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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‘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!

Aloha! Arrow Photo Recap E314, “The Return”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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***END FB***

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

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

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

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

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

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***END FB***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thea: She? She WHO?

Oliver: …You killed Sara.

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

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

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

***FB ALERT***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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***
END FB ***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Baby girl is not to be trifled with.

¿Qué pasa? Arrow E303 Photo Recap, “Corto Maltese”

At beginning, we get a flashback, but not Oliver’s. Thea’s.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Starling City, Six months ago. We see Thea get into Malcolm Merlyn’s car and she asks him where they are going. He tells her she can choose, as he is “a very well traveled man” who has been everywhere.

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She tells him that they need to get out of the country, however, since he is trying to hide the fact that he is still alive from both the police and the Arrow. He compliments her ability to tell when people are hiding something, saying her mother had that quality, and I wonder where the hell it was for S1 and half of S2 but he admits she is right, saying that anyone finding out would be “unfortunate, for both of us.”

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He wants to know why she reached out to him, and she responds by saying “I don’t want to feel this pain again. I don’t wanna hurt, or get hurt, ever again. And you seem like someone who could teach me not to”.

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Oh honey, it’s adorable that you think this is possible, or healthy, and by adorable I mean sad. It’s really sad. ***END FB***

Present-day Star(ling?)City, the Arrow chases a man through traffic and into an alley, where he has to be shot him with a trick arrow with a line attached, because that’s what happens to you when you decide to run away like an a$$hole who doesn’t know you’re there to serve plot.

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Turns out the man was a witness to Sara’s shooting (his fingerprints were on the green glass shard he found on the roof where she was shot), and Oliver wants to know what he saw. He mentions he was drinking on the roof when “a blonde” arrived who told him to leave and he did, because “she looked like she could handle herself.” Oliver leaves, disappointed, and the guy says that whoever The Arrow is looking for, “he wouldn’t want to be him.”

Back in the basement of Verdant, Oliver tells Felicity, Diggle and Roy that it was “another dead end”. Felicity complains that it took her a week to reconstruct the partial fingerprint using a “predictive indexing algorithm”, cracking a joke about how it was appropriate “since it was his index finger. Oliver makes eye contact with her for one of the two times this episode, saying nothing, and she wryly adds that her comment is “not particularly relevant, now.” She is taking their aborted attempt at a relationship much better than he is, but I guess that’s what a badass new job and not being crippled by PTSD does for you.

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Diggle tries to reassure Oliver that they will find the killer, but Oliver says they won’t, as “the trail’s gone cold”. Felicity interrupts to say she hates to go, but has to leave for work. Roy mentions that he didn’t know Tech Village opened that early, and Oliver interrupts by asking if she figured out “where in Italy Thea’s staying”. She says Thea is not in Italy at all, and that when she pinged her cell “it came back Corto Maltese”.

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Diggle cracks a joke about the Queens and islands as she leaves, and Roy tells Oliver that Thea’s letter said not to look for her. “That letter was addressed to you, not to me,” Oliver sidesteps. He is watching Laurel go through the loss of her sister, he explains, and “it’s time for my sister to come home.” Roy accepts, nodding, and goes to get his bow from the rack. Oliver asks what he is doing, and Roy very nobly says that Thea is gone because of lies he told her, so he owes it to both Queen siblings to “make it right.” “No”, Oliver asks, a slight smile breaking through. “What are you doing? You can’t travel with that.”

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Roy puts it down, sheepish, as he admits he has never been on a plane before. Oliver looks at Diggle, who shrugs, because DIGGLE IS US.

At Chez Dyla, Diggle is joking with Lyla about shooting his daughter’s future beaus with his Glock when he tells her that he is looking forward to spending quality time with baby Sara in the next few days.

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Lyla calls him out on lying about the diaper thing, but asks why the time off, did he quit Team Arrow again? Digg answers that Oliver is going to Corto Maltese for a couple of days. Lyla asks if he would mind going along. It turns out a fellow ARGUS agent (and “old friend”) in Corto, Mark Shaw, hasn’t checked in in a while and may be in danger. If he doesn’t check in in the next couple of days, she would have to report him to Amanda and she wants to avoid it. Diggle agrees grumpily, saying that baby Sara “better not do anything interesting” while he’s gone and proving again that Beyoncé is the Socrates of our generation.

