Arrow RECAP: Father Knows Best
Deadshot returns because Malcolm is a horrible person who can never be trusted, and why does everyone keep getting caught off-guard by that?
Previously on Arrow: Malcolm drugged Thea and had her kill Sara, past!Triad was trying to steal both parts of a terrible bioweapon and ARGUS was trying to stop them, Oliver’s father in the past swears there’s a reason for all the names on the list, and past!Oliver and Maseo have come to Starling City.
This is clearly going to be a past-heavy episode, so I’m going to change things up and write the recaps for the past and present as separate, instead of intertwining them.
Waller is briefing Maseo and Oliver on Chen Na Wei’s actions in Starling’s City. Apparently she’s planning to auction off the Omega half of the bioweapon, and people will buy it because they think they’ll be able to either steal or replicate the Alpha, which is in ARGUS’s custody. The auction is happening in Starling City because it’s home to Peter Kang, who commits corporate espionage for the Triad and happens to works for Queen Consolidated. I’m…not sure why that’s a valid reason, since there are probably dozens of people committing corporate espionage for the Triad and all of them probably have passports, but okay.
Maseo walks down the street and drops his paper so he can place a tracker on Kang’s car. Oliver’s wearing a baseball cap, so obviously no one will recognize him. Kang leaves, and the two of them follow. Down the street, Laurel heads into a bar to retrieve Quentin, who is drinking instead of working like he’s supposed to be. Laurel pays his tab and escorts him out the door.
Kang, meanwhile, is arriving at Queen Consolidated. His computer is apparently unhackable, so they need to get into the Queen Consolidated mainframe. Oliver is the one that knows the building, so they’ll lead the team on a break-in that night. As Oliver grimaces about the wisdom of wandering around his family’s building, Thea strolls into view in her school uniform.
Oliver and Maseo tail Thea back to the Queen family land, where she’s visiting Oliver’s and his dad’s gravestones to chat. While she’s there, they watch her do a drug deal, which not-dead-yet Tommy quickly interrupts. He knows the dealer and orders him to stay away from Thea. He also informs Thea that his birthday party will be strictly 21-and-up, and she is not invited. He’s taking the surrogate-brother thing very seriously, clearly.
Later that night, Oliver is in his mother’s office at Queen Consolidated. At least, I think it’s Moira’s office, since there’s no reason for his dad’s to stay untouched and it’d be pretty weird if Peter Kang had photos of Oliver and his dad on his desk. For some reason, Oliver’s thumbprint still works to access the system and doesn’t raise any red flags anywhere, and he begins downloading files. In addition to the target files, he finds two titled “for_thea” and “for_oliver” and begins saving those on a separate flash drive. Meanwhile, Felicity is working late (surprise!) and brings a file into the office. She chats a bit with the picture of Oliver on Moira’s desk, like you do, but doesn’t notice anything amiss.
Back with Waller, they discover when the auction will be, but they’re still hunting for where in the mountains of data. Oliver wanders off to get up to something he shouldn’t, I’m sure, but Maseo and Waller are focused on finding out the location of the meet, so they don’t care.
At Tommy’s mansion, a rocking party is going on, completely with frat boys vomiting on the lawn. Diggle is there! He and his not-dead-yet brother Randy are working security, and Diggle misses being in Afghanistan if this is the alternative. Oliver sneaks into the party in a green hoodie, because he is a dumbass. Laurel is there too, expositing to us via Tommy that although she’d taken a corporate law job in San Francisco, she’s back in Starling now. They’re distracted by Thea’s entrance, and Tommy reminds Thea that she was not invited because she is not 21. But she has a fake id so it’s all good. Thea swears she’s going to have a nonalcoholic beverage, but she runs into her drug dealer on the way to the bar, so looks like she’s just going to be altered another way. Oliver follows the dealer upstairs, because he is a dumbass, and throws him into the wall to warn him away from Thea. The dealer immediately recognizes him, and I can’t stress this enough, Oliver is such a dumbass. Drug dealer pulls a knife on him, so Oliver just goes ahead and kills him and dumps him over the balcony. Okay then.
