Meh. Arrow Mehcap E311, “Midnight City”

Ish got real, y’all. Real sad. And real boring, I’m sorry to say. Last week was actually an easier recap, so this is even shorter than that one, and here’s hoping this week is better. I’m still here for this show.

 

We got a dream sequence where Oliver is all, “Yeah, you know what? I’m gonna stay here and screw this city because I only know ONE thing, not two. Solve your own problems, Thea Queen, I’m about to smear this pink lipstick.”

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I may have paraphrased most of that dialogue, but I had to. It was probably the only time this episode I smiled. So of course he coughs up blood because it has to suck balls to be Oliver Queen or else we all turn into pumpkins.

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Same, Miss Smoak. SAME.

 

Oliver wakes up and stumbles over to Tatsu, who is rocking a smoky eye and brewing him some penicillin. I would watch this show. It’s like Himalayan ER. Or House, because Maseo is pretty cranky.

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Oliver thanks Tatsu, and she credits the snow, the cold, and Maseo, who asked her to meet him. Maseo is leaving when the snow stops, and tells Oliver he should care more about what Starling has become in his absence, and less about what the LoA will do to him.

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Girl running from a dude in an alley only to get saved by Laurel as Fauxnary. She immediately gets pwnd and then saved by Arsenal, who knows at least enough to save the banter for AFTER you beat up the bad guy.

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Roy takes Laurel back to the Cave for some stitches and a talk, and his delivery of “you have a law degree” when he points out the holes in Laurel’s skill set is fighting with Digg’s fabulous “Laurel, what the hell?” to be my new text message notification.

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Proving again that John is the voice of the fandom, he says she’s “certifiable” if she thinks she can wear her sister’s mask, and she tries to justify this mess by saying that the city needs a visible hero, and that since Oliver is gone and Sara is dead, she’s all they got.

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At QC, Felicity is in the office 3 hours early so she can brood in peace
and STILL Ray manages to crash her pity party. He’s meeting with the Mayor about the situation in The Glades so of course she needs to go because that’s what VPs do, they go EVERY PLACE THE PRESIDENT DOES. He mentions he could help in other ways, but
she still won’t fix his chip.

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She huffs that “nothing
you can do or say will change my mind” and this is when I know she is
definitely changing her mind. Never play poker, Arrow writers.

 

Thea’s at Verdant & runs into Creep DJ who is briefly skeezy and when he leaves, by Malcolm,
who is annoyed that she isn’t packing.

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She can’t leave without
knowing about Oliver, and she doesn’t know why he wants
her to go. Malcolm tells her she’s not ready for the truth, and she’s
all BYE THEN and stalks off. Oh Merlyn, no one ever prepared you for a milennial. When he gives up and gets in the car, Roy sees him go.

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There’s a meeting about something with the mayor and Brick is an asshole and I am already done with this plot, I care so little.

 

What I do care about is that Maseo and Tatsu are no longer together, and I SHIP IT.  Damn it, you two, get your shit together. Oliver is like the handsomest marriage counselor ever, but the odds don’t look good.

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There’s a flashback to Tatsu’s rescue from China White in a club. All you need to know is it’s successful, and even tho Maseo gave them the real Alpha, it ended up being fake.

Brief convo between Quentin and Felicity where he points out that the Arrow didn’t show, but Sara was back. Felicity immediately realizes it’s Laurel.

More Laurel unsuccessfully lawyering.

More interesting is Roy, who is my new favorite person as he confronts The Magician himself in Thea’s apartment. Turns out someone other than Felicity is willing to mail a truthigram to Mr. Merlyn.

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He tells Malcolm that he is “poison,” he won’t let him take Thea anywhere and that she will find out about Sara. Once she does, Roy assures him as one in the know, Malcolm will lose her forever. Merlyn holds up his hand and un-invites him from the convo because he’s not family, but I’m still glad someone had the balls to call him out on his utter dickishness to his only living kid, and that that someone was the man who loves her.

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Felicity heals Ray and I’m not ready to see these two together. It’s too soon and feels gross. The takeaway is he tells her he’s not trying to fight crime only for Anna, but for the people he cares for. Ugh. OK, fine. God please let this arc end soon and be replaced with a significantly less gross arc.

 

Laurel and Roy are suiting up when Diggle arrives. She won’t stay safe in the Cave and let him go with Roy. She knows she’s not her sister, but she thought Digg would understand.

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John asks Roy to stay close to her, but when they go to save the alderman Brick kidnapped (yeah, that’s happening), Roy and she screw up and don’t capture him, and Brick kills one of them just to make a point. POINT TAKEN.

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Back at the station, Quentin talks to Laurel about her sister because YES, he still thinks she’s alive and yes, Laurel STILL says nothing. Brick calls and wants a parlay with the mayor because Shakespeare. This would totally happen IRL.

