Oliver’s new job as mayor isn’t quite syncing up with his regular nighttime activities.
The episode starts off with the Green Arrow stopping Anarky from setting off a bomb in the city. After he takes down Anarky, he’s joined by another vigilante wearing a hockey mask. He tells the masked man, Wild Dog aka Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez),that he doesn’t want to see him on the streets again before putting an arrow in his leg. Meanwhile, Thea is stalling for Oliver at a ceremony for the police department’s anti-crime initiative. Oliver is presumed to be busy being a playboy, but arrives just in time to publicly accuse the police department of being corrupt. Even though it might not be the smartest political move, Oliver’s not wrong. That very night, a bunch of crooked cops try to steal from some criminals. They’re met by another criminal named Tobias Church aka Charon (Chad L. Coleman). Church is looking to take over Star City’s underworld and starts by putting down the cop’s leader.
While investigating the incident, the Green Arrow overhears that Quentin Lance is back in town and off the wagon. Oliver decides to pay him a visit. Having lost Laurel and broken up with Donna, Lance has no reason to stay sober. Since everyone left, Oliver has been holding out hope that the team will eventually come back together. He hopes that Quentin will be a part of that. He invites him to attend the unveiling of a monument to the Black Canary. Quentin does attend the ceremony, but it’s interrupted by Church and his men.
In his mission to take over the city, Church has decided that it’s best to take down the “biggest guy in the yard” which, in this case, is the Green Arrow. In order to get the Arrow’s attention, he decides to kidnap the mayor. When the ceremony is ambushed, Oliver has no choice but to let himself be taken, along with a few members of his staff. Thea, Curtis, Felicity and Lance start frantically trying to search for Oliver’s hideout but, with no active super heroes available, their options are limited. Believing he’s on his own, Oliver baits the thugs into taking him somewhere private to beat on him. Once he’s alone, he frees himself and kills his captor in order to keep his secret safe. Just as he does, Speedy appears in costume. They manage to fight their way out, but they have to leave the other hostages behind.
Speedy is upset that Oliver is killing again. Oliver tells her that everything that happened with Darhk and Laurel taught him that he needed to be willing to do anything or people could die. Thea believes that putting killing back on the table is a huge step backwards and refuses to be a part of it. This prompts Felicity to again suggest to Oliver that he start recruiting other vigilantes like Wild Dog or Evelyn Sharp to form a new team. Oliver’s not willing to try to replace his old team, but Quentin does convince him to accept help from a group of hand chosen officers. Together, they storm Church’s hideout and rescue the hostages. The fight with Church gets interrupted when the cops notice that the building is wired to explode. Despite some spectacular attempts by the Green Arrow Church escapes, but the hostages are saved.
This experience proves to both Church and Oliver that they need support. The next day, Oliver announces that he’s forming a special anti-crime unit comprised of the officers that helped the Green Arrow. That same day, Church approaches the existing crime organizations in the city and announces that he will be their new leader in order to take down the Green Arrow. Back in the arrow cave, Oliver has actually conceded that Felicity might be right. He agrees to look into recruiting both Wild Dog and Curtis. He also gives Diggle a call to see if he thinks forming a new team is a good idea. He’s surprised to hear Diggle say yes, but he does agree that it might be a way to get things back to normal.
Of course, things can’t end that cleanly. After leaving the cave, we see that Felicity has a new boyfriend that no one seems to know about. We also see one of the new members of the anti-crime unit get attacked by a masked archer that isn’t the Green Arrow (it’s Prometheus, who’s name will be revealed in a later episode).
The Island / Flashback
Following up to the promise he made to Taiana, Oliver finds himself in Russia. He’s fighting in underground matches in order to get close to Konstantin Kovar. When he kills one of the fighters, he ends up getting himself into trouble with some Russian gangsters. Fortunately, he is saved by his old friend from Lian Yu, Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl). However, Anatoly is very clear that going after Konstantin is a suicide mission. When Oliver insists that it’s something he has to do, Anatoly presents him with the idea of joining the Bratva, a Russian criminal brotherhood.
- “Blonde or Red Head” – Police Officer
“Brunette Actually” – Thea (a reference to Oliver fighting Anarky)
- Felicity is convinced that the team isn’t coming back together and that Oliver should start looking for a new team. To that end, she sends Curtis to search for Wild Dog.
- At one point Tobias Church holds up a picture of the Green Arrow. That picture is actually concept art by one of GA’s comic book artists.
- In one of his more spectacular moments, Oliver jumps out of the window of the plant before it explodes while simultaneously attaching himself to Church’s helicopter. When Church knocks him off the helicopter, he doesn’t panic, he just uses a parachute arrow. They are getting really liberal with these comic book arrows.\
- “How’d you ditch your security detail” – Felicity
“I used to ditch John Diggle” – Oliver
We’re tying something new this season and doing the write-ups as a retrospective instead of trying to keep up from week-to-week. It’s already interesting to look at the first episode through the scope of knowing what’s coming. It makes it clear that some things may have been more important that you realize on first viewing. One immediate example of this is the flashback scenes. When Oliver is captured, one of the gangsters becomes fascinated with his father’s book. It seems like the book is just dredging up something we already know about Oliver but, it turns out that it’s a nod to the season’s big bad: Prometheus. It’s also the start of Oliver separating his motives and rounding out his back story.
As far as what’s going on on the surface, this episode really hammers home the idea that things have to change for Oliver and Team Arrow. Quentin has backslid on the progress he made with his alcoholism. Thea is trying everything within her power to put being a vigilante behind her, even after Oliver was captured. On top of that, she’s not willing to support Oliver putting killing back on the table as the Green Arrow. Diggle seems okay with the idea of Oliver putting a new team together. And, perhaps the biggest blow to the status quo, Felicity’s got a new beau. Most of this episode is really about getting Oliver to come to grips with change like everyone else has.
Oliver’s creation of the Anti-Crime Unit is the first sign that he’s going to move on sooner rather than later. With Curtis insisting that he be trained along with Wild Dog, we have 2 new members of the team on deck. Of course, per his promise to Laurel, we’ll need another Canary to join this new team. So, while the Flashback Oliver is getting initiated into the Bratva, the modern day Oliver will be initiating new members into Team Arrow.