The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson is back for the third season of the popular series in our recap feature we’re officially dubbing Pointed Commentary.

This week: Arrow gets stalked, Felicity Smoak and Ray Palmer make something of a love connection, and 'Arrow' gets its Poochie.

  • The Action

    I was worried last week that this week's villain was going to be a suspect in the Sara Lance murder case; luckily, that doesn't pan out. In fact, the season-long murder plot is all but ignored entirely. Team Arrow just does not GAF about it anymore, I guess.

    Things kick off with a flashback to Arrow saving a woman (Amy Gumenick) by a subway station during the events of last season's finale. She sits there and lovingly stares at his arrow as he runs off to fight Deathstroke soldiers. She might want to run to safety or something.

    Six months later, Arrow and Captain Lance look over the dead body of last week's villain, Isaac Stanzler. He's been shot with an arrow that Lance and Arrow both identify as being shaped like a spade, but it's clearly a heart. It's red, guys. Use your deductive skills.

    Now, last week, we saw that redheaded woman from the flashback, Cupid, shoot the two cops that were escorting Stanzler to jail rather than Stanzler himself; the impression I got was that she wanted to team up with Stanzler, not kill him. Seems like something got rewritten on the fly, or maybe the idea is that Cupid was just going for any possible way to get Arrow's attention, but Lance doesn't seem all that concerned that two cops got shot, just Stanzler. It's a confusing change that I am officially tired of trying to figure out.

    Ollie creatively smashes the tip of the heart-shaped arrow with a hammer (detective work) and finds an address on Baron Street (named for artist David Baron, who co-created Cupid back in 2009). He and Dig go to investigate and find a full-on shrine to Arrow, marking the second week in a row Arrow has walked into a room full of newspaper clippings about him. He does not particularly find this remarkable.

    He does, however, realize that the arrows are hearts just as Cupid calls him up and offers to kill people on his behalf, asking "Who takes care of you?" She sends him a picture of a man who is tied up and wearing a bomb, and says she's going to take care of him for Arrow.

    In the Arrowcave, Smoak identifies the guy in the picture as Joe Gravano (he's related to Sammy "the Bull," I suppose), a notorious criminal. She also traces the text back to Carrie Cutter, a former cop. Smoak (who does all the detective work, it seems) also notices a bag of fertilizer in the photo Cupid sent and deduces that Gravano is being held at a greenhouse. Apparently there's only one greenhouse in the city, at Sherwood Florist (which Laurel does not own like comics Dinah Lance did).

    Arrow and Arsenal go to the florist to find Cupid, and they do. Arsenal actually finds her first; she quickly knocks him out. She uses Arsenal's communicator to call up Arrow and tell him how much she loves him. He dismisses her as crazy and eventually finds her. She's got Gravano standing on a chair and with his neck in a wire noose. She's also holding a cupcake. Sadly, that cupcake goes to waste. That cupcake didn't hurt anyone.

    Arrow threatens to shoot Gravano down, but Cupid says that the wire is rigged up to the bomb strapped to Gravano's stomach. Then she kicks over the chair and runs away. Arrow shoots through the wire, despite what Cupid just told him, and somehow he manages to heave the bomb into the air with enough force that it blows up without hurting anyone.

    Back at the Arrowcave, Dig also does some digging of his own (see what I did there) and discovers that Cupid was taken off the police force because she was caught stalking her former partner. She had to go to police therapy for it. So Ollie decides to pay a visit to the police psychiatrist.

    In a way-too-tense interrogation scene, the psychiatrist initially tells Arrow that she can't talk about her discussions with Cupid because of doctor/patient confidentiality. She quickly coughs up that Cupid has attachment disorder, however, meaning that she fixates on "someone who mirrors her emotional state" to the detriment of others.

    You can see Arrow in a mirror while she says this. It is the most literal form of symbolism I have ever seen in anything.

    Arrow doesn't ask if the problem might go a little deeper than an unhealthy attachment, considering that Cupid is murdering people left and right, though he probably should. Before he leaves, the psychiatrist tells Arrow he needs some therapy of his own, and you ain't kiddin', lady.

