Arrow: Who wants to be mayor of Star City?
Previously on Arrow: Baby!Arrow was sent by Waller back to the island for a mission, Damien Darhk’s ghosts are terrorizing Starling City, Quentin is working with Darhk, and Oliver’s rebranding as Green Arrow is complete.
We open with the team in battle. Canary, Speedy, and Digg are doing most of the fighting, though, while Oliver watches from a rooftop, waiting for Felicity to scan the place for the explosive the ghosts have hidden. He sort-of-watches his team with pride as Felicity demands a codename for herself and John, before finally directing Oliver to the ground floor. He stops the bomb with a little freeze-spray thing, and the day is saved.
In the Cave, Laurel is proud of their victory, but John doesn’t think they’re doing enough to stop the ghosts. Also, Oliver continues to be concerned about how much force Thea is using on her opponents, but she rolls her eyes and heads off to shower instead of listening. Also, it’s Felicity’s first day as CEO of Palmer Tech, and she’s really excited. Oliver presents her with a new fern for her first day and also a packed lunch. I don’t know when he had time to pack a lunch, but I also don’t care, because it’s adorable.
Island time! After parachuting down to the island involuntarily last episode, Oliver was immediately captured. This week, he immediately gets free and stabs the guy in the chest. There’s a field sat-computer thingy in his pack, and he tells ARGUS he’s on the ground. They order him to infiltrate, but he doesn’t really see anything in particular to infiltrate. ARGUS suggests he “see for himself,” which seems like less-than-helpful intelligence for an intelligence agency.
At Oliver and Felicity’s loft, Ollie and Thea are having breakfast with old family friends, Jessica Danforth and her daughter Madison. Jessica (played by Jeri Ryan, who Trekkies will recognize from Voyager, though she’s a very prolific TV actor generally speaking) wants to run for mayor because she thinks the city desperately needs one, and she needs to stand up despite the fact that three straight mayors have been murdered by supervillains.
Meanwhile, Felicity has her first board meeting, and things look dim at Palmer Tech. Financials aren’t looking good, and only an R&D kid named Mr. Holt (comic check: OMG IT’S MR. TERRIFIC I’M SO EXCITED YOU HAVE NO IDEA) has an idea/algorithm for a cost-saving “workforce reduction.” Felicity doesn’t want to fire anybody, obviously, but the board thinks that’s their only option, currently.
Oliver and Thea are at Jessica’s announcement that she’s running for mayor, but as she talks about how she’s ready to stand up for the city, shots ring out. Thea heads up to deal with the shooter while Oliver follows Jessica to protect her, but the shots are actually an auto-turret thingy – a distraction. The security guy who escorted Jessica from the atrium is, turns out, not a security guy, and he tasers a real guard before Ollie tackles him over a railing and gives chase. They run up some steps and parkour off a balcony onto a truck, but Oliver gets hit by a car so the baddie escapes. He’s too subtle to be a ghost, so must be Villain of the Week!
In the Cave, the team sighs that getting shot at seconds after announcing you’re running for mayor is a record even for Starling. Laurel says the police have a protective detail on Jessica, but nobody thinks that will be good enough. Meanwhile, Oliver got some prints from the windshield of the truck he and the baddie had leapt onto, but they don’t look normal. Felicity suggest the guy cut off his fingertips and played “mix and match,” whatever that means. Oliver goes off to add extra security for Jessica, promising he’ll talk to Quentin. Nobody thinks that will help. He talks to Quentin, and it doesn’t help.
Island time: Oliver gets to a clearing, and watches some villagers through his binoculars. The villagers are, of course, being terrorized by a soldier. I’m still not clear on if he’s supposed to infiltrate the villagers or the soldiers, but he apparently is, so he takes off his jacket, rips his shirt, and rubs some dirt on himself. Then he uses the body of the soldier who originally captured him to set off a mine near the edge of the clearing.
Felicity is pacing around the conference room, angsting over having to fire people, when Mr. Terr—er, I mean, Holt arrives. She’s angry at him, but he swears he developed his algorithm as a way to argue for pay increases for high-value employees and it was the board who turned it into a way to fire people. Felicity is somewhat mollified by that, but she has a very hard time firing the first employee who was sent to her.
John and Laurel are staking out the police station in case Jessica’s detail needs help, and Laurel prods at John a little about why he’s been so brusque and intense the last week. He finally admits that it’s not just Oliver being back: it’s HIVE. He tells her they killed his brother and he’s been looking into them for two years, but so far he has only found dead ends. She thinks he needs to tell the rest of the team because carrying burdens like that only ends badly, and she should know.
Villain of the Week is looking out over the city when Damien comes up behind him. He appreciated the show, but he is unimpressed with how “Machin” (comic check: Lonnie Machin, a.k.a. Anarky, was primarily a Batman villain, although he managed to piss off lots of the DC Universe in his time; he was mostly just a villainous super genius) didn’t eliminate Jessica. Why Damien is so intent on Starling City not having a mayor is unclear, but Lonnie swears he’ll get it done.
In the Cave, Felicity swipes some sticky residue from the palm print Anarky left on the truck, and her…what, desktop mass spec? immediately identifies the compound is a proprietary formulation of cellulose patented by Palmer Paper, which Palmer Tech shut down a couple months earlier to cut costs. Green and Red Arrow head off to investigate.
Thea questions a snarky drug dealer about the picture they have of Anarky, but all he does he bitch about “masks” thinking they’re “in charge.” So Thea breaks his arm. Oliver is pissed, but frankly, I don’t blame her.
