Airing in the US on The CW, Fridays 9pm, No UK air date confirmed as yet
Writers:Speed Weed and Spiro Skentzos
Director: Wendy Stanzler
Essential Plot Points:
- Across the city, electrical equipment suddenly goes haywire. A councilman’s car kills him, hospital staff are electrocuted and an entire lift full of people are killed.
- Team Arrow, including a newly healed Dig, are on the case, with Olly relieved his son is on his w\y to safety out of the city on a school trip. That will end well…
- One of the casualties is Quentin’s old friend and colleague, Frank Pike. Oliver meets Quentin at the precinct, consoles him and asks Quentin to take over disaster response. Quentin agrees.
- Dig suggests reading in Dinah, Rene and Curtis and Olly agrees. Felicity contacts Curtis and the two, separate, teams are on deck. Dinah reads the news about Frank Pike’s death and…suddenly one of Curtis’ T-Spheres fires up. It’s tracking Vigilante’s visor. It’s a trap. One they plan on reversing…
- And it instantly goes badly. Frank jams their comms, explains to Curtis that he’s undercover and actually on their side and tells him when the next attack will be. It’s the Subway, in an hour.
- Oliver rallies his staff and is told his 10am appointment is waiting. He doesn’t have an appointment.
- It’s Cayden James.
- The two men maintain their covers long enough to be alone. James levels with Oliver; the entire infrastructure of the city is now under his control. All he needs is 10 million dollars wired into an offshore account by the end of the day.
- And the end of every day.
- Until further notice.
- Back at the cave, Felicity has run out of tricks. She’s also discovered that James has completely outmanoeuvred them; when she hacked him, he used the hack to plant a virus.
- She’s crushed. Until Oliver shows up and tells them what James told him; that Oliver killed his son by accident during a fight a year ago. But Oliver wasn’t in the city a year ago…If they can prove that, or at least that the evidence James was shown was faked, they can stop him.
- Curtis confirms the intel from Vince and his team rolls out.
- Felicity maps the incidents and they realize James has been cutting off the exits around the city. There’s one left; the tunnel William’s school trip is taking.
- At the Cave, Oliver shows Dig his new outfit, courtesy of Cisco. Guardian is back in the field.
- In the tunnels, the team get to the junction where James will cause a crash. They realise they can’t hack the system and frantically pull circuits as the trains approach. At the last second, Dinah uses her sonic scream to stop one and save the day.
- In the tunnels, a gas explosion cuts off the road. the kids panic and William leads them all out, but is trapped by a falling sign.
- Green Arrow and Guardian make it to the site and start evacuating people. Olly gets to William at the last possible second and saves him. But in doing so, reveals he’s still Green Arrow…
- William is taken to the cave for the first time and Felicity reveals that the city is now completely cut off. William is NOT happy.
- Curtis pitches the name ‘The Outsiders’ to his team members and it goes about as well as you’d expect. He also admits that he got the intel about the subway from Vince and Dinah cooks off BIG time. Rene argues that they need Vince’s advantage. Dinah refuses to work with Vince in any capacity.
- Olly checks in with the disaster relief effort and discovers the safe zones Lance has set up aren’t being used. He has an idea…
- Felicity continues tracking down the evidence to disprove James’ theory. Dig admits he wants to put the hood back on. Both are painfully aware of how much trouble Olly is in with his son.
- Olly delivers a press conference and lays it all out. He explains that the safe zones are all analogue and encourages people to go there. He then calls James out, to camera.
- Olly goes back to the cave and Felicity explains how she’s doing back-tracing the fake evidence. She also gently encourages Olly to go talk to his kid.
- Rene and Curtis talk to Dinah and, like adults, the three break down the pros and cons of working with Vince. It’s brilliant. And every other member of Team Arrow should be made to watch the scene on loop.