 

At Thea’s, Malcolm tells Thea just enough truth to hook her. Basically the story of his wife, but you know, omitting the part where he got her brother killed.

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The book.

 

Felicity comes to see Laurel and no, it’s not a dream sequence. She saw the news and knows she suited up as the Canary. Laurel has a very nice monologue about how Felicity needn’t worry about her anymore because the death of the alderman made her realize she’s not “strong enough to fight for Sara.” So OF COURSE the next thing Felicity says is what Ray told her, that maybe they fight for those still alive. It was well acted, well-written, and I bought into NONE of it. Zero.

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Go figure, and I can’t really say why, but when Arrow is at its best I lose myself in the characters. I forget that I am watching a show, and this entire setup felt so contrived to me that I was painfully aware that this scene was written this way to pull in these specific four characters (Felicity, Laurel, Sara, and Ray via quote) to give them a commonality and a unity of purpose, and it was hammered home a little too hard for my taste. EBR and KC approached this from radically different acting schools. If Emily had chosen to play her sadness bigger, or Katie had downplayed her lines some, this could have been great. Instead in comparison with Oliver and Tatsu’s tragic, permeating sadness at the change in the man they once knew, this felt harsh and overdone. Not to mention THIS:

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At the parley, Brick takes waaay too long to ask the Mayor to move all cops out of The Glades so he can crime in peace and no one knows why Ray’s there.

 

At the cabin, Oliver tries to convince Maseo to stay with them and Tatsu sweetly tells him she still loves him, no matter who he thinks he has become. There is a split second where Maseo breaks his blank stare and blinks during their kiss, and I scream out loud. These poor babies.

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Maseo sees the LoA outside the house and when they open the door, Oliver and Tatsu are hiding and he is warming his hands. Maseo tells them that Oliver was there, and that he was about to leave to follow his trail. When they get suspicious and try to check the house, he kills them.

In the Cave, Digg and Roy drink Oliver’s good vodka and Roy asks if they can’t do this without Oliver.

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Cue Felicity and Laurel, who come down the steps. Felicity admits being wrong, she’s back in, and says that it’s up to them to protect their home. Laurel tells them that the Mayor is going to pull out of The Glades. My takeaway: Laurel still doesn’t believe Oliver is dead, but there are for sure live people that might appreciate a save.

Next up: the clubbing of a baby seal. HAHA NO J/K Laurel uses recordings of Sara’s voice that Felicity fed through an algorithm (et tu, Dr. Frankenstein?) to up the ante on asshole behavior to Quentin and get intel about the case. She cries when he says he doesn’t know what he’d do if something happened to her. GOOD.

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Felicity hits Ray up for his helicopter. This is more Ray than I really needed to see. Just steal it. Turns out Diggle knows how to fly, and he takes Roy and Laurel to the (all together) a warehouse in The Glades where Brick is holding the aldermen. When Oliver gets back, he should just set fire to all warehouses in The Glades. Roy and Laurel do somewhat better this time and free the aldermen, but when Laurel is cornered by Brick, she escapes by kneeing him in the junk, then throwing herself out a window and grabbing onto the helicopter ladder as it flies her away, and just HAHAHAA NOPE.

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Just…no. Ah, show. You kill me.

Props to her stuntwoman, tho.

 

At the cabin, Maseo leaves Oliver and Tatsu behind despite their (and my) pleas.

 

Because my heart isn’t broken enough, Laurel hangs out on a fire escape and uses the voice recordings to have an entire conversation with her dad as Sara. He tells her that the Mayor is still pulling out of The Glades and maybe they can go have Chinese food and talk? When she avoids him, he calls her on it. To his concerned “are you okay” she answers, “I’m fine, Daddy” in Sara’s voice and it is actually beyond fucked up.

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If lying to Thea is wrong, lying to Lance is goddamned criminal. This is a decent man who has endured car chases, shootouts and a high-pressure job and his ticker is still going. F#CKING TELL HIM.

 

At Chez Thea, she tells Malcolm that he taught her to fight and not be scared, and she thinks he should take his own advice. Malcolm gives in for perhaps the first time in his life, and tells her that they’ll stay. His smirk at the end is deeply disturbing, because there is now no doubt in my mind that he meant to stay and this is all a setup. Malcolm doesn’t brush his damned teeth without a plan B.

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Felicity gives Ray back the keys to his helicopter, plus his (now fixed) chip. If she helps him, she says, he may not end up dead. Yawn. K. Moving on.

 

Finally, Thea’s at Verdant and finds Skeezy DJ, who tells her he was in there for “some of his music files” he needed for another gig and boom just like that we know he’s shady because WTF are those files on a floppy? When Thea leaves, he makes a phone call to… Maseo, informing him that The Magician is still in Starling. The worst thing about this news is that I can almost guarantee we’ll be seeing him and his boy-band headsuit again.

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That’s it for this week! Next week, Oliver returns, and the tug-of-war between this show and my feels continues. Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.

