Arrow: Fake Arrow and Fake Iron Man
With fake Arrows killing criminals with wild abandon, it’s time for the Atom to (fail to) save the day! Plus, the Suicide Squad lives up to its name. And would someone please go check on poor Arsenal?
Previously on Arrow: Felicity and Ray slept together, Ray is Iron Man, ARGUS has put together a/the Suicide Squad, Oliver declined Ra’s al Ghul’s offer to become the next Ra’s al Ghul, so Ra’s al Ghul decided he was going to be Arrow.
It’s John and Layla’s wedding! Best Man Oliver arrives early, for a change, except he’s only early for the ceremony; he missed pictures altogether. Felicity is there too, with Ray as escort, as Ray and John get introduced, John leans in and tells him that if he hurts Felicity, they’ll never find his body. Ray laughs nervously because he knows damn well John is serious. But ten minutes before go time, Layla calls with a problem – the friend they’d asked to officiate just got deployed, so they don’t have anyone! Luckily, Ray happens to be ordained. Long story, he says. We don’t get to find out what the story is.
The wedding is lovely; the maid(tron) of honor holds the Digglet, Layla has a lovely dress, all of Team Arrow is in attendance, and Ray is amusing as emergency officiate. Their vows are combative and wholly appropriate, and no supervillains attack!
At the reception, Laurel tells Oliver that she has a new trainer. She does not tell Oliver that her new trainer is Nyssa. Also, Felicity caught the bouquet. She says she hopes she didn’t do anything wrong bringing Ray, but Oliver is fine with it, and not weird. He really does go from patronizing and offensive to genuine and supportive in a heartbeat, doesn’t he? As everyone dances, however, Team Arrow starts to get notifications on their phones: the headline “Arrow returns to killing”.
Later, the team (including John and Layla) watches Quentin – with Laurel, Mayor Castle, and Ray present – exposit that the “Arrow” killed six men, according to a single eyewitness. Laurel quickly jumps in to say the witness’s statement is uncorroborated, so the DA’s office will be continuing to investigate before filing charges, if one can file charges against “the Arrow.” Ray steps up to say he’ll be devoting all his resources to making sure the Arrow is caught, because that’s a normal thing for a tech CEO to do, and Oliver gives up and turns off the new giant-ass screen they’ve apparently installed in the Arrow Cave.
Roy suggests Arrow go meet with Quentin, but Oliver doesn’t think Quentin will listen to him anyway; Layla thinks Oliver will just have to catch whoever is killing people in his name and costume. Felicity points out that they all know Ra’s is behind this, and Oliver explains for anyone who’s a bit slow on the uptake that if Ra’s turns the city against him like he “predicted,” then Oliver will be cornered into taking the job as Ra’s. Oliver sends Roy out to try and determine which criminals Fauxrow will be hitting next, Felicity to the computer to look for any trace evidence they could use to absolve Real Arrow of the crimes, and John and Layla to the airport. To leave on their damn honeymoon, like normal people.
Out on the street, Layla tells John they can stay if he wants, but John agrees with Oliver: they deserve the time together, and the team will manage without him. They climb into their limo, only to find Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot, waiting for them. Layla asks him what he wants, like you do, and he says the Suicide Squad rides again – Layla’s being called in to ARGUS.
At ARGUS, a grumpy Layla and John are being briefed by Waller on a terrorist attack in Kasnia, a Balkans stand-in. The attack was against a hospital that happens to be a pet project of U.S. Senator Joseph Cray (comic check: Joseph Cray was a senator seen in the Suicide Squad comics a few times; his real claim to fame is being father of Adam Cray, a.k.a. Atom), and Cray himself was kidnapped by the terrorists. Waller is sending Layla in to head the extraction team to rescue Cray, and she tries to get John to go ahead to Fiji – she’ll meet him there. But he thinks saving a senator from terrorists in the Balkans sounds like a honeymoon to him. So Deadshot makes three, and our good buddy Cupid, a.k.a. Arrow’s Amorous Stalker, will be going along too.
