Arrow: A Little Skin in the Game
Previously on Arrow: Damien Darhk has mystical powers and he runs HIVE, Oliver kidnapped Lyla last season, and Laurel and Thea are taking Sara’s body to Nanda Parbat.
John is chasing/fighting baddies, and he takes out three before the fourth gets the jump on him. The ghost points a gun at him but doesn’t fire, just takes off. He and Oliver pursue, and finally Felicity blocks in the ghost by dropping logs all around him via remote control of some heavy machinery. John catches the guy and rips out his tooth before he can cyanide suicide, yelling questions at him, but the ghost shoves him off with taser gloves or something and escapes.
In Nanda Parbat, Nyssa and Malcolm – now Ra’s – are sparring. Well, he’s sparring; she’s actively trying to kill him, but he gets the better of her, for now. As they part, Thea and Laurel arrive, and Laurel tells Malcolm that he has an obligation to bring Sara back since he killed her. Malcolm and Nyssa both say that the pit has been used for healing, but not for straight up resurrection except in legend. And besides, what came out wouldn’t be Sara. (Frankly, though, it’s called a fucking Lazarus Pit, and I’m pretty sure it only got that title by actively bringing someone back from the dead.)
In the Arrow Cave, John gives Felicity the tooth he took. She pops it in a machine and says the DNA sequencer will take a few hours, because that’s how DNA sequencing works (real life check: it’s not). She suggests they go get margaritas since it’s the original Team Arrow, just like old times, but John declines on account of he has a family and he’s still mad at Oliver.
When John gets home, Lyla and the Digglet are out, but there is a strange man lurking about. He’s ARGUS, and he’s finally coming through on a favor Lyla asked him for months ago (before she left ARGUS). He has the name of the person who ordered the hit on John’s brother: Mina Fayad.
Speaking of Mina, she’s on her way to see Damien, and she has a hitman for the vigilante problem facing Starling. Given his abundance of card-related tattoos, I’m going to guess that her hitman is Double Down (comic check: Jeremy Tell, a.k.a. Double Down, is bonded to a cursed deck of cards, which replaced a lot of his skin, but he can detach them at will to cut/stab things; he’s been based mostly in Central/Keystone Cities in the comics), and Damien has him kill the ghost that John briefly caught earlier. Damien is impressed enough to hire him. I’m impressed that embedding a playing card half an inch in the chest wall is apparently fatal.
Laurel tells Sara’s coffin that she’s not giving up, and Nyssa is disapproving as she approaches. She tells Laurel it’s selfish, bringing Sara back to a cursed life, but Laurel is not particularly swayed – she thinks Sara’s spirit will survive, no matter what. Nyssa isn’t so sure and tells Laurel that she’s not trying to save Sara out of love, but out of grief.
In the Cave, Felicity pulls the tooth out of the DNA sequencer (real life check: SIGH) and puts it under a microscope. She tells Oliver to look, and the implication is that she’s showing him that the tooth only has half the requisite genetic material by microscope, but that doesn’t make any sense (real life check: you cannot see DNA under a dissecting microscope). Neither does her conclusion: that the ghost has only half of the required genetic material to make a human! This is neat, actually; she’s implying that the DNA is haploid, i.e., only has one copy of each chromosome, instead of the usual two copies. Know what’s haploid? Worker ants and bees. Y’know, like from a hive.
John is stalking Mina as she gets out of a limo, and he ignores a call from Felicity. She doesn’t like dispatching Oliver without backup, even though it’s only to a robbery, but Oliver’s sure he’ll be fine. Of course, the robbery is just a way to lure him in for Double Down to attack. He peels a card directly from his arm and throws it at Oliver, who deflects it with an arrow. They fight, and it’s relatively silly, with Double Down throwing cards at him, but Oliver can’t handle the entire onslaught, and he takes a card in the arm before he finally escapes.
Thea is brooding on her balcony in Nanda Parbat, and Malcolm of course thinks he knows what’s going on. She asks what she’s supposed to do about her rising bloodlust, and his suggestion is to give in. Thanks, dad. But he does tell her there’s an ancient healing dude high in the mountains that might be able to help, so there’s that.
Back in the Cave, Felicity is pissed that Oliver and John both went out without backup – John tried to find Mina and ended up in a nonproductive firefight. She exposits briefly that Double Down is a meta from Central City who was getting a tattoo when the accelerator exploded, hence his power, but more importantly, she’s tired of Oliver and John being idiots. She’s taking the card to Palmer Tech, and she confines the boys to the cave until they work out their issues.
Oliver tells John he doesn’t know how much he can apologize, and John says it isn’t about forgiveness, that Oliver crossed a line. Oliver claims to understand. He says he gets that he lost John’s trust, but he doesn’t get why John won’t let him earn it back. They stare at each other broodingly for a minute, and then as a truce John asks if Oliver thinks Double Down is connected to Damien. Oliver recalls that his foe mentioned Mina, and John immediately gets to his feet, telling Oliver they need to go.
Island time! Oliver is soldiering it up when one of the farmers makes a break for it. Oliver and another soldier apprehend him, but it turns out the runner was a distraction while a brick of their genetically modified drug product went missing. The other soldier insists that all the farmers respond to is violence, and he threatens to shoot the runner if they don’t tell him where the drugs are. They don’t, so he shoots the runner and brings up another sacrificial farmer, but Oliver stops him, pointing out that murdering people isn’t working. Oliver has another idea.
