walking everyone into an open space. As the fighters become vigilant, they form a circle around Felicity and prepare to do battle. The music swells, the camera pans around the circle, and they each get a heroic beat. It is pretty. Effing. Cool.

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After Digg shoots some assassins down, Malcolm shouts at Felicity to get to the plane, and they’ll cover her. She runs, kneeling about thirty feet out to start running her programs.

In the meantime, all hell breaks loose as Malcolm, Laurel and Digg shoot, kick, punch and swordfight a whole bunch of assassins. At one point, Malcolm saves Laurel’s life, and calmly accepts her statement that she would not have done the same for him.

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Malcolm may be a murdering lying SOB, but he’s pretty self-aware.

Tatsu is also fighting, but a bit apart from them, in full Katana gear including mask. Her movements are graceful and ruthless, and when she kills the last man, she hears an assassin tell her to surrender that she may live. She recognizes him instantly.

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“Maseo,” she says softly. “Maseo is a memory,” is the stern response, but Tatsu is not put off. She advances towards her husband, and states her case: their child is gone, and he left when she needed him most. “But you can still come back to me. It’s not too late.”

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Maseo’s reply is as stoic and cold as his earlier one. “Yes, it is.” He takes his mask off and draws his sword against his child’s mother, telling her that her husband “is long dead, and if Serab must die as well, so be it.” They clash swords, and fight.

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Over by the plane, Felicity is working to ground the plane when it begins to take off. “Frak!” she exclaims, looking at her malfunctioning tablet. In another instant, more frak happens as an arrow goes through the tablet. Felicity dives, yanks the arrow out and tosses it frisbee-style into an assassin’s neck.

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He drops like a stone, and both she and we are pretty impressed with her until we realize that Malcolm shot him with an arrow in the back and saved her.

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“Oh, that makes more sense,” she deadpans, and I am cautiously optimistic things won’t be that bad if she can still joke.

 

The plane takes off despite their efforts, and when Malcolm asks Felicity if there is anything she can do, she confesses that she had some “insurance” come along. “The atomic kind.”

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Bless this over-prepared nugget.  Ray blasts the stealth bomber, not anticipating that a STEALTH BOMBER HAS BOMBS ON IT, and gets boom’d back. His suit is short-circuiting, so before it gives out, he flies himself through the plane like a human plane-kebab and falls to earth like a big dopey metal Icarus, almost landing on the girl he came to help. Oh, Ray.

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Felicity runs to check on him, but he makes a dumb joke, which is optimal health in Ray world, so we’re good.

 

Somewhere not far, the sun shines down on the Yamashiros, who do not spare each other at all until finally, Maseo holds his sword to the throat of his prostrate wife.

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He walks around her, and speaks gently to her as he raises his sword to deliver the fatal blow. “Tell Akio…I love him.” As his arms go up, Tatsu rolls and kneels, stabbing him in the gut.

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Maseo is astonished, and looks down. Tatsu’s eyes are swimming, and she replies to him just as gently. “You tell him for both of us.” She pulls her sword out, and Maseo falls forward into her arms. She drops her sword to hold him, and he rests his head against her shoulder. “Thank you…for releasing me…from my prison.”

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He lies quietly while Tatsu sobs, singing to him until he passes, and she keens his loss. It is a painful reminder that not all stories have happy endings, and certainly not when characters embrace their fatal flaws.

Damn it. Screw you, Ray. Your joke was dumb and things are awful.

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I will never not hurt for Maseo and Tatsu. They are the Doctor and Rose of this series. Their love was marked for tragedy, and the fact that it was doomed by the inability to come together after the unexpected loss of their only child was painfully, terribly realistic. If Diggle and Lyla are Olicity’s aspiration, then the Yamashiros were certainly their cautionary tale, and what a bitchslap of a warning it is.

And on a shallower note, where the hell am I supposed to go for my Karl Yune fix now? I’m reduced to watching this on a loop! (You’ll see what I’m talking about from 3:13 on. )

Damn straight you creeped, girl. Did that rapper talk about motorboating? Never mind. KARL. CALL ME.

 

The Team limps back together and R’as and Al Sah-Oliver appear on a hill overlooking them, along with dozens of not-dead assassins, and R’as tells them it has all been in vain.

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Ray points out the grounded airplane and Felicity tells him they destroyed the bioweapon, but he holds up an intact vial of the alpha-omega and says that they only think they have.

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Cue assassins, and our heroes are taken prisoner. LoA Oliver isn’t familiar with the concept of overkill, because he shouts “Surrender…or DIE!” dramatically. Felicity looks heartbroken, and Diggle angry.

As they are led inside by Oliver, Felicity runs up to him and calls him by his name, asking what they are doing here. He turns around and looks at all of them, speaking in his most Oliver-y voice since the fireside conversation with Maseo. “If any of you speak, we’re all gonna die.” Felicity lets out a quiet, confused, “What?” and Oliver looks right at her, his mask down for an instant. “I need you to trust me.”

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They silently file after him into R’as’ main room, right in time for an interrogation. The ruse with the plane was meant to weed out any traitors in his midst, and he wants to know how they knew about the virus and the plane. Oliver stares straight ahead as R’as walks the line, stopping by Diggle and Merlin, but when the Head of the Demon pauses before Felicity, his eyes go right to her.

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Tatsu quietly says that Maseo told her, and she told them. R’as points out the convenience of saying that a dead man was his traitor, and Tatsu tells him that Maseo said only three men knew of it: himself, R’as, and Oliver. “Oliver Queen is dead,” says Al Sah-him, back to robot voice. “I am Al Sah-him.”

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R’as seems to accept this, saying that it is not the first time Serab betrayed him for Maseo’s weaknesses, and points out that the timing at least is fortuitous, as traditionally R’as would contemplate mercy upon his enemies on the eve of a wedding. Ray expresses his surprise that R’as is getting married, saying “there really is a kettle for every pot,” and Oliver speaks up, saying that the wedding is his.

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At this, Felicity’s head whips to him, and he looks down as he announces he is “betrothed to Nyssa Al Ghul.” When he is done, his gaze flickers right to Felicity, and you can see the apology and sadness in his eyes, and the shock in hers.

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It is only when R’as issues a command that they be taken below that Oliver tears his gaze from hers, looking down. Felicity keeps her eyes on him as she is led away, and eventually, he looks back. THESE TWO MORONS. I pity the fool who gets in the middle of this.

 

Back in Not-Starling, Thea got her groove back. She’s blissfully post-coital and happy, and it’s about damn time.

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Roy realizes what show they’re on though, and that there is a reason his girl came looking for him other than the whoopie. Thea tells him that she got hurt, and that to save her Oliver joined the LoA. She tried to stop him, she says, but couldn’t, and “now he’s become someone else.”

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She turns to him and says that when she is with him, everything just slips away. Roy understands her, but points out that her go-to move when something goes wrong is to bolt out of Starling, and that this isn’t something she can run away from. Thea says she wasn’t running away, but to him, and asks if he doesn’t want her to. “The only thing that I want is what’s best for you,” is his answer.

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Bless Roy, he always did love this girl right. “You always did,” she sighs, and they kiss, and I am instantly suspicious of their happiness because this show is a carousel of pain.

 

Nanda Parbat. A dungeon.

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Everyone is in actual physical chains, and Felicity is both in chains and shock, muttering sadly that she can’t believe Oliver is going to marry Nyssa. “You should worry more about getting out of here alive,” Malcolm says not unkindly, and Ray asks if that could even be a remote possibility. Malcolm doesn’t say anything, but Laurel says Oliver wouldn’t let them die there. “He let this happen,” Digg points out, holding up his chained wrists.

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The door opens, and Malcolm asks quickly in Arabic to speak to R’as. The assassin walks directly to John, however, and tells him that “Wareeth Al Ghul” has commanded his presence.

 

In the room where he once consummated his great love affair, Oliver paces and waits for Diggle. He asks the guards to leave them alone, and then quietly asks John if everyone is okay. “Like you give a damn!” he answers, rightfully tee’d off. Oliver seems surprised at his anger however, asking if Malcolm didn’t speak to them.

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John says he did, but wants to know if it was part of his plan to leave baby Sara alone when he kidnapped his wife? “I had to do something to prove my loyalty to R’as,” is Oliver’s response, but when Digg spells things out for him, asking if it was his idea to take his wife in front of his daughter, Oliver’s voice is small when he says yes.

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He tries to tell him that Tatsu said in order to beat R’as, he would have to sacrifice all the things in life that he held most precious, “and your friendship is on that list.”

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Digg points out that he didn’t only lose his friendship, but also his trust, and his respect. Oliver obviously wants to say something else, but the door opens. Oliver bellows “WHAT?” at the guard, but he answers that R’as has demanded that John be returned to his friends, and leads him out.

 

Meanwhile, Merlyn got the time with R’as that he wanted, and the Demon’s Head points out that while he expected Nyssa and Maseo’s treachery, his was a surprise, especially after he saved his daughter.

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Malcolm says he tried to pledge fealty then, and is willing to do so now. R’as holds a sword to his throat, saying he had nothing to offer then, and nothing now, and Malcolm says that he does, the name of his betrayer. Not Maseo Yamashiro, but Oliver Queen. “He’s been lying to you all along,” he chuckles. At that moment, Oliver walks in and R’as shares Malcolm’s accusation with him. I’d be more worried if I thought R’as would ever actually kill Malcolm.

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The two men face each other as Al Sah-him makes his case.

I have killed for you. I have severed all ties to my past. I have hurt people who were friends to Oliver Queen, and if you wouldn’t have stopped me, I would have murdered your daughter at your command.

R’as points out that this may have all been part of his ruse, and Oliver’s answer is laced with very real anger. “Then I will have nothing and no one to go home to. Oliver Queen is dead, and the Arrow is gone.”

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R’as isn’t entirely convinced, muttering a “We shall see” that has Oliver looking faintly apprehensive. Kudos to Amell for the nuances here.

 

Not-Starling, morning.

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Thea wakes up alone in Roy’s apartment and goes to look for him at the garage. When she gets there, the manager says ‘Jason’ came in and quit an hour ago, and he left her a leather bag (containing his old suit), and a note.

Dear Thea, I wasn’t supposed to make it this far. I was supposed to end up in jail or dead by now. But then I met you, and you made me want to be the man I saw through your eyes. And now all I want to do is give that back, and help you be the person you can be without Oliver, without your father, and without me. Living on the run from the police isn’t the life you deserve, Thea. It’s not what Oliver gave up his life for you to have. Whatever happens with me, I will always love you.

P.S. Thanks for the suit, but I always thought red was more your color, anyway.

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That’s love, guys. I am humbled by Roy goddamn Harper’s capacity to love.

 

Nanda Parbat, the dungeon. Felicity wants to know what Oliver said to John. “Nothing worth hearing” is his response.

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Felicity turns to Tatsu and says she was right about Oliver, and she should have listened to her. The door opens and Merlyn is led back in, followed by R’as and Oliver, complaining about what he is getting in exchange for telling R’as about Oliver.

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R’as asks if he expected his mercy, and that he is going to grant it. “Because this death will be a lot shorter than the one I had planned for you.” Malcolm is struck down, and he shows the group a vial of the alpha-omega bioweapon. Felicity speaks to Oliver directly, saying that if what Malcolm told them is true and he is going to do anything, now is the time.

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R’as responds by asking that Tatsu be moved to another chamber, since Oliver told him she is inoculated. Over everyone’s cries of protest and betrayal, Oliver does nothing as R’as breaks the vial and drops it in the room, instead staying behind to close the door on them.

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Now that THAT unpleasantness is over, it’s wedding time! Oliver looks appropriately miserable but handsome in black as he walks to meet his future FIL.

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R’as is giddy with the thought of adding yet ANOTHER name to the alphabet soup of Oliver’s life. Scenes of the ceremony are intercut with scenes of the dungeon.

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The priestess speaks of the sanctity of the vow between man and woman, and how their souls will never again be free, captive by their love for each other.

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During this little speech Nyssa reaches for the knife hidden in her sleeve, and takes this part as her cue to attempt to stab Oliver in the heart. He expected it, however, and blocks her, throwing the knife down.

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“Continue,” he says quietly. Downstairs, John apologizes to Felicity and she says that there is nothing to apologize for, and she is glad to have known him.

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As the marriage is blessed and sealed, the camera cuts from the bride and groom’s impassive, unsmiling faces to the occupants of the basement, who one by one lose consciousness until all are unmoving.

