ARROW Recap: “Corto Maltese”

     October 22, 2014


Pack your bags (but leave your bows), because Arrow’s headed to a vacation destination!  Don’t worry, we still spend plenty of time in Starling City, but the change of scenery was a nice way for Team Arrow to get into the action in a very different setting.  They get a little bit of time to relax in the sun and the sand, but it isn’t long before international espionage and automatic weapons rear their ugly heads.  Oh, wait, while Arrow’s gone, who’s minding the store back in Starling City?

Hit the jump for our Arrow recap.

arrow-season-3-episode-3-corto-maltese-colton-haynesWe kick things off with a flashback right out of the gates, heading back six months to when Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen were making travel plans.  Thea wanted to forget how to feel so she could never be hurt again, and she’s right in assuming that Merlyn can teach her how to do just that.

Thea and Malcolm share a calming tea; Malcolm also shares his own origin stories, dealing with the pain of his wife’s death.  He pours boiling liquid over his hand and ignores the pain, then turns the test on Thea. She fails and tries to give up, but Malcolm tells her it’s alright, that it’s his fault. He says he needs to train her as his student, not his daughter, and then cracks her in the face.  This will all end well, right?

Meanwhile, in present time, Arrow snares a street thug whose prints were on a shard of glass on the rooftop where Canary was killed, but the lead turns out to be a dead end. Felicity lets Oliver know that Thea’s in Corto Maltese, so he’s off to bring her back and Roy’s tagging along … and he tries to bring his bow … because he’s never been on a plane before (pretty funny).

Diggle and Lyla talk about taking time off, but she wants him to go with Oliver to Corto Maltese; she has a side-quest for him since A.R.G.U.S. field operative Mark Shaw has gone quiet.  You might think that time spent in the Diggle household is a weird aside, but the writers tie this nicely into the episode arc.

arrow-season-3-episode-3-corto-maltese-stephen-amellCut to the beautiful location of Corto Maltese (how does Ollie afford this on his busted bank account?).  Oliver arrives on her doorstep and Malcolm almost shoots him through the door with an arrow. Instead, Oliver finds Thea and she welcomes him (literally) with open arms.  However, she’s firm about not coming back to Starling City.

Meanwhile, Ray Palmer is enjoying a bump in Queen Consolidated’s stock prices while Felicity is setting the ground rules for her new position, ie no more emails, late night phone calls, or coffee runs.  Palmer wants to dig into the company’s applied sciences division to tap its resources.  He turns a fried file server over to Felicity, along with a corner office for her to work in.  Nice perks for Ms. Smoak!

Back in Corto Maltese, Diggle tries to talk to Shaw, but he’s a bit jumpy. Diggle confirms his own identity to Shaw, who tells him that someone hacked A.R.G.U.S.’ database that includes, among other things, the group’s soft targets, ie family members. It’s not long before Shaw double-crosses Diggle at a remote base, but luckily Oliver has his back. Shaw uses Diggle to decode the A.R.G.U.S. file in order to sell it to the highest bidder.

Hopping back and forth at will between Thea’s job at a local restaurant and shadowing a violent mercenary, Roy shows up to try to convince Thea to come back. She says she had to get away from Starling City and all its lies and secrets; she prefers the solitude of Corto Maltese.  Roy offers up a heartfelt apology and says that, if she’s happy, she should stay.

Lyla tells Diggle to lay low and wait for Waller’s assassination team to take out Shaw, but they’re too short on time. Diggle calls Felicity to track Shaw, while Laurel calls her at the same time for a favor in getting some info on Ted Grant. In the meantime, Diggle tries to show Oliver that, since he’s been lying to Thea for years, she’ll hardly believe him now, even if he’s telling the truth.

arrow-season-3-episode-3-corto-maltese-stephen-amell-david-ramseyOliver’s about to lay some truth on Thea anyway…but how much? He says that if he shares everything with her, he’s almost certain to lose her and she’ll see him differently. He reveals that Robert Queen actually killed himself to save Oliver, which maybe isn’t the best thing to tell Thea, but he does it so she’ll understand that they sacrificed themselves for their children.  It seems like he gets through to her just enough, but then we cut right to Ollie, Diggle, and Roy watch the buy go down as Shaw makes a call-back to arms dealer Milo Armitage; Lyla Michaels appears on their info screen.

