Arrow: Some Deaths Are More Permanent Than Others
A major death this week on Arrow. Also, new superpowered supervillain attacks, the Atom learns to fight, Roy languishes in prison, and Oliver… does nothing. Seriously, he’s pretty much forced to sit this one out.
Previously on Arrow: Oliver can either be Ra’s or in jail, Ray is in love with Felicity, the entire city knows Oliver is the Arrow, Oliver turned himself in, and Roy turned himself in as the Arrow.
The news is reporting on Roy being ID’d as the Arrow while two Starling National Bank security guards watch. The power flickers, and one of them goes to check out various dark rooms—when his flashlight goes dead, too. And then there’s a creepy dude dressed like Neo standing in front of him. Dude grabs him in the chest with his laser eye beams and tosses him aside, then melts through the chest of the second guard, too. Scott Summers?! (comic check! This is Jake Simmons, a.k.a. Deathbolt—he has a pretty thin history, but he was an All-Star Squadron villain whose body is a kind of battery, though I’m not sure he ever redirected electricity from his eyes).
Quentin and a couple officers escort green-clad Roy into the police station, where Oliver is already handcuffed to Quentin’s desk. Quentin is pissed that Oliver would let Roy take the fall for him, but Oliver assures him he’s not going to do that and will sign a full confession…but not if Laurel has anything to do with it. She informs Quentin that since Oliver’s confession to him was alone, unrecorded, and uncorroborated, the district attorney is going to charge Roy instead, and Oliver is to be let go. Both men are confused, but Quentin angrily unlocks Oliver’s cuffs. Laurel tells Oliver she’s just ensuring he and Roy aren’t both in prison.
Felicity is at her desk at Palmer Tech, clearly distracting herself with work, when Ray comes by, wondering why she’s there given the Team Arrow shitstorm that’s going on. She doesn’t have an answer other than that she’s clearly distracting herself with work, but he takes the opportunity to try to backpedal from last episode’s declaration of love by saying that Felicity had just saved his life and he had nanobots in his hypothalamus, so. Super emotional! It’s nice of him to give her a bit of an out. Also, I’m confused about when Ray and Felicity were supposed to have been in Central City, but I’m thinking it was actually before Ray’s injury/Oliver’s outing.
Oliver goes to visit Roy in an interview room; he’s now wearing a fetching orange jumpsuit. Oliver is incredulous that Roy thinks he’s going to actually be able to take the fall here, but Roy is adamant: Oliver saved his life as the Arrow, so Roy now can save his. And besides, the city needs Arrow more than Arsenal. There’s a heavy undercurrent of guilt, too: Roy finally feels like he’s getting the punishment he deserves for killing the cop on mirakuru.
In flashback, Oliver and the Yamashiros have a temporary safehouse, but Waller’s men are all over the city; there’s no way they can get out, and nowhere they can run. Oliver thinks the only course of action is to find Waller first, so Maseo gives him the passcard to the ARGUS field office (I’m sure they wouldn’t have bothered to deactivate the passcard of a former agent on the run!): he’s just going to walk in.
Present day. Malcolm and Oliver meet outside Verdant to discuss Oliver’s options. Malcolm thinks Oliver’s done playing Arrow: Ra’s isn’t just going to give up, and he has a lot more options for forcing Oliver to do what he wants, because none of Oliver’s friends have been killed yet. He thinks leading the League might be better than seeing Thea killed (we all know he only cares about Thea) and Oliver should really consider that, but Oliver has more important things to think about, like how he’s going to break Roy out of prison.
Thea’s watching the news about Roy when the rest of Team Arrow comes into Verdant, and Oliver shares the plan to break Roy out, although I’m not sure Roy is gonna go given the opportunity. They have other Arrow-problems, though: surveillance footage of the bank robbery shows the laser eyes, and John sighs that Central City’s metahumans would obviously not stay in Central City when they could come to an Arrowless Starling City! Metahumans only come from Central City in this universe, I guess. Also there are no other cities. Before the team can devise a plan other than “call Team Flash and see if they know this guy,” Quentin and SWAT bust in. They have a warrant to search the Arrow Cave, and since Oliver hasn’t had time to re-convert the space to a storage room (what, seriously? That is a ridiculous oversight, team), Quentin is sure he has Oliver this time.