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Not cool, brah. Arrow Recap 321,“Al Sah-him”

Finally getting back into the final three before next season kicks off. I tried to  make both 21 and 22 into one recap because I honestly did not like them first time around, but it was more work than just tearing them out individually. So here is the first of two of the saddest, angriest episodes of Arrow ever through the lens of MS Paint and my trademark IDGAFness. Let’s begin.

Oliver’s been trained, tortured, shaved, chained and seemingly converted into the realm of steely-gazed emo killers.

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He can now only speak in his super-deep voice, so you know he is very evil. R’as congratulates him on saying that Oliver Queen has been forgotten and reassures him that he is truly Al Sah-him, Hot Heir to the Demon. Suddenly a hooded man is brought in and Maseo/Sarab says he is known to Al Sah-him.

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When they take his mask off, it’s another hot man: Diggle. Digg reminds Oliver of who he is, but Oliver gives him a sword and tells him to fight, ending it by stabbing him in the heart.

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When he turns the body over, however, it is one of the guards. It was a test administered by R’as to gauge his loyalty, and the Demon’s Head is curious to see who Oliver saw, but Ollie Sah-him won’t tell.

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R’as reacts with to this with an offer of a road trip to “a place of the dead.” Deader, I guess.

***BEGIN FLASHBACK*** Okay, all in one blow. Maseo, Oliver and Tatsu wander through Hong Kong as the contaminant spreads. Shreve is injecting people with the virus under guise of inoculating them, and they blow up the van containing the supply before going back to look for Akio. When they arrive, they find that the woman caring for the boy has died, and Tatsu and Oliver convince Maseo to leave.They manage to get a cab out of the city, but when Tatsu turns to tell her son it’ll be okay now, she notices the blood pouring from the corner of his mouth. We always suspected this would be the direction this story would lead, but it doesn’t make it any less horrifying.***END FB***

R’as tells Oliver that he was conscripted into the League with another man, Damian Dahrk. They were “as brothers” and trained together, both serving the R’as of their time.

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However, when it came time for the Heir to be determined, Damian challenged current-R’as, and he hesitated to kill his friend. Because no good deed goes unpunished in the League, Damian then escaped, taking with him some loyal members and water from the Lazarus Pit, and has been punking R’as ever since. R’as calls Damian’s organization “a hive” and credits him with, among other things, being the purchaser of Merlyn’s earthquake machine back in S1. All this came to pass, R’as says, because he was slow to swing his sword (HA!).

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He wants Oliver not to repeat his mistake and eliminate his competition for Heir to the Demon “without mercy”: Ra’s’s own daughter Nyssa.

 

Back in Starling, Laurel is getting better, but isn’t so invested in Nyssa’s offer of additional training that she she can’t decline it to get a milkshake and gab.

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I LOVE these two as friends. Nyssa’s woman-out-of-time quality is a good foil for showing Laurel as a warm, caring presence, and there is a humor, honesty and affection in their interactions that neither character easily conjures with others in the cast.

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I don’t relation-ship it, but I sure as hell friend-ship it. Nyssa is fascinated by fried foods and milkshakes, and Laurel enjoys seeing her act “like a normal person.”

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Nyssa admits that her life was one of the survival of the strongest, and has perhaps lacked in small pleasures. Laurel says she is returning the favor of both the training and what she did for Sara, and takes the moment of closeness to reluctantly tell her about Oliver accepting her father’s offer to become Heir to the Demon.

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Nyssa, upset, tells her she should not have kept that from her, and leaves. TAKE THE MILKSHAKE GIRL.

 

At Chez Diggle, Thea and Felicity are over for family dinner, helping feed baby Sara not-chicken-cacciatore and being ADORABLE. I don’t know whose cheeks I want to pinch more.

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Probably John’s, because he and Lyla have a “No glocks on the dinner table” house rule and I need to live with them. Turns out he’s been booming baddies all alone, and Felicity points out the need for both “identity concealment” and a new status quo now that…. “Ollie’s gone,” Thea finishes for her, as Felicity wipes a tear.

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Digg asks Thea how she is doing, and she says that “mornings are the worst” and it’s good to be able to come there since she can’t really be seen out and about. Lyla says she is always welcome there.

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When Thea points out that she both misses Ollie and regrets that he is gone because of her, Felicity tells her he wouldn’t want her to think that. They are a tight little support circle. Digg toasts his friend with an old military saying for a soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice. “Gone but never forgotten.”

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Laurel finds Nyssa and tells her that she won’t leave her alone, even as Nyssa questions why Laurel always defaults to keeping secrets.

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She also tells Laurel that the League will come for her “with as many men as it takes” to see her dead. Somewhere in Starling, Oliver, Maseo, and other League soldiers land on a roof and state their intention to find and kill Nyssa.

 

Laurel takes Nyssa to Palmer Tech to give the news to Digg and Felicity, who both stick up for Oliver and say he wouldn’t do this to someone he loves.

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Nyssa points out that he has undergone a type of “reprogramming”, and is no longer Oliver Queen. When she realizes they don’t believe her, she leaves to face him alone, telling Laurel she won’t cower and wait for death.

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Diggle points out that even if Nyssa isn’t insane as Felicity claims, since when is she a person they endanger themselves for? Laurel points out that R’as aside, Nyssa saved her sister and is a good person, and “protecting good people is what we do.”

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Digg and Felicity reluctantly agree to follow her to Oliver, via the tracking device that Laurel planted on Nyssa before she left.

 

While waiting for Oliver to show, two important convos take place: Laurel asks Digg to let her handle the League alone. She doesn’t want him in a position where he is forced to hurt Oliver.

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Diggle assures her that there is nothing that would make Oliver hurt people he loved, and now I’m worried because that’s too much emphasis.

 

At Palmer, the second conversation is between Thea and Felicity. Thea offers to help with the vigilant-ing, and Thea tells her about Oliver being back in town to kill Nyssa. She tries to reassure her that they are handling it, but Thea doesn’t believe her. Poor Felicity is so stressed and obviously an only child.

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Thea wants to see her brother, but Felicity tells her that he wouldn’t want her in harm’s way. “Yeah, sounds like Ollie’s not here anymore,” Thea grouses, walking out.

 

Nyssa is waiting for Oliver on the roof where Sara died because it is at once stone cold and tender AF. Oliver shows up and she taunts him with everything from Sara to his brainwashing to the fact that he won’t beat her again.

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Even though Oliver said he was there to take her to Nanda Parbat (not to kill her), she shoots first. They fight, and Oliver has his knife to her throat when he is interrupted by Laurel’s new Canary Cry, and turns to see her and Diggle standing across from them.

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John shouts that they can’t let him hurt her, and Oliver steps off the building in the most eloquent WEVS of the series. Dudebro ain’t scared of gravity.

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(gif courtesy sailorslayer3641​)

 

Later, Laurel tells Nyssa that she wasn’t going to let her die, and Nyssa says that she was marked for death the moment Oliver accepted her father’s offer. Her time in Starling, though it made her briefly happy, doesn’t change the essence of who she is. “I am daughter of the Demon. Happiness is not something that was ever meant for me.”

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Laurel admits she didn’t recognize Oliver, and Nyssa repeats that he has been changed. Laurel asks that if he can be changed, why can’t she?

 

Back at Palmer Tech, Digg and Felicity discuss their first sighting of

Al Sah-him, and how neither of them believed Nyssa when she said he had turned.

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Diggle admits he heard of people being broken by the enemy, but he never imagined that Oliver, the strongest man he’s ever known, would ever be a victim to it. Felicity confesses that the only way she’s been able to “get out of bed” is to remind herself that Oliver is still alive, but he didn’t just give up his life to the League, but his soul.

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Back in Nanda Parbat, which is apparently right next door to Starling, Oliver tells Maseo that Nyssa had friends protecting her. When Maseo asks if those friends were also his friends, he ignores the question and states that they “need to draw her out.”

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Starling, Thea’s loft. Thea has invited Malcolm over with the sole purpose of finding out if Oliver is back in town to find Nyssa. Malcolm says that his sources say he is there to eliminate her as a threat to his position. Thea wants to stop Oliver, reminding Malcolm that even if he is the Heir, he is also her brother.

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Malcom asks what exactly she thought he would be doing in The League of Assassins if not killing? Thea doesn’t back down, growling very pointedly that she heard Ollie was brainwashed, and she knows what it is like to kill under someone else’s influence.

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With a bitty smile that both conveys pride at the hit and a change of tactics, Malcolm says he doubts Oliver risked all he did for her to put herself in danger. Thea acknowledges that Felicity said the same thing, but even if she couldn’t stop him joining the LoA, she can stop this.

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Malcolm gives in gracefully, telling her she was a warrior long before he trained her, and that she has always had an incredible strength in her, which her brother knows of as well. “What do you need from me?”

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Kudos to Willa for somehow looking like Susanna Thompson here. Eerie.

 

Felicity and John arrive at Casa Diggle, since John thinks it is best they stay close with the League out and about. As soon as he shuts the door, however, John senses a disturbance in the force and takes his gun out. They follow the sound of Sara crying to find her alone in her crib.

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John picks her up, and immediately his phone begins to ring. He hands the baby to Felicity and answers, and we all get the shock of the episode along with him. It’s Al Sah-him.

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He calls him “John” and assures him casually in his Oliver voice that no harm will come to his wife if he brings Nyssa to a warehouse at an intersection he has designated, where he will then let his wife go.

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Digg is stunned, and swears that if he does anything to Lyla… but he is cut off. “You have thirty minutes,” Al Sah-him says, and hangs up, and the tone is so matter-of-fact as to be chilling. John hangs up, his hand shaking once as he turns to look at an equally flabbergasted Felicity. This crossed a boundary. Grievous violation of the bro code, Oliver. Damn.

 

At what I can only assume is the site of the new lair, Digg and Felicity tell Laurel and Nyssa what happened. Digg backs Nyssa against a wall in his anger at “her people” and shouts that even as warriors, “there are some lines that you do not cross.” Laurel asks him to back off, and he yells at her, too.

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Nyssa is visibly upset and apologizes to John for the harm to his family, but he wants her to prove it by giving herself up to the League. The body language is interesting here, with Laurel stepping forward to bodily shield her friend and Felicity standing with John, but off to one side, as if indecisive.

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Laurel asks John if they are just turning over innocent people now, and Digg says that as the Daughter of the Demon, Nyssa’s killed hundreds. Finally, Felicity steps in. “Enough. The only thing that matters is getting Lyla back.”

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John says he doesn’t care how he does it, but Laurel says that they are supposed to be better than that. Nyssa steps around her, volunteering to exchange herself for John’s “beloved”, but Laurel objects again, reminding her that she said the past few weeks were some of the best of her life, and that she won’t let her commit suicide. Nyssa says she remembers that, and also saying that happiness was something denied to her.

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Nyssa asks Digg for the site of the exchange, but before he can give it, Laurel speaks once more, saying that there has to be a way to get Lyla without giving Nyssa up, because if they get Lyla back by exchanging Nyssa, then “Oliver won’t be the only one who lost his soul.”

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It’s a great line, but I can’t believe that Felicity wouldn’t be the one saying it. It feels sudden to have the conscience of the team be Laurel, but what’s one more oddity this season at this point?

 

Nanda Parbat. Lyla is asking Oliver how he could become this person. Girlfriend might be tied up, but her psychological warfare is ON FLEEK. Oliver tells her to quiet, and that it will be over soon.

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His calm voice belies the fact that he is marching around her with a hand on his sword. For a man who is holding her captive, he really does resemble a guard.

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Lyla refuses to be quiet because fuck you, she’s Lyla goddamn Micheals, and gets the poison out by saying what we all wish we could, asking how the man who stood up at her wedding do this? How could the man who’s been like a brother– “QUIET!” Oliver bellows, but she keeps going.

You know, when John’s brother died, a part of him died too. His guilt and the emptiness from the loss outweighed everything. I tried my hardest to help him, but no one seemed to be able to comfort him or fill that void…until he met you. You gave him hope, and purpose again.

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Oliver listens quietly, with a look that could be concern or constipation, for all we know, until Maseo walks up to him and says “It’s time.”

 

At the assigned meeting place, Oliver and Maseo meet with John, Felicity, Laurel and Nyssa.

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As Maseo pats him down, John demands to know where his wife is. Lyla is brought forward by men at Oliver’s signal with her arms tied behind her back, and Digg calls Oliver a sonofabitch, wondering at what R’as did to him.

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When Maseo finishes patting Laurel down and turns to Felicity, she tells him sternly to not dare touch her.