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Neither of them seems to have an issue with Lyla revealing Shaw’s identity as an ARGUS secret agent to Dig. Hold on to that nugget.

At Ted Grant’s boxing studio, Laurel walks in wearing her badge and her f-u lipstick and he jokes that she “must not be there for a self-defense class”.

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Laurel is there to speak to him about one of his students, who witnesses place at the scene of a break-in the previous night. “Not possible,” Grant says, and it is obvious he is lying. He tells Laurel that he and the student were sparring that night, and neither her warnings about lying to the DA or threats of perjury matter to him. In his mind, he is lying “to protect a good kid who made a stupid mistake out of this system,” and that perjury is “a big word” and he, “just a dumb fighter.” image

He tells Laurel that the city is full of “good people that get dealt bad hands,” lose people, lose themselves, and that they come into his studio to “work out that rage”. He says he’s gotten good at picking out the types, and that Laurel is one of them. She says that if she’s angry, it’s because she is “dealing with someone willing to lie to a D.A. just to protect a punk kid.” Ted doesn’t think that is the case, but hands her a flyer that proclaims “LEARN TO FIGHT! Defend yourself effectively!” just in case she has something she needs to come in and work off.

Corto Maltese. The boys of Team Arrow arrive looking golden in the light and dewy with sweat. I already love this episode.

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Roy asks about Thea, and Oliver says he would like to speak to her alone first at the address Felicity gave him for her. Roy and Diggle head into the hotel (WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS???) and Oliver heads off to the lovely mansion where Poppa Merlyn is hiding with his lovechild.

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Oliver knocks on the door and there is no answer, which is good, because on the other side of the door Malcolm waits, bow drawn, to shoot Oliver if he tries to come in.

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A gardener comes by and asks in Spanish, “¿Señor? ¿Cómo puedo ayudarlo?” (Sir? How can I help you?) I flail helplessly as it is revealed that, on top of his other stellar skills, OLIVER SPEAKS SPANISH AY DIOS MIO. “Estoy buscando a mi hermana,” he responds. (“I am looking for my sister.”)

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The gardener says he must be “Mia’s brother” since he can see the resemblance. Oliver smiles tightly at the alias, but asks if he knows where “Mia” is. She woks at a cafe, which the gardener offers to kindly show him, and they leave. Behind the door, Malcolm exhales and lowers his bow.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Early days in Corto Maltese, Malcolm and Thea sit by some hot coals where he is brewing “a meditative tea” that is going to activate her “mind and body.”

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Thea jokes that she’ll need more than tea to learn to use his weapons, but Malcolm tells her that the Buddhist warriors from who he learned believed that first you fight with your mind. He sets a bucket of cool water in between them, telling her he began just like her, “devastated” by his wife’s death. Hurt and angry, and that “the pain was unbearable-like this”, he illustrates, taking a ladle of hot wax and pouring it over his hand, suspended over the bucket.

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Thea, upset and forgetting that he is crazy as a basket of monkeys, wants him to plunge his hand into the cool water, but he doesn’t flinch. The “simple truth” that every warrior must learn, he says, “that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional”. He takes her hand and holds it over the bucket, tipping the ladle as she asks him not to do what she thinks he is going to do. “You asked me to teach you,” he answers not unkindly.

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***END FB***

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Corto Maltese. At the cafe, Thea is serving a table (IN SPANISH) when Oliver calls her name and she turns. The siblings are obviously happy to see each other, and they hug. image