    Meanwhile, Cupid goes to see a former informant named Kirby Bates (I'll take the name as an homage to Jack Kirby and Cary Bates), who has done some creative tracking of Arrow's movements and traced his headquarters to Verdant nightclub. Why on earth hasn't anyone else done this?

    Anyway, Cupid quickly kills him because he tries to hit on her and she's "spoken for" or whatever. RIP horny guy who is named for two comics geniuses and is also the smartest person on the show.

    Cupid goes to Verdant, which has just officially reopened as a club (more on that soon), and just kind of hangs out for a while. She grabs a drink. Eventually, Arrow calls and tells her he's not there. He says he wants to meet her anywhere but there. She suggests the subway station where he saved her in the opening flashback.

    Hey, remember back in the first season when people were surprised to find out that Starling had a subway? That it was long defunct and no longer in use? Well.

    Arrow and Cupid meet at what is clearly a subway stop. Arrow says she's "not well" and needs help. She says he sounds like her psychiatrist. After some intense and very stagey fighting, Cupid gets knocked to the ground, right on top of a grate. She kicks the grate open, and she and Arrow go tumbling onto the subway tracks.

    Then stuff just happens. Cupid handcuffs Arrow to the train tracks. Then a train starts coming (!). Cupid just stands there as the train bears down, attempting a sort of romantic murder/suicide thing. Then Arrow just kinda slips out of the handcuffs and tackles Cupid out of the way of the train.

    I don't know, guys.

    Neither did the writers, apparently. Things wrap up with Arrow stomping back into the Arrowcave and announcing he sent Cupid to Amanda Waller at ARGUS. We don't even see what actually happens to her.

  • Romance/Business

    Usually I do these separately, but they're inseparably intertwined this week.

    At Queen Consolidated, Smoak walks into the office to find a shirtless Ray Palmer doing the salmon ladder, one of Ollie's favorite exercises. "I have a type," says Smoak. She sells it nicely. Once he's done working out, Palmer asks Smoak to an important business dinner with a guy from whom he wants to buy a mine. Smoak is hesitant to go, but then Palmer pulls out an expensive couture dress he bought for her and Smoak can't resist.

    On Starling City's Only News Channel, Palmer announces that Queen Consolidated is becoming Palmer Technologies, and openly flirts with Smoak on TV. Ollie gets mad, but not about his family's name being removed from the company his father worked his whole life to build. He's mad a girl he likes has eyes for another rich dude.

    Later in the Arrowcave, Smoak breaks the news to Ollie that she needs a night off to go to a dinner with Palmer and Ollie nearly throws a tantrum. "Do whatever you want," he pouts.

    Dig goes to see Smoak at Palmer Tech and tells her that Ollie's all torn up about her making eyes at Palmer. Smoak says there's nothing between her and Palmer, and adds, quite rightly, that if Ollie's all that concerned, he should come talk to her himself. Ollie was a controlling jerk last week; this week, he's a baby.

    Smoak goes to see Palmer in his office, wearing her new dress. Palmer is stunned, and I don't know how else to say this, Emily Bett Rickards does wear the dress well. To add further fuel to the fire, Palmer takes out a $10 million diamond necklace and gives it to Smoak to wear for the night.

    Palmer and Smoak go to the business dinner and it's full of terrible talk about Nevada land deals and elemental cohesion. Smoak, after taking some Team Arrow phone calls, makes the hard sell for Palmer. She gives an impassioned, highly cliched speech about how Palmer isn't just a businessman; he wants to "make the world a better place." Yes, she uses the phrase that Silicon Valley specifically singles out as the one every single entrepreneur uses to make his or her business seem special. This scene is like a middle schooler watched some Mad Men and wrote a play about what might happen in a business meeting.

    And yet, it works! The mine owner, Gardner (not a reference to Guy, I don't think), agrees to sell. Palmer tells Smoak as much when he comes to the office to get back the necklace he borrowed, and which Smoak wore to the Arrowcave earlier in the night. Ray sure is trusting.

    In the process of removing the necklace, Palmer kisses Smoak. It just so happens that Ollie comes by and sees the kiss as it's happening. (What on Earth is he doing there? Telling anybody who walks by that his family used to own the place?)