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Maseo turns to look at Oliver, and he gives a small nod, closing his eyes as if in pain.

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Felicity asks him to look at her, saying that she knows that this isn’t him and assuring him that she knows he’s “still in there somewhere.” Oliver doesn’t respond, only looking at Nyssa and ordering his men to “bind her.” Oliver then turns to Lyla and tells her she is free to go. Lyla rushes to her husband, saying that she was scared they wanted Sara.

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Digg reassures her that Sara is fine, and kisses her forehead, whispering that she should ” tell Felicity this is just like Jakarta.” Lyla walks straight to Felicity and hugs her and Maseo tells Nyssa to kneel before the true Heir to the Demon and she refuses. The camera pans down the embracing women, we see Lyla withdraw two guns from Felicity’s coat, and IT IS ON.

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The room erupts into fighting, until finally Nyssa and Laurel go down, and Maseo hauls Nyssa away. John and Oliver are still battling it out, however, in a disturbing echo of the opening sequence. Oliver is not pulling any punches, slashing his best friend across the chest and kicking him after. While John is down, Oliver picks up a second sword (looks like the one R’as stabbed him with UGH) to deliver a killing blow while John looks up at him.

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Despite his anger at his friend, he shouts that Oliver is still himself. “I don’t care if the hood is black or green. YOU’RE STILL YOU!” Oliver pauses, the sword in his hand, and it goes neither up nor down. Suddenly, an arrow pierces his forearm.

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“Get away from him,” Thea growls in her best Arrow-voice, and the astonishment on his face is the most emotion we’ve seen all episode.

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She is dressed in the black of the League, up on a scaffold, a drawn bow in her hands. HOLY SHIT I LOVE THIS GIRL. Still, Oliver doesn’t move, and she repeats herself. “Get away from him, or the next one goes in your eye.”

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Oliver lowers his knife, using it to casually slice away at the portions of the arrow protruding from his arm while he stalks away, his now furious gaze pinned on his sister, who points her bow at him until he is out of sight.

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At Palmer Tech, the girls are all soberly staring off into space when Digg comes back with news that Lyla has taken Sara out of town until they can get things straightened out.

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Felicity, bringer of cheer, says that there is no straightening this out, and Digg snaps that he doesn’t know because he can’t see past tomorrow at the moment.

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Laurel chimes in with her fear that Nyssa will be killed. and Thea apologizes for it. Felicity finally asks out loud the question they all wonder about. “There’s no ‘getting him back’, is there?”

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John answers simply. “He’s gone, Felicity.” He says that no one wants to believe it less than he does, but that there is one thing left of him.

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“Us,” John says instead. “Gone, but never forgotten,” Thea intones.

 

Nanda Parbat. Oliver brings Nyssa before her father, stating that there are no more threats to his reign. R’as tells him that his fealty continues to impress him. He point out that while Nyssa may not approve of him, it is not her approval he needs.

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He is looking for something that Nyssa hid, and he tells a lovely anecdote about Nyssa stealing as a child and how she cannot hide things from him, despite thinking she can. Out of her sword hilt, he pulls a canister and hands it over to Maseo. He tells his daughter that he will remember her as the warrior she was, and not “the shell I see before me.”

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Nyssa tells her father that she has lived in fear of him, “But now, as I stand before you ready to leave this earth I want you to know: I am not afraid.” R’as grins slightly at her, and tells Oliver to do what needs to be done, taking with him the satisfaction of an unchallenged reign.

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Nyssa is pushed to her knees as Oliver pulls his sword out, and they look into each other’s eyes as he raises his arm for the killing blow and she gasps. Suddenly, his arm is stayed. It is R’as. He tells him he doesn’t need to kill his rival, as he has broken her. “Spilling her blood now would only serve as gluttony.”

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R’as walks to his daughter and signals her to rise, speaking to Oliver at her side. “Perhaps her blood could be of another purpose. As a means to unite our families.” This gets Oliver’s attention, and he turns to look at R’as with concern, looking away at his next words.

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“You as husband,” and here R’as turns to Nyssa “and you as wife.”

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Nyssa refuses, saying she would rather die than become his betrothed, but her father says her wishes have not been his concern since the moment she betrayed him. This is a lie, because we all know her wishes were NEVER his concern. “So you WILL marry Al Sah-him. And you will become Bride of the Demon.”

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R’as walks out, bomb dropped, leaving a pretty unhappy pair behind.

 

Starling, Thea’s loft. Felicity has come by to see Thea, who is numbly staring into space and saying that her brother should have let her die. Felicity says that it was never an option for him, and one of the reasons she loves him.

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Thea admits that she didn’t know about what was happening between her brother and Felicity. “Well, it was complicated,” says Felicity, in maybe the largest understatement of the series. “But I did love him. Despite everything, I still do.” Thea admits that she still does as well, and wonders how that is possible.

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Felicity doesn’t know, but thinks that John’s advice is good, and they should remember the best parts of him, and move on. She tells her that they need to figure out a way to keep living, because it is what Oliver- she corrects to Ollie for Thea’s sake-would have wanted, for her to be with the one she loved while she still could.

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Thea points out that Roy is gone, and Felicity walks over to her, explaining that “Roy’s alive.” She swears they planned to tell Thea that they faked his death, but between her being “mostly dead” and “Darth Oliver,” there didn’t seem to be a good time. She hands her a piece of paper with Roy’s information, and tells her that he left to start a new life, which might include her if she wants it.

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End montage: Diggle walks to the photograph of he and Oliver at his wedding and picks it up. Somewhere across town, a french fry dipped in her milkshake makes Laurel sad instead of happy, and in the remains of what once the Arrow Cave, Felicity falls into her old chair and falls apart all alone.

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Nanda Parbat. Person-I-want-to-see-the-least R’as and Oliver-Al-Sah-him walk the evil halls and R’as tells him what he took from Nyssa.

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The village he showed Oliver earlier was his own, and as the final act of ascension, he destroyed it, because the Demon’s Head can only become so when he has wiped away all traces of his home. He takes a vial from the cylinder he pulled out of Nyssa’s sword hilt, and asks Oliver if he recognizes it.

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It is the alpha and omega bio weapon, and Ra’s wants him to unleash it upon Starling that very day.

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What an asshole.

 

Next ep: Things get worse. If you’re finding me for the first time, here’s a link to all my Arrow recap master post. Thanks for reading!

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High Five! Arrow Recap 319, “Broken Arrow”

This episode is the TV equivalent of LoA DJ Chase: it came out of nowhere, %$#ed me and then tried to kill me. Because so much happened, I will be avoiding a lot of RP character dev and summarizing the flashbacks. Let’s get into it.

 

At Starling National Bank, two guards listen to news of Roy’s arrest as the lights start to go out, so of course they immediately hit the panic button. HAHAHA NO.

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This is Arrow, son. They go investigate and find a metahuman who fries them both with his supercool lava-eyes and walks out like it’s no big.

 

At the police station, Lance hauls Roy in past Oliver and he snarks at Oliver for letting “the kid take the fall.” Shouldn’t you blame the people of Starling, Captain? How do these two even look alike?

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When Oliver asks to sign a full confession, Laurel walks in and BAMFs in the only way she can currently BAMF-bringing a Habeas writ from the DA stating that they will not pursue charges, and that since Oliver confessed only to Lance, it looks fabricated.

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Lance uncuffs Oliver, but tells him it’s not over. When the Captain leaves, Oliver asks Laurel WTH and she says she is ensuring they are not both in prison.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray asks Felicity why she is in the office with both Oliver and Roy (yep he knows) in jail. Felicity tells him Oliver was released and asks how he is doing, which is what you should ask your boyfriend when you just got done ignoring his ILY.

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Ray makes up an excuse about being high on tiny robots and meaning “love” with a lower-case L and says they shouldn’t make it “a thing.”

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He excuses himself, kindly saying he will keep a good thought for Roy, but the two are VERY awkward with each other, and Felicity says nothing to reassure him, which is telling, because “being reassuring” is like her second (third?) job.

At SCPD, Oliver visits Roy in holding and asks HIM WTF. There is a lot of that this episode. Roy tells him that he should be punished for killing the officer, but that he gets to return the favor and save Oliver’s life. It’s touching, but Oliver isn’t convinced.

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When Oliver tells him the city still needs him, Roy replies “It needs you more,” because Roy knows the goddamned deal. He says that he feels okay for the first time since he killed the officer, and Oliver looks down at his hands, no answer to that.

 

***FLASHBACK SUMMARY ALERT*** Maseo, Tatsu, their son and Oliver are hiding out with someone who owes the Yamashiros a favor. They cannot run without Waller finding them, so Oliver offers to find her first. Amanda shoots Shreve. She is wounded. She tells Oliver that Shreve’s plan was to unleash the Omega on China, and that he has been holding her prisoner. Shreve has an antidote for himself and his team, and plans to blame The Triad. He wanted to kill Oliver and the Yamashiros because they know about the weapon.

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Amanda tells Oliver to run as far as he can. Oliver reports this to Maseo, and they resolve to steal some of the vaccine. They break in and retrieve it. Oliver wants his friends to take the antidote and run, but they offer instead to help him put an end to Shreve’s plan. ***END FB SUMMARY***

 

Outside Verdant, Malcolm and Oliver speak about R’as. Malcolm warns him that he has yet to have anyone close to him die. Are we watching the same show?

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Because of this flawed hypothesis, Malcolm says that he may want to consider that leading the League is less risky than whatever R’as will devise next to convince him. Oliver, who is not trying to hear it, says he has to go because he’s going to break Roy out of prison.

 

Oliver arrives at Verdant to find that Thea has been watching the news and has found out about Roy’s arrest. When she asks if Oliver put him up to it, he tells her no, and that he will do everything in his power to make it right. Not a lot in your power right now, Oliver, unless you are going to punch a cop.

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Felicity and Digg arrive, and he tells them the same, but Felicity notes the bank robbery by the metahuman on the news, and says they might have something else to worry about. I think worry is now one of Oliver’s basic metabolic functions, along with glaring and breathing.

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Digg points out that it makes sense the metahumans would come to Starling with The Arrow out of commission. Oliver asks Felicity to call S.T.A.R. labs and ask about the metahuman, but he is cut off by Quentin, who barges in with a smirk and a search warrant. Everyone reacts a bit differently.

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Turns out he hauled ass over to avoid the Team wiping away any evidence, and leads officers to the basement door, where they break it down. I mean, couldn’t they have asked for the code?

 

Quentin turns the lights on, illuminating the equipment, and turns to Oliver with a self-satisfied “ I got you now, you son of a bitch.” The officers photograph evidence and break the %$#@ fern, while Lance mocks Oliver’s display choices.

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Suddenly one of the officers tells him that they have swept the place for prints, and only match: Roy Harper. Lance storms out, and warns the team that as smart as they all are, he will be there when they make a mistake.

 

Outside the club, the original three members of Team Arrow stop to talk. Turns out not only did Digg and Felicity wipe everyone’s prints but Roy’s, but they also moved some “Sensitive trunk items” elsewhere.

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Digg tells Oliver that Roy is already in jail, and they didn’t see a point in losing both of them. Oliver doesn’t want to lose Roy, and he also wants to stop the metahuman, and says they need to pick up his extra weapons. Digg points out that they can’t go to the secondary lair because Lance is having Oliver tailed by plainclothes cops who won’t let him stop “so much as a purse snatcher.”

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Am I the only one thinking that maybe cops would want to stop a purse-snatcher? Oliver asks Felicity to call Barry, but she tells him that he’s very busy, and offers someone else.

 

Palmer Technologies. Ray hears the door and tells who he assumes is Felicity about his neural connector, tech which enables him to control the suit’s movements with his mind. As the robotic hand on the table waves, he turns to see both Felicity and Oliver there to ask for his help with the metahuman who is killing people.

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Ray asks if Oliver is okay with this, but he only responds that they do in fact need him. Ray high-fives him because yay team-up, Felicity smiles like a mom who just agreed to take her kid to Disney, and Oliver’s face is the fandom.

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On the desk, the robotic hand hits air and Oliver glares at it like, “I can’t believe I have to carry another goddamned backdoor pilot.” I feel ya, brah.

 

In jail, Roy is taken through to visitation, where Thea sits waiting.

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She asks how he is and he tells her that he didn’t want to see her. When she tears up and asks to know what is going on, he says he promised himself that he would never lie to her again, and he didn’t want to break that promise. She asks why he would, and he tells her to please know he will be fine. “Is that a lie?” she asks, and he Inhales as if in pain, hanging up without answering-but not before they tearfully stare at each other for eight full seconds.

