Damn it, this was sad. It is hard to be funny when all you want to do is eat carbs and mainline ice cream, but it’s always good practice, so let’s go for it. One of the things that makes Arrow so compelling (along with all the pretty people and omg arrows) is that, along with the general WTF-ness of the comic world there are moments of very real-world emotion that are very well written and acted, and holy Whedon, patron saint of all geeks who want to be taken seriously, this was one episode that really played to that concept. Props given, let me joyfully lampoon everything I just said.
We begin the morning after, with Oliver, Roy and Felicity walking into the Arrow Cave. Felicity is complaining that re-doing their phone system is a lot of work when she is stopped dead in her tracks by Oliver, who is stopped because of this.
Laurel, still in the same blood-soaked suit from the night before and not knowing where else to go, has brought Sara to the Cave. Felicity, in shock, starts to suggest taking her to the hospital as Roy puts an arm around her and the camera pans to Sara’s face, eyes wide and still. Laurel tells Oliver over and over again that “it’s not fair” and as he reaches slowly over to close her eyes, Laurel seems to deflate, and Oliver holds her as she cries. “I’m sorry,” he tells her, his voice too calm. “I’m so sorry.”
***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Hong Kong, 5 years back.
Maseo and Oliver are on a rooftop, where Maseo informs Ollie that Amanda has set him up as her operative, and he is to eliminate a target. He reminds him that Amanda is threatening his family to ensure Oliver’s compliance, and Ollie accepts the rifle, looking through the viewfinder to discover that the “target” is his best friend, Tommy.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Laurel tells Oliver a story about a stuffed shark that her sister had when she was small, and how she used to find it for her when she was scared. Now that her sister is dead, she says, all she can think about is finding it. Oliver promises to find the person who did this, and Laurel says they both will. She tells him that when she thought her sister had died on the Gambit that there was nothing she could do with her anger, but now she can help him find who did it.
Oliver tells her that what she can do is take care of herself and her family, and that Quentin will need her, but Laurel says that telling her father now would kill him. She gets up to leave, saying that she doesn’t know a lot about her current situation, but she knows she shouldn’t be in a bar.
Oliver takes out his phone to call Thea, and when she doesn’t pick up, leaves her a message saying he would “really like to hear [her] voice.”
Felicity shows up and he asks her what she found on the security camera footage. They have all been disabled in some way by the local drug dealers, so Oliver heads to the scene of the crime.
On the rooftop, Oliver tries to recreate the position of the shooter, acting out the motions when Diggle shows up, and finds him with tears in his eyes, mute.
Felicity told him about Sara, and he asks Oliver if he is okay. Oliver nods and starts to describe his theory of the events, but Diggle interrupts him, saying he “doesn’t have to do this right now.” “It’s the only thing I can do,” he replies. Diggle wants him to let go, telling him that he knows that his military training tells him to “stay on task” even though his friend has been shot.
Oliver interrupts, however, saying he is fine. Diggle accepts this, but tells him that Sara was his friend, too, and if he thinks he is going after her alone, then he “couldn’t be more wrong.” Oliver nods and swallows, overcome, when his phone rings. It’s Felicity, informing him that “Detective Lance called…Do you think he knows about Sara?” Oliver leaves to go meet with him.
Oliver, dressed as the Arrow, meets Capt. Lance in an alley way, still addressing him as “Detective”. Lance asks if he is okay and mentions that he looks like “someone peed in his cornflakes”, but Oliver shortly asks what’s going on.
Lance tells him that there “is another archer in town, dropping bodies” and hands Oliver a file, asking if he has seen the man before. Oliver says he may have, and when Lance asks if he “knows where SCPD’s finest might find him” answers with a question, asking who the victim is. Lance says it’s John Burke, a local financier who wandered into town “looking for some local entertainment and wound up with an arrow in his chest.” Oliver starts to walk away, and Lance stops him, telling him “Hey, watch your back, okay? Whoever this guy is–” “He’s a killer,” Oliver says, without turning back.
A quick shot of an abandoned warehouse, where a man is running blindly through rooms, obviously scared. He stops and turns, looking for an escape, when he is shot through the chest with an arrow by a hooded figure in black.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Roy is bagging Sara’s belongings as Felicity scrapes under her fingernails for evidence.
Felicity is marveling at how small Sara’s hands are, and that she never noticed it before. “She was always so strong and brave, I always envisioned her as this sort of amazonian warrior,” she tells Roy, “Invincible.” It was “something I could never be. I was so jealous”.
The phone rings, and it’s her job. She wipes the tears from her face as she tells them that she knows she was supposed to come in, but that “there was a death in the family.”