Unsurprisingly, the police (including Quentin) are soon questioning guests about the drug dealer’s sudden demise. Quentin insults Tommy, insults Laurel for being there, like she’s not a grown-ass woman, and insults Thea for daring to wear a dress. Oliver is still hovering around like a dumbass to hear all that, but luckily Maseo arrives to drag him away while Quentin continues to make an ass of himself to Laurel, and in general. Safely away from the police presence, Maseo says that they have a location on the auction, but Oliver is So Done. He says it’s not fair to bring him back to Starling to see everyone he left behind and then expect him to ignore all of the things his death broke. Maseo says that’s selfish, because bioweapon, but Oliver doesn’t care. He walks away.
Apparently, he walks to his own house and is able to stroll on in, sitting down in the den. There’s a handy tablet on the coffee table, so he plugs up the flash drive containing the letters he found in Moira’s office at Queen Consolidated. It’s a video message from dear old dad, explaining the list of names. He said he just kept telling himself he was doing the right thing for his family, but he realized that a family is pointless without a soul. My, what a timely message.
At the Omega auction, Chen Na Wei strides in to begin the bidding while Maseo takes photos from above. He or his not-Oliver ARGUS henchman makes a noise, which causes everyone to shoot up into the rafters, somehow missing Maseo but killing his henchman. The bidding reaches $80 million while he’s escorted down to the auction floor. Chen Na Wei is about to kill him, but like all the other timing in this episode, Oliver’s is coincidentally perfect. He begins picking off guards, and he and Maseo are able to get away. Meanwhile, escaping in her car, Chen Na Wei orders Tatsu and Akio killed. Oliver and Maseo stop the car, knocking her out and capturing Peter Kang, thus securing the Omega, but we don’t know if the kill order on Maseo’s family went out.
Waller tells Oliver that despite their success in Starling City, he can’t stay. He’s incredulous, because he and Maseo got ARGUS the Omega and Chen Na Wei. Waller claims it isn’t up to her, though, and in walks Army General Matthew Shrieve (comic check: Shrieve led a WWII-era unit called “Creature Commandos” that included a Frankenstein-esque monster, a gorgon, a vampire, and a werewolf; in New 52 this unit became Agents of S.H.A.D.E., but Shrieve wasn’t part of the continuity). Shrieve tells Oliver he needs to be debriefed in China, but after that, he’ll be free to go. Oliver agrees.
Laurel and Tommy run into one another on the street, and Tommy invites her to dinner. As friends, of course. Thea, meanwhile, takes flowers to Oliver and his dad’s graves.
Oliver and Thea are training on the island, first on a rock overlooking the bay, then in the forest. He’s impressed with her skill for only nine months of training, and she says Malcolm is a good teacher. Later, they eat roasted rodent or whatever by the fire, and Thea asks if Oliver ever thought he’d see his family again when he was on the island the first time. He doesn’t answer.
Later that night, Oliver is dreaming and Thea wakes him. He was dreaming about Sara, and Thea asks why he never told her that Sara died (for real). He tells her that Sara returned to the League after all the Slade stuff went down and she had secrets that weren’t anybody else’s to tell, so Laurel wanted to keep her death a secret. Thea wants to know if the League killed her, and Oliver abruptly gets to his feet to take a walk, because that’s not suspicious at all. He strolls down to the waterfront and finds the entrance to the ARGUS research facility that houses Slade’s cell. As you might expect, Slade is no longer in his cell, but his freshly dead guard is. That timing is a little convenient, so obviously something is going on. Slade growls something about keeping his promises and killing everyone Oliver’s ever cared about.
Oliver hurries back to the campsite, telling Thea they need to leave immediately. The whole Slade thing is news to Thea, of course, who didn’t know he was a prisoner on this island and is not pleased to know he is no longer a prisoner on this island. Of course, they immediately gets a call from Malcolm: he’s the one that arranged for Slade to escape. He wants Oliver to be able to kill again, so what better way than to throw him into a kill-or-be-killed situation?