¿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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The Official Felicity Smoak OHSH#T Hair Index

My original image made its proud appearance on my S2E22 recap, and was a tongue-in-cheek comment on just how often you can tell the state of peril Team Arrow is in by the lovely Miss Smoak’s ‘do.

My original image made its proud appearance on my S2E22 recap. Here’s a link to all my other Arrow edits/recaps, if you’re interested, and here’s the one that started it, a hard 9:

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Now that we’re into S3, it occurred to me that there were a couple of instances that could easily have fit upon this scale, so I’ll include them below and add to the scale whenever I see one that seems to fit.

Here’s a 5, Neutral Ground:

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And a 6, Tension Escalating:

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A 7, Armor Deployed:

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A 8, hair that is its own best tactical advantage, Escape Imminent:

And finally (for now), a 10, courtesy of the Olicity Date, Done:

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Have fun playing at home! For more Olicity and Arrow fun, follow me here or on twitter @conniebv Enjoy!

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W00t, Arrow S3E1 Photo Recap, “The Calm”

Hey y’all! Here we are back again, ready to both 1) intellectually get drunk and make out with and then 2) emotionally be slapped and then drunk-hugged by our favorite ‘ship. If you are a comic book geek (I was one, too), you are reading the wrong recap. No detail about the show as it relates to the source material for the most part, just a decided Olicity slant and my irrational dislike of Laurel, so fair warning. If you haven’t read these before, all my S2 edits are here. Let’s dive in.

You know it’s Arrow because there is a dark alley, a runaway truck, said truck driver getting punched in the face by Oliver while Diggle and Felicity run backup. PSA for the Starling City villians: If any of your plans start with “Let’s get a truck and….” just go home. It isn’t going to work out.

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Season 3 means my favorite dinner trio sampler now comes with a side of hot sauce.

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Some of you will remember that Roy was my Laurel Light, and if you are thinking I’m fickle let me just say that you are 1000% correct. Props to the writers, because  characters I could not until recently stand are becoming more interesting, and Roy’s Example. #1, mostly because HELL YEAH RED SUIT. Example #2 of this is still difficult for me to cop to, so we will not speak of it just yet.

Here specifically tho,  the bad dude did a thing and it’s bad and Team Arrow is ON IT, but not really relevant to plot except to point out to us that they’ve got their process on lock and are working like a well-oiled machine that shuts down crime. Oliver is once again reminding people who likely fail at family, holding down steady jobs and having a good credit score that they “have failed this city” and I am ready to finger-point right along with him because F YEAH ARROW IS FINALLY BACK!

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I really do mean to cut down on the images on these, so I don’t want to cap every small thing, but upon 1st reintro to the cave there are a couple of things I noticed.

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That’s right, Roy now has a light-mannequin in the Arrow Cave to call his very own, and we have a new toy that Oliver quaintly refers to as “the board”, where Team Arrow keeps tracks of baddies they want to boom. The news report playing also tells us that Starling City is in decline, with people moving out because they have realized that A LOT of bad sh*t happens there and two terrorist attacks in as many years. They neglect to mention the high incidence of perfect abs, however, which I think would go a long way towards ensuring people stayed put.

Oliver, fresh from kicking @$$ and high on endorphins and victory, notices a plant and asks Felicity about it. Turns out she has gotten him a fern, which is good in low light now that he is a crime-fighting hobo who lives in the basement of his non-working (from the looks of it) club, and they proceed to cutely bicker about how she didn’t buy him a bed because OMG SLEEP IN HERS ALREADY. Take a hint, Oliie.

Meantime, these two know what’s up.

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Oliver’s text alert goes off, and it’s Thea, who says she is on the Amalfi Coast because she somehow managed to avoid poverty. Oliver keeps asking for pics, but she probably isn’t sending them because she is really full-time into the official Queen pastimes of kicking ass and lying through your teeth. Roy flinches at mention of her name, and says he is leaving to go on a patrol. Oliver stops him briefly to tell him he did well tonight, and his expression softens somewhat. Felicity is heading to an early shift at her job, and when Oliver asks if they are “still on for tomorrow night” this adorableness happens:

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Turns out she is helping him prepare for a board meeting at Queen Consolidated to try to convince them to give him the company back. Diggle says he has to go as well to put together a scary bassinet for Lyla (because Lyla would not have any other kind), and that reminds Oliver of something.