Thea wants to know how Oliver found her, and he gently reproaches her that it “isn’t precisely the Amalfi Coast.” As they sit down at an unoccupied table to chat and Thea tells a waiter in Spanish that she’ll be right there, Oliver asks if she didn’t flunk Spanish. Thea jokes that she “skipped it all together” and it is the first clue to him that his little sister is not the same. He compliments her haircut, and she apologizes for lying to him about Italy. “I just needed some space.” Oliver says she has had five months, and when she tells him that “this is not just a visit,” he shows her the ticket he bought for her (SRSLY WHO IS BANKROLLING THIS TRIP?). He tells her he understood why she left when their mother died, but lays his cards out “Thea, I miss you, and I would really like it if you came home.” “I miss you too”, she answers earnestly, “And I love you…so much…but I’m never coming back to Starling City”. Oliver looks down, disappointed and I can’t even these two are adorable and heartbreaking.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Malcolm is pouring hot wax on his baby girl’s hand and this %$#@! is crazy. Thea must think so, too, because she plunges her hand into the cold bucket and tells him that she can’t, and she is sorry. “There is strength in you, Thea, and if you can’t see it in yourself…” But she is starting to panic, saying that she is not like him, and that she can’t do as he asks. image

He pulls her in for a hug, and tells her it’s all right. “It’s not your fault”, he says, staring off into the distance, “it’s mine”. ***END FB***

Starling City, Offices of QC. Ray is talking to a man in a suit when Felicity walks in. He starts talking at her very fast, and then excuses himself as he has been working all night and is on his third espresso. She stops him right there and says that she wants to list a few hard boundaries, which include no late-night emails, no personal errands and no coffee. “There will be no espressos brought to you by me. I stand very firm on that.”image

“I admire your conviction”, Ray smiles, but says that the man in the suit is Jerry Conway, HER assistant, and that the coffee in question was one he was going to bring her, unless of course she is “anti-latte in general.” Felicity utters a weak thank you as Jerry leaves, clearly off-kilter, but Ray has moved on, showing her a table full of partially burnt hard drives from QC’s Applied Sciences Division that survived the fire that “some whacko” (Spoiler alert, that wacko is the blonde he’s speaking to) decided to set. “I’m sure they had their reasons”, she says primly, and guesses that he wants her to retrieve what data she can. image

He is pleased that they are going to work so well together, and tells her he has a lot of work and has to go. She questions why she is leaving his office if that’s the case, and he sets her straight with a small smirk. “I’m not. I’m leaving yours.”

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Corto Maltese. Diggle is looking for Mark Shaw at his usual day drop to verify that he is okay for Lyla, and Oliver has tagged along, joking that he “doesn’t know how to vacation like a normal person”. When Diggle spots him and says “Got him”, Oliver responds by saying “I got you.” Diggle grins and heads off towards Shaw, telling Oliver that “he’s a friendly”. When he approaches him, however, Shaw draws a knife on him and Oliver, watching from a distance, flinches. image

Diggle blocks him, saying he is with Lyla Micheals. Shaw tries to get a pass code out of him, but Diggle clarifies that he is not with ARGUS, just “Lyla’s Baby Daddy”. He says that she was worried when he didn’t check in, and that she sent Diggle to find him. Shaw threatens him if he’s lying, but Diggle tells him to reach into his jacket pocket for his security transcoder. Shaw sticks what looks like a small USB into his phone and it verifies John’s identity. image

Diggle comments that he is pretty jumpy, and Shaw says “better jumpy than dead”. They walks away and Shaw tells him that he has had eyes on him all week. It turns out someone stole the ARGUS files on their undercover operatives and is willing to sell that info. The actuals, as they are called, are a “digital encoded omnibus” of all agent details, including data on their covers and families, including women and children. Diggle starts as he realizes someone could get a hold of information that would threaten not only Lyla, but baby Sara.

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SC. Laurel is at an AA meeting, confessing that a week ago “something happened that I can’t share with anyone for several, complicated reasons” and that she thought she was going to want to drink, but wasn’t really even tempted. What she is, it turns out, is angry. “I don’t know what to do with it or where to put it, I just–” and she stops as Quentin walks in to the same meeting, thanking everyone for letting her share as another woman takes her turn.image

The woman, Erica, shares that her boyfriend, who still drinks, and she got in a fight, and shows the group the bruises on her collarbone from where he obviously hurt her. She knows she should leave but she can’t, she says, and wonder if there is a group she can go to for it. After the meeting, Laurel and Quentin talk and Laurel tells her father that Erica has been making statements like that every month, that they are getting worse, and that her boyfriend has 8 pending charges for assault in several cities. Lance tells her that it takes everything in him not to go after a guy like that, but that “the day that cops start bringing their badges into AA meetings is the day that the drunks stop coming”.image

CM. Oliver is standing out of view with a bluetooth while Diggle drives with Shaw to the sale of the actuals. He questions that there are only two of them and if he shouldn’t call for backup, but Shaw pulls a gun out of his glove compartment and tells him that’s the only backup he’ll need.