Diggle and Oliver walk back into the Cave, as they are discussing other archers capable of this. Oliver says that there are “only about ten that I know of, and most of them are in the League of Assassins”, who wouldn’t target their own. He asks Felicity what she found out, and she tells him about the hit at the abandoned warehouse and tells him about the victim, a construction foreman named Tim Kaufman.
Security cameras couldn’t get an angle of the crime, but they did capture what Roy calls “low-level dealers” in other parts of the building, and Oliver thinks they “could be witnesses.” Diggle asks where he should be, and Oliver asks him if Lyla would give him access to Argus’s database, to look up any assassin who use a bow that may be on their radar. He leaves, and Oliver exhales as he looks at his phone. “What?”, Felicity asks. “Thea hasn’t called,” he tells her and Roy, and they exchange a glance he doesn’t see.
***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Oliver puts the gun down, refusing to shoot his best friend, and Maseo tells him it is a test he is flunking. It turns out that when Oliver briefly logged on to his email last episode it set off an account alert that made Tommy he think he may still be alive. “Dead men don’t check their email, Oliver” Maseo tells him, proving why he’s at the top of his game.
He tells Oliver that Amanda needs him and “won’t let [him] be compromised by some rich kid flashing [his] picture all over Hong Kong,” and that whether or not his hand is on the trigger, “she wants Tommy Merlyn off the board.” ***END FB***
Back in the Arrow Cave, Roy is at the computer, running an FBI database search on Thea. Felicity walks in and utters one of the best lines ever on the entire show. “That is a cobalt-encrypted workstation. You better not be using it to TWEET.”
As he stutters and tries to close windows, she comes over and notices what he is doing.“Roy, why are you looking for Thea?” she asks, and he answers that he doesn’t thinks she is where she says she is. “Why would she lie?” Felicity asks, and Roy hands her the note she left him, which he apparently carries around in his pocket because Roy is a masochist.
Felicity tells him that Oliver needs to see it, and Roy refuses, saying that it is his fault and that Oliver will kill him.
Felicity thinks that she ay be in trouble, but Roy thinks she may just need some space. “She’s had five months and thousands of miles of space. Oliver needs to see this. You need to show it to him.” Ray sighs and takes the note back, when Felicity gets a call from an unexpected source. She walks out, and when Ray asks where she’s going, she responds “There’s someone I need to kill.”
Offices of Queen Consolidated. Felicity gets off the elevator and lets loose on Ray, telling him that she gets it, he is rich and impulsive and “frankly, the creepiest sort of stalker that I have ever had to deal with and trust me when I say that is saying a lot.”
She cuts herself off when she notices that he is remodeling the office with touches of blue, and asks “what the hell” he is doing. He calmly tells he that he is livening the place up for “a sort of pledge drive,” asking what he can do for her. “You can stop,” she tells him. Turns out Ray has been texting her, sending her flowers, calling and emailing her trying to get her to work for him. “Actually, you already do,” Ray tells her. It turns out the call she got in the cave was her boss, telling her that Ray bought the store she works at. Raay says “He’s wrong…kind of” (this is fast becoming the most annoying verbal tick of this new character). What he did buy was the holding company that owns and operates the entire chain of stores.
Either way, he tells her, he is her boss and she can work for him at QC, “in a big office, with a big salary” or at the store “in that awful uniform.” “Or,” Felicity says, “I can quit. Which is what I just did.”
Ray did not expect that, follows her as she walks out, and says the absolutely most clueless douchey thing he could ever say. “You know, most girls would be flattered that I spent 1.2 million dollars to hire them.” Felicity tells him that she “is not most girls” and that she doesn’t need this, or him. Ray says that while he is used to making people angry and that it is “the cost of being the smartest guy in any given room” he also knows when people are mad at something other than him, and that Felicity is mad at something else.
He asks her what that is, and when she says money won’t fix it, he says money never does fix the problems that matter. She tells him she is leaving and he says that he is there to talk to, even if they barely know each other, and that he hopes she knows “it gets better.” I know that they are trying to write this character in a sympathetic manner, but so far with me at least, it’s ringing hollow and this entire exchange is emblematic of why. Felicity leaves without another word.
In the abandoned warehouse, the Arrow tracks down a dealer and questions him about what he saw.
He describes a “black face mask, like a hockey mask.” Diggle calls, and he has a list of about 20 archers, but only one with a mask: Simon Lecroix, a mercenary that goes by the name “Komodo.” Diggle sends this information to Felicity, who is in the Cave with Laurel looking over her shoulder.
She manages to glean Simon’s credit information and that he was raised by a single mother in Saint-Sophie, Quebec. She manages to triangulate his phone by tracing calls made to Quebec, and Oliver takes off after him. Oliver chases Komodo, also on a motorcycle, while he tries to eliminate his next target, Ehrlic Kelso.
The two of them face up to each each other. Arrow shoots Komodo’s motorcycle out from under him, but the latter stands on the skidding cycle and shoots and arrow into Oliver’s side, knocking him off his cycle.
