Airing Thursdays at 8pm on Sky 1
Writers: Oscar Balderrama & Rebecca Belloto
Director: Ken Shane
Essential Plot Points:
- Oliver is briefed on the murder of Cayden James. He then deals with his furious cabinet who are all desperate to get the city’s coffers refilled.
- Oliver briefs Thea and Quentin about the truth; the money is on the way back and they need to stop Dinah from finding Lauyrel’s associates and killing them.
- The accountant arrives, with Dinah providing very grumpy security. The bank account is empty.
- Star City has 48 hours before the infrastructure of the city shuts down.
- At home, Felicity offers to take a run at the bank accounts.
- Meanwhile., Rene, Curtis and Dinah continue running down the remains of James’ organization. Curtis isn’t happy about helping Dinah’s revenge scheme and, being an adult, he tells her.
- The accountant shows Dinah and Oliver footage of who withdrew the money as well as the withdrawal logs. It is of course, Laurel. Good work, Felicity!
- Oliver and Dinah snarl at one another. Dinah wants Laurel dead. Oliver wants Laurel for the money.
- Elsewhere, Quentin tends to Laurel’s wounds…
- And then manages to be startlingly suss when asked about how to find Laurel.
- In the alley where Laurel and Dinah fought, Curtis pulls out a new scanning system that’s basically ‘something something science’. It does lead to a lovely visual though as Curtis uses her sonic energy to create a hologram of how she left the scene.
- At the cabin, Quentin lays it all on the line for Laurel. He’s sweet and nuanced and patient, pointing out all the ways she’s changed. She seems to come round, as, unseen, Thea watches…
- Meanwhile, Oliver, Digg and Felicity are using luminol to trace the blood trail in the alley. They get a footprint, identify it as Black Canary’s and roll out.
- Team Arrow make colossal idiots of themselves yet AGAIN by busting into Team Newbie’s HQ and accusing them of taking Laurel.
- It gets very very nasty. Very fast. To the extent that Oliver draws on Rene and when they confirm that Laurel isn’t there, they storm out. It is beyond ridiculous.
- Although Rene does drop an audio bug on Oliver, which is awesome.
- Thea confronts Quentin and, because one of the Queen children isn’t an emotionally constipated violence enthusiast, she’s surprisingly cool with him.
- Thea calls in, and Laurel makes her offer to Oliver; help her get out of the country and the money is his.
- Oliver gives in. Because of course he does.
- Team Newbie pick up the information and, of course, roll out. And, of course, they happen to be directly behind Team Arrow on the road. An arbitrary car chase ensues culminating in Felicity finally remember e-security is a thing, bothering to scan for the bug and throwing it out.
- Team Arrow arrives and Quentin, because NO ONE IN THIS SERIES DESERVES HIM, volunteers to go with Laurel both as collateral and to make sure she gets out of the country alive so she can transfer the money.
- Team Newbie are stumped until Curtis has an idea. An idea that will badly hurt John…
- At the cabin, Felicity almost finishes the cover identities for Quentin and Laurel when Curtis hacks John’s chip to get their location.
- Thea, because no one in this series deserves her either, points out how insane it is for Team Arrow to fight their own former colleagues. Have a guess who listens to her?
- The two teams prep for the upcoming fight. Digg counsels Oliver and points out what we all know; that this is idiotic. He doesn’t listen.
- The two teams face off. Rene and Digg who are basically the last adults left, try and talk them down but it doesn’t take.
- Rene blows up the getaway car. Felicity literally jumps in front of a bullet to save Laurel and Quentin. With two hours to go before the deadline, Quentin and Laurel have nowhere to go. And Dinah has found them…
- Olly and Digg take down Team Newbie. Dinah has Laurel at her absolute mercy, and Laurel tearfully apologizes.
- And then Curtis, who is the other character in this show no one deserves, talks her down.
- Laurel lives. And has enough of her abilities left to knock down the others and escape. The two teams face off, until Rene, badly hurt by Olly. collapses.
- At the Arrow Cave, Felicity is putting John back together. She offhandedly mentions that Rene’s wound from a few months ago reopened. Digg suggests they should visit Rene in hospital which amazingly, Oliver agrees with. And asks them to apologize on his behalf.
- They have no money. They have no Laurel. Quentin is heartbroken but Thea reassures him.