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MY HEART, DAMN IT. Theroy is the Titanic of Arrow, and Oliver is the damned crate piece that they both need to float on, but only one of them can without it sinking, so Roy takes the fall. I am at once amazed by how much he loves the Queens and annoyed Thea again has to suffer because of a choice made without her input or consent.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray tells the team that he plays squash with the manager of the bank and somehow managed to get in there and GET TO THE POINT MAN, PEOPLE ARE DYING. Amirite, Oliver?

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Anyhoo, he got magnetic resonance images of the crime scenes. When they remove the radiation, they can see the perp’s face, and he is in the system, a Jake Simmons, last seen at a processing plant. Oliver tries to leave to face him, but Ray interjects himself. They both know he is a killer, but Ray says he is a man of science, and best equipped to figure him out.

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Oliver grudgingly accepts, but makes him promise to get out at the first sign of trouble.

 

Ray arrives at one of the many abandoned warehouses and communicates back with the team over the comms while a nervous Felicity frets.

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Oliver asks her if she ever gets that nervous when he is in the field. When she pleads the fifth, Diggle makes eye contact with him over her head and shakes his head quickly in the negative.

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Ray’s encounter goes about as well as you expect. He shoots the meta and only manages to power him, barely escaping being choked.

 

Ray arrives back, hurt and Oliver and Diggle are not impressed with his performance. Oliver tells him that although his instinct is to rely on his tech, that it is a tool, like his bow and arrows. “I’m the weapon,” Oliver says, as Ray stares blankly and comments on how poetic that thought is.

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Oliver warns him that it he relies on the suit more than himself, it’ll get him killed.

 

In prison, Roy is attacked on his way to his cell and Colton Haynes gets the sexiest, best fight scene of his character’s entire run. Seriously, I needed a minute-and yes, that minute was in my bunk.

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He is taunted about how good he is without arrows, and the answer: pretty damn good! He escapes with just a knife cut across his back…for now.

 

The Queen apartment. Lance is executing a search warrant on the condo, when a colleague comes by and asks him to dial down the crazy. SCPD already has a suspect, no need to harass Queen and risk losing all he’s gained, career-wise.

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Thea complains that there is nothing there, but Lance doesn’t believe her, taunting her with the idea that Roy is currently paying for Oliver’s crimes. Thea kicks him out, but not before Lance gets a call about Roy’s injury.

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He makes sure to tell Thea that even if he is fine for now, it’s a question of when, not if he gets a shiv in the back, and that his body will be on Oliver’s conscience.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray remembers that Simmons thanked him for blasting him with compressed light rays. He and Felicity look for potential power sources he could be feeding from, when Oliver hears his sister call his name and rushes out of the office with Digg to meet her.

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Thea tells him that Roy was attacked and that there are more inmates waiting, and Oliver resolves to break him out. Diggle steps in his path to stop him, and Oliver tells him quietly, “John, if you know what’s good for you you’ll get out of my way.”

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Digg doesn’t even comment, telling him that if he knows what is good for him and Roy he will stay put. Oliver tries to walk past him, and Diggle stops him by putting his hand on his shoulder and asking him to listen. Oliver explodes, pushing his friend and shouting at him to take his hands off him. I am simultaneously flailing in panic and turned on.

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The noise brings Felicity into the room, and now John has also lost his cool and is using his loud voice, telling Oliver that he knows what he is going through, but he has to “throttle this back” before he loses everything.

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“I have already lost everything,” Oliver says quietly, his voice rough. “I am not going to lose Roy.” He walks out, and Felicity and Digg look at each other, unsure what to do.

 

Felicity catches up to him outside the entrance. He shouts at her that he can’t believe she and John are okay doing nothing “and letting Roy fight off all of Iron Heights”, but she responds that it isn’t that simple.

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He says it is, and she challenges him with the idea that he would then also be in prison. “I can’t just do nothing,” he answers, calmer now. She tells him that she thinks John is right and he is struggling in so many areas in his life, but that he needs to let people help him.

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She correctly intuits that it isn’t just that bothering him, though. Oliver has given everything up for The Arrow persona, “even you and me,” but now even if he breaks Roy out of Iron Heights, there is no more Arrow.

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Oliver tells her that he was once told a man can’t live by two names, and now he can’t live by either of his-so he doesn’t know who he is. “I know who you are,” Felicity says, stepping closer and looking him in the eye. “Whether you’re in a hood, or a suit…”

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“…you’re the man that I-I…” Oliver freezes and holy shit his face.

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Felicity stops and starts again, never once breaking eye contact.

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“You’re the man that I believe in.”

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A quick beat, and neither is fooled. They both know what she meant to say, and their eyes are locked on each other. Suddenly Felicity gets an alert from Ray that he is ready for her to upload the transponder to a power source. Oliver offers to go with her, but she goes alone, saying it’s adorable how he forgets he’s being tailed, and it’s time he gets some practice letting people help him.

 

Iron Heights. Lance stops by to see Roy, who has signed a confession that doesn’t implicate Thea. He tells him that he knew his obsession with the arrow would bring him to a bad end. “You don’t deserve to be here.” Roy tells him about killing the patrol officer, but Lance isn’t impressed, telling him that his time in there doesn’t make up for any of it. Why is Jail-Roy so hot?

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I’m not being rhetorical here, it is EATING at me.

 

At a power plant, Felicity is looking around for Lord knows what when she runs right into Simmons, dressed as a guard. Back at Palmer, Ray notices that Simmons is drawing power from the same plant Felicity went to. He calls her, and Simmons answers, apologizing that “the blonde can’t come to the phone right now.”

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Oliver ACTUALLY FACEPALMS. I howled. Exasperated Oliver is on my permanent Christmas list.

 

Ray warns him not to hurt her, but now Simmons is the fandom, openly mocking his non-hero-ness. When Simmons hangs up and turns his attention to Felicity, however, she hits a valve nearby and releases steam into his face, and breaks away, running down a corridor.

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Back at Palmer Oliver is already turning away, but Diggle warns him he can’t go. “It’s Felicity!” he says, as if that explains everything and IT DOES. Ray does quick math and says it would take him eight minutes to get there on his Ducati while he can fly. When Oliver warns him he needs more than his tech, Ray figures out a way for his tech to merge with Oliver’s instinct. Ray flies to Felicity while Oliver dons the neural connectors so he is able to remote-control Ray’s movement.

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At the plant, Simmons catches up to Felicity and gets all chokey again. Ray arrives and tells Oliver to “kick his ass”. He forces Felicity to leave and Oliver takes over the fighting. It is truly inspiring to watch Amell punch air, and I need more of it in my life. Eventually, however, Simmons throws Ray into a wall and the neural network is damaged.

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Once Oliver can no longer control his movement, the tide turns and Simmons pummels him. Oliver is shouting him to get up and fight, and because he needs it, he gives him a pep talk about how he put himself in harm’s way to save Felicity, and that is something heroes do.

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In any case it’s motivation enough for Ray to fight back and beat Simmons. Felicity rushes to hug Ray while back at Palmer, Oliver holds his head when he hears her voice.

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He loves her so much, guys. I worry sometimes that when he finally gets a taste of that he might just enter a fugue state and evaporate into a cloud.

 

Iron Heights. Another attempt on Roy’s life. An officer shoves him out of the way, but just when he thinks he is saved, the same officer stabs him in the gut.

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Spoilers, schmoilers. It didn’t dull the pain and at this point I wanted to destroy the CW with fire.

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When Oliver arrives home that night, Lance is on the couch with a crying Thea. “Harper was killed an hour ago,” Lance says, and Oliver gets about-as-ugly-as-he-can-get-crying. FIRE, CW.

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Lance walks out, but not before unloading some guilt on Oliver, frozen in the doorway. “I would say I’m sorry but I think we both know whose fault this is.”

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Later, Oliver is looking through the wreckage of the Foundry when Felicity and Digg show up, exchanging a look. He tells them that he shouldn’t have listened to them. “I might not have been able to save Roy, but I would feel better right now if I tried.”

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John says that he knows he might never forgive them. “I make my own choices, John,” Oliver replies, which is an amazingly generous thing to say to a friend who talked you out of saving another friend who is now dead-but Felicity isn’t talking about the decision not to break Roy out. “he means…forgive us for this.” And Roy walks in.

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I don’t know whether to laugh or break something.

“HOW?” Oliver asks, overcome. Roy came up with a plan to get arrested and had one of Lyla’s A.R.G.U.S. folk special-stab him in a place that would bleed but not be lethal. The blade was laced with a beta-blocker, which simulated death and ta-da! Prison break for Roy, and innocence for Oliver. Oliver points out that they did this without asking him, and Roy answers that he has done the same for them in the past.

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Oliver accepts this with a nod, and then asks the question we are all asking: “What happens to Roy Harper?”

 

That night outside Starling, Roy says goodbye and I am legit crying.

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Colton Haynes started as a character that I could largely take or leave, but where Felicity is the heart, Oliver the brawn and Digg the head, he became the quiet soul of the team-able to be both deadpan blunt and incredibly emotional- and he’ll be missed. Oliver tells Roy that he feels like he is throwing his life away, and Roy says he is starting a new one, asking him to tell Thea he is alive and sorry he couldn’t say goodbye. John tells him “Anywhere, anytime” he needs anything, to call.

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Roy is now openly crying when Felicity says with a smile, “I’ll miss you most of all, scarecrow,” and hugs him.

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She has placed an untraceable satellite phone in his bag and tells him to be ready to get a million calls. Finally, this goddamned pair of noble bastages.

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“Thank you,” Roy tells Oliver. “Thank YOU,” Oliver replies, and they shake hands, these two taciturn men of few words, and there are novels of meaning in the two phrases. Roy gets in his car and drives away as the original Team Arrow stares after him.

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Felicity asks Oliver how angry he is with them on a scale from 1-10, but he is trying, and replies that he needs to start letting people help him. Diggle tactfully walks away to wait in the van, and neither Felicity or Oliver seem to notice he’s gone.

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“I just think sometimes that you are so focused on the people you love,” Felicity says to Oliver as he stares down the road, and she links her arms through his, placing her chin on his shoulder, “that you forget that there are people who love you.” At this, Oliver looks down at the ground and says nothing, and Ray, watching his girlfriend from across the street, realizes why she never said she loved him.

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I have spoken long and hard on my dislike for how Ray is written, but let me point out that if they are going to make this character relatable, human and the kind of superhero that has some sort of insight-scenes like this are invaluable, and that Brandon Routh did more here with a single wrinkle between his eyebrows than any line Ray has had all season. This character has potential, but it’s currently all trapped in an actor who is not getting the sort of characterization that Routh is capable of emoting. I hope to see this change going forward for him in his new show.

 

Another quick insight into the goodbye scene. Roy is in his trademark red hoodie. It is meant to recall the kid he was when Oliver first found him, and it does. Every other character but Felicity is in black. She is in pinks and tans, and in the nighttime in the glare of the street lights, she almost glows, the light in so much darkness, Oliver’s light in his darkest moment. When Ray stares after Oliver, alone, the lights of the buildings behind him are red and blue, the colors of the ATOM suit. Once Felicity is gone, he will find his light in his mission. Kudos to the costume department and director on the lovely visuals.

 

Central City. Ray delivers Simmons to Cisco, and names him “Deathbolt.” These two need more screen time together, as there is clearly a bromance in the air.

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Ray wants to know how the prisoners get fed and how they water the flowers, but Cisco has discovered that Simmons wasn’t in the vicinity of the particle accelerator explosion, so… how can he be a metahuman?

 

Starling City. Thea is looking at pictures of Roy and drinking wine when she feels a presence.

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It is R’as, who is being very anatomically specific about which part of the Demon he is, thank you very much, and that her brother will soon join him.

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Thea denies it, saying that Oliver will kill him, but R’as, unruffled, says, “No. He’s going to beg me,” and catches the knife she throws at him. Thea runs, but he intercepts her, and she does a pretty decent job of fighting him, until R’as throws her into her coffee table and stabs her clear through with his sword, reciting a prayer like he did for Oliver.

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He leaves her there, the broken glass echoing the snow her brother once laid on, both now tinged red with Queen blood.

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GOD DAMN IT.

 

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! For more shenanigans, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv. If you want to read any of my other Arrow stuff, it’s archived here. See you next week for the Olicity Event of the Season: The F*ckening. God help us all.