Komodo takes off and Oliver, momentarily knocked out of wind, gets up and says he got away. Upon his return to the cave, Oliver, Felicity and Diggle decide to stop looking for Lecroix and start looking for the connection between his victims.
***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Back at Maseo’s house, Oliver suggests getting a body from the morgue that looks like Tommy until Maseo points out that THEY ARE IN HONG KONG. He wants to find another way, but the only other way is for someone other than Oliver to assassinate him. Back at his hotel, Tommy argues with his father over his decision to take the jet to come to Hong Kong looking for Oliver. He hangs up and looks out the window, only to have a gloved hand cover his mouth and something injected into his neck.
At the hospital where Erlich Kelso is recovering, Laurel lies to his guard and says she is there with the D.A.’s office and throws her father’s name around to get in.
Kelso says he doesn’t know anything, but she insists on asking “a few questions.”
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity is running a search and Oliver is impatient. He says the killer is still out there, so “every minute we waste down here…” “I know,” Felicity interrupts. “You don’t need to talk to me as if I don’t know.”
Oliver stops and apologizes, telling her she is right, but that he needs her A-game. “I don’t have it,” she tells him, crying, and with every word she says, Oliver, turned away from her, tries harder and harder not to cry as well. “My friend, our friend, was shot with arrows and fell off of a rooftop…Her body is right above us, upstairs in a freezer because we don’t know what to do with it…with her, so I’m SO SORRY, Oliver if I have feelings but maybe if you did too–”
And he turns to her, his eyes bloodshot and mouth open and she stops, apologizing back. “That was mean,” she tells him, “but this is Sara. Your Sara.” She doesn’t understand how he can be so cold. “I don’t have the luxury of falling to pieces,” he says bitterly.
He tells her that everyone is looking to him to handle things, to make the right decisions, to lead, and that if he stops to grieve, “then nobody else gets to.” Felicity tells him that he is allowed to have feelings, and that she knows it is easier to live under the hood sometimes, but he says he isn’t. When he looked at Sara, he tells her, he realized that one day it would be him. “This life I’ve chosen, it only ends one way.” Felicity is sad, and tired, and done.
“So that’s it? You’re just going to spend your life down here in this cave, waiting to die?” She walks up to him, “I’m sorry, I’m not going to wait with you, because if there is one thing today has taught me is that life is precious and I want so much more in mine than this.” They stare at each other with tears in their eyes and when she realizes Oliver has nothing to say, she walks past him and out, wiping her tears as she goes.
Back at the hospital, Laurel starts out professional but when things don’t go her way, she threatens Kelso with an obstruction of justice charge and then twists his injured arm until she finds out that he and the other two victims were all working on a secret deal to build an oil pipeline for AmeriTech.
He doesn’t finish his confession, however, because he is shot through the heart with an arrow. Laurel looks out the hole left in the hospital window and sees the Komodo on a rooftop.
Oliver is at the Cave leaving another voicemail for Thea as Roy listens. Diggle shows up with information that Lyla is looking for Lacroix and asks abotu Felicity. “She needed some air,” Oliver says, and Diggle asks what he needs. He says pitifully that he just needs his sister to call him back, and Roy decides to come clean. “It’s not gonna happen,” he tells Oliver, and hands him the note, explaining what happened and why she left.
He tells Oliver that he didn’t say anything to him because he would have known he was lying the entire time and that he knew why she left. “I didn’t say anything about the letter, I know that I should have.” Oliver, contrary to Roy’s expectations, doesn’t lose his temper. “Okay,” he nods.
At the hospital Laurel is calling Felicity and leaving a voice mail for her when Quentin shows up. He’s heard about the shooting and knows she lied to his officers. Laurel says she needed to talk to him because it was important. Quentin asks her not to take risks, because her “sister has that covered for the both” of them, and to go home.
“Yeah,” she whispers. Quentin kisses her forehead and walks away and when Felicity calls back, she gives her the information about Ameritech and goes back to the Cave.
Felicity is running an algorithm to figure out who received payments from Ameritech when they all start to hypothesize why Sara may have been a target.
It turns out she eliminated targets for Nakura, a subsidiary of Ameritech that was trying to stop the deal. The person who authorized the payments, Tom Westin, is the next target and when Oliver asks where he is, it turns out he is at Ray’s party. Laurel walks to get a gun, saying she is coming with them. When Oliver objects, saying she was reckless and that Lacroix almost put an arrow in her. He takes the gun from her and asks her to let him handle this, reminding her that Sara was trained by the best and he still put her down. “I will get him,” he tells her. “You didn’t before,” she yells at him, proving what a brat she is.
Oliver promises her that he will and walks away, and Laurel’s gaze falls once more to the gun.