Oliver unpacks homemade bows that he MacGuyvered from items in their hotel room.  Before they can attack, another team of soldiers arrives.  Team Arrow is considerably outgunned here and Ollie did not make nearly enough arrows to hold off Shaw’s Rent-a-Soldiers.  This is the first time we’ve seen Ollie shoot a gun in some time; Roy, however, dives right into the middle of a group and engages them in hand-to-hand combat while Diggle takes on Shaw and Oliver punches through the rest of the thugs, taking the files (but leaving all the guns behind…).  Shaw tells Diggle that this was to be his ticket out of A.R.G.U.S., and wants him to tell Waller that he’s dead; Diggle knocks him cold instead. No idea if he ever got picked up or was just left in the dirt to wait for A.R.G.U.S.

Thea tells Malcolm she wants to go home to her brother, and they engage in a sword fight, which Malcolm somehow loses and concedes defeat.  He lets her go all too willingly and wishes her a safe flight.  She shows up just in time to join Oliver, Diggle, and Roy, but in a last minute tease, an old man spills hot coffee on her hand and she barely flinches.  Perhaps we’ll see Thea continue her training in the near future, but before we get to that, let’s wrap up what a certain little canary has been playing at while the cat was away…

Laurel shows up to a local boxing gym to talk to Ted Grant about a crime. Grant seems like a decent guy who wants to help people who get bad breaks from the system.  He invites her to learn how to fight, but she sticks with her AA meetings.  She confesses her anger and his frustration over how to handle it, just as her father shows up. Laurel overhears another member’s story about her abusive boyfriend, and Laurel seems to think she can help; the boyfriend has warrants out for his arrest, but there’s no legal action they can do (supposedly).

arrow-season-3-episode-3-corto-maltese-colton-haynes-david-ramseyOutside a bar in Starling City, Laurel tries to take out the abusive boyfriend, but it goes very poorly; Laurel gets the worst of it and lands in the hospital.  Quentin is worried about her. She says she made a mistake, but we all know where her character arc is headed.

Oliver arrives home to find Laurel all beaten up.  She tells him that she tried to do good and that she wants to train to be like Sara, with his help.  He declines (of course), and plays the father card.  Going her own way, Laurel decides to start training with Grant. An anonymous tip rats out the abusive boyfriend out and he gets processed at the police station.

Diggle arrives home just as Lyla is laying Sara down for the night, before heading in to see Waller.  Felicity recovers the QC data and then leaves to go visit Barry Allen (next week on The Flash!).  The top secret files she unlocks are all sorts of advanced weapons: tanks, drones, missile launchers, the usual.

Oliver and Roy converse about Thea and how much she’s changed, but are interrupted when Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) shows up unannounced at their HQ and points an arrow at Oliver, asking where Sara is.  Not much of a cliffhanger as things go, but at least it’s a lead-in into what we’ll see on screen next week!  As for the overall episode, it was nice to get out of Starling City for a bit, but some weird editing and the whole side-story feel of the plot knocked this one down just a bit

Rating: B

Quips & Quivers:

  • arrow-season-3-episode-3-corto-maltese-katie-cassidyDiggle: “Corto’s an island off of South America … What is it with your family and islands?”
  • Two new DC character introductions [spoilers]: Mark Shaw (David Cubitt) whose alias is Manhunter, though it’s a far cry from the comics version, and Ted Grant (J. R. Ramirez) who is Wildcat.  I fully expect to see more of the latter in the future.
  • Malcolm: “Every warrior must learn a simple truth: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
  • Thea: “Stay away from me you sick son of a bitch!” Malcolm: “Now we can begin!”
  • Oliver: “We’re not going to keep our powder dry.”
  • Laurel: “Felicity, I need a favor.” Felicity: “Are we favor friends? Are we friends? Nevermind.”
  • Quentin: “Laurel, you’re not the Arrow, or your sister.”
  • Oliver: “I never said I didn’t know how to use a gun…”