In the Arrow Cave, Oliver is practicing shirtless with his sword while Felicity ignores him entirely; she’s scouring the city’s network of traffic and security cameras for signs of the Fauxrow. Roy comes in to report that a local gang is expecting a narcotics shipment, which seems like the kind of thing Arrow and/or his evil twin might hit. Oliver goes to suit up but orders Roy to stay put; he doesn’t want him getting in trouble with the League.
In Kasnia, the Suicide Squad has parachuted in and are gearing up for some honeymoon extraction. Even though they’re supposed to be quiet and sneaky and shit, Cupid won’t shut up about her future wedding to the Arrow. Deadshot, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to remind everyone that love makes you weak. It’s all very cheery and heavy-handed. Satellite intel shows where all the people are in the Terrorist Compound, and John laments the difficulty of getting all the hostages out. Layla reminds him that they’re not supposed to worry about non-U.S. citizens – they just have to retrieve the senator.
Flashback! Deadshot is bitter and cynical, but he wasn’t always that way, he claims. A younger, two-eyed Floyd Lawton is returning home from deployment in fatigues to a wide-open front door and toys scattered across the floor. He knocks on the door and a woman, presumably his wife, is surprised and delighted to see him. They hug, and a little girl wanders up. Mrs. Lawton introduces Floyd as daddy, but she’s a little wary of him.
In Starling City, Oliver is headed toward the narcotics buy or whatever, and Felicity has a sighting of the Fauxrow. The gang members are pulling bags of drugs from the bellies of teddy bears when arrows begin raining down from the rafters. Why does nobody ever check the rafters? Fauxrow takes them all out before catching an arrow to the shoulder from the real thing; he and Oliver fight, but when Oliver pulls back his hood, it isn’t Ra’s but a League minion. Two more green-clad Assassins emerge from the shadows to engage Oliver. I guess the League changed uniform suppliers. Oliver easily defeats all three, but Maseo is the next to come out from Starling City’s second-biggest export (shadows). He says that Oliver can’t kill them all, because Ra’s will just keep replacing them.
Iron Atom is flying through Starling City, looking for the Arrow on his heads-up display, and naturally pinpoints him immediately in the warehouse, because infrared sensors can definitely see hoods and bows. Ray uses a special, physically impossible algorithm to scan the angles of the Arrow’s face and extrapolate a picture of Oliver. Wow, who knew you could see skin, eye, and hair color with infrared and face angles!?
At Palmer Tech, Ray is studying his Atom data when Felicity comes in. He seems to be debating what to tell her, but he also sounds pretty angry when he reveals his big secret: Oliver Queen is the Arrow! Oh, wait, no, he already figured out that she knew the whole time. Felicity is quick to assure Ray that Oliver isn’t the one who killed people and counters Ray’s skepticism with the news that she above anyone (well, except for John, and Roy, and Thea, and Laurel, and, hell, Malcolm) knows how much Oliver has grown since he started vigilante-ing. Ray’s takeaway is that Felicity has feelings for Oliver, because she can’t possibly know him without being in love with him. Even though Felicity tells him that it’s over (her feelings and any relationship with Oliver), Ray still doesn’t think he can trust her now. He’s also going to bring the Arrow to “justice.”
In Kasnia, Deadshot takes out the guards from afar before fading into flashback. He’s making a sandwich and drinking beer, but his daughter isn’t interested in eating his peanut butter sandwich. He yells at her to use her words to tell him that he’s a terrible father, but mommy interrupts. She lists off symptoms of PTSD under the guise of telling him how he isn’t fine. He whines that nobody in the world could possibly understand him, and then pulls a gun on her, which kind of undermines the whole misunderstood vet vibe. He stops threatening her, but she orders him away and calls 9-1-1.