At Ray’s party, he proposes that the most affluent business owners of Starling City contribute to the rebuilding of the city. He pledges half his net worth to the cause, and says that he will take a $1 salary for the next year, and asks that they invest ingenuity and time. At the conclusion of his speech, a window bursts open and Komodo tumbles in, followed by the Arrow and Roy dressed as Arsenal.
They fight, and eventually Komodo rappels a couple of floors down. Oliver follows and they face off. Komodo tells him he “thought he’d be taller” and when Oliver tells him to lower his bow, rejoins with a wry “We both know that’s not gonna happen.” They take shots at each other until Oliver pins him to a column, asking who hired him. “Who’s she?’ Komodo asks, and Oliver turns to see Laurel, holding a gun.
He tells her that she doesn’t want to do this, that it won’t bring her back, that revenge doesn’t make it better but worse, but Laurel doesn’t lower the gun,even when Komodo denies killing Sara, saying he was drunk two nights ago. When Laurel calls him a liar, he says that he’s “proud of my work” and wouldn’t deny it. Laurel, unbelieving, pulls the trigger once, two, three times. It’s empty.
“You took the bullets out of the gun,” she says in confusion to Oliver, and when the police sirens sound, he grabs her, saying that they have to go.
Later that night at the Cave, Oliver tells Laurel that Lacroix’s alibi checked out, and Laurel marvels that she almost killed him. Oliver also says the trail has run cold, and that he is going to find out who killed Sara, but he doesn’t know when. “Your father deserves to know,” he tells her, and she sighs, resigned. The next day, however when she goes to the station resolved to tell Quentin about the passing of his daughter, she is derailed by the sound of the alarm signaling him to take his heart medication hourly, and instead just apologizes for lying.
Quentin hugs her saying, “Hey, I’m your dad. I forgive you. I’ll always forgive you.”
Night at the cemetery, and Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, Roy and Laurel are burying Sara in the plot that was reserved for her after the shipwreck.
Felicity takes a handful of earth and tosses it on the coffin, saying that it is a Jewish custom, and that she knows Sara wasn’t, but “it feels right.” Oliver does the same, and signals to Laurel that it is her turn, but she is angry. “This isn’t right. She doesn’t even get a fresh grave? it’s so perverse.” Oliver quietly says that she “deserves a proper burial. She’s earned it.” Laurel, upset, repeats that it’s not fair and that no one will really know who she was. Oliver hugs her, and Diggle walks up to tell her that he and Lyla have decided to name their baby Sara. We will never forget,“ he tells her quietly, and she thanks him.
***FLASHBACK ALERT***Tommy wakes up tied to a chair, and first pleads for his life and then threatens his kidnapper with his father’s name. The kidnapper, which is Oliver in disguise, pretends that he hacked Oliver’s account and that he is asking for ransom.
He tells Tommy that “Oliver Queen is rotting at the bottom of the ocean.” A siren sounds and Maseo comes in dressed as Hong Kong police to “rescue” a crying Tommy, now convinced once more that his friend is dead. ***END FB***
After the funeral, Oliver is sitting alone in the cave when Diggle walks up to him. Ollie laments that he couldn’t catch the person that killed Sara, and Diggle tells him that until he does, he is back on the team. “What about your family?” “Sara is family, Oliver,” he tells him. “Just like you, man.” Oliver nods, close to tears. Diggle wants to know what is next, and Oliver says that now he has “to go get Thea. It’s long past time she came home.” Diggle nods and starts to walk out, when a very subdued Oliver calls to him in a very quiet voice. “John…I don’t want to die down here.”
Diggle,direct as always bless him responds immediately. “So don’t, Oliver.”
A gorgeous music montage follows to Civil Twilight’s “The Courage or the Fall” and really, HOLY %$#@ the lyrics are a dead match. Laurel sits alone with Sara’s stuffed shark and the black leather jacket from her Canary costume, Roy debates calling Thea, and Diggle looks at baby Sara in her crib.
At the end of this, the elevators at Queen Consolidated open and Felicity walks out, in somber colors with her hair down, looking grave as she walks to Ray.
“Changed your mind?” he asks her. “I just decided I want more out of life,” she responds, expressionless, and I am both proud of her and sad for her all at once.
Change scene to the imaginary island of Corto Maltese, where an unknown man watches a masked fighter dispatch two opponents and slow claps in congratulations.
The camera pans to him and we see it’s Malcolm Merlyn. “Well done,” he says. The figure whips off the mask and we see it is Thea. “Thanks, Dad,” she grins.
This was a rough one to keep cracking jokes about and the season is dark so far in general, so I will likely do a Favorite Scenes next week until inspired for a full recap again. Hope you enjoy, and leave a comment here or @conniebv on Twitter if you can, they are much appreciated!