    Palmer gets flustered and leaves. Ollie goes back to the Arrowcave and pitches a real tantrum this time, sweeping stuff off a table. Roy walks in and the two of them decide to go to Dig's house for (let's call it Thanksgiving) dinner.

    Palmer has no such time for festivities, though. He ends the episode in his office, talking about mining for a dwarf star alloy and looking at a holographic prototype of an Atom costume.

    I'm not going to lie: It's very exciting.

  • The Club

    Thea reopens Verdant this week, and the big news is those terrible Shining Time Station gears are gone! Let's hear it, Kool and the Gang.

    In her single-handed remodeling of the place, Thea has replaced the kids'-show color scheme with some deep greens (it is called Verdant, after all) and some cool, modern digital displays. The girl's got an eye for interior design.

    She does not have an ear for great music, however. She hires a DJ who turns out to be terrible and fires him on the spot. Lucky for her, she is saved by a guy who looks and talks like a human Poochie (I'd guess his name was Roy if this show didn't already have a Roy).

    He gets on the decks and within like six seconds of music, the club goers start going wild. And look, I can't hate him completely. He does play "Turn Down For What." It's not an original choice, per se, but it's a good cut.

    When Poochie bails Thea out, he makes a hard negotiaton: four nights a week and half the gate every night he spins. Thea has no other choice but to agree. However, when the night is over, he tells Thea to keep her money and says it's a grand opening present.

    This DJ Poochie's a weird fella.

  • Roy

    Roy's still upset that he killed that cop.

    Roy gets huffy that Cupid knocked him out.

    Roy's mad that Thea seems to be interested in DJ Poochie.

    Boo hoo hoo. Roy Roy Roy.

  • The Flashbacks

    This week's set of golden-hued flashbacks to Hong Kong give the appearance that something big is going to happen. Spoiler alert: It doesn't.

    As Katana demands that Ollie do his own laundry (though he doesn't know how to), Maseo goes out for an ARGUS job. He says he'll only be gone for an hour.

    Nine hours later, Katana is officially freaking out. Maseo hasn't called, and he always does. Ollie offers to go to the docks where Maseo said he was going to see what's going on. Katana says she'll go.

    "No offense, but you're just...Maseo's wife," Ollie says. What a turd. They decide to go together.

    At the docks, Katana and Ollie sit in a car and talk about how she and Maseo are actually Japanese. They had to move to Hong Kong because they pissed off some bad men.

    The two see some gangsters coming out of a warehouse. Ollie decides to go ask them what's going on. Of course, they knock him out immediately. So Katana has to get out and wail on the dudes with her swords, as Katana is known to do.

    She asks one of the gangsters about her husband, and the gangster says three ARGUS agents were killed by the triads earlier that night.

    Ollie and Katana go back home, trying to figure out how to break the news of Maseo's death to Katana's son. They open the door, and there's Maseo. Amanda Waller put him on lockdown after those other agents were killed.

    So, yeah. Nothing happened.

  • The Cliffhanger

    This week's cliffhanger fits the formula of last week's.

    A guy runs for his life down an alley. He's chased rather slowly by Captain Boomerang who, well, is carrying a boomerang. The captain says the guy has something he needs, and then proceeds to kill the dude.

    "Something about our always comes back to haunt you."


    But hey, Captain Boomerang's here. The Flash crossover is definitely happening.

  • Final Notes

    I honestly feared this episode was going to be a lot worse than it was.

    Now, it wasn't great. The crazy stalker lady is a trope that I'm not a huge fan of, and Cupid was entirely unsympathetic. Not to mention that there wasn't anything particularly Cupid-like about her beyond the heart-shaped arrows. And they didn't even save this episode for February! That's the real crime.

    Avoiding the murder metaplot of the season was a good move. It gave this episode room to do its own thing and be a sometimes-silly romance/jealousy thing. (Though, again, the total lack of urgency when it comes to finding Sara's killer reeks of "we have to make it last all season." It feels like the characters don't care.)

    I liked the Smoak/Palmer stuff a lot (that one business scene aside) and watching Palmer look at his soon-to-be Atom costume was pretty thrilling.

    The rest was tolerable.

    And hey, getting rid of those dumb gears at Verdant was a big step. A huge step.