Oliver is comparing the arrowheads on the League’s arrows against his own, but there isn’t a difference that he or Roy can see. The bad news is just beginning as Felicity stomps in, growling that Ray knows. She quickly exposits the whole deal about Ray’s wife getting murdered by the mirakuru soldiers, the ATOM suit, and his Arrow vendetta. Oliver is a little incensed that Felicity didn’t bother to mention Ray’s whole exosuit deal, but they have bigger problems: Ray is going to take the information to the police.
At the precinct, Ray is wasting time explaining the tech behind his face scans to Laurel, who is unimpressed. She also reminds him that the police already investigated Oliver for being the Arrow, and he was exonerated. Ray is quick to suggest that Oliver got accused on purpose so he could be ruled out, which, while true, sounds a lot like a conspiracy theory, especially when coupled with x-ray vision as proof. Laurel tells Ray that she can’t take potentially doctored digital images to a judge and his statement is nothing so much as uncorroborated testimony. Ray goes back to conspiracy theory territory by suggesting that Laurel is protecting him (that she is isn’t important, really).
In Kasnia, Senator Cray is assuring his fellow hostages that because he’s rich and important, everything’s going to be fine. Sure enough the Suicide Squad busts in right then, efficiently taking out all the guards. Layla collects the senator, telling him they’ll explain everything once they’re away, but he protests: his plan is going wrong; he didn’t expect the government to send anybody. He pulls a gun on Cupid, who notches an arrow, but doesn’t have time to fire before Deadshot tackles her out of harm’s way, taking the bullet himself. The hostages all clamber up and start to run as Cray fires vaguely in the direction of John and Layla, who both have cover.
The team escapes as more terrorist guards swarm, holing up in what looks like a low-budget operating suite, and John begins patching up Deadshot. Deadshot rethinks his position on not dying when it becomes clear that Cupid has very suddenly transferred her obsessive craziness onto him, for saving her life. Have fun with that, Floyd! Layla is radioing in, but the signal is being jammed; luckily Cray is on the frequency and is ready for some villain monologuing! Cray says he hired mercenaries to kidnap him so he could escape and free the hostages, thus making himself into a hero and poising him for a Presidential bid. He tells the team that now, though, all the hostages are witnesses to his ridiculous scheme, so he’s just gonna have to kill them all.
Ray is in his office when Oliver strolls in for a meeting he apparently booked in advance, and Ray is dismissive of his growling that he didn’t kill the drug dealers. Ray tries to get him to admit that he went crazy on the island, which may be true, but not so much as Ray might hope. Oliver insists that Ray should trust Felicity’s judgment, but Ray thinks her judgment is clouded by her emotional attachment to Oliver. Women and their judgment-clouding emotions, amirite? Oliver, rather than trying to explain anything (he’s allergic to explanations), just says that Ray has no idea what the city is facing. Ray, of course, is pretty sure he does know.
John and Layla stake out a new vantage point to watch backup mercenaries stream into the hospital, and Layla finds satellite imagery showing the hospital is rigged with explosives. Satellites sure can see a lot, can’t they! Layla isn’t sure why they took this stupid mission in the first place, and John suggests it’s just what they do: they’re soldiers. Layla is having serious second thoughts about that, though, with the Digglet at risk of being orphaned. Oddly, Deadshot is the one who’s the voice of reason when he and Cupid follow them in, adamant that they’re going to make it out with the hostages.
In flashback, Floyd is languishing in a cell when a woman approaches, telling him his bail has been posted. She shows him a briefcase of money and insists that her organization is in need of his very specific murdering skills. He presses for more details on the secretive “we” she’s referring to, but ultimately says he’s done killing. The woman tells him that people like him don’t get families and children, as should be obvious by the whole restraining order thing his wife filed against him. Floyd caves pretty easily, and she gives him his first target: John’s brother, Andrew Diggle.
Felicity is in the Arrow Cave, sulking, when Oliver returns from his unfruitful meeting with Ray. Felicity finds it pretty amusing that Oliver calls him stubborn and unstable, but Oliver insists that Ray is dangerous, flying around untrained in a weaponized armored suit looking for the Fauxrow; he’s just going to get himself killed.
