You guys, what can I say about this episode that hasn’t already been fervently prayed sotto voice or bitten longingly into a pillow? Not much, but I’m gonna do it anyway.
Thea Queen, stabbed through the gut, is dragging herself across the floor covered with broken glass towards the phone when Oliver comes home and finds her. What does she say to him? “I couldn’t stop him.” THEA JESUS F.
The fact that this is what she uses possibly her dying breath to say is incredibly telling of her mettle, and my pride in her somewhat helps with the void in my chest as I watch Oliver dial 911, press a blanket into his sister’s wound and tell her to hang on before lifting her up and carrying her out.
Outside the O.R., Oliver is asked to stay outside as the doctors work to save Thea, who flatlines. They manage to get her back, and Oliver falls back against the wall in numb relief. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be a wall so bad before in my life.
In the hall outside Thea’s room, Oliver holds himself as if cold (shock) and I am absolutely not looking at his arms when Thea’s doctor comes out to speak to him and delivers what is, in my limited experience as a hospital interpreter, notice that his sister is alive but basically brain dead. They can keep her alive, Dr. Depresso says, but he may want to consider other options…and she hands him what are commonly known as DNR papers. Oliver does not take them and seems to crumple in on himself, asking in almost a child’s voice, “May I see her?” and then holding in a sob as he is let into her room.
Inside Thea’s room, Oliver cries and apologizes to her and generally looks miserable but somehow still amazing and damn it it’s like my feelings are having a fistfight in my chest. Then Malcolm arrives and Oliver nods once in the negative.
I know Malcolm caused this, but he so obviously loves his daughter. Is it shitty, damaging love? Yes. Maladaptive in a sense that someone should do a study and document it for a textbook? You betcha. But oh God, Malcolm holds her hand and Oliver falls into a chair by her bed, his head in his hands as they both cry and my heart just breaks for them.
The Arrow writers are not f*cking around, y’all.
***FLASHBACK ALERT SUMMARY THINGY*** Something happens with the Alpha/Omega and Shreve and I don’t care. No f*cks in my f*cktruck, sorry, Yamashiros. ***END FB***
Diggle and Felicity arrive at the hospital where Oliver is just staring off into space like the saddest Easter Island statue ever. He doesn’t even react at first but when he does, it is to tell them how “they just left her there to die”. John starts to ask the obvious, but Oliver just says “It’s bad.”
Suddenly he looks out the window and sees black smoke-the League is calling him. Digg wants him to wait until they have a plan, but Oliver says there is no plan, because they won, and asks them to watch Thea as he heads out.
Oliver shows up to meet Maseo, and doesn’t wait for him to answer if he stabbed Thea before he punches him right off his feet. Maseo doesn’t waste time or any of his teeth by telling him that there is a way to bring his sister back-if only he will accept becoming the heir to the demon.
Oliver is packing his trusty GTFO duffel when Felicity and Diggle show up (who the hell stayed with Thea, guys?) to ask him what he’s doing. Oliver’s all “There’s a way to save Thea” and when Felicity nopes him, in saunters Malcom to tell them about the Lazarus pit.
At first they don’t believe him, but Oliver tells them he’s seen it and Digg guesses that it is an exchange, and that Oliver has to Heir Up.
Felicity lets Oliver know she is not letting this happen, even if it is to save Thea, and Malcolm says that it wouldn’t, because the person that comes out is NOT the one that went in. Oliver clarifies that they lost Thea because of him, and when Felicity speaks up, he cuts her off with a gruff “I would prefer that we didn’t do our usual ‘please don’t go’ dance.”
But that wasn’t what Felicity was going to say. She is going with him, because assuming this works, someone will need to come back and bring Thea home. Now they just need a ride- and to fix a dangling plot point.
Palmer Technologies. Felicity shows up and tells Ray that something awful happened and she needs a favor-his jet. As she tells him it’s really for Oliver, Ray takes the opening we all wish he would have taken several episodes back, but I can’t even hate because Routh kills it, and I almost feel sorry for him.
Almost. He tells Felicity that last night he realized what he should have a long time ago, that she responded to his I Love You with jell-o because she is in love with Oliver. Felicity apologizes and says that he is the last person she ever meant to hurt, and he very generously offers her the jet.
Felicity lies to the MD and says Thea is being moved to Central City, and Malcolm suggests trying S.T.A.R. labs first. He tells Oliver that even though he loves Thea, he would rather lose her forever than subject her to the pit. But Oliver is done caring what Malcolm thinks and just tells him to get on the plane.
On the plane, Felicity hands Oliver a blanket and an opportunity to think he’s “grown as a person” by thanking him for not objecting to her coming along. He tells her that he knows he hasn’t told her much about his time away, but he tells her about when he came back to Starling and killed Thea’s dealer, because he wanted to protect her. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was protect her. I failed.”