He’s poor now, so he made Diggle and Lila’s baby a girl a really sharp pointy necklace out of four arrow heads in the shape of a throwing star, and Diggle is touched and also stoked because now he can teach his infant daughter to be a ninja. Oliver congratulates him not only on his impending fatherhood, but on his happiness. Diggle says Oliver should try it, but Oliver demurs, listing the reasons why he is “not a catch at the moment”, which mainly runs along the theme of all his girlfriends being assassins who maybe like him but loooove killing. “Maybe Felicity will change all that,” Diggle says, and Oliver says “It’s not the right time”.  Diggle says that things are “as good as they ever will be”, plus he loves her, he “told her so”. Oliver says he was trying to fool Slade. Sure, Diggle says, except now he is fooling himself.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Oliver and his wig are running through the streets of Hong Kong, stealing phones and destroying property in a bid to get back home. Meanwhile, this dude shoots at him, and, when he tries to email home from a café, shoots the computer he was using.Owner of the cafe that saved up for MONTHS for that outdated PC cries salty tears.

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They fight, destroying even more property, and when Oliver complains he can’t “understand Chinese”, the guy tells him in English that if he tries to escape again, he’ll beat him senseless, then pistol whips him senseless to illustrate his point. This is our introduction to Maseo Yamashiro. ***END FB***

Next scene up, Laurel is smug because she managed to get the criminal Oliver convicted in jail. Sure, Laurel, I guess that’s as hard as chasing him down an alley and bare-knuckling him, so you take that credit. Bully you. She jokes about being “in business” with Oliver and I already can’t wait for this scene to end. Brief light at the end of the tunnel when she talks to Daddy Lance, who is now Captain Daddy Lance (which is also his rap name), and asks him to please stop trying to off himself running around town now that he has the opportunity to wear dress blues and just stand there and look pretty with his new sleek aerodynamic head.

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Captain Lance is not only there to tell merciful lies to his youngest, but to surprise Oliver with a public acknowledgment of the Arrow’s contribution to the city’s safety, and announce the dismantling of the city’s anti-vigilante task force. Oliver is so touched he smiles again (O.Q. official smile count: 6), and I maybe hate Laurel a little less right now, because anyone who contributes to a plot device that ups the Queen Smile Quotient can’t be all bad.

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The press conference footage transitions to playing on a TV in an unspecified baddie’s crime den, where the top said bad guy complains that “less heat on the Arrow means more heat on us” and his goons complain that the ATF has their grenade launchers and WTF is the purpose of bribing cops, anyway? He is interrupted by a dude with an unspecified accent so hard to understand they even have the actor playing opposite him mention it, so you don’t think the sound guy messed up. This is about where it falls on the UAS:

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He says that what the villains really suffer from is a “lack of leadership”, and when current top evil bad guy objects, saying he’s nothing but a low-level pusher, he shoots a dart into his neck while announcing his name: “I am Vertigo.” He assumed the name and tinkered with the Count’s formula, including “an additive produced by certain mushrooms,” which reveals the face of the subject’s “greatest fear.” What is the bad guy  scared of? Roughly the same thing Lt. Ripley is.

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Vertigo then stabs the dude in the carotid with another dart and announces his super-original master plan:kill the Arrow. Surprisingly, no objections from the remaining bad guys, but that’s evil for ya. No loyalty.

Outside Verdant, Oliver runs to catch up with Felicity and asks her how work was. She tells him that it wasn’t work so much as a “soul-sucking exercise in misery that offers medical and dental.” You paint that picture, girl. Aren’t they all?

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She tells him she is highly motivated to help convince the board to sell back Queen Consolidated to him, even if he isn’t really qualified to run it. She says he has “passion”, and that he cares for the people that work there and he should “speak from the heart.” That’s all you need, right? Who needs an MBA? No one.When she says this, she pats his chest over his heart and Oliver stops in his tracks, ready to take a chance.

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He asks Felicity if she wants to go to dinner with him, and she responds, “I’m being serious, Oliver.” So am I, he says, at which point she tells him that she doesn’t want to “read too much into this,” but is he asking her out on “an actual date”? Oliver starts to stammer about how it includes dinner, she calls him on usually being the one speaking in partial sentences. He takes a breath and says, “Felicity, would you like to go out on a date with me?” “Yes,” she responds, smiling and nodding almost before he finishes.

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God, these two delightful dorks.

That evening, Team Arrow are back to their usual shenanigan, fightin’ evil and looking smooth as silk.

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Diggle is reporting on a liquor store holdup, and Oliver, tearing around on his motorcycle, wants a picture sent to Roy and to be patched in to Felicity, who says she “can’t talk right now,” then promptly proceeds to make excuses to her customers to talk right then.

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Oliver takes advantage of the fact that he has her on the phone tracking the perp to ask her if she likes Italian. This scene was much-repeated in the promos, so I won’t expound on it here.

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Felicity tells him she does like Italian, and that Detective Captain Lance is also on his way to the sewers, where the bad guy is.

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Lance catches up to him first and beans him with his flashlight, which leaves the Captain gasping and reaching to take some pills. Oliver catches up to the perp and knocks him out, and walking back to Lance, thanks him for what he said that day. The Captain wishes he could have done more, but Oliver says he has done enough, and that there is something he needs to do. “What, have you got a hot date or something?,” Lance asks. Oliver smiles under his hood as he walks away.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Amanda Waller walks up to where Oliver is sitting, guarded by Maseo, after his ninth escape attempt in five months, and complains that this is her reward for saving him from drowning. Oliver asks why she did it, but she responds that it is “need to know”. He tells her that he doesn’t care about anything except going home, and he will keep trying to escape.

