Now that Oliver is back, everyone’s having to adjust to the decisions that were made in the wake of his fight with Ra’s and everything that went on in Starling.
The Arrow and Arsenal are back out on the streets, but they’re not alone. They run into the Canary again and Oliver is none to pleased about it. He tells Laurel that she’s not a hero and that her being out on the streets is selfish. She pretty much says “agree to disagree” and they go their separate ways. As Oliver is starting to argue with Diggle about signing off on Laurel’s participation in crime fighting, Merlyn arrives at the cave. He tells Oliver that Thea needs to know about the Arrow in order for them to work together. Despite Diggle’s continued warnings, Oliver decides tot ake Merlyn’s advice and brings Thea to the Arrow cave. To his surprise (and probably everyone else’s) Thea takes the news really well. She thanks him for what he’s done as the Arrow and is relieved to find out the secret that makes everything fit together. She less thrilled with Merlyn, when she realizes that he’s been manipulating her and driving a wedge between her and Oliver.
After Thea storms away from Merlyn and Oliver, Oliver gets a call from Felicity. Vertigo has escaped from custody after using a poisoned guard to cause a distraction. Laurel takes down the guard, but couldn’t stop Vertigo from escaping. She heads to the Arrow cave to give them a lead. Oliver takes the opportunity to give her a more detailed explanation of his objections. He tells her that she’s using the adrenaline of crime fighting to block out her feelings about Sarah and that she’s getting addicted to it. She doesn’t take the news well and storms off. Oliver and Roy follow up her lead, but it ends up leading them to a trap. Vertigo’s blackmailed a man into strapping a bomb to himself, the bomb goes off, but they get away. Oliver returns home to Thea, who’s waiting up for him now. The two actually have a talk about his activities and remark on the strangeness of it but, more than that, about how they can’t trust Merlyn.
Thea’s actually adjusting really well to the changes, she even talks a little to Roy about his relationship with Oliver. That conversation gets interrupted when a tracker that Oliver put on Laurel goes off. She had decided to go after Vertigo on her own. She ends up getting dosed with the drug that causes her to hallucinate that Sarah is attacking her as she takes a beating from Vertigo. The green and red archers appear before she can be killed, but she’s left incapacitated and they have to tend to her while Vertigo escapes. They get her back to the cave, but Thea walks in behind her. Oliver tries to get her to leave, but the tension of everything causes things to come to a head. Felicity finally voices the problem. She tells Oliver that they had to make choices while he was gone and that he doesn’t have the right to question those choices now that he’s back. In short, he’s got to accept that his team has grown. He goes to the bar to cool off, and Diggle follows him. Diggle and Oliver talk and the fact that what he’s started is now bigger than him, and that they’re all invested in it, which is why they didn’t quit when he “died”.
While that’s happening, Thea runs back to the arms of the DJ she’s been flirting with. The two sleep together and he tries to poison her using wine, because, as we remember he’s an assassin. Thea figures it out and attacks him, but is no match for the man. Roy, who saw them leave together, bursts into the door and saves her, but is taken down by the assassin as well. Merlyn comes in next and shoots the guy in the back. Instead of letting himself be captured, the assassin drinks his own poison and dies. While that’s happening, Laurel wakes up and Felicity tells her that she should stop trying to be Sarah because she has a light that Sarah didn’t. They get interrupted when Vertigo trips another tracker. He’s at Dagget Pharmaceuticals. With Roy MIA, Oliver asks Laurel to accompany him. The two find Vertigo, but he sets fire to the building, which occupies Oliver. Laurel captures him but he manages to dose her again. This time, she’s able to fight through her accusatory hallucinations and takes Vertigo down with the Arrow looking on.
Oliver gets called away to check on Thea, but Laurel has one more thing to take care of. Earlier, Quentin had mentioned that Sinn didn’t believe the Canary was Sarah. He had already figured out that Laurel was the one in the Canary outfit, but he didn’t suspect that it was because Sarah was dead. After what her hallucinations showed her, Laurel breaks the news to him and the two cry together. Oliver arrives at the loft to find Thea with Roy and Merlyn. Thea now realizes that she’s no match for the League on her own. Merlyn convinces them that they need to leave to train and confront their fears. He convinces them to go back to the island. Oliver and Thea agree to it and say goodbye to everyone. Oliver now believes that the city is in good hands with the rest of the team (including Laurel). The episode ends with them on the island known as “Purgatory”.
The Island / Hong Kong / Flashback
After going rogue during their previous mission to find Tatsu’s family, Oliver and Tatsu are on the run from Waller. Assuming he’ll be caught by Waller, Maseo gives Oliver some fake information about his whereabouts and the two separate. Oliver tries to get word out to his family that he’s still alive. As Maseo predicted, Oliver was captured. Waller tortured him, but Oliver withheld the information until Waller threatened to go after his family. Maseo returned to get Oliver, but both ended up being captured. Oliver is knocked out and when he comes to, he finds himself in a car with Waller driving into Starling City.
- THEA KNOWS!!!!
I thought this was the best possible way that the show could’ve handled this reveal. It was simple, to the point, emotional but, most of all, reasonable. I was afraid that this revelation was going to be followed by two episodes of emo-Thea being mad at Oliver for lying again. Thankfully, the two seem to be more in sync than they’ve ever been on the show.
- Team Arrow talks about their feelings
In a similar vein, I loved that Team Arrow (sparked by Felicity, of course) finally laid everything out in the open. Otherwise there was just going to be tension running through the team until something major went wrong.
- Quentin knows… 🙁
This wasn’t a favorite in the traditional way, but what a powerful scene. Especially considering how brief it was and how it was thrown in amidst so many other things happening. As an audience member I’ve known that Sarah’s been dead for a while, but seeing her dad react to the news was still really sad.
So, it turns out Diggle was actually wrong about something!? He’s been warning Oliver, probably wisely, that telling Thea the truth would push the two farther apart. Now look at them. The knows and she and Oliver are on a deserted island together; going on an adventure. This is one of the moments in the show that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been wanting Thea to become a full fledged member of Team Arrow. Obviously, she’s not as good of a fighter yet (she might not even be as good as Laurel without a weapon in her hand) but she’s still training. More importantly, she seems to be taking everything in stride. Her conversations with Roy and Oliver have changed for the better. Now, there is still the hurdle of her not knowing that she killed Sarah and what’s going to happen when Laurel finds out about that (or Thea for that matter). She already doesn’t trust Merlyn, so I can’t imagine that things can get much worse between them. I do wonder what’s going to happen if she keeps treating Merlyn this way though. She’s the only thing he wants and there’s probably going to be a temptation for him to force himself on her (…I meant as a father, you pervs).
I also think that this episode shows that Laurel’s going to continue to grow as the Canary. The last three episodes where supposed to be her story arc, but she was still growing here. She had to put away some demons and finally come clean to her father. She also had to prove to big brother Arrow that she belonged on the streets with the rest of the team. Taking down one of his mid-level villains was a good way to do that. She also showed some mental toughness by being able to withstand the vertigo. Although, to be fair, the show doesn’t really explain why the first dose messed her up so bad as opposed to the 2nd. I mean, I know people can build up a tolerance, but that was fast. I’ll put that under the same unsolved mysteries file where I’m storing the question of “why did Roy know he needed to burst in to save Thea?” He saw them leave the club which means that he basically followed her home and was in a position where he could not only see or hear that she was in danger, but where he could get to the door within a few seconds. So, what I’m saying is, Roy might be a bit of a stalker.
Those mysteries aside, I did like this episode. I felt like it got a lot of things handled that’re are going to allow the show to be a lot less restricted as they move forward.