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Walking to the meeting, Diggle starts asking Shaw if he isn’t concerned that someone will see him, and how he knows about the dropoff. Shaw says he’s been the home agent in Corto Maltese for the last three years, and that he’s got “this third-world garbage down”. Diggle’s doubt shows on his face, and he circles Shaw, who asks him what’s wrong. Diggle responds questioning whether there is a buy at all, checking the clip on the gun Shaw gave him and discovering that it is empty. He comes at Shaw only to have the later tase him, and as he goes down, Oliver rises despite Diggle telling him not to. image

Shaw has a gunman backing him up, however, and Oliver is forced to stand back as Shaw drags Diggle to one side and steals his transcoder, telling him that there is a buy, and thanking him for giving him the means with which to decode the actual. image

Oliver runs after Shaw, but he escapes in the Jeep, leaving both men behind.

CM. Thea is taking the trash out to the cafe dumpster when her bag breaks. image

As she is bending over to pick it up and toss it, Roy comes around the corner and jokes that she “should have gotten the heavy duty ones” and compliments her hair. Thea sarcastically asks if he and her brother are “travel buddies” now, and he starts to help pick up the trash, simply and sincerely saying, “Nah. I was worried about you.” Oliver told him that she wouldn’t come back and he was going to try to convince her. She tells him he can’t. He says that he gets that she’s hurt. “I lied to you. I lied right to your face. But I need you to know that when I said I wanted to leave Starling City with you, that wasn’t a lie.” image

Thea tells him she didn’t leave just because of him. Her mother and brother lied to her, and she had to get away from Starling City and “all the secrets”. She tells him she found herself in Corto and when he asks her if it isn’t kind of lonely, she answers that it’s what she likes about it. No one there thinks her as Thea Queen, or Thea Merlyn, lies to her, or tries to protect her with secrets. “All I ever wanted was for you to be happy, Thea,” Roy says, “I’m sorry if I got in the way of that…and I’m sorry I hurt you.” image

He tells her that if being there makes her happy, she should stay. He isn’t the same impulsive boy she left behind, and as he is walking away, Thea stops him to ask how he has been, saying that he looks a bit tired. “I just haven’t been sleeping much lately”, he tells her, and walks away as she goes back into the cafe. As Roy rounds the corner, Malcolm comes into frame and it is obvious he has listened to the whole exchange.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Thea and Malcolm are hugging when she pulls away from him and asks what he meant when he said it was his fault, not hers. “I thought I could do this differently, but I can’t,” he explains. “I need to train you as I was trained.” He places one hand on her shoulder, and it looks like it’s for support. “Treat you as my student, not my daughter,” and he holds her steady as he brings up his other arm and STRIKES HER IN THE FACE.

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Thea falls to the ground, asking him what he’s doing, but he strikes her again, and again she falls. “The only way to forge steel is to temper it with fire,” he says, and Thea gets up on all fours as he advances on her, reaching behind her for one of the swords on the rack and unsheathing it as she threatens him with it.image

“Stay away from me, you sick son of a bitch,” she snarls, and the smile that breaks out on Malcolm’s face is an 11 on the creep-scale. “Now we can begin,” he tells her. image

***END FB***

CM. Back at the hotel, Diggle is updating Lyla on events over Skype and she tells him that they have discovered there is a buyer headed to Corto Maltese, but not his identity. She says that Amanda is sending “a wet team” over to his location and when Diggle says they won’t get there in time, she says that “they might,” and advises him to “keep his powder dry” and stay put. image

“Copy that”, says Diggle, ending the call. Oliver, sitting behind him, wryly asks, “We’re not keeping our powder dry?” image

“Hell no,” Diggle answers, already walking away.