- At the hospital, Curtis and Dinah get back on the same page. Curtis swears that once Rene’s back on his feet, they’re going to find and arrest Laurel. Dinah thanks him for letting her cross the line.
- The next morning, Mayor Queen prepares to face the press. He’s lost. He’s failed his city. Thea tells her brother to tell the truth. He does.
- The DA reveals he’s working for Diaz and has something that could bury Oliver…
- Curtis and Dinah are told that Rene is seriously injured and needs to be transferred out of the city. Digg and Felicity show up asking after Rene and Curtis basically dumps them. No cooperation. No communication. They’re done. Forever.
- On the edge of the city, Laurel stumbles into a truck stop. claiming to be Quentin Lance’s daughter…
So, this is not a good episode of Arrow at all. And yet it redeems itself, just in some surprising ways.
First off, the bad stuff. Team Arrow reach new levels of pathetic in dealings with their former colleagues this week. Literally kicking the door in on their hideout and accusing them of murder is bad. Realizing they’re wrong, dropping tear gas and running away, in full view, up the stairs, is some full on ’60s Batman nonsense. There it would be hilarious. Here it’s honestly kind of pathetic.
Likewise the race for Laurel that defines most of the episode. Paul Blackthorne and Katie Cassidy do their best to hold the episode together and their scenes are genuinely great. But the moment the Amateur Players version of Civil War breaks out in the darkest forest known to man, the episode goes South and never pulls up out of the dive. Vital plot elements happen in near pitch blackness, characters do stupid things for no reason other than the arc and the thing shuffles along to an apathetic conclusion that does no one any favors. If you were looking for a Flash-style sprint start back from the Winter Olympic hiatus, that is absolutely not what you got. This is the weakest episode of the season to date, by a substantial margin.
The consequences of James’ vengeance are neatly handled. The challenges of Oliver Queen, mayor, continue to be infinitely more interesting and well realized than those of Oliver Queen, guilt riddled incompetent ninja. The episode even hides a sucker punch that deserved to land in a much, much better story with the final scene. Oliver delivering his old ‘Failed this city’ line about himself is a massive character moment and one that promises some seasons overdue soul searching for him. Even better, the actual ending, and Laurel’s plan, seems to set up something far more emotionally resonant and interesting than anything else this season to date.
So, this is by no means a good episode but it still has enough interesting developments to make it worth while. Just. And, after the meandering James plot in particular, the show really can’t afford to be this lumpen and obvious again for a good long while.
- Oliver admitting that he has precisely zero moral authority when it comes to vengeance, murder or any cocktail of the two is a welcome note of self awareness from Mayor Crabby Pants.
- Quentin, Thea, Digg and Curtis whom no one in this show deserves.
- Paul Blackthorne and Katie Cassidy, acting their socks off in the single interesting plot this episode.
- The ending. Which is actually surprising and weird and potentially great.
- ‘If Laurel’s here she’s not…warm.’-DEAR GOD HOW ARE YOU THIS AWFUL? Every single moment Felicity is with Team Newbie, the show’s writers find new ways to make her a terrible person. Which she shouldn’t be.
- ‘Going after our former team mates may be a line we can never uncross.’
‘I agree. But they crossed it first.’ -GOOD LORD YOU ARE AWFUL ALSO
- That’s some nice fight choreography. We think. Given that the scene happens at night in a forest.
- The confrontation at Team Newbie’s base is so many flavors of stupid its hard to keep up. The moment where, having established that their friends who haven’t killed anyone have not in fact killed anyone, Team Arrow basically pop a tear gas round and scarper. It’s ridiculous.
- If Felicity is going in the field this much shouldn’t she have any form of armour? AT ALL?
- The terrible car chase.
- Having several characters point out that what’s going on right now makes no sense, does not in fact help what’s going on right now make sense.
- Oscar Balderrama has previously written for Arrow, Drop Dead Diva and Eli Stone.
- Rebecca Bellotto has previously written for Arrow and worked as a Writer’s Production Assistant for Crisis.
- Ken Shane’s previously directed ‘Checkmate’ last season on Arrow and has worked as an Assistant Director for years prior to that.
- ‘Scum singular or scum plural?’
- ‘That doesn’t make you a hero. That makes you a THUG.’
- ‘You say with, what you mean is FOR.’
- ‘That was…easier than expected.’
- ‘How? They tossed away our bug like it was a…bug.’
Review by Alasdair Stuart