Airing Thursdays at 8pm on Sky 1
Writers: Story by Christos Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage, Teleplay by Speed Weed
Director: Kristin Windell
Essential Plot Points:
- Good news! Cayden James delivering the evidence that enabled the Feds to blackmail Rene means that the case against both Rene and Oliver? Goes away. Like that.
- Oliver gets 1.24 seconds of happiness before Quentin brings him the bad news; Black Siren has gone public, pretending to be Laurel Lance.
- Oh and she’s also delivering a press conference.
- Right now.
- As ‘Laurel’ tearfully embraces Oliver and her ‘dad’, the press ask if Olly really is the Green Arrow. Olly gets them out of the room, just, before she can answer.
- Dinah claims that the money she stole…has been stolen from her. She’s in the public eye to protect herself not just from Dinah but from whoever killed James.
- They’re going to help her.
- Oh and if they don’t. She’ll out Olly.
- Olly is given some actual good news by the Chief of Detectives. She’s got an idea; sell off the seized assets of the department they could raise 30 million dollars to help offset the financial deficit. He leaves, Detective Dinah Drake comes in and charms the case out of her Captain.
- Curtis, because he’s brilliant, breaks the news to Rene’s kid that her dad is going to be fine but has been hurt. He stays and looks after her while Rene’s in hospital.
- The bad news parade continues; not only is the case not being dropped, they have a new prosecution witness:
- Roy Harper.
- Felicity, who is already 75% less awful this week than she’s acted at any previous time in the last month of episodes, gets a line on Roy’s location.
- Quentin checks ‘Laurel’ out at the hospital and talks down Dinah, who is dead set on killing her. Dinah realizes that Laurel’s vanished, blames Quentin but he swears he’s innocent.
- The police officer who picked up Laurel takes her to see Mr Diaz…
- Via Anatoly.
- Anatoly is actually pretty fun this week. He cheerfully admits that he’s only here for vengeance and, well…money.
- Olly and Dig monitor the police guarding Olly. They get evidence that that he’s being beaten and Olly agonizes over whether he’s done the right thing by Roy. They find their window, brief the others and Thea suits back up. This is Roy. This is personal.
- In the suite, Roy is being tortured by a pair of cops with nightsticks and a phone book. In the vent, Thea gets Felicity video footage of the badge numbers on the crooked cops and, when the cops leave, Thea is briefly reunited with Roy.
- The alarm goes off, SWAT pile in and Roy is too badly injured to escape. Thea preps to make a stand with him as SWAT kick the door in AND…
- Olly uses a grappling arrow to yank her back across the street.
- The bad news is they can’t get him out. Yet.
- The good news is Felicity ran the badge numbers and traced payments to them from a shell company. One owned by Diaz.
- They, at LAST, know who the real enemy is.
- Thea is FURIOUS at being rescued. Oliver is, because this isn’t the never ending awfulness of last week’s episode…actually not a jerk about it. He explains, consoles her, sympathizes. And when they get word of Roy being moved, they decide that’s when they’ll rescue him.
- Continuing this frankly astonishing display of honesty and trust, Quentin pulls Dinah and Quentin to one side and fills them in on everything.
- Dinah and Quentin are good cops. They might be the only good cops in the city. They have no choice but to work together.
- Anatoly walks laurel into DIaz’s hideout. Which, somewhat fantastically, includes an arena where Diaz is initiating a new member of the team. Because it’s Diaz, he’s doing this via the well known team building tactic of full contact, no holds barred mixed martial arts.
- Having won, Diaz explains that he’s building a ‘family’ and tells everyone to clear the room. He explains to Dinah that she’s only a small piece of a larger puzzle and she shouldn’t worry about Oliver or any of the others…
- At the Cave, Diggle begins to raise justifiable concerns about whether it’s time for Oliver to step out of the cowl. Word comes through Roy is being moved, they stage the rescue and…
- He’s gone.
- Diaz has him.
- Back at the cave, Felicity consoles Oliver and tells him not to blame himself. She mentions Digg asking about getting the hood back and Olly genuinely doesn’t know how why he hasn’t given it up yet.
- At Diaz’s place, he asks Roy how Speedy is…
- Quentin and Dinah are working the Diaz case at Quentin’s apartment. Dinah makes it clear the truce is temporary and she’s still fixated on Laurel.
- There’s a knock on the door.
- It’s Laurel. Of course. Who wants to help them bring down Diaz…
- At the Cave, Olly gives Thea some advice; when they find Roy? She should go with him. Because she deserves to be happy and while her brother would miss her, he wants that for her. It’s ADORABLE.
- Team Arrow are put in the picture by Laurel who gives them details of where Roy is. They roll out, but Oliver refuses to let Dinah accompany them. They don’t trust each other and being in the field short handed is actually safer.
- And for the first time in WEEKS, we actually agree with something Olly said.
- Guided in by Felicity, they track Diaz as he’s extracting Roy. He throws a room full of guys at them and makes a run for it. Olly, Digg and Thea pummel their way through them and there’s something cathartic about it. Olly gets to take down Anatoly, Thea gets to the last henchman before Diaz and takes him down with Olly’s help. Holding Diaz at arrow point, Olly tells Thea to drive off in the van with Roy. Diaz gloats about how they can’t take him down and Olly leaves as the cops arrive.