Felicity takes the playing card to MR. TERRIFIC, I mean Curtis Holt at Palmer Tech, where he’s working on their new world-changing idea (so far he has HD contact lenses that sell for $100K each and T-SPHERES!!!! (comic check: T-Spheres are hovering electronic devices that can record stuff, act has sensors, link up computers, and be weapons; currently the show versions are spontaneously exploding). She asks him to look into the card while demonstrating some really terrible lying skills about how she came across the card.
John takes Oliver home to show him his brother’s death investigation journal. He finally confesses that Floyd (who killed his brother) had told him he’d been hired by HIVE to do the hit. Oliver is mildly amused, telling John that they have more in common than John thinks if he went two years without telling Oliver. John tells him Mina Fayad is his first real lead, and he needs to track her down.
Damien is angry that Jeremy failed to kill Green Arrow in his first attempt, and he’s also angry that Mina got compromised and attacked already (by John). He asks Jeremy to try and kill him, as another demonstration, and Jeremy obliges. Damien halts the card in the air, just like he did with Oliver’s arrow, and then throws it at Mina, killing her. He threatens Jeremy next, telling him that demonstration was for him, and he should be aware of how Damien processes disappointment. Like a three-year-old?
In Nanda Parbat, Thea awakens to a sword. She avoids it and grabs her own, quickly taking out the two League assassins attacking her, killing them. As she pants, Malcolm asks her if she feels better. Yes, he sent two of his own assassins to their deaths just so she could sate her bloodlust without feeling guilty, because there definitely is no healer up the mountains. How sweet!
In the Cave, Felicity is pleased that Oliver and John are working together again, but she can’t find any information on Mina from their security camera network. She does track her cell phone, though, and John and Oliver gear up.
Island time. Oliver is torturing prisoners instead of killing them, but at least the torture only has lasting psychological consequences, not physical. A woman finally gives in and admits she stole the drugs to give the workers something for the pain. Oliver offers to take her away somewhere to hide her body where no one will find her, and for some reason the head soldier agrees, even though it’s an incredibly suspicious offer.
Thea storms into Laurel’s room in Nanda Parbat, telling her they need to leave, that it was a mistake to come. Malcolm is in close pursuit, and while Thea growls that she will not kill people, dammit, he offers a compromise: to try and make up for what he’s done to Thea, he’ll bring Sara back. Thea’s like THE FUCK YOU WILL, but obviously Laurel is on board.
Oliver and John track down Mina, but of course she’s dead. John is upset that his only chance at getting answers is dead, but Oliver swears they’ll get answers now—because John isn’t working alone.
Felicity goes to check on MR. TERRIFIC, who has basically deduced that the playing card is sort-of skin, with tattoo ink, and he is highly suspicious of Felicity’s story about where she found it. She sticks to her guns, but it’s sort of moot since Jeremy shows up to kill them. Well, to get answers about where Green Arrow is, and then kill them. Felicity takes Curtis (MR. TERRIFIC) down to the Arrow Cave (which is in the Palmer Tech building subbasement), but Double Down heads right on in like there’s no security whatsoever. He manages to knock out Curtis, but Felicity wings him with a gun and he takes off.
John and Oliver are not particularly pleased with Felicity being attacked in their absence, but she says she was fine. She says Curtis is fine, too; she sent him to the hospital. They use the card to trace Double Down, who is already on the road back to Central City. What, a little gunfire spooked him that much?
In Nanda Parbat, Sara’s body is lowered into the pit despite Nyssa’s strong objections and Thea’s obvious misgivings. It takes longer than with Thea, but Sara emerges, sure enough. She leaps out of the pit, glares at Nyssa—and then goes straight for Thea, who, remember, killed her (technically). Malcolm sedates her, but everybody looks a little unsettled.
Oliver and John catch Double Down’s car on the way out of Star City, which he thinks is stupid, because he was going to just leave and call it a draw. They dodge and deflect some cards, then get him tied up, and John demands answers about his employer. He only says they don’t scare him nearly as much as Damien, and then throws one last card at John. Oliver takes it in the chest to save John, and the Kevlar holds. John punches out Jeremey, but he’s obviously impressed that Oliver took a “bullet” for him.
OTA (“Original Team Arrow,” according to Felicity) has a drink after successfully delivering Double Down to the meta wing in Iron Heights. They worry that he may have told Damien about the Arrow Cave, and Oliver reveals that he’s already been working on Cave 3.0—not a secret, though, a surprise.
Island time. Oliver is walking briskly with the worker he promised to disappear. She righteously demands he know the name of the one the head soldier killed. Oliver’s just trying to get some distance between them and the land mine he’s made sure his co-soldier walks over, though. He frees her hands and tells her he’s not going to kill her, but she needs to trust him.
Felicity comes to check on Curtis at Palmer Tech, and he has recovered from being knocked out and is cleaning up his lab. She thanks him for his help, and he’s excited that his boss is working to make Star City a better place, which is what he wanted to do by working for Palmer Tech. But as she smiles at him, her phone vibrates – it’s a weird swirl of letters, and slowly the letters spell out her name.
Laurel slowly approaches a still-feral Sara, who’s chained up and does nothing but lunge and snarl in return. As they look on worriedly, an assassin comes to get Malcolm – Nyssa has destroyed the Lazarus Pit. She tells Malcolm that Ra’s had a way to get rid of it should his power fall into the wrong hands, and Malcolm’s are clearly wrong. Malcolm has the guards seize her. Nyssa tells Laurel that what happened to Sara originally may have been on Malcolm’s hands, but now it’s on Laurel’s.
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