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 will be following along to see how he fares.

This week, a few things that didn't make much sense get explained, a new villain is seemingly born, and a new macguffin emerges.

Open on Team Arrow: Covert Ops driving in a black, unmarked van toward Queen Consolidated’s Applied Sciences building. They get inside a fence and quickly take down a couple guards. Smoak announces that the security cameras are down, though she doesn’t seem to actually do anything to make that happen. They get inside the giant warehouse (the one where Grundy stole some stuff way back near the start of the season) and start setting explosives.

Ollie knocks out one more guard and the team piles all the KOed guards up at a safe (but not really safe) distance away from the building. Ollie hits a remote detonator and blasts it.




Isabel Rochev goes on Starling’s One News Channel to condemn the attack and Team Arrow tries to figure out Slade’s next step. They sort of settle on “we don’t know.”

Meanwhile, Laurel stands around in her apartment staring at a bulletin board full of newspaper clippings and other assorted notes, like she’s Carrie from Homeland.




She’s trying to work through the news she got from Slade last episode about Ollie being Arrow, as though it isn’t very, very obvious that he is. All she’d really need to put together is the timing of his return and the timing of Arrow’s first appearance in the city, right? That would seem to be confirmation enough.

Laurel then goes to visit Officer Lance in Iron Heights Prison. For some reason, he’s still being charged with aiding and abetting Arrow, even though the event that set his arrest off (the arrest of Slade for the kidnapping of Thea) turned out to have been the right call. He tells Laurel that it’ll all blow over, but she doesn’t let it slide. She says he should give up Arrow’s identity, but Officer Lance says he doesn’t know it. Then Laurel asks about who Canary is, just as Sara comes strolling in.

Is it really that hard to piece together, Lances? Is there some genetic thing in your family that make your eyes stop working when you see domino masks and/or eyeliner?

Casa Queen. The family accountant waves away some of the more confusing stuff about the big Queen Consolidated takeover from last episode and advises Ollie and Moira to move all their assets to a secure trust. But here’s the rub: Thea has to sign off on it. Seems like each individual member of the family should be able to do whatever the hell they want with her or his own money, but a plot point is a plot point. See, Thea’s still really mad about the whole Malcolm-Merlyn-is-really-her-dad thing, so odds are she won’t sign.

Moira sends Ollie to try to convince Thea to sign it. She also confirms what Rochev said last week about having an affair with Papa Queen. She just gives that information right up, too, like she don’t even give a f**k.

Flashback Island. Sara helps the newly returned Ollie with his Rocky eye while Knyazev prepares to pull Ivo’s eye out. Ivo says he can help Sara’s Prison Buddies stop Slade with a mirakuru cure.

Team Arrow heads down to the Arrowcave and that’s where they find Deathstroke waiting for them.




He starts shooting at them with a handgun, wildly missing all over the place. It’s as if he works for Cobra. Sara tries to attack, and he throws her across the room. Dig takes a few shots at him and they just bounce off. Ollie and Slade fight with pipes for a bit, but Deathstroke quickly gets the upper hand. And then he just plain disappears.

Aside from clearly being a terrible shot, I really do like Deathstroke’s supervillain moments.

Then it’s time for a patented Arrow hospital scene! I like to think this show is secretly a medical drama. Laurel asks the doctor about Sara (who has made up a motorcycle accident excuse for her injuries) and the doctor says she’ll be OK. The doctor does mention that Sara’s got a sizable amount of scar tissue on her body, as much as a “vech’ran injured in Iraq” did.

Doc, you had like two lines and you couldn’t get out “veteran”? Come on now.

After seeing Sara’s scars inside the hospital room, Laurel starts piecing together that Sara is Canary, and honestly, how hard is this.

Verdant. Ollie meets Thea in the back room and tries to get her to sign the document authorizing the trust. Thea says she’s not part of the family and starts freaking out about trying to kiss Tommy Merlyn, who she now knows is her half brother. Oh, and both her parents were complicit in killing hundreds of people. She storms off and Dig swoops in to bring Ollie back down to the Arrowcave to talk about the Slade break-in.

Smoak breaks the news that Slade wasn’t there to kill Team Arrow. Wonder what clued her into that. Maybe him missing 100 times? What he was there to do was steal the thing Clock King was after a few episodes ago, the skeleton key device that could open any vault lock. The team deduces that Slade’s probably going to hit STAR Labs to snag the tech he needs to build his mirakuru army.

And, just like that, we’re at STAR Labs’ Starling branch, where Cisco Ramon (Vibe!) and Caitlin Snow (Killer Frost!) are doing inventory and spewing exposition like it’s their jobs, which it kind of is, as characters and actors, respectively. Just imagine that what they’re saying is “Tune into The Flash, coming soon to The CW because we’re quirky!” Soon enough, Deathstroke pops in and starts acting like Jason Voorhees. He kills a guard and starts slowly chasing after Cisco and Caitlin.

As Team Arrow heads toward the facility, Cisco and Caitlin head into a locked room and pull out a device that once belonged to an Arthur Light, and I have to tell you that I could have lived without hearing that name on my primetime television program. Cisco blasts Deathstroke with Dr. Light’s gun, and then it immediately shorts out.




They run away, but Slade can still get what he came for, a “bio-transfuser,” which is a dumb name for a thing that enables someone to give a blood transfusion to multiple people.

After some more promotion for The Flash coming soon to The CW via quirky, unbearable dialogue between Caitlin, Cisco and Smoak, including a mention of Iris West, Team Arrow regroups in the Arrowcave and decides to wait for the transfuser’s power signature to show up on the grid.