- Roy is patched up and safe at the Cave and Olly goes to see Laurel. Continuing his whole entire episode of being a real boy, he listens as Laurel explains that she’s willing to try if he’s willing to let her. They leave, an uneasy peace between them and Laurel gets a text. It’s from Diaz and reads: GOOD WORK.
- Roy and Thea go back to her place and catch up on the missing years. Hurray! As they do, unseen, a ninja watches them and reports back. She’s located the heir of Ra’s Al Ghul…
Where the hell has this show been since the crossover?!
Seriously this is maybe the first episode of Arrow this season, and certainly the one this half season so far, that works. All of it. Every single element works whether it’s the John Wick-ian fight scene, the looooooong overdue spotlight on Diaz, Roy, or the notable absence of Team Newbie.
That’s not a slam on Rene, Curtis and Dinah either. And Dinah is front and center this episode as one of the two honest cops left standing. But rather, after weeks of the crushingly tedious clash between the two teams, this episode focuses on one of them and in doing so remembers who these characters are.
Oliver isn’t a self righteous hypocrite this week! WE KNOW! We’re amazed too! He’s driven and determined and endlessly compassionate in that damaged way that is Olly at his best. Even the two moments he could be awful this week, pulling Thea out of the room and benching Dinah, feel earned and sensible. It’s amazing how fundamentally unlikable this show’s lead character has become this season and through no fault of Amell either, but it’s so great to see it turned around this episode.
Better still, the return of Roy gives the entire show a shot of Adrenalin. Roy Harper is one of the few people this city, and it’s heroes, failed, and that lies heavy on all of them. It also brings forth one of the most interesting questions the show has right now:
Why is Oliver still doing this?
There are no pat answers this week because it’s the main question of the show. The mayor, the most powerful force for good in the city, is still a masked vigilante. And his friends have started to wonder why. That idea, that is is either Oliver’s last full time go round as Green Arrow or the prelude to a massive change in his life,is honestly the most interesting thing the show has done in ages.
Colton Haynes is great as Roy this week but it’s Willa Holland who steals the show. Thea has spun her wheels so far this season but she’s a force of nature here and Holland revels in getting the spotlight. We desperately hope she and Roy get a happy ending and we hope she gets lots to do before then too because she’s been on the bench way too long.
Rounded out by a welcome focus on Diaz, a GREAT action scene and a couple of seismic status quo shifts, this is the best Arrow has been in a long time. If you bailed after last week, give it another shot.
- No one’s an idiot this week!
- Olly is actually likable this week! So’s Felicity!
- Katie Cassidy, in full ‘cat who shanked the milkman’ is flat out delightful.
- Kirk Acevedo! Finally allowed to be Kirk Acevedo!
- The visual of Team Arrow making their way through the abandoned casino is great.
- EXCELLENT fight this week. John’s ‘Yank the arrow out, shoot the guy’ moment in particular.
- This is startlingly picky we know, but that glass stage that Diaz is holding his ‘exam’ on is going to really, REALLY hurt. No give, no padding, and the longer a bout goes the more it’s going to hurt just moving barefoot across a surface like that.
- Olly saving Thea is a little annoying but it gets him in the fight.
- Laurel faking her redemption is a real ‘NOOOOOOO’ moment. We hope it’s a double fake out.
- Speed Weed, yes, real name has written for Haven, Eleventh Hour, New Amsterdam and more as well as numerous previous episodes of Arrow.
- Christos and Ruth Fletcher Gage adapted the Arthur C Clarke novel Rendezvous with Rama for an abandoned adaptation. They also wrote numerous episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Numbers. Dick Wolf, creator of Law & Order, cites their episode, ‘Mercy’ as a high watermark for the show. Christos is also a prolific comic writer for numerous companies, most notably Marvel and Dark Horse where he’s written The Amazing Spider-Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and others.
- Kristin Windell has directed for Arrow and Blindspot and is a prolific editor, who has worked on everything from Alias to 90210.
- ‘I’m not sentimental. I’m RUSSIAN.’
- ‘Is that my hood? It looks good on you.’-OUR FEELINGS ROY, ALL OF OUR FEELINGS.
- ‘No kids, no wife and I really REALLY hate minivans.’
- ‘I go in there and it’s you and me, against a SWAT team, in a tight space. No one comes out of that, especially Roy.’
- ‘How the hell would Queen let his baby sister dress up like Will Scarlet?!’
- ‘Can we not do the screaming thing? Because the only thing that’s going to happen is my father’s going to have to redecorate his apartment.’
- ‘It occurred to me that if I’m going to be Laurel, I should probably start acting like it.’
- ‘I love it when you visit me, Mr Mayor. I love it even more when you leave.’
- ‘I got Diaz.’
‘No you don’t. You know that, right?’
- ‘Hmm…Cherry on top.’
- ‘Quentin…my father…’
Review by Alasdair Stuart