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FML. Arrow Recap 317, “Suicidal Tendencies”

I actually could not make myself watch this episode again, so now I’m running late and I am just gonna bite the bullet. Forgive me if I gloss over a ton of shit that I just do not care to get into, and an advance warning that this is rampantly anti-Ray. A LOT. I thought about going back and editing some of it out, but I gotta be me-so you’re getting an advance warning. 🙂 If you want to know why I feel this way about this character, read this excellent meta or this one here.

It’s Dyla’s wedding drill! Oliver feels good that he’s early but just like his life in general lately, he’s deluding himself and is actually late. This is an issue because Lyla booked a photo session which he missed, but problem-solver Diggle offers to Photoshop him in.

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Felicity walks in in one hell of a red dress, poses to let her Boo take an eyescape and absentmindedly reaches behind her to pull Ray along.

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We get to see Palmer meet Digg, and the only way it could have ended better is if he snapped his neck and he and Lyla danced their first dance on his corpse like a human bear rug.

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Oliver is on his best behavior, making nice when Digg gets a call. The officiant just got deployed, and OH NOW RAY HAS TO MARRY THEM THAT IS A PERFECTLY NATURAL DEVELOPMENT SHUT IT. Yep, he’s a minister, and he’s coy about why but I don’t care why. Ray cracks jokes, people laugh and find him funny, I don’t get it, and Oliver looks sad and lonely. Wednesday.

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Dyla and Theroy cut a rug while the Arrow writers toss Lauriver a bone. Oliver compliments Laurel’s dress and cast, and she tells him about her new (female) trainer. Oliver wants to ask more but she tells him today isn’t about that. Felicity shows up with the bouquet she caught and Laurel congratulates her and leaves. Felicity and Oliver have a brief convo about her bringing Ray as her plus one, and again, Oliver is supportive and tells her that if she’s happy (”Very,” she lies), then that’s all he’s ever wanted for her: a good guy and a normal life.

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Suddenly the team’s phone alerts all go off and I am mesmerized by Roy’s, who has what seems like an alien abduction going off inside his suit. It’s the news about The Arrow becoming a killer again. Cue double takes!

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Wedding scene: Four whole minutes. Put THAT in your scrapbook.

Later that night and one fabulous costume change from the new Mrs. Diggle, the group gathers in the Foundry to watch what I have to assume is the only TV any of them own. If the mayor speaks we don’ see it. Lance tells the reporters they think it’s The Arrow, Laurel is like “Unsubstantiated, bitches! D.A.’s office takes a hard pass!”

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Then for some reason, Ray speaks. I mean, IN WHAT UNIVERSE?  Like, I am sure I have seen news reports of crimes committed in Washington state, but I have never seen Bill Gates on the news being like, “You guys, I’m gonna take care of this. ON IT.” So basically Ray is like,

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because he’s a genius and I’m sure that makes sense to him, except the premise is ridiculous and NO. But let’s play along with the superhero show.

Felicity is upset because she didn’t see this coming, and the Team think the LoA is behind this, trying to raise public sentiment against the Arrow (so far, so good!). Digg wants to know what he can do, but Oliver is like “What you can do is go to Fiji and get sex drunk, dismissed” and just this once, Diggle prioritizes his family life and he and Lyla leave to get in their limo.

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But they’re not alone in their limo! Amanda Waller has no soul and I think it’s pretty safe to say no idea of romance, because Floyd Lawton is in there, waiting for them. Suicide Squad time!

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They get to A.R.G.U.S. and Amanda gives them their mission: there’s been a terrorist attack at a Kasnian hospital, and US Senator Joseph Cray, whose pet project it was, is caught and needs to be extracted. Digg won’t let Lyla go alone, and when he asks Waller who besides them and Deadshot is going, it’s one of my fave Arrow villains ever: Cupid!

In the Arrow Cave, Oliver is moping the best way he knows how: training shirtless in front of Felicity.

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For once, she doesn’t spare him a glance, plugged into every camera signal she can hack her way into (cover your baby monitors) trying to find “Evil Arrow”. So far, no luck. Roy shows up with info of a huge drug shipment that “Fake Arrow” would likely show at, and although he offers to suit up, he stays behind at Oliver’s request because “It’s the League.”

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SS troops through the woods while Cupid fantasizes about her wedding and the strong babies she and The Arrow would make. Strong AND crazy! Lawton tells the assembly that “love is a bullet to the brain” and people like them don’t get to have families, though Lyla and John disagree.

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When Lyla tells John that the mission only involves getting the senator out, and not the hostages, he asks if that’s her talking, or Waller. Lawton smirks at their disagreement and Digg snaps that he’s not him. “I wasn’t always me, either,” he mutters.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Floyd Lawton shows up home after a military deployment. His wife is happy to see him and introduces him to his adorable daughter, who looks about 3. Lawton tells her that he missed her every day, but the little girl is scared of him. You can see the dismay on his face, and his wife tells him that she just doesn’t know him yet, and needs time. ***END FB***

Oliver is headed to the warehouse, where Felicity has seen the Fake Arrow headed. Oliver gets there in time to shoot an Arrow into his shoulder (just to hold him still!) and unmask him, but it’s not R’as. Two more jump out at him and for a while there, it’s like the beginning to the best slashfic ever. A voice tells Oliver that it’s useless, as when one falls, two more will rise, and it is Maseo. Oliver tells him he can’t believe in murdering all these people to prove a point.

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Turns out Maseo is fine with the murdering, but it’s the semantics that bother him. This is a persuasion, he tells him, because R’as sees something in Oliver. So really, it’s like a bouquet of corpses. Oliver won’t embrace it, and tells Maseo he should know him better. Maseo is like “Ok wevs I kill all day every day it’s all the same, really” and poofs his way out like “C U BRAH”.

That night, Ray is flying around in his Atom suit and catches Oliver on patrol. He scans his face and has software that IDs him.

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The next day Felicity walks into the office and gets called to task by the same self-unaware dumbass who has conned her compliance with whatever ridiculous trick he pulls out his ass almost every scene they’ve been in together since his character debut. I made a personal promise to try not to use a single Ray pic this recap, so you get gifs to express my emotions.

Ray tells Felicity that she is insulting his IQ because of course, this is all about him and what she did to him and how he feels. Not like, MURDERS.

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Now Oliver might be a hardheaded tree, but at least he isn’t a walking spleen like this egocentric load. Hey genius, you never once questioned why your VP was okay with helping YOU make a super suit?

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Ray tells her it all makes sense now, and that he basically x-rayed him with the suit he never told her he got working, and using her facial recognition code he “borrowed” that he ALSO never told her about. MINUTIAE. Dick.

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It doesn’t matter that she vouches that Oliver didn’t kill anyone in almost two years and that she knows him better than almost anyone. What Ray gets from this is that she has feelings for him (which is for his purposes, irrelevant), and even though she follows up her immediate “Yes” with denials and assurances that it’s over, he mocks the idea that he’s “supposed to trust her” now.

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He tells her he hasn’t held anything back from her since the moment they met (UM YOU STOLE HER TECH, he hasn’t even been honest in the last 24 hours), and that he thought they could be partners in his mission and in life (I wonder what designerTHAT dress-bribe would have come from). When Felicity says she wanted that, and still does, it convinces no one. She asks Ray what he’s going to do, and he answers that he’s going to honor the promise he made to the city and “bring the Arrow to justice.” So, add Starling city to the list of things Ray’s about to catfish into long-term commitment. My hate frees me.

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In Kasnia, the Squad moves into the hospital.

***FB ALERT*** In a truly disturbing scene, Lawton makes a bad sandwich. No really, he’s been drinking and shouts at his little girl because she doesn’t want to eat. His wife shows up and points out what we all suspect: he’s not sleeping, drinking too much, and can’t hold a job. She wants him to talk to someone, but instead he erupts into a fit of violence, pulling a gun on her in front of the baby, and when he snaps out of it, horrified, she calls the police on him. ***END FB***

Oliver and Roy are in the Cave comparing the fake vs. real Arrow-arrows (they’re identical) when Felicity comes in and unloads Palmer’s entire season-long character arc in one panicked rant. I am a little jealous of Oliver, because this doesn’t even take 30 seconds. Oliver understandably uses his loud voice to ask when she was going to tell him about someone pissing on his vigilante turf, but she says that’s not what’s important: Palmer is going to tell the police who he is. What are they gonna do?

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At the police station, Ray is telling his theory to Laurel, WHO I GUESS IS THE POLICE NOW? I mean, I’m just a caveman here but don’t you report crimes to actual cops? For all the good it does him. Laurel tells him Oliver was exonerated two years ago, calls his digital images unreliable and his testimony “uncorroborated.” Ray then proves once more that there is no belt to low under which to hit by bringing up that she is defending Oliver because they dated and are old friends. Laurel’s face here is gold.

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Also creepy: how does Ray know she trained with Ted Grant? Does he just randomly data-mine? He guesses she is the Black Canary, too. He is like a . In any case, Laurel basically tells him to f*ck off in legalese, and he says he’ll “just have to seek out justice on [his] own” because he really is a self-entitled sh*t. I love me some Brandon Routh, but I have never wanted to watch a hero fail harder in my life.

Kasnia.The senator tells one of the hostages that everything will be okay. The SS shoots their way in, killing all the bad guys, and Lyla tells him that they are there to get him. He gets upset, saying that this isn’t how it should have happened, and pulls a gun on them, because they shouldn’t have come. All hell breaks loose as more men show up to fight them, and Lawton tackles Cutter, taking a bullet for her. This leads to a great scene where Cutter transfers her affections to him, and he considers dying as an alternative. When Diggle goes to treat his bullet wound, he sees Lawton’s tattoo, and the name of his brother.

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Lyla tries to radio out, but her signal is jammed by Sen. Cray. It turns out the kidnappers are mercenaries he hired to stage the hostage situation so he could defuse it and become a hero, then run for President.Now the hostages are witnesses, and he needs to erase the evidence, starting with them.

Ray is in his office smirking with self-satisfaction when Oliver walks in with his hands in his pockets because OLIVER HAS BALLS THE SIZE OF MOUNTAINS, Y’ALL. He responds to Ray’s smug “Arrow” with “Super-suit” and it is so perfect I want to take the writer who wrote that to a nice steak dinner. It turns out Oliver booked an appointment specifically to broadcast how few fucks he gives about the fact that Ray is hunting him. He heard from Laurel, and tells Ray that he didn’t kill those people, which Ray says Felicity told him, but he scoffs at the idea of an impersonator, saying he “hates it when that happens.”

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He once again hits below the belt by insinuating that Oliver is unhinged because of his “5 years on a deserted island,” and Oliver admirably doesn’t react, saying only that Felicity told him the truth, and he “should trust her judgement.” Ray says he can’t do that, because his FREAKING MASSIVE GENIUS of a girl’s brain was broken by her “emotional attachment” to Oliver and she doesn’t see him for what he is: magma-hot millionaire crime-fighter.

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Oliver again chooses not to engage, telling him he has “no idea what the city is up against,” and as he walks out, Ray says something that’s supposed to be ominous but isn’t because he might as well be wearing diapers now.

Kasnia. Digg and Lyla are in a room watching the building be rigged with explosives. The mercs mean to bomb the building and leave the senator as a lone survivor. Lyla questions what they are doing, and at John’s assertion that they accepted a mission like soldiers, reminds him that they are also parents.

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She tears up at the possibility of orphaning their baby girl, and Digg admits Lawton may have been right. At that moment Lawton and Cutter come through the hall. When Lyla tells Lawton they won’t make it out, he looks at her tear-stained face and tells her that they will, and she and John will go home to their daughter.

***FB ALERT*** Lawton is in jail, and gets a visit from a nameless woman (a ‘drone’ from a ‘hive’) who is posting his bail in exchange for his “skills,” i.e., killing people. At first he refuses on account of his family, but upon finding out that his wife has a restraining order on him and that he will never see her or his daughter again, he takes his first assignment: Andrew Diggle. ***END FB***

At the Foundry, Felicity sits, exhausted and on edge when Oliver comes back in. He tells her it didn’t go well, and that Ray is “stubborn” (at which Felicity rightly scoffs) and “unstable” (same thing, but not so rightly this time) and Oliver tries to impress on her that he built himself a suit to seek out a killer, and that’s not normal.