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She threatens to kill him, and he says to go ahead. She stares at him a moment, looks at Maseo and announces, “We’re going to have to try this another way.” Maseo knocks Oliver out, and he falls off his chair.***END FB***

Next up, the meet-cute between Felicity and Roy. I neither understood nor care to understand most of the dialogue here, so here’s the scene in four quick caps-

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At their OB/GYN’s office, Diggle and Lyla are being told to sit tight, since Braxton-Hicks contractions don’t actually mean you’re in labor.

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Lyla mentions to Dig that he looks scared, and he jokes about facing down the Taliban, Malcolm Merlyn and the worst villains and admits that yes, he’s terrified.

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Meanwhile, Oliver arrives at his date LIKE A BOSS.

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Stashes his bag in an air vent, and looks for Felicity. Boy, does he find her.

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As they sit, Oliver smiles twice (OQ OFFICIAL SMILE COUNT: 11), and fidgets, and Felicity is startled. “What?” she asks. “nothing,” he replies, still grinning. “Nervous?,” she intuits in the way she has of reading him and he admits, “Yes.” “Line forms behind me,” she laughs. He stops the waiter, telling her that the “booze might help” with the nervousness, but she whispers furtively that it wouldn’t mix well with the three anxiety pills she took before the date.

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The waiter leaves, and he asks if it’s crazy for them to feel nervous. She points out that they have already exhausted all first, second, third and potentially all date topics. And, she blurts out, she has “seen him shirtless. Multiple times. Shirtless all the time.” I’m sure she doesn’t want to sound as creepy as we the fans, but when the waiter comes with the water and she is saved from elaborating on this theme it’s frankly a pity. I could have used a visual aid.

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She shouldn’t have worried, though, because she is by no means the biggest weirdo at that table. Oliver tells her that there are still some things she doesn’t know about him and when she asks him to name one, he says that he was not on the island all five years he was gone. Felicity doesn’t seem surprised though, and asks where he was. “Hong Kong, for one,” he says.

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He tells her he has been thinking a lot about his time there and the choices he had to make. His voice is very quiet, and he is visibly emotional. “Those years sound like they were full of a whole lot of suck,” Felicity says gently, and he almost smiles, reaching up to wipe at his face and apologize to her, as he feels “out of [his] element.” After a deep breath he begins to explain that during his time away, he couldn’t completely trust anyone, and as a result, he stopped seeing people and instead, started seeing threats-or targets, and that when he came home, he didn’t know how to turn that part of himself off. 

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And when he walked into her office, she was the first person he could see as a person. “There was just something about you,” he smiles.

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“Ugh, I was chewing on a pen,” she says, self-consciously putting her hand to her face. “It was red,” he says, as if he were telling her she was beautiful, and there is a perfect moment where they are just completely caught up in each other.

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Evil minion #2 is on the roof, talking to Vertigo about how the Arrow is definitely in the restaurant. He thinks they should get closer, but Vertigo says they are “close enough,” and opens a suitcase.

In the restaurant, Oliver asks Felicity if she remembers him telling her that he couldn’t be with someone he could really care about because of what he they do. She does, and says so. “So maybe I was wrong,” he says, and they gaze at each other with their hearts in their eyes.

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On the roof, Vertigo whistles while he aims a RPG at the restaurant. Inside, Ollie’s senses a disturbance in the force, and dives for his girl Friday, and for cover. They didn’t even get their food, and that makes me angrier than anything.

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The frame is tight on Oliver’s closed right eye, which opens suddenly as he focuses on the room around him, and finds Felicity.

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Oliver carries Felicity to the Arrow Cave, and places her on the table. She is okay, just passed out, but he still looks impotent and upset. Diggle asks if he thinks it was a coincidence that their restaurant got bombed and he looks momentarily nonplussed.

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His expression only worsens when Roy shows him the GPS he found in his bag, and they realize that the crook he caught earlier with Capt. Lance was a setup so they could plant the device on him. Diggle takes one look at Oliver and tells him he knows what he’s thinking.

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Oliver denies it, but immediately says that he knows why this happened, and it’s because he lost his focus. He calls Lance to find out who is at the top of that organization, and how he can get a hold of him. Lance says he is on it, and Oliver hangs up.

Ollie walks back to the table where Felicity is, only to have her suddenly jerk awake and yank him down to her with a frightened “Oliver!” “Hey,” he says quietly to her, “You’re safe. You’re safe. I’m here.”

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Maybe physically, but mentally, Oliver is already Arrowed up and ready to kick ass.

