Oliver has finally healed enough to get on the move. Well, mostly. Tatsu is firmly of the opinion that Oliver is just going to get himself killed by trying to throw himself back into the fray this quickly, but Oliver is stubborn. He invites Tatsu to come back to Starling with him, but she prefers to remain off the grid. Sort of. What she really means is that she’s going to follow him down the mountain as far as the conveniently paused pickup truck and offer sage foreshadowing along the way.
You see, Oliver is well aware that Ra’s al Ghul will be coming after him, Thea, and Malcolm as soon as word gets back that Oliver survived. Tatsu tells Oliver that “only the student will have hope of defeating the master,” and encourages him to seek training. (Personally, I could have sworn she told him to go to Maseo. Maybe I was wrong. Oliver certainly heard differently, but we’ll get there in a bit.) When Tatsu and Oliver arrive at the road, she drops the previously mentioned foreshadowing bomb on him, stating he’ll have to become like Ra’s in order to beat him, and that Oliver will have to sacrifice whatever he holds most precious. (Why yes, Olicity fans. You DO know where this is going.)
Back in Starling City, it’s been a week since the SCPD pulled out of the Glades and Team Arrow is doing everything it can to keep the damage to a minimum. Arsenal and Black Canary have been going out every night, taking down Brick’s thugs whenever they can. On one particular run, Sin sees the tail end of an encounter and immediately wonders why her Canary bestie hasn’t mentioned that she’s back in town. She asks Roy about it later, and his response is almost literally, “yeah, about that…”
Lance is helping out in any way that he can, which in this case involves passing Brick’s police records off to Arsenal. (Lance, by the way, totally knows who Arsenal is because exchanging a red cotton hoodie for a red leather hoodie is fooling absolutely no one.) Said intel leads Team Arrow to conclude that Brick is the one responsible for killing Rebecca Merlyn all those years ago. And since their encounter with Slade taught the team nothing about sweeping for bugs on a regular basis, Malcolm now has that knowledge and is out for all kinds of revenge.
Felicity uses her tech genius to track Brick’s men to their “secret” hideout in the Glades precinct of the SCPD. They launch an assault on the building, only for Black Canary and Arsenal to get pinned. Malcolm swoops in for the rescue, saying that they need to talk. Back in the lair, Merlyn proposes an alliance against Brick. Laurel’s on board, and Roy reluctantly agrees after a bit of a spontaneous heart-to-heart with Thea, but Felicity is still pretty firmly on the “hating every cell in Merlyn’s body” train. Team Arrow votes, and with Digg on Felicity’s side, Merlyn is basically told to take a long walk off a short pier. The important thing to note here is Felicity and Diggle’s firm belief that Oliver would never, ever want them to work with Malcolm Merlyn.
Laurel comes up with Plan B. Team Arrow goes and rallies the residents of the Glades, including Sin and Ted Grant. Together with their small army, Team Arrow launches another assault on Brick and his minions. This time, the tide turns in favor of the good guys. Oliver makes his dramatic reappearance just in time to keep Merlyn from killing Brick, telling him to become a better person for Thea’s sake.
Once the dust has settled, The Arrow gives a rousing Hero Speech to the Glades, saying that they did not fail this city, and promising never to leave again. Lance, who has come out to watch the post-battle St. Crispin’s Day monologue, runs into Sin. The spunky former sidekick (FINALLY) nudges Lance towards the truth, saying that whoever that blonde in the mask is, she ain’t Sara.
Oliver heads to the loft that he shares with Thea, telling her that he had a bit of a flashback to his Ollie days and spent a few weeks in jail. Malcolm is there, and he and Oliver have a nice chat about Malcolm seeing Thea as his chance for redemption. Oliver lays out his plan for keeping her safe from Ra’s al Ghul, starting with him getting training from Ra’s’ closest available student: Malcolm himself.
Finally, it’s time for the big reunion with Team Arrow. Big hugs and handshakes and back claps all around and everything is puppies and kittens and rainbows. At least until Oliver tells them about his plans with Malcolm Merlyn. No one’s particularly happy about it, but Felicity is downright PISSED. She and Oliver end up having it out in the alley behind Verdant, where she tells him that if this is the way he cares about the women he loves (i.e. Thea and Sara), she doesn’t want to be a woman that he loves.
And Oliver thought a sword through the stomach hurt…
— Stephen Amell (@amellywood) February 5, 2015
So many things to say about this episode. To start with, I’m glad Oliver is back. Yes, the team did well in his absence and yes, the League of Assassins plotting with Maseo and Tatsu was awesome, but I still feel like this show works best when it focuses on the character relationships. Given that his name is the title of the show, it’s a little harder to make those happen without Oliver around. I also love that he’s bringing the Arrow out of the shadows as a symbol in the Glades. I may have rolled my eyes a little at “you did not fail this city,” but it was still a pretty fantastic moment.
I loved the Merlyn flashbacks, if only because we got to see the tiny versions of Oliver, Tommy, and Nyssa. We didn’t get much more information than we’d already extrapolated from the last two and a half seasons of the show, but God knows I will never pass up the opportunity to watch John Barrowman chew some scenery.
I feel like we’re going to have to wait another episode or five for the payoff of Sin planting those seeds of doubt in Lance’s mind as to the current identity of the Black Canary. Thank goodness someone is finally starting to fill him in, though. Seriously, this particular part of the Canary story is getting both tiresome and borderline cruel. Here’s hoping we get that much closer to wrapping it up in next week’s Canary-centric episode. I can’t wait to see Caity Lotz in Starling City again (even if she’s almost certainly just a hallucination)!
Thug #1: “You that red streak I been reading about on TV?”
Arsenal: “Wrong city.”
Felicity: “Great, we can add irony to the list of charges against Brick.”
Things to Ponder:
- Are we going to learn more about why Malcolm was pushed towards killing the wrong guy in the first place? I’d definitely like more info on that.
- Seeing kid!Nyssa, then catching up on this week’s Agent Carter… #AssassinateLikeAGirl
- Did anyone else have Les Mis vibes during the Final Battle, or was that just me? Fortunately, this one ended much better for the good guys.