It is a lovely scene, quiet as not many Arrow scenes are, with a fragile sort of intimacy from Oliver that we only ever see him express in the most honest of times, and the fact that Felicity listens in silence. For once the woman who always knows what to say says nothing. It is a moment where they both feel their helplessness keenly, but they choose to feel it together, and their mutual presence in the moment speaks volumes that words can’t express.
Nanda Parbat. Oliver and company arrive in Nanda Parbat, and he is greeted as Al-Sahim.
As he walks forward with his sister in his arms, the assassins kneel. inside, he hands Thea over to Maseo so that she may be prepared, and shows Diggle to his room. Diggle immediately brings up that if Serab/Maseo gave a damn about Oliver, he wouldn’t work for the man that killed his sister.
In Maseo’s mind, Oliver is benefitting, but Diggle says he is not brave or powerful, but cowardly. Maseo then confirms what we suspected-Akio died in his arms with his father lying and saying he would be ok, and though Digg apologizes for his death, he asks if his son “would be proud of his father now”. OUCH.
Thea is lowered into the Lazarus Pit, and it is all very dramatic until it’s ridiculous. Honestly, I applaud the actors’ efforts but even though everyone looks suitably concerned as she is lowered and then fails to rise, I can’t believe no one laughed when she hissed like a demented frog.
Thea is out of control and Felicity watches as the priestess touches her with a wand she has dipped in a special powder and Thea passes out. R’as, who could care less about his incredibly sh*tty timing, just wants Oliver to know that he held up his end, and now it’s his turn. CALM YOUR TITS, R’AS. Damn.
Later on Thea wakes up in a room with Malcolm and Oliver both sitting on her bed and Digg and Felicity in the room.
She doesn’t recognize her brother and thinks that “Ollie’s dead,” but somehow recognizes and trusts Malcom as “Dad,” even if she discovered Malcolm was her father after Oliver came back from the dead the first time.
Malcolm chastises Oliver for what he did to his sister, but he argues that it saved her life and, even if she does think Moira is still alive, he, John and Felicity will take her home and she will recover. Not so on board is Felicity, who asks Oliver what that is worth, and stalks out shouting that it’s “Just wrong.”
Felicity sashays right up to R’as and tells him that she won’t let what he is doing to Oliver happen.
The Demon’s Head is almost affectionate as he speaks to her of her fire, and counteracts every one of Felicity’s objections with a calm, quiet assertion. When she threatens him with war, he pulls a CLASSIC R’AS and zigs instead of zags. He tells her of a woman he once loved, and a family he had, and how one night, a man showed up and gave him a choice: watch his family be tortured and killed, or leave without a word, and he left, enduring agony to spare them. “Sounds like you gave up too easy,” Felicity says, and I LOVE HER MOXIE. Still,R’as ignores her point to make his own: Life is short.
He says that she has an opportunity that he was denied: tell Oliver goodbye, that she loves him, and whatever her heart “needs to express” before he is lost to her forever. It is creepily kind, and eerily human, and as much as I like what happens next, it will never not be icky as %$#@ that this is who sealed that deal.
Oliver waits in what looks like a church vestibule, going by the candles alone. Felicity knocks and we see it is his room. She comes in, and they talk.
Oliver tells her that he has struggled with his identity, and even though he doesn’t know if he should be the Demon’s Head, that all his choices have led to that moment, and if that is the case, he is not sure what it was all for. “I do,” she tells him, and sits in front of him to look into his eyes.
She tells him that even if she wishes she could change his mind, she knows she can’t. She scoots closer and takes him by the hands.
Just how I know that leaving you here is going to destroy me. I don’t regret a single moment, and you shouldn’t, either. You have done so much. You have saved so many people…lives…and you have changed so many for the better- including mine. Knowing you has changed my life. You…opened up my heart in a way I didn’t even know was possible. I love you.
At this point I am doing joy-laps around my coffee table and my Twitter is blowing up like someone just declared independence.
What can I say? It is glorious. Oliver’s intensity and attention are one thousand percent focused on Felicity, and hers on him.
They are literally consuming each other with their eyes before any clothes come off…and then bless Odin, they do.
I won’t continue to soil this holy event with my word-vomit, but if there is an Emmy for hands, and Amell doesn’t win it, HE WAS ROBBED.
Am I warm or is it just the afterglow? Trick question:BOTH.
Later that night, Oliver is looking at the moon and probably howling like the lucky dog he is when Felicity saunters over on her sex-legs in a robe I need right now and reminds him they just made the assassin with four backs.
Oliver, for some reason, is fully dressed and tells her quietly that he’s glad he hit it, which is always nice to hear and makes this look appear on Felicity’s face because Felicity is a breathing human female.