Back in the cave, Felicity officially IDs Anarky as Lonnie Marchin, and Oliver and Thea return, angry at one another. Oliver starts demonstrating proper, non-crippling measures to disarm, which turns into a full on fight, and Thea goes, objectively, crazy. She’s on top of Oliver, screaming wordlessly at him, until John and Laurel drag her off. She storms off, telling Oliver it’s his fault for leaving and he doesn’t get to judge her. Oliver finally admits to Laurel and John about the Pit and it’s alleged effects on the resurrectees. John thinks it’s odd they’re only seeing effects after six months, but Oliver thinks it must’ve been slowly manifesting over time. None of them really know what to do about it, though.
Island time. The Oliver-inflicted explosion attracts other soldiers, but Oliver looks pitiful and dirty enough that they don’t shoot him on sight. He tells them to be careful, it’s a minefield, and then he gives his real name, explaining that he was shipwrecked on the island three years ago.
Felicity gets to work and is surprised to find Holt in her office, and more surprised to see that his name is on her firing list. She’s very sad, but he says it’s okay, his husband will be happy they can finally take that vacation.
At the police department, Oliver stops by to visit Jessica. They talk a bit about Starling needing an inspiration that isn’t just a mask and how the city needs to grow, not just be saved, but Oliver is worried about Madison. Jessica says her daughter is safe with a detail of cops at the library, but Oliver thinks Jessica should call her. Not surprisingly, the phone rings through to voice mail on the ground next to a bleeding cop.
Island time. The soldiers lead Oliver into their camp, and the commander recognizes him as the lost-at-sea Oliver Queen. Oliver thanks him for “rescuing” him, but the commander – Baron Reiter (comic check: Baron Reiter, a.k.a. Baron Blitzkrieg, a Nazi villain who…well, is black on the show, which is sort of awkward, Arrow) – informs Oliver he’s not being rescued because he might tell people they’re on the island. Instead, he gets conscripted.
Visiting Anarky at his hideout, Damien is none too pleased with Lonnie’s little kidnapping scheme. Lonnie swears with one phone call he can have Jessica out of the one-woman race for mayor, but Damien doesn’t care. He tells Lonnie their business is concluded and to clean up his mess.
At Laurel’s place, she and Thea watch Jessica’s press conference, but Laurel would rather talk about Thea. She asks about what went on in Nanda Parbat, and Thea finally tells her about being dead-ish and the Lazarus Pit. Laurel infers that Thea’s ruthlessness and anger are side effects, and Thea admits that Malcolm apparently warned Oliver about the risks, but he didn’t care. Laurel understands, though—Ollie would do anything to save his sister.
Quentin goes to yell at Damien about Madison, because Quentin lacks subtlety or common sense. Damien says he had nothing to do with Madison’s abduction and even offers Quentin the address where Lonnie has her, but he also suggests that if Quentin keeps trying to back out of their arrangement, Laurel is definitely at risk.
Oliver comes back to the Cave to see if there’s any news, and Felicity is a little distraught over the ghosts and Lonnie and the firing of so much of Palmer Tech. She wonders if coming back to Star City was a mistake, but Oliver swears no—nothing good comes easily, and they’re where they need to be. On cue, Quentin calls with the address Damien gave him, and Team Arrow is off to rescue Madison.
Lonnie is being a sadistic little shit, clearly excited to torture Madison – it’s unclear whether he’s made any demands of Jessica – when Team Arrow busts through the skylights, looking pretty damn badass, actually. John and Laurel get Madison to safety while the Arrow siblings pursue Anarky. He tazes Thea from hiding and fights Oliver – true to his comic counterpart, he is an expert fighter and gets the best of Oliver, but Thea gets up in time to take him the fuck down and light him on fire. Really. Oliver puts him out via steam pipe, but the damage is done.
Jessica and Madison reunite at the police station. Quentin says there’s an army of reporters outside, and Jessica confirms that she’s withdrawing her candidacy for mayor. Quentin and Oliver sigh a little at that, but Quentin informs Oliver that he should be booking him for burning Lonnie alive.
Island time. Oliver, with a new haircut and uniform, is enforcing horrible work conditions on the villagers, who are growing…poppy, maybe?
At Palmer Tech, Felicity informs the board that she’s done reducing their workforce and she’s rehired everyone, because turns out, they have a project in development already that’s going to save the company. And it’s Curtis Holt’s project! Of course, she doesn’t have an idea, and he doesn’t have a project. But as they leave the board meeting together, she says she’s betting that he has an idea, and in six months they’re going to turn it into something to save the company.
Oliver comes to see Thea at Laurel’s place, and she’s at least admitting something is wrong now. Oliver says they’ll get through it together, he swears, and Laurel thinks she and Thea need some time away: a spa weekend. Oliver agrees, but when he takes off (promising he and John can handle things), Laurel tells Thea they’re actually going to Nanda Parbat because the League might know how to help her. And also that’s not the only reason. I suspect the other reason involves Sara, but Laurel isn’t saying.
Lonnie’s ambulance, meanwhile, never made it to the hospital. Anarky escaped, and he left dead EMTs in his wake. Maybe you guys should’ve let Thea burn him alive, huh?
Oliver gets home to a happy Felicity, since she solved her firing problem, and they stand out on the balcony as he considers the problem of Star City’s hope and inspiration issues. And then he comes to the obvious conclusion: Oliver Queen needs to run for mayor.
Thea and Laurel are at Sara’s grave, and Laurel is sure that she wants to dig up her body, yes.
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