- Back at the Cave, Olly is STILL working up the courage to talk to his kid. In the best scene she’s had in weeks, Felicity explains what it was like growing up with a super-villain father. It’s sweet and perceptive and pretty much the best thing she’s had to do in weeks.
- Vince sends a morse code message to Curtis and the not-quite-the-Outsiders. An attack is coming, on one of the safe zones. Rene and Curtis ask Dinah for the play. She says they go.
- They arrive a second before Oliver and Dig and a few seconds before James’ men roll up.
- During the fight. Vince saves Rene and reveals his hand to his ‘colleagues’. Felicity talks to William about what it’s like to be in a hero’s life. They win, and the two teams leave separately.
- Dinah meets and reconciles with Vince
- Oliver and Felicity have a family meeting with William. Oliver apologises completely for lying to his son. William explains that he gets why his dad has to do this, that his city needs him and that William has a family now. He’s sad, but he’s accepting. It’s the only win they’re going to get.
- Felicity’s contact comes through. It’s a dead end. They can’t find the evidence.
- Olly has no choice but to go to City Hall and wire James the money. He has Thea do it. Star City, and it’s mayor, have just surrendered to a terrorist.
Oliver finally comes clean to William, James escalates his game and Team Newbie step up. There’s a lot to enjoy here, as pretty much every character gets things to do and the overall plot moves along in every way.
What works best here are the new characters. Rene, Dinah, Curtis and even Vince feel lighter on their feet than any of Team Arrow at this point. Some of that’s because they’re newer and less loaded down with backstory and that’s to be expected. The rest is due to the continuing, and mystifying, insensitivity on Team Arrow’s part. This episode that’s especially bad as colossal, city-changing disasters happen off screen and are brushed aside.
In fact that’s the real problem. It’s the start of what’s clearly an arc and as a result it needs to build up. But this episode alone, a subway train almost crashes, there’s a gas explosion, a firefight at a Safe Zone and a plane crash on the highway. We see three of those things and, subway train aside, none of them look the scale they need to be. The Safe Zone fight especially is basically a punch-up in a car park and while it’s impressively put together it’s not exactly high scale. Even the subway train incident, neatly resolved by Dinah, feels like a place marker. Maybe that’ll change in a couple of weeks when the normal citizens realize how much trouble they’re in.
Those problems aside this is a solid episode and one that continues the show’s upward trend. There’s welcome emotional growth for Oliver, some fun stuff for William to do and nothing, aside from James’ evidence, is running place. Fun, but not as large or significant as it feels like it wants to be.
- Team Newbie discussing the best way to suit up and look cool is adorable.
- Basically ever Team Newbie scene. They talk to each other like adults who trust one another and it’s SUCH a nice change.
- Dig’s new gear is so much better.
- The fact the bully stays to try and help William.
- The entire Escape from Detroit conversation
- The entire closing action scene/heart to heart is really smart.
- What the hell is Felicity’s damage? Curtis mentions the plane crash and she responds ‘Yeah, I know’. And she doesn’t bother telling the team that includes an ACTIVE SERVICE COP that Pike’s dead?!
- Bringing Pike back to off him is a cheap trick and one that does not work.
- The bully is a fat kid which is about as lazy as you can possibly get,
- Speaking of cheap, Oliver’s Safe Zone is…a courtyard with some tents in it. And what the Hell happened to all the cops on site when James’ men attacked?
And the Random:
- Wendy Stanzler has directed for Dollhouse, Men In Trees, 902010, Samantha Who and numerous others.
- Speed Weed has written for NCIS: Los Angeles, Eleventh Hour, Political Animals and others. Speed’s Arrow scripts including ‘Missing’, ‘Next of Kin’, ‘Thanksgiving’ and this episode.
- Spiro Skentzos has previously written for Grimm, Chadam and George Lopez among others.
- ‘It’s locking onto him!’
‘…Because your balls…never malfunction?’
- ‘You think this T on my face stands for GULLIBLE?!…You know what I mean.’
Review by Alasdair Stuart