When last we left Arrow, Maseo (dressed as the vigilante) had Felicity in his bowsights and the Mayor was already down for the count. Tonight’s hour picks up with Felicity being tackled to safety, but Ray taking an arrow in the chest instead. At a press conference, Quentin announces that he’s reinstating the shoot-on-sight vigilante policy.
Meanwhile, Thea and Roy are enjoying their reunion and mulling over fleeing the city together once more. The newscast announcing the arrest warrants for Team Arrow interrupt their romantic moments.
In another soap opera moment occurring rather early on in the episode, it’s revealed that Palmer is in need of a major surgical operation to keep him alive, but it carries the risk of permanent brain damage or death. Palmer’s got a Plan B: Use his nanotech (patent pending) to swim through his bloodstream and break up the clot in his brain from the inside out. As if Felicity’s blood pressure couldn’t get any higher, her mother pays them a visit at Palmer’s hospital room.
Now that the cops are after them, Team Arrow needs all the help they can get, so Oliver recruits Nyssa to give them some intel. Hard telling if that intel is any good though since the team walks right into a battle against Maseo and the League of Assassins. There’s lots of studded leather and blades flying around, but it all ends with Oliver holding Maseo at arrow point, and Ra’s stepping out of the shadows to once more convince Ollie to take up his mantle. Too bad a police helicopter and pretty much the entire SCPD puts a stop to all the fun. There’s a great stunt sequence featuring Oliver, Sara, and Roy jumping over the side of a building and swinging safely to the ground below, only to run through the maze of city streets in an attempt to avoid the authorities. In a dingy laundromat, Quentin corners Sara, only to be taken out by Nyssa. Roy’s flash arrows buy him some time while Diggle’s van-driving abilities coupled with Oliver’s sharpshooting earn some much needed separation from the cops.
Let’s just take a moment and remember that, on any given day, this police department is inept to a hilarious extent. How many times have Team Arrow saved their hides over the course of these three seasons? And after just a handful of bad guys get offed by someone claiming to be the Arrow, the cops, or Quentin in particular, develops a sudden bloodlust. Sure, it’s a testament to Ra’s al Ghul’s reach and manipulative power, and it adds some dramatic tension to Team Arrow’s ventures out into the streets, but it’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe it’s just me; let me know how you feel about it in the comments.
On that note, just as he’s calling in reinforcements, Quentin gets attacked and kidnapped by Maseo on behalf of Ra’s. The two fathers air some grievances, but Ra’s ends up telling Quentin the Arrow’s identity, a fact that should have been pretty obvious to someone calling himself a detective for all these years. Back at the precinct, Laurel calls Quentin on his shenanigans, but he’s not hearing it. All the masked heroes floating around the city are starting to drive him crazy. Quentin reveals to her that he knows Oliver and Sara were on the island together, and that Oliver’s actually been the Arrow all along. Before she can warn him, Quentin’s forces close in on every known property he owns.
Perhaps someone should have told Roy and Thea about this since they’re currently hanging out at Verdant like nothing is amiss. Oliver shows up just before the cops bust in, chasing him out into the alley. We don’t quite get to see what happens, but Oliver ends up at Diggle’s place as Quentin reveals his secret identity to the entire city. Ollie saves the police from doing any actual work by turning himself in.
Thanks to Felicity’s mom, this hour isn’t all doom and gloom. Her antics allow Felicity to inject Palmer with his nanotech (right in the neck), which she can apparently track on her iPad. Not only does the technology patch up Palmer’s ailment, it loosens his tongue long enough to tell Felicity he loves her; the sad part of this revelation is that Felicity doesn’t return the feeling.
Oliver’s plan was to turn himself in and make a deal for his team members’ immunity, but they throw a wrench into the works by all showing up together at the police station. Ollie says that the only path Ra’s has left him to take is the truthful one, so he asks his friends to trust him just a little while longer. They take him at his word for the moment, but try to come up with a plan back in the Arrow Cave.
Out on the streets, a heavy police escort is accompanying the transport of Mr. Oliver Queen, aka the Arrow. Quentin’s taking this opportunity to drag some information out of the vigilante. He’s acting as the voice of Oliver’s conscience, dredging up all the hurt and pain he’s caused since his return, and Oliver’s doing his best to defend himself. It’s not going well. Quentin accuses him of making accomplices out of everyone who tried to help him and charges him with villainy. Before Oliver can respond, the caravan stops. The Arrow stands atop the prisoner transport truck, and reveals himself: It’s Roy.
In tonight’s flashback, Oliver finds out that the Shado standing before him isn’t Shado at all, but her twin sister (of course). Mae invites Ollie (who’s going by Tommy now) and Akio into her home and inquires about her sister. She’s been dealing with the disappearance of Shado and her father for the last three years. Mae’s being pretty friendly … perhaps too friendly. Oliver’s tattoo – the one that matches Shado’s – clues Mae into his lies. Before he can explain, gunfire lights up her home. Oliver takes on the assassins so that Mae and Akio can make their escape, except who should arrive by Maseo and Takeo (to the rescue)! Now that they’re relatively safe, Oliver tells Mae about his past with Shado and her father, and their unfortunate fates.
Tonight’s episode was great in theory, but lacked something in execution. The moments that were supposed to land big (Quentin learning of Arrow’s identity, Shado’s twin, Roy’s sacrifice, etc) ultimately fell flat. There were a couple surprises, namely Ray’s confession of (unrequited) love to Felicity, and the sudden arrival of the Yamashiros, but both of these moments happened in side plots, not the main thrust of the story. It’s not the best sign when the greatest anticipation I have for seeing Arrow’s characters again is when they appear on screen beside their cohorts in The Flash. I’m still hoping they’ll sort themselves out once The Flash‘s first season is in the can and Arrow can stand on its own again.
Rating: ★★★ Good
Shado’s Twin: “I’m a twin.” Soap opera twist #1!
Roy: “I’m okay. I got through somewhere on Hudson. I had to a shoot a few officers … they’re okay, just flesh wounds.”
Quentin: “Listen, I’m a cop, not a psychologist.”
Felicity’s Mom: “Did you and Ray just have hospital sex? I’ve always wanted to have hospital sex.”
Quentin: “You, Mr. Queen, are not a hero, you’re a villain.”