At the tattoo parlor hunting Vertigo wabbits, Oliver is startled by and almost shoots  Capt. Lance, who refuses to sit it out because of the damage Vertigo has caused, and gives him Vertigo’s real name, Werner Zytle. Oliver assures him he has things under control, but warns him to keep his “head on a swivel.” Then he runs right into Vertigo, who introduces himself again because this a dude who really, really likes his name.

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Oliver says that Count Vertigo is dead, but Zytle says some things never die, Oliver being one of them. Even if the Count is dead, his “glorious narcotic lives on” and Zytle hits Oliver in the chest with a dart, to show Oliver his greatest fear….which is Oliver.

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Arrow-Ollie and Evil-Ollie fight, and you know Evil-Ollie DOES NOT GIVE because his shirttails are untucked like a hobo and he fights dirty. Right about when Evil-Ollie morphs back into Vertigo and we see him about to double-tap Ollie with a second dart to the carotid, we see Capt. Lance aiming at him from some distance away. Lance screams at Vertigo to “Get away from him or get put down,” and Vertigo throws the dart at him instead, missing rather badly as it sinks into a wall. This gives Oliver a chance to get away, and Vertigo turns back to Lance, ready to finish him off as he appears to suffer another heart attack.

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Right before he can, an arrow shoots into his back and Oliver runs back to help Lance, telling Felicity over the comm to call an ambulance.

Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver is changing his suit and Felicity asks if he is okay. He ignores her question all together, and asks about Captain Lance. Felicity pauses for a split second while Diggle answers that he is “stable.” She has noticed his evasion, but decides not to call him on it. It turns out Lance had a coronary artery spasm, which was treated with medication, and that he will be fine. Oliver looks briefly insecure and then in a much softer tone, asks how Felicity is doing.

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She smiles and says that believe it or not, she has “had worse first dates”, but her joke doesn’t quite hit the mark, and Ollie looks obviously upset even as he rolls his eyes and turns to Roy to ask him to see if he can figure out what Vertigo has planned from his contacts on the streets. When Diggle offers to back him up, Oliver tells him it’s just intel-gathering, and that Roy can handle it. He tells Diggle to go home to Lyla.

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He then tells Felicity that “they need to talk,” and she asks if it’s about the date, or the date getting blown up. “Both,” he answers, and she says it’s okay, they will talk after they catch the baddie. She does wonder if they should have rescheduled the board meeting, which is in less than an hour, but Ollie says “ I got this.”

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Ollie wakes up in a house in Hong Kong, again complaining that he doesn’t speak Chinese when he discovers the woman speaking to him is actually doing  so in Japanese. He asks her where he is, and she says he is in “our home, mine and my husband’s”. When he asks her who her husband is, the camera pans to Maseo, holding out soup and asking him if he wants dinner. Now that’s decent captivity!***END FB***

At Starling City General, Captain Lance wakes up and warns Laurel that yelling at him is against doctor’s orders. Great she says, because he’s already ignored doctor’s advice by going out in the field. She tells him that the night he collapsed, the ER doctor asked if he had an Advanced Healthcare Directive, which is what they ask for when they think you are going to die. She sits on his bed, upset.

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He apologizes to her, and she wants to know why he keeps pushing himself. He tells her he was a cop even before she and her sister were born, and if he isn’t a cop anymore, what is he? “You’re my father,” she says, holding his hands, “and I need you.”

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Back to Queen consolidated, where Oliver arrives for his meeting only to find out there is another bidder. It’s Ray Palmer, dropping grins and handshakes like a politician and just as smarmy.

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Or maybe that’s just me. In the board room, Oliver makes an emotional plea to be allowed back at the head of the company, speaking about how his family built it and nothing is more important to him than family. “Good speech,” Ray says, “hard to top.” And then proceeds to do just that.

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He has information on the company’s numbers under Oliver’s “managment” (which he got thanks to Felicity’s hackvice). And he speaks about how the company can’t “hope to survive” when the city it is located in “is dying”, and he proposes a CITY REBRANDING so that people want to live there again, which is both ridiculous and genius and I hate him and he is nuts and I am kind of on board with this.

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Leaving the board meeting, Felicity catches up to Oliver and apologizes, saying that she really thought things would go their way. So did Oliver, but he admits that QC may do better under Palmer, and that trying to get it back would be selfish, since he struggled with having time for it in the past. He says that the past 12 hours have reminded him that two years ago, he “made a decision to put Oliver Queen aside and be the Arrow,” and that it’s “not a choice [he] gets to un-make.” Felicity touches his arm and walks around him, trying to make him look at her. “Last night you didn’t feel that way,” she contends, but Oliver reminds her of what happened.

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She says the explosion was not his fault, and he tells her about Vertigo’s formula making him see his worst fear, and how he say himself. She isn’t convinced that he is afraid of himself, and he clarifies “I think I’m afraid of what would happen if I let myself be Oliver Queen.” Felicity falls silent, having nothing to say to this.