Felicity thinks Oliver would like that, since he never wanted her to be with Ray in the first place, though it’s a bit of a leap to suggest he wants Palmer dead. Before they can argue stupidly about it anymore, Felicity gets a notice of a 9-1-1 call at the power plant. Suspected gang activity means potential Fauxrow target, so Oliver orders her to contact Roy to meet him there. So…I guess he doesn’t mind Roy being involved now?
At the power plant, there’s nobody there, because shockingly Ray faked the call to lure Arrow to the site. He fires actual weapons at them, because clearly not everyone is above killing, and Oliver’s return arrow pings off his suit. He electrocutes Arsenal next, again, totally benign (also there’s no indication that he knows who Arsenal is or suspects him of killing anybody), and Oliver changes tactics, firing an explosive arrow at Atom’s feet and blowing him back into the sky.
Atom knocks him down with a flyby, insisting to Oliver that it’s over. But Oliver hits him with a little EMP mine, powering down the suit and leaving Ray helpless. Oliver says the man Ray thinks he is would kill him right now. Obviously, Oliver is not going to kill him, though; even when Ray taunts him to go ahead and fire, to show Felicity what kind of man he is, Oliver offers Ray a hand up. He say he has nothing to prove to Felicity and her choice is hers alone. And he walks off. They both leave Roy lying on the pavement.
In the hospital in Kasnia, Cray apologizes to his hostages, but before he can go ahead and blame the would-be rescuers for their deaths, the would-be rescuers burst in, taking down the guards again. Cray threatens to flip a switch and blow the whole place, but Layla says he’s bluffing; he’s not going to jeopardize his own life. He insists, though, that his presidential aspirations were so he’d leave a lasting legacy behind; he’ll do the same dying a hero. With a glance at Layla, John shows his hands in surrender, and Cray relaxes, standing. He calls them the Suicide Squad (how on earth does he know about an off-the-books ARGUS secret killing team?) and thinks it’s rich that the three of them think they can just shoot their way in — and then he realizes that there should be four of them. Floyd starts sniping from the window, and the team takes out the rest of the guards and escorts the hostages out. Cupid asks Floyd how he’s getting out, and he reveals the real plan: he isn’t. He’s going to cover their escape and go down with the hospital.
With no other choice, the team continues on, taking out mercs with Floyd’s help and loading all the hostages safely into a truck while the bombs’ timer ticks down. Now they’re on a timer? I thought Cray had the kill switch. Whatever, there are seconds left, and Floyd isn’t trying to get down: he just looks at a faded picture of him with his wife and daughter, and the hospital blows.
At Palmer Tech, Felicity comes in to Ray working on suit pieces. She asks how he is, and he admits that his ego is bruised, along with some other body parts. She apologizes, but he says he should apologize. He claims to trust her now, and she wants to know if his offer of wanting a true partner is still good. He says it is, and they kiss.
John is back home and holding the Digglet while the news tells how the terrorists were led by Floyd Lawton, and how a heroic Senator Cray escaped the blast with the hostages – he paid them off for their silence. Layla says she tried to get the truth out, but Waller wouldn’t allow it. As John puts Sara in her crib, they face each other with confessions: John is leaving Team Arrow, and Layla resigned from ARGUS. He wants to be safe for Sara, and she wants to set a good example for their daughter. They hug.
As Oliver gets back to the cave, Felicity is leaving for Ray’s meeting with Mayor Castle; he’s had a change of heart, weirdly. As she heads upstairs, John comes in, and I thought he’d tell Oliver he was leaving the team, but no. Maybe Layla resigning means he gets to stay? He gets out glasses and liquor for them, and to Oliver’s surprise they drink to Floyd.
At the mayor’s office, Ray tells her and Quentin that he has evidence that the Arrow is being framed. Laurel wants to go to the media, and she and Quentin bicker about his vendetta. But before Mayor Castle can break it up, an arrow pierces the window — and her chest. This time it’s Maseo under the hood, and we see from his point of view as he takes aim again, this time at Felicity.