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Oliver comments that “He’s gonna be next,” and Felicity tiredly comments that he would like that. Oliver recoils (”Excuse me?”) and they settle in for the no-holds-barred type of fight you have when you are truly at the end of your rope and stop watching what you say. It’s heartbreaking, raw, and not a little overdue. Felicity tells him that he never wanted her to be with Ray, and all the talk about wanting her to be happy “was just talk.” Oliver says that it’s not true, and that he meant what he said-until he found out Ray was like him, a person with a um, crime-fighting vocation. “You deserve better,” he says gruffly, his voice breaking on the last word, and although he is hurt and speaking from the heart, so is she, and she calls him out.

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“What I deserve is to be with someone who isn’t scared of being happy,” Felicity says. The blow is surgically precise and it hits the mark.

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Oliver turns away from her, and she pushes what she thinks is her advantage: that Ray told her that he wanted a partner in his work, his mission, and his life, and he wants to be “a hero AND a human being.” Oliver’s face hurts me, y’all, because he does want all those things, but let’s face it: this is one pragmatic sonofabitch, and not a SINGLE. DAMN. THING. in his life so far has shown him it is possible to love someone (with the exception of John) in his hero life without things going tits up, and he just isn’t willing to risk her. He takes his opening, and with such uncharacteristic bitterness that it makes me shudder, says that it’s because Ray hasn’t realized yet “that he can’t be.”

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He looks at her right in the eye and reminds her that he never said he didn’t want to be with her. “I said I couldn’t be with you AND save the city…and neither can Ray. He’s just too new at this to know it yet.” OUCH YOU GUYS. They have served the truth tea to each other and it is bitter.

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A beeping on Felicity’s screen interrupts them, and Oliver asks her to have Roy meet him (I guess it’s okay now for Roy to fight LoA?) at Maseo’s probable next target, a power plant.

At the power plant, Roy reports no one there, and he’s kind of right. It’s just Ray in his super-suit, saying things that I don’t care about and blasting them with whatever the hell. Oliver shoots at him but the arrows bounce off. Ray blasts Roy into a fence, knocking him out.

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Another blast knocks Oliver over, but when he is about to gloat his victory, Oliver takes a flechette and kills his power, incapacitating him. Oliver holds him at arrow-point and says that he asked him to back off, and he didn’t. Ray says to go ahead and kill him, show Felicity the kind of man he really is.

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Oliver immediately puts his bow down and says that he “has nothing to prove to her, but you do. She chose you, so trust her.” He helps Ray up, turns his back and walks away because I guess Roy can find his own way home. Damn, Oliver. At least throw a blanket on the kid.

Kasnia. The Senator is apologizing to the people he’s about to kill when Digg, Lyla and Cutter come bursting in the door. He threatens to blow them up, but then notices there are only three of them as Lawton starts shooting from the roof. They evacuate the hostages and run out, but when Cutter asks how Lawton is getting out, he confesses he isn’t, and reassures John that he and Lyla will get back to their daughter, but he needs to cover their escape. As the timer counts down, Lawton takes out a picture of his family and is looking at it when the building blows up.

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Felicity shows up at Palmer’s office and there’s the obligatory pat “I’m totally sorry about not trusting you when I should have trusted you” apology and she asks him if he was sincere about the partner thing. Of course he is, because this is absolutely not like those scenes in horror movies where a couple says they’ll be together forever and then 5 min later one of them is beheaded. Nope.

At Casa Diggle, Lyla tells John that Sen. Cray paid off the hostages. John confesses that he is quitting Team Arrow, because of Sara. Lyla says that he is doing good work, not like her with Waller and that she resigned from A.R.G.U.S. because she wants Sara to be proud of her. “I’m proud of you,” John says, and they hug.

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In the Foundry, Felicity is literally smelling the roses when Oliver walks in. She is leaving for a meeting Ray has with the mayor, but not before she gives him a kiss on the cheek and thanks him for proving her right.

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There is pretty much ZERO animosity on Felicity’s part after what became a pretty heated discussion. Why is that? Oliver has proven to Ray (and through him to her, although he claimed she didn’t need it) that he is a man of his word, and that he respects her decisions. Now that he knows what Ray is, Oliver doesn’t agree with her choice, but he trusts in her to work it out. Felicity can’t help but to take note of this and store it away for future reference. And for Oliver’s part, he now knows that Felicity is wholeheartedly committed to the idea of being a full life-partner to a hero, and that she will do it even if the hero is not him, and that’s got to be food for thought as well. A definite corner, subtly turned.

John walks in and when he asks Oliver what he missed, Oliver says, “Oh, not much,” AND HE IS RIGHT. They must have touched base before he came back in, because Oliver knew he was in Kasnia, and about Lawton. Diggle briefly tells him that he was right, and that doing what they do “having loved ones at home is complicated,” as he pours them vodka from Oliver’s stash.

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I missed his response my first two viewings, but Oliver answers “The things that matter always are,” and I can practically hear the water smoothing this particular stone. The two partners toast, “To Floyd Lawton.“ Digg asks if he found his impostor, and that they need to do so before he arrows any more criminals. “Or before he starts putting them in innocent people,“ Oliver answers.

At the mayor’s office, Laurel, Lance, and Felicity listen to Ray tell the Mayor that he “has it on good authority” that the Arrow was set up. I am not really sure why Felicity has to be there, but that’s because I am STILL not sure why Ray is there. Neither is Lance, who gripes about Laurel’s suggestion to call a press conference.

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As the Mayor tells them she is tired of listening to them, she gets an arrow through the heart and I am a little jealous, because she doesn’t have to sit through any more Raylicity. We see Maseo in a building across the way, dressed in a green Arrow hood and aiming through the window-straight at Felicity.

Save

‘Bout GD time. Arrow Recap E316, “The Offer”

In under the wire guys! Sorry so late, RL kicked my ass this week.

We pick up where we left off, with Oliver being surprised by the offer to become the Head and the torso and the entire superlative body of the Demon.

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He mutters to himself as Oliver is untied, something along the lines of “The people that made that shirt really knew what they were doing.” Just kidding ha ha, it is an old phrase that means “The tale to be told begins thus”, and was spoken to him by the man whose place he took, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

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They walk down a hallway and R’as stops a duel to tell one of the students what they did wrong. You can tell Oliver is surprised he didn’t kill them, but R’as points out that “all men need guidance”. When Oliver interprets this as the fact that his followers have to kill for him, R’as clears it up by saying that no, they have to die for him.

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They sit at a table with a banquet laid out, and Oliver is not impressed. R’as says it’s pretty much an FYI, and proceeds to lay out his case: Men have called Oliver a murderer, and a torturer, but he would never be so blunt. He sees the struggle in Oliver’s eyes between his dual identities, and points out that “Oliver Queen is a man destined to be alone.”

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He mentions that he loves a woman he cannot have, and right away Oliver interjects, saying that R’as doesn’t know him. R’as points out that he knows The Arrow, “Al-Sahim”, and that the people he saves will never think of him as more than a vigilante, and that his city will turn on him, the police will call him a criminal, and that he will be “scorned, hunted, and then killed”, dying as he began, alone.

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You want to think that Oliver would know enough to remain stoic, but no one, not even Diggle or Felicity, has ever hit him up with such a dispassionate list of his fears. R’as’ is ticking off his greatest insecurities, and we see it in his eyes. The idea that this man can read him so easily is almost as distressing to him as the idea of what he is offering.

Back at the Foundry, Thea is trying to get Nyssa to kill her, but Nyssa’s all ‘thanks but no thanks,” saying that the blood debt ends with Malcolm’s death, which she is sure her father has already taken care of.

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Laurel and Roy come down the stairs, and attack Nyssa to protect Thea. Roy knocks her out with a tranq dart, and when he asks Thea how she got out, she’s all ‘IDK, maybe League training’ and skedaddles out.

Back in Nanda Parbat, it’s storytime ft. R’as, Oliver, and the Lazarus Pit. R’as tells Oliver that the waters have allowed him to live well past his time, but that they are losing their effect on him, and that when he survived death by his own free will, without its help, he proved that he was a worthy successor.

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Oliver is all ungrateful and doesn’t want to “become an instrument of death,” but R’as points out that he could save the world if he wanted, not only one city. As it turns out, the League is loyal to their leader, no matter his credo, and if Oliver-as-R’as told them to stop killing, then they would. Oliver asks what would happen if he says no, and as a gesture of goodwill, R’as allows him to leave with Diggle and Malcolm, “all debts forgiven and all blood oaths waived.”

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With a final glance at the Pit, Oliver tells the men, “Let’s go home,” and they walk out.

That night at their apartment, Thea is the fandom when she tells Oliver that they need to stop having these “Thank God you aren’t dead” moments.

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Oliver reassures his sister there isn’t a scratch on him. When she asks how, he looks at Malcolm laid out on her couch, and she is both surprised he got out and upset that R’as didn’t kill him. She tells Oliver he can’t stay there, but he replies that there is no other place he can take him, and that he isn’t asking for her to pity or forgive him- just to let him heal.

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Oliver walks back into Verdant and dodges Diggle’s attempt to be specific about why they were allowed to leave Nanda Parbat, basically telling him that they should just be happy to be back and alive. Oliver is like St. Peter, he only answers something after you ask it three times.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** I’m gonna deviate from the usual and just summarize the entire flashback in one go. Oliver takes Akio to the Botanical Gardens to try to find his folks, and they are found by the people looking for his parents. As Oliver tries to escape with the boy, he runs into a woman who looks exactly like Shado. ***END FB***

Oliver and Diggle walk into the lair, and Oliver ignores Laurel and tells Felicity that Malcolm is still alive, right before he opens the door to Nyssa’s cage and tells her she’s free to go.

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Laurel should just write your questions down on a piece of paper and have Felicity ask them. Nyssa doesn’t believe her father would trade her life for Oliver or Malcolm. “He didn’t,” Oliver says, loquacious as always, and tells her to go home. Both Laurel and Felicity start to question him, but he snaps that it doesn’t matter and eye-begs Felicity until she pulls up a crime in progress.

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At least you can always count on something awful happening in Starling City.

That something awful is a robbery of an armored truck by trigger-happy guys in masks, one of who has his lips sewn shut for no reason other than it looks scary, because no way do I think this dude gives a flaming f*ck about meditation. The baddies are surprised by Roy, Oliver and Laurel, but escape with a diamond shipment because it’s hard to catch the bad guy when you have to keep saving one of the ‘heroes.’

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Oliver drops off the criminals he did capture at Captain Lance’s, but is surprised to find out that he knows he lied to him about Sara, and he’s really, really ticked about it. Lance tells The Arrow that the idea of knowing right from wrong was precious to him, and he knew vigilantism was wrong, but he threw his lot in with The Arrow because he trusted him.

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But now he sees the man he is, and he “lies so he doesn’t have to carry around the weight of his decisions,” and Lance is done with him.  If he’s ever done with the law, he should look into psychology because HIS ANALYSIS IS ON FLEEK.

Roy & Felicity are at the office geek-bonding. Felicity is hanging playfully onto Ray’s arm while he tries to figure out how she solved a problem he couldn’t.

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Oliver sees them, composes himself and knocks, and when Felicity looks up and sees them, she jumps back like a woman who just realized the love of her life is watching her rebound hard with a human asterisk.

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Oliver’s voice is so deep when he greets Ray it’s like he underwent a second adolescence just for that purpose. Ray seems surprised by his request to speak to Felicity, but he leaves them alone. Felicity apologizes for not telling Oliver about them, but he tells her she doesn’t owe him anything. “That’s not true. You’re one of my closest friends,” she replies.

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Just like that, with a smile and a deep sigh, we have a detente on the Olicity Wars of 2015, and I for one couldn’t be happier. Oliver and Felicity need conflict to grow, and they are bound to clash every so often, being each the yin to the other’s yang. However, the moments where they demonstrate their faith and trust in each other are the lifeblood of this relationship. That’s the long version, The short version is it gets damned old and depressing watching them fight for almost a whole season, so FUCK YES ARMISTICE.

Oliver tells Felicity about the man with the scarecrow mouth, and she brings up a rap sheet for Micheal Amar, “Murmur”. She notices Oliver is on edge, and she gets him to tell her what Lance said to him, “some variation of go to Hell.” She tries to comfort him, but he says that the Captain is right, had every right to know, and he lied to him for months. Felicity steps in close to his body, her Green-Arrowy-senses tingling as she tells him she has a feeling something else is going on with him, besides Lance and her ‘thing’ with Ray.

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She places her hands on his forearms, and whether it’s the touch alone or the fact that this is the exact same place she held on to him when they kissed, Oliver pulls back abruptly in an echo of her earlier withdrawal from Ray.

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With a smile faker than a flashback wig, he thanks her for her help and leaves her with her hand up in the air where his arm was, just as she left him after their kiss.