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Walking back into the Arrow Cave, Roy and Diggle tell Oliver their working theory, which is that Vertigo is killing off the three major competing crime bosses in a bid for total power. Felicity rushes to tell him their location, and snaps at Diggle when he hurries her that they all “don’t walk around with little GPS’s”. Actually, she realizes, they do. They are all on recent parole, and she uses their ankle monitors to trace them all to the same location: Rockets Arena.

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Turns out it is the night of the heavyweight prize fight, or “Christmas for crime bosses,” as Roy describes it. Even though there are 20K people there, Diggle doesn’t think he’ll flinch at killing that many to finish off the remaining three, but Oliver says he will use a larger explosive device, and asks Roy to suit up.

Diggle asks where he wants him to go, but Oliver wants him to stay put, saying he is about to be a father when Diggle asks him what changed. Digg calls foul, saying he’s known that for the past five months, and presses him. Oliver admits that he’s changed, and that his risks can’t be Diggle’s since he has “a life, a new life…Something I can’t have.” Felicity listens in the foreground as Ollie blames himself for Lance being hurt and Diggle argues that both he and Lance get to make their own decisions. “Not this one,” Oliver says very quietly. Digg tries to reason with him one last time. “Oliver, I’ve given the past two years of my life to your crusade and I don’t know what that’s supposed to earn me, but it earns me at least the right to make my own choices.” “No it doesn’t,” Ollie rejoins instantly, and Diggle loses his temper, getting in his face and yelling that Oliver “would be dead ten times over” if it wasn’t for him.

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“You’re right,” Oliver says calmly, almost sadly. “But this is my crusade, which makes it my decision.” Diggle walks out without saying another word, and Felicity, the foreground, starts to cry.

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At the arena, the fight is going strong and Vertigo has set a bomb. “It’s a five-minute timer,” he tells one of his minions as he walks by, who nods and then promptly gets shot with an arrow.

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Oliver drops from the ceiling pissed off and ready to punch out his feelings. One of the guys threatens him with a knife, taunting “What are you waiting for?” When Roy comes out of nowhere and triangle-chokes him and as he falls, Oliver says “My partner.” It’s a pretty badass moment.

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Oliver checks in with Felicity, who has found the bomb in the maintenance tunnel behind the stairs. Roy tells Ollie he will get the bomb, and Oliver goes after Vertigo.

Zytle, who was running out to what looked like the top level of the parking garage, comes face-to-face with a waiting Arrow and throws another dart at Oliver’s chest, jeering that it is almost as if he has “developed an addiction to Vertigo.” Once again, his image flickers to that of Evil-Ollie.

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Under the stairs, Roy uncovers the bomb timer, sitting on what looks like a palletful of C4.

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Evil-Ollie wavers and finally, as Oliver closes his eyes and seems to focus fades entirely back into Zytle. Oliver pulls the dart out of his chest and announces “I’ve made my choice.” Vertigo runs at him, and they begin to fight. As Vertigo’s remaining minion tries to join the fray, he is blocked by a familiar face, and both heroes take a moment for an exhilarating beat down.

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Inside the stadium, Roy is telling Felicity that they are running out of time. She tells him to cut the yellow wire, but there is no yellow wire, so she guides him towards the A/C system, where he can disconnect a freon tube and, with 37 seconds to go, freeze the bomb. Roy does this using pole moves that would do a stripper proud, and manages to freeze it with one second to go.

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Outside, both Oliver and Sara have worn their respective fights, and stop for a friendly chat, only briefly interrupted by Vertigo getting up, Oliver shooting him through the heart, and his dying proclamation that there “will always be a Vertigo” because Oliver gave it “the power.”

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Oliver and Sara chat about the usual: the weather, family and the best way to hide your radio transmissions. Turns out Sara was on her way to visit Laurel until she overheard Felicity’s transmission. Oliver asks if she is back for good,  and that he hopes so. “We’ll see,” she says, and asks how he is. “I’m working through a few things,” he says, and she grins and reaches to put her hands on his shoulders. “Word of advice? We’re not our masks. And we need people in our lives who don’t wear one.”

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She smiles, he is thoughtful, and they both walk away.

Felicity is walking hurriedly into the hospital, and is surprised to meet Ray Palmer in the hallway, who’s been stalking her via her phone GPS, because he is interested in hiring someone with her skill set.

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Turns out someone hacked his cellphone, laptop and desktop. Felicity is totes #sorrynotsorry to hear it, but doesn’t admit anything. Ray tells her that all of his data has been replaced with “audio files of porcupine flatulence,” and that he was hoping an apology for misleading this person would merit an undo, plus he ants to offer her a job again.

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Felicity says it would, unless he used that information to deliberately steal this person’s friend’s company, in which case he should get “ used to the sounds of spiky rodents farting.” He tries to tell her he didn’t even need the data because his speech was “pretty good”, but she informs him that her friends just had a baby, and “there is another slimy little human” who needs her attention. “BTW,” she says, walking away, “you might want to check your tablet.”