SC. Felicity is at her desk at QC, reading a blog about “The Streak”, as Barry is being called in Central City when Ray walks in and asks if she’s had any luck “raising their digital Lazarus”. image

She walks over and starts listing everything that’s wrong (hint: everything) when her cell phone rings and she hurries back to her desk to answer. It’s Diggle, and he wants her to look up Shaw in Corto Maltese. image

She tries to demur as Ray is there, listening to everything she is saying by saying she is in a meeting, but habit gets the best of her and she asks Ray to excuse her, saying it’s a friend. “Several friends,” she corrects herself nervously, “it’s a long story.” Ray tells her that he has a feeling she has a lot of stories like that, all of which are long. He asks her if he should come back later, but Felicity isn’t listening, mostly because she is trying to dodge the question but also because the call from Corto cut off.

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As she tries to get it back she answers a second call from Laurel, who is asking her for a favor. “Are we favor friends now? Are we friends?” Felicity wonders out loud, very reasonably. “WHAT?” Laurel answers, because SHUT UP I AM NOT TRYING TO HEAR THAT JUST DO WHAT I WANT. “Oh Dear God,” Felicity says as her office phone rings. Who gave Diggle the number? In any case she tells him that the guy he sent her is a bit of a hacker and his trail is faint, but that with a bit of luck, she’ll find him and email him when she has something, and hangs up. image

Ray’s face as he listens is priceless, he obviously knows something is up, but he is enjoying eavesdropping.  “I’m having a bit of a day,” she tells Laurel on her cell.image

Laurel wants her help finding Erica’s abusive boyfriend, by “googling his phone.” Oh, Laurel. “Pinging his GPS,” Felicity corrects automatically, and when she notices Ray paying attention to every word, asks if she can call her back later. “This what a typical day looks like for you?” Ray asks her. “Believe it or not, this is better than most,” she answers.

CM. The boys of Team Arrow are walking and Oliver asks Diggle to call him when Felicity has a location on Shaw. He is going to talk to Thea again, despite Roy telling him that she doesn’t want to hear from either of them any more. “We both lied to her. A lot,” he tells him.image

Oliver knows, and that is why he thinks telling Thea the entire truth about the five years he was gone and everything he’s done since he’s been back will serve to convince her. Diggle tells him to think about it, but Oliver says that if lies drove her away, the truth will bring her back. “Except you won’t be telling her the truth. You’ll be telling her that her brother has been lying to her, to her face, with almost pathological sincerity for the last two years. She won’t believe a word you say, and you will lose her, Oliver. Forever.”

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“Look around,” Oliver tells him. “I’ve already lost her. I don’t have any other choice.”

SC. Laurel, wearing her sister’s jacket, is stalking Erica’s boyfriend  as he comes out of a bar, and when he goes to unlock his car in an alley, she covers her face with a ski mask and hits him with a metal baseball bat. “I hear you like hitting women.” How about one that likes to hit back?“ image

Her righteousness is short-lived, however, as he takes the bat from her and hits her across the ribs and face, kicking her when she is down for good measure. “You’re right,” he says. “It’s better when they hit back.” image

He gets into his car and leaves her on the pavement, bruised and bleeding.

Later at the hospital, Laurel is in bed when her father walks in, repeating “Oh baby, baby, baby” under his breath and I remember that this is, in fact, Quentin’s child, and he is absofreakinglutley right to be concerned for her. image

She apologizes and he says he’s too relieved to be angry, but that “this is crazy” and he wants to know what he hell she was thinking, going after that guy. Laurel’s reply is at once frightening and terribly terribly poignant, and it really makes me identify with Laurel’s pain, which is totally unexpected. “There’s just something I needed to work out. I know that the world isn’t fair. I know that it’s a terrible place, where people…deserve to be punished…and they don’t. I just…for one night…I needed the world to be different.” Quentin is in a panic, asking her what is going on, telling her she is not being herself and he reassures her that she can talk to him about anything.

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She is staring off into the distance for most of it, but when he says the last part she slowly looks at her father, and there is some pity there. “I know,” she tells him, and looks away. Quentin, conscious of the fact that he is not getting through to her, says exactly the wrong thing, telling her she is “not the Arrow, or your sister” and he wants her promise that she will never do it again. image

At mention of Sara her eyes go to her father’s and then her sister’s jacket, and she quietly, placatingly promises.