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Also, an Arrow writer comes out at this point wearing a mankini and shouts “ECHO!” just in cast you didn’t get the parallel.

Laurel shows up at the Queen’s apartment to see Thea Malcolm and compare father-drama.

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Malcolm, who was awake on the couch the entire visit, gets to hear her non-apology, along with a confession that she was willing to die because of what he made her do. She tells him that she hurts more than she did when they met, and he does the fatherly thing and urges her to kill him-but quickly-because Malcolm Merlyn doesn’t want to suffer or anything.

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In yet more father drama, Nyssa finds out that R’as asked Oliver to be his heir. Nyssa claims that he never approved of Sara, but R’as says what he didn’t really approve of was her weakness.

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Then, because 75% of the people on this show are either active or recovering homicidal maniacs, Nyssa tries to resolve this by good ol’-fashioned patricide.  R’as stops her blade with his hand, and when she tearfully tells him she will not stand there and see her legacy handed to a stranger, R’as responds “Don’t” because if R’as ever gave a fuck, it got washed off and the wound healed over immediately, like his hand does in the Pit.

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Back in the Arrow Cave, Digg, Oliver and Roy discuss why Amar wanted to steal industrial-grade diamonds, and when Digg suggests asking Felicity to help, Oliver says she’s ‘preoccupied’ like someone who is caught up in a momentary problem that they are trying to get out of, WHICH IS ACCURATE. Roy offers to ask around in The Glades, and takes off. Once they are alone, Oliver finally caves and tells Diggle that R’as predicted that the city would abandon him, and he would die alone. Now that Lance is shutting him out and he sees “Felicity with Palmer,“ he feels like he saw into his future.

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When Diggle tells him that it’s a mindf*ck and asks why, Oliver tells him about his proposal to become the next Demon’s Head. Digg can’t believe that Oliver would accept, but R’as made a pretty compelling argument about the difference he could make, and Oliver has obviously been thinking about it.

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My take: It’s not only that Lance is angry and Felicity is “temporarily unavailable” (props to whoever wrote that line for John), but that R’as managed to shake the bedrock upon which he has isolated himself: his belief that the sacrifice of his personal life is making a difference.

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If this belief isn’t true, then all his pain has not bought him or his city anything measurable in return, and his life holds no meaning. True to form, any call to self-analysis causes Oliver to RUN AWAAAY, and R’as knows it. Why spend time troubleshooting when he can just escalate the escapism to the next level and parkour into a whole new identity?  I totally get why Digg does this.

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In the end, Oliver says, if he can’t be himself, and the Arrow isn’t making a difference, maybe he should be R’as Al Ghul.

Oliver comes home to check if Thea killed Malcolm yet, and they talk while Malcolm listens from the couch. Thea doesn’t recognize herself anymore, and only the thought of Moira kept her from killing him.  Even though Oliver reassures her that she is nothing like Malcolm, she says one thing is true: both she and her father are broken.

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She leaves, and Malcolm and Oliver discuss Malcolm’s parenting, and Ra’s offer. It turns out Malcolm suspected this was the case, as there is a prophecy that states that “the man who doesn’t perish at the blade of R’as Al Ghul’s will become the next R’as Al Ghul,” and he warns Oliver that he shouldn’t delude himself into thinking he has a choice on whether or not to accept.

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At the Foundry, Oliver walks in to find Felicity waiting. He thanks her for being there, and she takes a moment to let him know that even if she and Ray “may be something”, she still believes in what they do and she is committed to it. Translation?

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She coyly asks about his own commitment, since John told her of R’as’ offer, and that he might be considering it. Oliver points out that he, at one time, was also an assassin, and that there is “more than one path to justice.”

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Felicity asks how he knows he isn’t already on the correct path, and he expresses all the same doubts he did to John about The Arrow not making a difference, linting the people he’s lost and how Thea’s in “ten different kinds of pain.”

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Felicity counters, “So you leave? Then what?”, which is THE MOST succinct counterargument anyone can ever make to Oliver and everyone in his life should just tattoo it on their wrists and flash it during arguments.

Oliver finally admits to her that he just doesn’t know why he is doing it any more, and she tells him that while she can’t give him the answer, she doesn’t think he became the Arrow so people would say “thank you.” She also curiously points out two things he didn’t mention to her personally at all: Lance shutting him out, and dying alone. Oh Digg, way to stand in for the fandom, son! Felicity acknowledges that they are not together, but it’s because of his choice.

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As for the reason they do what they do, she says, that’s a question that they all struggled with when they thought he was gone- and now it’s just his turn.

 

Digg and Roy come back with a lead on the diamonds, and Felicity promises to contact Lance, but he’s not picking up. Laurel shows up at his office and asks her to “just let her have it” but not imagine for a minute that she will give up on them.

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Lance tells her that he knows she tries to save the world, but he doesn’t know if she can save their relationship. He’s thought long and hard about it, and even though he loves her, he doesn’t know if he can forgive her.

Suddenly, they hear shots, and Lance reaches out to pull Laurel down. Outside the station, Murmur is shooting the place up. Felicity tells Oliver and Roy, who head for the station. Lance tells Laurel to run, but she won’t leave him. He retorts that “just because [she] thinks she’s some kind of hero” doesn’t mean he won’t protect his daughter.

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Laurel does run, but ends up being attacked in the hall. Nyssa arrives to save her and Laurel sends her after Lance, and Oliver and Roy show up soon after. In the alley outside the station, Oliver manages to knock Murmur unconscious, and Lance asks him why he is waiting around, and if it’s because he needs a thank you. “That’s not why I do this,” Oliver retorts, and rappels out like a boss.

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Back at the Foundry, Oliver thanks Felicity and tells her she was right, and Digg and Roy considerately exit so they can talk.

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The Flirt is off the charts as she saunters over and he tells her that at first he embarked on his crusade for his father, but had not stopped to think of why until she asked him to. Then that night at the precinct, he thought of how the officers and how their families counted on him and the team to come home safe, and that is why.

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Felicity asks if this means “a pass on becoming the most handsome Demon’s Head ever”? Oliver ALMOST smiles and says that he’s not ready to give up on what they’re doing. Felicity reminds Oliver of how he is always telling her that he just wants her to be happy, and with a smile that rivals his at the end of “The Climb,” says that “The thing is, as long as you’re in my life, I am.” He and Felicity then proceed to make not only sweet eyeball love for four full seconds, but to have what really feels like a whole eyeball rom-com.

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That is, until some asshole named R.Palmer calls and c*ckblocks my fun.

Outside the station, Laurel leaves to find Nyssa waiting for her. It turns out both women are having Daddy issues and Missing Dead Sara issues, so they decide to have a bite to eat and begin a chickmance. Platonic? Romantic? Who cares! I am HERE for this.

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Bonus: Nyssa will teach Laurel not to suck. Win-win! I’ve heard some folks speak out against this ship, but I am ON IT. These two women are going through the same issues and share many of the same problems. Even if it never goes romantic, I am all for something that makes Laurel less annoying and more palatable and gives Katrina Law something to play other than “fierce as sh*t,” which she has already mastered.

In the meantime, Oliver meets Maseo and formally rejects R’as offer despite his warning that the decision is already made, and that there are consequences. When Oliver asks if it’s a threat, he says it’s just “the will of R’as Al Ghul.”

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Speaking of ships that share the same issues, Roy is at home pretending to read when someone knocks on his door. He is ready to lead poison them to death with a pencil, but It’s Thea, who is feeling lost and wants to stay with him a while.

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She hugs him for comfort and when they pull apart, she kisses him. Roy, who knows when to deviate from his mentor’s teachings, is IN.

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Somewhere in what looks like the Glades, a figure that looks like the Arrow shoots one of the men who helper Murmur steal the diamonds. He tells one of the survivors to “tell everyone” what he saw, and when the camera pans to where we can see his face, it’s R’as Al Ghul.

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Consequences, indeed.

 

Like it? Want to read past eps? Here’s a link to my masterpost!

Welp… Arrow Recap E315, “Nanda Parbat”

R’as is busy soaking the leather so it’s pliable when his daughter wanders in to tell him something he already knows, namely that Oliver is alive and didn’t kill Sara.

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Nyssa brings up that her father never approved of Sara, but R’as says it’s because he always knew she’d get the romantic shaft. Nyssa tells him even if Oliver didn’t kill her, he defied him and should die.

Verdant is ‘closed for repairs’ and in the basement, Malcolm fights both Queens at once and eats a sandwich and does his taxes.

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I
get it, he’s good. He criticizes Oliver training with a bow for a sword
fight and I’m sure there’s a euphemism in there. Thea tells him off,
but not as awesomely as Digg does, who tells Malcolm straight
up not to speak to him.

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As Malcolm and Oliver argue about whether or not
to stay in the loft (Thea wants to, so they will), Laurel
walks over to Thea to tell her her fighting style reminds her of Sara, and you can pretty much hear Thea’s internal crying.

Diggle
catches Oliver alone to ask him if he is sleeping and Oliver is all
I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD which at this point is every Wednesday circa
7pm.

***FLASHBACK
ALERT***General Shrieve debriefs Oliver and tells him that Amanda
Waller and A.R.G.U.S. are off the Omega cleanup, and that he
can return to Japan with the Yamashiros and from there to anywhere he
likes, thanking him for his service. It’s such a polite exchange that you know it’s gonna go to hell.

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***END FB***

Thea sits at the
bar at Verdant and comes clean to Roy, despite being told not to talk to
anyone. Do you, Ms. Queen. Roy tells her in turn about killing the police officer under
the Mirakuru and how he wishes he didn’t know, though it gets easier.

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Thea doesn’t think it should, and points out he doesn’t have to see the cop’s family every day.

At Ray’s apartment, Felicity
shows
up because he hasn’t been to work in a week and someone probably called
the police because of the smell.

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He can’t get the suit to
work and won’t sleep or eat because obsessive superheros are
Felicity-bait. He says he needs to focus and asks her to go.

Laurel
leaves a message for her father, who we can assume is not speaking to
her because OH YEAH YOU LIED TO HIM FOR MONTHS ABOUT YOUR DEAD SISTER
OMFG LET THE MAN PROCESS. Thea shows up and tells her the truth about
her role in Sara’s death.

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To Laurel’s credit she doesn’t immediately
make this about herself, telling Thea that if she didn’t get a say in her
involvement up to this point, she certainly can do so going forward, and
that she doesn’t need to feel obligated to work with Merlyn.

At the Foundry, Laurel
shows up and tricks Oliver into admitting that he knew about Thea’s
part in Sara’s death, calling him out on how easily he lies to her.

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I
can’t hate here, they are both right. Laurel is hurt that he didn’t stop
to think of how protecting Merlyn reads for her (not good), and Oliver that she
won’t understand that he’s acting on behalf of a sister that
he still has a chance to save. When Laurel tells him that it’s hard to
remember a time she loved him, I don’t even want to cheer.

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Even if the
character has annoyed me endlessly, she was at the very least a
supporter and a friend, someone who had faith in him, and Oliver is burning these bridges pretty quickly.

Oliver
comes home to confront his sister, only to find
that the danger he keeps bringing up to her no longer exists. Thea
proved her bloodline on both sides by making a strategic move: turning
Malcolm in to the League.

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Anyone who underestimates her, Oliver
included, needs to remember that Ms. Queen is ICE COLD when crossed.

In an alley, Laurel is
dumb enough to think she could get the drop on Malcolm. He both
physically and mentally slays her, making fun for thinking she
could “dispatch him with a stick”.

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She denies it, pulling out a gun, but
never gets to use it on him. LoA members drop from above, and Nyssa
tells Laurel to step aside. I love how no one calls her Canary despite
being in full regalia. Malcolm tries to fight Nyssa, but she bests him.
As he is dragged away, unconscious, Nyssa’s all ‘I got this’ to Laurel. Maybe she can still catch a movie or something.

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Back

in the Cave, Oliver walks in AAAAALLL ticked off, looking for Laurel.
I may or may not have replayed his anger strut several time. Laurel
tells him she didn’t give a damn about him saying that Merlyn
was off-limits, and he finally lets her have it. He lies to her, he
says,
because she makes decisions based on her emotions, and that will get
her killed.