Flashback Island. Ivo reveals just how effed up he is and asks for a quick death in exchange for the key to the safe on the freighter with the mirakuru cure. Sara holds up a pistol to mercy-kill him, but she’s clearly having trouble with him.

In the present, Rochev is doing a great job of trying to sound cool by telling Ollie something he already knows (how quickly security can get to the Queen Consolidated CEO’s office). Then she makes a point of saying she’s under 30 even though Summer Glau is 32. I don’t get it. It feels like the writers’ conception of a powerful businesswoman is “lady who just says nonsense that sounds sort of tough.”

Anyway, Rochev eventually reveals that Papa Queen was going to leave Moira for her, but changed his mind after Thea fell off a horse. She also, quite usefully says that Papa Queen knew that Thea was Malcolm Merlyn’s daughter. She’s so helpful!

Back at Iron Heights, Officer Lance is playing solitaire and getting some preferential treatment from a guard. Before long, a member of the group that assassinated the mayor way back in the season premiere attacks that guard and another while being transferred back to his cell. He opens up Officer Lance’s cell and beats him up with a billy club before more guards show up and pull him off.

Arrow and Laurel meet in a parking lot. Laurel starts talking really cryptically about knowing who he is, almost as if she’s stalling, until she gets a phone call about Officer Lance getting beaten in prison. She and Sara go visit him in the prison hospital, and Laurel says, “I’m getting so tired of visiting my family members in the hospital.” Ha!

Laurel sends Sara out of the room and tells her dad she knows who Arrow is. Officer Lance tells her to zip it and says he doesn’t want to know who he is, because he needs to stay anonymous because if he learns Arrow’s identity, then he becomes a person with relationships and connections. He can’t be a weapon to just point at crime and let loose. It’s actually a great explanation for Officer Lance’s often-willful ignorance in the face of one million signs that Ollie is Arrow. Kudos to the writers on that point.

After that, Paul Blackthorne’s parody-of-a-Brooklynite’s accent kicks into full force when he talks about how tough it must be for Arrow to do what he does, and he asserts that him doing some jail time is a fair trade.

The Laurel walks out of the room and threatens her boss, Manhunter, into releasing her dad. DA Manhunter acquiesces, but with a warning that things won’t always be this easy for Laurel. Really? Because this is the second time she has used threats and blackmail to get exactly what she wants, really easily. One more time and it’s a trend.

Also, if Laurel could do this, and knew she could (maybe because the whole arresting Slade thing was actually the right call, as I said before), why didn’t she do this days ago?

Outside Verdant, Ollie and Thea meet up, but they’re immediately interrupted by a call from Smoak, who has noticed that the “bio-transfusher” (that’s how she says it) has just gone online. What is it with people not being able to say their lines this episode?

Uh-oh! Looks like Ollie has a dilemma to deal with! How will he explain this to Thea? What excuse will he—oh wait, she left anyway.

Ollie goes to the facility where the bio-transfuser is being used, and it kind of looks like a set from the first Spider-Man movie. He carefully approaches the seat in the middle, where he expects to find Slade distributing his mirakuru blood to his prisoner army, but instead he finds…Roy, who we last saw getting out of town in his 1990s Mustang.




Not a bad reveal.

Slade and Rochev come in to grandstand for a minute and say they found Roy at a shelter in Bludhaven. Roy really hit hard times fast, didn’t he? Things turn hot quick when Arrow shoots out the power. Rochev pulls out a gun and starts shooting wildly toward the transfuser and Roy, which seems like kind of a bad idea.

Arrow shoots Slade with an explosive arrow and Dig catches Rochev with a couple bullets to the chest. Arrow grabs Roy and a vial of mirakuru and gets out of there with his Batman grappler.

They return to the Arrowcave to treat Roy, who’s in pretty rough shape. Ollie also announces his plan to synthesize a cure, based on Ivo’s formula.

Speaking of, we once again return to Flashback Island, where Ollie, who just said that Ivo didn’t deserve a quick death, blasts the poor doctor with a couple slugs. He tells Sara he’s doing it on her behalf, so she doesn’t have to know what it’s like to be a killer, but she’ll join the League of Assassins soon, so a lot of good that did.

Casa Queen. Thea has conveniently come by to pick up some of her stuff, which gives Ollie a chance to tell her that Papa Queen knew all about her being Malcolm Merlyn’s kid. Thea still pretty mad about everything, though. She walks out.

Smoak goes by STAR Labs and passes off the mirakuru vial to Caitlin and Cisco. Ollie sits in Verdant and looks at a Photoshopped picture of his family. Laurel comes by and they hug.

Then, at his supervillain HQ, Slade finishes up a session in the bio-transfuser and walks over to rouse Rochev, whom he has RETURNED FROM THE GRAVE.




That’s pretty cool, and word has it that this is a setup for her to become Ravager, which might actually make up for her terrible, terrible dialogue.

Final thoughts

Aside from some clunky character introductions that seemed to serve more as cross-promotion for another show than moving the story forward, and some truly awful dialogue in spots, this one was a big step forward after a couple of not-so-great episodes.

What I really appreciated was the attempts to clear up some of the persistent, show-breaking problems of the season: Officer Lance not figuring out who Arrow is, Rochev's plan to take over Queen Consolidated, and so forth. The explanations weren't perfect, but at least they were something, and in the meantime we got some really nicely done bad-guy stuff. I'll take that.


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