CM. Oliver shows up at the cafe and want to talk to his sister. Thea says that between him and “his best friend Roy” she is pretty sure everything’s been said, but he says not by him. They sit down and he says he saw the note admits to having lied to her and kept secrets. “The truth is if I tell you all the things you don’t know about me, I might lose you forever.” He tells her he spent five years “in the worst kind of hell” and that there were things that happened and he did that if she knew, she may see him differently.

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“I will always see you as my big brother,” she interjects, tearing up, and she tells him that whatever may have happened to him in the island or what he may have done, what hurt her most was the lies he told her about herself, and the fact that he knew that he knew who her father was.

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“Malcolm may have been your blood,” Oliver tells her, “Robert was your father…and I lied to you about him, too.” He tells her what he never meant for her to know, that their father wasn’t the man they thought, that he was better, and that he survived the shipwreck only to kill himself later when he realized that there wasn’t enough food and water for both of them to survive.  He’s telling her this secret now because he wants her to realize that her parents sacrificed themselves so they could live, “and if we’re not together…then we’re not really alive. You’re my family, and even if you don’t really need me… I need you.”

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At this point Thea is biting her lip and I am just audibly sobbing. Oliver asks her to please just consider what he is saying, and leaves.

Later that day, Oliver, Roy and Diggle are hiding behind a trash can waiting for Shaw’s buyer.

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When a car shows up, Shaw says he “was expecting Armitage” and asks to see the money. They show it, and when he plugs in the transcoder to his laptop to decode the files, we see Lyla’s is one of the identities it holds.

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Diggle says it’s time for them to go, and Oliver takes out a duffel bag filled with bows and arrows that look like they came from Etsy, and guns for Digg.

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Roy asks dubiously where they came from, and we see a short montage that shows a dude who is supposed to be Oliver but whose arms are WAY hairier stripping their room for materials. “Our hotel room,” he answers. Suddenly, a bunch of soldiers in camo arrive. When Diggle supposes them to be ARGUS, Oliver watches them point their guns at them, however, and says “That’s not ARGUS.”

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One of the soldiers yells “¡Bajen sus armas!” (Lower your weapons!) and Oliver and the others take cover, and at Diggle’s “Go,” start to shoot. Not-Armitage hears the gunshots and asks if ARGUS knows they are there, and Shaw reveals that the soldiers are weapons for hire that he contracted to watch the perimeter. Oliver runs out of Arrows and shouts at Diggle, who throws him a gun. Oliver stands and fires off seven shots that hit six targets, and when he crouches down to see Roy’s shocked face, he says “I never said I didn’t know HOW to use a gun.” image

Roy rolls his eyes because yes it’s cute but try not to get killed.

Shaw is driving off in his jeep when Diggle chases him down and JUMPS ON HIS CAR AND PAWS HIM OUT OF IT like Goddamned Simba because Diggle is a freaking BADASS, and Roy and Oliver aren’t doing so bad, either.

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Oliver manages to intercept not-Armitage and take the laptop from him, using it to beat him in a way that would make Felicity sad if she knew because poor laptop. Outside, Diggle has Shaw up against a truck, and from his bloody nose you can tell he’s been talking to him for a while now. “Lyla was your friend,” he yells at Shaw, upset that he would endanger her and their daughter “for a lousy payday.” Not for money, Shaw clarifies. The actual sale was his “ticket out of ARGUS.” He tells Diggle that he doesn’t know the things Amanda Waller has made him do, or “the person she turns you into.”

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Diggle still says it was no excuse to put a target on his family’s back. Shaw says he didn’t have a choice and asks Diggle to put a bullet in him and tell Waller that he died, but Diggle refuses, although he would like to.

At Casa Merlyn, Thea tells Malcolm that she wants to go home to her brother. “And all his lies and secrets?” Malcolm asks, because he has zero understanding of irony, and accuses her of not coming as far as he thought. Thea says she will prove it to him, and they fight.