They kiss and smile and there are dimples EVERYWHERE.
Oliver asks about the bottle she is holding, and she hopes it’s something alcoholic. She comments that there’s not much to toast to, and he sweetly, gruffly says “There’s us.” This gets another smile, and after Oliver drinks…an apology.
Even though she knows the likelihood of them escaping someplace R’as can’t find them is small, Felicity has to try. “I can’t lose you,” she whispers to a rapidly-fading Oliver. “I won’t.”
Now I heard there was some hate in the fandom for Felicity here drugging her man to save his life. Remember that time they stabbed Roy to save Oliver? THEY STABBED A DUDE. Putting some Nanda Parbat Nyquil in his wine to save his life barely even registers on the Arrow morality scale, Inquisitors.
Later on, Felicity is dressed and discussing her crazy plan with Malcolm and John, who are both aghast and not real positive about her chances of escape. She doesn’t care, because she is desperate, and she can’t leave him.
She tells Malcolm she knows there has to be a secret tunnel he knows of, and snaps at him to not “even try to play games” with her. Malcolm tells her about the catacombs, which they can reach through the Temple. Felicity tells him to get Thea and meet them in five. When he starts to object, she shouts at him to go.
Malcolm gets Thea and manages to clear the way down the hall. Diggle is carrying a passed out Oliver over his shoulder like a drunken fiancé at a stag party, which, let’s face it, is pretty much what this was.
As they enter the Temple they are helped by a figure in black: Maseo, who recovers just enough humanity to shoot someone for a friend and tell them which tunnel to take. They stop because Thea panics, and are surprised by League members in the hall.
Just as Malcolm is advising against being taken alive, Oliver pops up and declares himself Heir to the Demon, and orders them to obey.
He dismisses them to tell R’as he’ll return shortly. At Felicity’s desperate, “Oliver, please!” he tiredly thanks her for trying, and says he loves her “all the more for it-but this only ends one way.”
Outside, Oliver stops outside the city entrance and tells Diggle that even if the jet is near, there is nowhere for him to go. Thea questions why he is not coming with them, but he tells her in a voice gruff with tears that Malcolm will watch her, and that he loves her. “Don’t ever forget that, okay?”
He wipes his face as John tells him he he doesn’t know what to say, but Oliver smiles at his friend, and tells him he is the best man he has ever known. “Whatever happens, you’re my brother.” They hug, and it’s manly and gorgeous and this is when the actual tears start falling down my face.
Now the final twist of the knife to our collective guts.
Oliver walks up to Felicity, and she tells him she is afraid that she will never forgive herself for leaving him.
He reminds her that she told him once that life was precious, and that the only way he can get through what he needs to is to think of her happy.
Felicity deadpans that they are always saying goodbye, and you think they would be good at it by now. Oliver winces sharply and his eyes water, and he quickly smiles down at her. “Let’s not say goodbye this time.”
They kiss, and it’s bittersweet- sweet because no one is shutting that Pandora’s box anytime soon and it is so good to see open affection between these two, and bitter because it is an unwilling goodbye from two people who only just managed to get their sh*t together, romantically speaking.
Felicity pecks him one last time and rests her forehead on his for only an instant before walking briskly away and not looking back.
LOOK AT HIS CRUSHED BROKEN FACE AFTER HE KISSES HER JESUS WHY.
For a moment Oliver looks lost, and then he squares his shoulders, turns, and walks back the way he came.
Starling City. Thea wakes up and remembers she hates Malcolm, but not where her brother is. Malcolm explains that Oliver traded his life to save her, and that the joined the League. He also tells her that now the LoA is no longer after him. He is free, and he wants to stay and care for her.
I guess Laurel needs to know Oliver is gone, so Felicity tells her and cries in her arms. Okay, I guess?
Nanda Parbat. R’as is vengeance-stabby and wanting to punish someone for Oliver’s escape, but Oliver tells him that he stayed and that no one close to him can be hurt anymore.
R’as then asks for the name of the traitor who helped him through the catacombs, and even though Oliver does not say, Maseo confesses.
R’as doesn’t kill him because he is happy he confessed and recognizes that it was Maseo, not Serab, who acted. He tells him that Oliver will need him in the coming weeks, and explains to Oliver that vestiges of his old identity still remain, but “Oliver Queen must be extinguished from memory.”
Later, R’as monologues about etymology and tells Oliver that every man there has gone full Borg, giving up his identity. He brands him, and Oliver dons his LoA gear for the first time.
Evil? Maybe. Still hot? DEFINITELY. I’m still in.
Thanks for reading till the end, and for bearing with me as I took some time off. I’ll be catching up now, but I might do a shorter 321 if any at all. If you like, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.
Rest of my Arrow stuff linked here.