Thea and Oliver head to the real grave of Robert Queen, not just to pay their respects, but because there’s a gun hidden under the rocks. Ollie gives the gun to Thea, and Slade attacks right about then, knocking Oliver down and quickly ridding Thea of the gun. I thought they were good at fighting?
Oliver wakes on a cot in Slade’s old cell with Thea sitting on the floor beside him; they’re both fine, of course. Slade tells them he’s arranged for two burned bodies to turn up in Starling City to stand in for Oliver and Thea, who of course were killed in a horrible accident. He whines about Shado, because this is allllll about Shado.
Thea is lamenting their position and that there’s no one to call on for help. Since they’re not going anywhere in the immediate future, Thea goes ahead and asks what else Oliver’s hiding. He doesn’t think now’s the time, but Thea is sick of being treated like a tiny, fragile object, which gives Oliver an idea: the prison was built with big guys in mind as inmates, and Thea…is not a big guy. They have to dislocate her shoulder, but she’s able to reach through the bars and hit the button to open the cells. Why is there a button to open the cells? For this escape, obviously.
The pair of them starts to run for the plane Oliver and Slade left on the island a long time ago. Unfortunately, they get sidetracked by Thea tripping one of the booby traps Oliver left in place on the island, and Ollie gets a little bit impaled. Just the arm, though. They rest for a couple minutes, so Thea brings up Sara again. Oliver wants to focus, but Thea can’t focus knowing that Oliver is keeping something from her. Oliver finally sighs that Malcolm killed Sara, but Thea dismisses that explanation: Malcolm was in Corto Maltese when Sara died. Oliver admits that it was Malcolm indirectly and tells Thea about the drug. But he refers to the killer as “she,” and Thea reaches the correct conclusion pretty easily.
Thea is a little crazy over the news, even as Oliver tries to tell her she had no control over her actions. She did have control over her trust in Malcolm, however, so she’s pretty upset about that part. And she is even more confused about why Oliver trusted Malcolm enough to take his advice to come train on the island. Her yelling attracts Slade, of course, and he grabs her to hold a gun to her head. Thea is done with this shit this time, though, and she takes the gun and gets out of Slade’s hold. He’s impressed, and Oliver tackles him down a hill and starts punching him. Slade fights him off in time for Thea to catch up, and they both fight him; Thea eventually takes Slade down with a branch and pulls her gun on him. Slade taunts her to kill him while Oliver protests. She says she’s already a killer, because Sara, but Oliver tries to convince her that’s what Malcolm wants. He wants her to be just like him. Thea compromises by shooting Slade in the arm. Back in his cell, Slade tells Oliver Thea’s lost, taunted by darkness. Oliver turns to go, but Slade asks after Felicity too. Ollie is not amused, and he leaves Slade alone in his cell.
Quentin’s bringing flowers to Sara’s grave, with a bottle of booze that he hasn’t opened yet. Laurel is visiting too, and he taunts her a bit about Canary, because even sober he’s a dick. She reminds him that back in the day he didn’t want her to take a job at the corporate firm in San Francisco because he knew she what she really wanted to do was help people, and now she is. He’s going to drink now, though, because Laurel broke their bond by lying, and he doesn’t think they can repair it. She thinks they need to go to an AA meeting, and he agrees: as long as it’s different meetings. He leaves her with the bottle, and she pours it out over Sara’s grave.
Oliver and Thea get back to their loft. She wants to shower, but Oliver wants to talk. He advises Thea not to tell Laurel, though I seem to recall Laurel forgiving Roy when they thought he’d killed Sara on Mirakuru. Oliver also thinks they still need Malcolm despite his Slade-related shenanigans, and Malcolm is of course lurking in the apartment. He claims he had faith in them to take down Slade without incident–but that isn’t the point, and it’s not what Thea’s mad about anyway. Malcolm tries some bullshit about the danger of Ra’s, but Ra’s wouldn’t be trying to kill Thea if she hadn’t killed Sara. She tells Malcolm that because of that danger, she’ll continue to be his student, and partner, and even soldier. But not his daughter. And…wow, that episode did not end on a cheery note.