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It looks for a moment that he has beat her, but she flicks the knife she dropped up into her hand and holds it to his neck, and he concedes. As she walks down the hall, she turns and looks at him suspiciously.  “You let me win, didn’t you?” Thea asks, but Malcolm’s only reply is a smile, “I’ll be seeing you soon,” he tells her, “Safe flight”.

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At the airport, the boys are getting ready to leave and drinking coffee when Oliver, who has been staring at the door, sighs and says “She’s not coming.”

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Diggle apologizes, saying he did everything he could, but then Roy spots her rolling her luggage towards them.

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“I’m so glad you changed your mind,” Oliver tells her, and she jokes that she isn’t as sure about “flying commercial.” When she sits down, a gentleman next to her spills his boiling hot coffee on to her hand. We can see the steam rising from it, but she doesn’t flinch. Oliver asks her if she is okay, but she wipes it off and calmly tells him “Yeah, I’m fine.”

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SC. Oliver walks into the Arrow Cave and Laurel is waiting for him. He is upset when he sees the bruises on her face, but she backs away before he can touch her, telling him she is fine. She said she “tried to do good” but “it didn’t work out.” Oliver runs his hands through his hair, exasperated, She tells him that it might sound insane and it may be, but Sara gave her the jacket, and when she wears if she wants to help people like she did. “My sister’s alive again.” Oliver understands, but tells her that Sara had years of training. Laurel knows, and she tells him that is why she needs to start, and she wants his help.

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Oliver, at a loss for words, stares for a couple of beats before simply saying a quiet “No,” and walking away, and when Laurel follows him, indignant, he shouts it and then repeats it again, quieter. He tells her that he wants her to consider what would happen to Capt. Lance is something happened to her. Laurel says that since Sara’s death she has had a fire inside her that she can’t get rid of with booze or pills, and that the other night, even if it did go wrong, was the first time she didn’t feel that way. Oliver apologizes and says he can’t, but that even if he could, he wouldn’t, because Sara would have never forgiven him.

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My kingdom for a gif of Oliver holding his head between his elbows, exasperated.

Diggle arrives him and hugs Lyla, telling her that he loves her, and that he missed she and Sara, that they were all that he could think about.

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She needs to go into the office because Amanda called her in, but Diggle asks her to hurry home, staring at Sara sleeping in her crib.

At the police station, Erica’s boyfriend is being booked on an “anonymous tip” and Lance, who DIDN’T CALL IT IN LET’S GET THAT STRAIGHT winks and him and tells him that it’s a rough break, then practically skips into his office.

At Ted Grant’s gym, Laurel walks in wearing Sara’s jacket to find him shirtless and sweaty-boxing and doesn’t even react (to be fair, the show has set an impossible standard here). “Okay”, she says, letting the bruises on her face provide subtext, “When do we start?” Ted smiles.

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Still at work late at QC despite the hour, Ray is complimenting Felicity on her ability to recover data form the Applied Sciences hard drives that all the techs said was unrecoverable. “Seems like this would be a good time to ask for a few days off then,” she ventures, and Ray points out that she just started. “I know,” she says, “but my friend was struck by lightening and he’s in a coma…or he was… it’s…” “A long story,” Ray finishes for her, and she nods.

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Ray rolls his eyes at her but tells her he’ll see her, and she thanks him, walking out. When she leaves, he turns back to the data, and pulls up blueprints of Top-Secret weapons from a project called O.M.A.C. He looks up, and it’s not a look that you expect on what has been until now, a pretty affable character.

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In the basement at Verdant in the Arrow Cave, Oliver compliments Roy on his performance, and he responds that he had a good teacher. “A judgmental, occasionally temperamental one,”  he teases, and I am thrilled to see Oliver joke back. “Those are the best kind,” he growls, and they both smile.

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Oliver asks Roy if Thea seems different to him, and when Oliver asks if she was maybe seeing someone in Corto Maltese, but Roy says that if Thea was with anyone else, he has a feeling that he would be the last person to know. All of a sudden there is the sound of a metal arrow being notched and as Oliver steps in front of Roy, the camera pans to Nyssa, who is aiming at them. “Where is she?” she asks. “Where is Sara?”

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Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting! For additional fun and hijinks, follow me here or @conniebv on Twitter.

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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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