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Sure it’s criticism of Laurel, but it’s even better insight
into Oliver. She is committing what in his eyes is THE cardinal sin of
superhero-dom:
putting her own desires ahead of the common good. Oliver cares deeply,
but he acts strategically-you could mistake
it for a lack of emotion, but it isn’t: it’s discipline, honed
by hard
years and hard circumstances. Fighting technique is the least of
Laurel’s problems, frankly. She isn’t a hero yet because her motives are
selfish, and her personal desires trump everything else around her.
She’s got to undergo a radical change of attitude before she can wear
that suit with anything but irony, IMHO.

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So
Merlyn is captured, and while
Laurel is satisfied with the status quo, Oliver knows his
next step is rescuing Merlyn so Thea is not responsible for his death.
Felicity and Laurel both object, but Oliver explains himself to Felicity
saying that Thea acted out of anger, and there would be no coming
back from being responsible for her father’s death. When he says that
the guilt would “eat away at  her until there’s nothing left,” he’s not
just hypothesizing, and they both know it. “Please,” he says quietly,
and when
Felicity says she will help, he closes his eyes in relief. Ugh, my
heart.

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Laurel, who heard the same thing he just told Felicity, thinks Oliver is out of his mind and he snaps at her that she
doesn’t need to be there. In all fairness, she never really needed to be there. She just keeps showing up.

Felicity finds out that Starling Aviation’s cameras just went dark, and Oliver heads out to investigate.

***FB
ALERT*** Oliver and the Yamashiros are on the docks getting ready to
leave for Japan on a boat Oliver hates when Maseo notices they’ve been
set up and starts shooting while everyone else takes cover. Honorable
mention here to Stephen Amell’s jeans.

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BLESS. ***END FB***

On an
airstrip, Malcolm faces Nyssa and decides to deploy some psychological
warfare.
He tells her that her relationship with Sara cost her the
chance to succeed her father, and she must know it.

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Oliver shows up to
save Malcolm, and though he manages to neutralize and capture Nyssa, her
Assassins get a fighting Merlyn onto a helicopter and take off.
Proving that swordsmanship isn’t the only thing they teach in Nanda
Parbat, Nyssa takes the opportunity to rub her victory in Oliver’s face.

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Back

at the Foundry, Nyssa meditates in her cage while Oliver explains to
the team that
even if R’as won’t trade her for Merlyn, she is still a source of
information and leverage. He politely asks for the room, letting others
assume he will torture the location of Nanda Parbat out of her.

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He asks
twice, but no
one leaves the room until John tells them to because FYES DIGG. Before
he leaves, Diggle tells
Oliver he can’t save Thea’s soul at the price of his own, and really,
everyone else can just leave because John is everything. Alone with his prisoner, Oliver knows torture isn’t necessary. Nyssa wants
him to go to Nanda Parbat, confident that once he gets there he will be
killed for obstructing Malcolm’s capture and she is pretty okay with
that.

Upstairs
the team looks at their new security and Felicity lets slip to Laurel
about the jail on Lian Yu.

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Oliver pops in with the location info and why
Nyssa gave it to him, and they all list reasons why they think going is
a bad idea. Roy doesn’t think a brother’s death would guilt Thea any
less than a father’s, Laurel is
angry at him but not enough to want him on a suicide mission, and
Felicity cautions him that the last time he went not-meaning-to-die’ing
he
actually did die.

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Oliver looks around and notices that John
has yet to give an opinion. Diggle asks everyone to leave them alone,
and the look on this poor baby’s face when she realizes she is not being
taken into account on this decision is just UGH.

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My heart
breaks for Felicity, who wants so badly to feel important and heard. You
can tell by her face as she leaves that she takes note of the fact that
she is not included in a conversation that she previously would have
been part of.
Once alone, Digg tells Oliver that he understands his reasons for going,
but he
feels like there is something else at play. Oliver denies it, saying it
is all about Thea, and of course that means he is lying because he used
oxygen to make words.

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At Ray’s apartment, he can’t access the Palmer Tech
server because Felicity, eager to save SOMEONE from a bad decision, has
locked the servers until he gets some sleep and takes a shower. Ray’s
too tired to argue, so he says OK.

At Casa Diggle, Baby Sara is
still precious and Lyla is still a BAMF.

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When John tells her Oliver is
going to Nanda Parbat, she knows that as a soldier, it goes against his
grain to let his friend go into battle alone. She generously tells
Diggle
that she doesn’t want to see him blame himself if something were to
happen to Oliver and tells him to go with him.

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Just a moment to point
out that this is what acceptance and support of your partner looks like,
folks. You gotta know and love what you have. Diggle asks to borrow the
A.R.G.U.S. jet.

At Verdant, Ollie tries to sneak out when Thea
catches him, thanks to both Roy and Laurel snitching. She is afraid he will die, but
he tells her that he is doing it for her, to spare her the guilt of
knowing that her actions caused her father’s death. “Both of our parents
are dead because of me,” he says, and he doesn’t want that for
her.

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Despite the fact that she begs him in tears, he smiles and says he
will be back as soon as he can, and leaves. Hero, guys. Greater good.

Outside
Verdant, Diggle waits for Oliver to tell him he has a jet waiting, and
when Oliver mentions that he couldn’t ask him to come, Diggle points out
that he didn’t. If Oliver is Starling’s hero, John Diggle is Oliver
Queen’s hero.

In Nanda Parbat, R’as pontificates and Merlyn
begs for his life. Seriously, what is Arabic for bitch-ass? Even The
Demon’s Head is all, ‘Dude. Have some dignity.’

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He tells Malcolm that he
can only pay in suffering and blood, and that he will not enjoy
watching it. Malcolm gets dragged away, and he doesn’t go quietly.

Felicity
wanders around Ray’s apartment when he comes out of the shower.

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He
thanks her for taking care of him and pretty much sets about validating
every aspect of her personality that she feels Oliver slights: her
judgement, her ability to call him on his BS, and finally echoes the
magical words that Oliver once said to her on that date so long ago: he
sees her as a person. He doesn’t even get to finish his sentence before
she launches herself at him. She pulls away and apologizes, but he’s in
and it’s on.

I know the Raylicity sex upset some people and visual aids always help me, so let me draw this out for you.

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Because

that is EXACTLY what is going
on. Palmer is getting the poison out with a trusted friend and Felicity
is scratching an itch she got from too much fern cuddling. That’s IT. As
a matter of fact, feel free to imagine a cardboard cutout of Oliver
right next to Felicity every time they interact from now until the
inevitable breakup. They will likely try to give this a go in the
interest of not admitting that neither of them is the least bit
interested in a relationship with each other and dragging out the
Olicity angst, but the Ray character is problematic in so many ways, and
this only makes the situation worse. I don’t blame Felicity-he is
attractive and she’s lonely and single, but don’t expect me for a moment
to think she caught feelings: Ray is such a hard rebound they should
award his ass
points. So they sleep together, and I’m glad she got a workout but I
didn’t even flinch, it is such a non-event emotionally as to be
laughable. There was more emotion in the one long look she shared with
Oliver than in the entire sex scene.

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As long as I’m talking about it, let me take a moment
to address the other half of this ship. Now Olicity is my endgame, and
yes, I believe that they love each other but even though it’s a worthy
goal to love and be loved, I honestly don’t think it is the motivating
factor in character growth, nor should it be-especially Oliver’s. If the
theme of the season is identity, then love is more the icing than the
cake itself, as well it should be. The thing
about love-and I can say this because I am old and I know
the songs are true-the greatest love of all is inside of you.
Oliver
loves deeply, and truly, and he is committed past all reason to
everyone…except himself. Until Oliver realizes that his inner life is
worth the care and time investment that he puts into his crime-fighting
life, there will be no happiness for him, with Felicity or anyone
else.

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His entire identity is wrapped up in an ideal he keeps (in
his own mind) falling short of, and while he forgives and understands
others (Laurel, Roy) who on occasion fall short, he doesn’t allow
himself the same benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, nothing
will happen without that faith in himself, without the belief that his
happiness is as worthy an investment as the happiness of others.  It
can’t be Felicity, or Thea, or the memory of his dead parents, or John
Diggle or any other person he cares about. It comes down to the basic
truth that one has to love themselves first before they can love anyone
else. You have to feel that you merit love, that you deserve
fulfillment. Only Oliver
Queen can keep his light on. He’s not there yet by a long shot, but when
he does, the rest will fall into place as easily as breathing.

In
Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Digg fail to get the jump on the guards, and
race inside to try to save Malcolm before R’as finds out they are there.

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***FB
ALERT***Oliver covers the Yamashiros as they run to a truck nearby in
an effort to escape what has become a full shootout. ***END FB***

Laurel
visits Nyssa, who has some peace from knowing that Malcolm is being
punished, and that his “last hours will be spent in agony.” Laurel just
knows that once it is over, she has even less of her sister to hang on
to. She asks Nyssa if she remembers Sara’s smile, and she tells her the
story of when Sara first met her father and laughed with joy at his show
of intimidation. That is when Nyssa fell in love, and Laurel thanks her
for the story. It’s a sweet moment, and it humanizes Nyssa’s anger.
This was the love of her life.

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Nanda Parbat. Diggle and Oliver
find Merlyn unconscious and suspended above hot coals. When they try to
cut him down he wakes up just enough to mumble “Trap…” The three men
are locked behind a metal door. R’as walks over and welcomes them
because he’s nothing if not polite and super old.

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Later on,
Oliver and John wake up chained to the floor. Oliver is upset that he
brought Diggle there to die, but he finally understands why they came.

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For Thea, yes, but also because Oliver is haunted by the memory of his
fall and the knowledge that there is someone out there that beat him.
Moment of silence for a rare Oliver Queen truth bomb. It isn’t letting
him live, he confesses, ashamed that it is “egotistical and insane” to
think as he does.

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John says that so is putting on a mask, and that it is
part of the mindset of a soldier: you have to believe that you are
coming home, or fear will paralyze you. “R’as got in your head,” he
tells Oliver, who doesn’t deny it. Instead he asks him about the favor
he mentioned earlier, and Diggle’s speech, like the man himself, is full
of dry wit, sentiment and probably shouldn’t make me cry (BUT IT DID):

I
always assumed if I ever got married again that Andy would be by my
side. But I lost my brother. I never thought I’d get another one. So
pretending for a moment that we aren’t two dead men chained to the
floor… How do you feel about being my best man?

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Oliver
says that he feels pretty good about it, and damn if I am not happy
these two found each other. Oliver desperately needs someone to look up
to. The door opens, and Maseo arrives to tell Oliver that it’s time to
see R’as. I almost don’t care that they are going to ‘die’ because this moment was so beautiful.

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***FB ALERT***Maseo & Tatsu, trapped by
gunfire, trust Oliver with getting their son out of the line of fire,
telling him they will find him later. ***END FB***

Somewhere in
Starling, Roy drives Thea to the officer’s house, and shows her his
child and widow. It turns out he gives them groceries and other gifts
anonymously, and it helps him with the guilt of what he did. Thea
appreciates it, but tells him that maybe a killer is what she is because
he taught her to be one. Even if Roy doesn’t believe it, he is quiet
when she tells him that she sent her own father to his death, and asks
him to take her home. Special mention to the car, which is exactly the
kind of car Roy would be if he were a Transformer.

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At Ray’s
apartment, he wakes up and sneaks out from under Felicity to work. This
is how all the best relationships start. He gets into the servers and
finally puts the Atom suit on. The music wants me to think that it is
really exciting but it is basically a diving suit with car parts on it,
and NO. Nothing about this character excites me, and the damn thing can
fly. The only thought I had was:

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He even flies right outside the window where Felicity is sleeping,
and in a visual representation of what I am feeling, she rolls over and
keeps sleeping. No one cares, Ray.

Thea arrives in the basement to
tell Nyssa that she lied to her about Malcolm killing Sara. She
explains that even if he was the one that set the plan in motion, she
fired the arrows, and offers her a sword so that she can take her
vengeance.

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In Nanda Parbat, R’as comments on Oliver coming again
to seek his death, and when he unsheaths his sword, Oliver says that he
can kill him, “but spare John Diggle’s life. Let him go. I will beg for
it.” Even Maseo lifts his eyebrows like WTF because coming from Oliver,
this is about as flowery as you get. R’as however, doesn’t want to kill
Oliver. He compliments his “strength, fortitude, and power” and then
drops his bomb: he wants Oliver to take his place as leader of the
League of Assassins.

And that’s it for a few weeks! Thanks for reading till the end! Sharing is love, and I always love comments!

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Musical Chairs, Arrow Edition

Here are the main cast of Arrow, paired up with the Taylor Swift song they most remind me of. Don’t ask me why I do these things. I haven’t a clue.

I need to get off Tumblr, and soon.

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