Felicity walks in and sees the baby a second before Oliver does.

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He stands in the doorway and shyly says hello to Diggle. Digg comes over and thanks him “for being right.” He looks lovingly upon his daughter. “The second I looked at her, everything changed,” he tells Ollie. “My whole universe…changed. You were right.”

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He goes to shake Ollie’s hand, but gets pulled in for a hug instead, and my emotions are at a 11. They separate, and as Oliver stares at Felicity, Lyla and Baby D, we get another memory of Hong Kong.

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***FLASHBACK ALERT***Oliver looks out the window of Maseo’s house and asks him how to get out of there. “You can’t leave,” Maseo says, and Oliver tells him that he can’t stop him. Maseo says he has repeatedly, and that Amanda wants him working for her. “I’d rather die,” Oliver retorts, and that is when Maseo clarifies that it is not his life that is under threat should he leave.

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Amanda has “motivated” him by threatening his family, and he tells Oliver about an old proverb of his father’s, “a man cannot live by two names.” Oliver asks what it means, and he tells him that in his case, it means he has “no choice.” ***END FB***

Walking out of Lyla’s hotel room, Felicity is raving about the baby when Oliver interrupts her to say that they “have to talk”. “I don’t want to talk,” she says, admitting it’s rare for her, but she knows that “as soon as we talk, it’s over.”

Oliver looks both sincere and wrecked, and my poor heart is already shriveling. “I’m SO sorry,” he tells her. “I thought I could be me, and the Arrow…but I can’t. Not now. …Maybe not ever.”

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Felicity, who has been hurt and understanding and encouraging, finally gets angry, and draws her line in the sand.

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“Then SAY ‘never’. Stop…” her voice breaks, and she continues, tears in it, “…dangling maybes. Say it’s never going to work out between us. Say you never loved me–” He interrupts her with a whispered, “Oh, Felicity,” and he kisses her.

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It is brief and at the end there is a moment where they pause, lips still touching, before Oliver pulls away and looks her in the eye as he holds her face. “Don’t ask me to say that I don’t love you,” he tells her, and it’s as good as a declaration.

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Felicity’s response is as true to character as it is heartbreaking. “I told you as soon as we talked” she says, pushing his wrists and freeing her face, “it would be over,” and she walks away, leaving Oliver with his hands frozen in the air until his phone rings, distracting him.

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“It’s Barry,” Barry says. “I woke up, and I need some advice.”

On a rooftop in the city, the Lance sisters are having a meetup.

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Sara asks Laurel how their father is doing and she responds “Same,” but that he’ll be better when he sees her. Sara doesn’t want it known that she’s in town just yet, however, because her life is complicated. Laurel reminds her they didn’t want her to pick that life, but she says she picked it for herself. Laurel gets a call from the office asking her to sit in on the Arena perp’s interrogation, and the sisters hug it out.

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“Laurel Lance, always trying to save the world,” Sara teases. “Runs in the family,” Laurel responds. It is the most mature and human I have ever seen Laurel act, and a nice moment between the two characters. Laurel tells her sister she loves her and takes off, and Sara is left alone on the roof. “Hello, Sara” we hear a deeply modulated voice say. She turns and asks “What are you doing here?” and gets shot, three arrows in the stomach.

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She stumbles off the edge of the building, hitting her head on the trash can and falling only a few feet away from where her sister stands on the street, her mask falling off during her fall. Laurel runs over and gathers the broken, bloody body to her as she cries, screaming her sister’s name.

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I’m going to go drink now.

Thanks for reading! I can’t promise an update for every episode (the spirit has to move me), but I will try to do as many as I can, and if you want a heads-up, you can follow me here or @conniebv on Twitter.

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Photo Recap, Arrow S3 “First Look” Trailer

I can’t resist this fandom, and because the calendar won’t oblige me by segueing directly from August to October, you get this: the first of two photo recaps of the teaser trailers. Skipping the first minute of this one, because it’s a recap of the last season finale and if you want that WELL THEN here.

Dark, then we see a figure walking down a hall with a familiar tint.

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We start cycling through the new status quo.

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GODDAMNIT, LAUREL. You are THE WORST. I will table my rage. And we get our first look at Superman Ray Palmer.

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….And possible trouble in our favorite bromance:image

Some new faces I don’t care about yet-image

And some that I missed-image

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My favorite Lance sister preaches #truth and I thank her for what follows.

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MY BABIES. Everything is magic. Until he opens his mouth.

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Ssshh, Oliver. Just keep complimenting her. Our time at the Olicity date is short as we jump to Oliver’s past…

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and then everything speeds up as we touch on some old friends-

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And because they can’t resist, the writer %$#@! with my blood pressure.image

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/shakes fist

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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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