Forensic techs are swarming over the cave while the team looks on, but despite their best efforts, they can only come up with one set of fingerprints: Roy’s. Quentin is incensed, and outside, so is Oliver. Apparently Felicity and John did wipe the cave and move some of the more sensitive materials. Oliver asks why they didn’t wipe Roy’s prints (there wasn’t any point), and I ask how they wiped everyone’s prints but Roy’s. Oliver growls something about the secondary weapons stash, but John points out that he’s going to have detectives following him everywhere so he can’t get caught fighting crime. Oliver suggests calling Barry to come help out, but Felicity thinks Barry has too much going on in Central City (she’s talking about Harrison/Reverse Flash). But she does have an alternative…
Ray is working on the suit when Oliver and Felicity come to chat, and it’s a pretty easy conversation. There’s a metahuman killing people in Starling City, and the Arrow can’t go after him, so the Atom needs to take out the plasma death ray guy (“Now I see why Cisco gives them all names,” says Felicity). Ray is delighted at the team-up, and he forces Oliver to high-five him, which is one of the best things to ever happen on this show.
Island time. Oliver swipes into the ARGUS field office with Maseo’s still-active card and is immediately accosted by a uniformed Army grunt, who he shoots…only to find a bleeding Waller behind him. Waller exposits that General Shrieve’s men have been holding her hostage for weeks, and Shrieve is really behind the attempted murder of the Yamashiros. Even more: Shrieve is going to unleash the Alpha/Omega bioweapon on Hong Kong and blame it on the Triad, to attempt to mitigate China as a political threat to the US. And he has a vaccine so that his men won’t get sick. Oliver isn’t sure what to do with this information or if he can trust Waller at all, but she just tells him to run and get as far away from Hong Kong as he can. I thought we already established that they can’t get out of Hong Kong?
At Iron Heights penitentiary, Roy is now wearing a flattering dark gray jumpsuit instead of orange. A guard leads him into the visitation area, where Thea is waiting. He didn’t want to talk to her, because he promised himself he wouldn’t lie to her anymore, but I guess the guards…made him accept a visitor? He assures her he’s going to be okay, and she wants to know if that’s a lie. Roy doesn’t answer.
The Arrow/Atom team-up (Oliver hates calling it a team-up) is going swimmingly over at Palmer Tech, where Ray has managed to filter out the radiation from the eye beams to get an image of the baddie’s face. They immediately ID him (Jake Simmons of Central City) and pinpoint his location. Oliver starts to go after him, but Ray reminds him that the whole point of this exercise is to not have the Arrow be seen. And besides, as a scientist, Ray is better equipped to figure out how to defeat Jake’s meta abilities. Look, I know some people find Ray annoying, but the Ray/Oliver interactions in this episode are the best thing. It’s basically Grumpy Cat and an excitable, overly intelligent German Shepherd puppy.
Atom arrives at the warehouse and actually asks how many abandoned warehouses there are in Starling City (THANK YOU). He doesn’t see anything at first, but Neo Summers materializes up in the rafters and shoots Ray in the chest with his eye beams. He even calls him Tin Man, which you may recognize is a thing people call Iron Man. Like, it’s bad enough that the Atom looks like an Ant-Man knockoff (in reality the Atom first got his shrinking powers in 1961, though the character was around from 1940; Ant-Man’s first appearance was 1962); did they have to turn him into a really obvious Iron Man knockoff in the CW-verse? Anyway, Ray fires back, and Jake absorbs the energy of the blast, kicking Ray’s ass thoroughly. He gets a chain around his neck before Ray remembers he can FLY and blasts off, escaping.
Ray gets back to Palmer Tech all banged up, and on top of that he gets a lecture from Oliver about trusting himself and not just his tech, and anticipating his opponents. I mean, that’s not the problem I saw in that fight. The problem I saw was Ray has no idea how to do anything but fly in and look cool.
Island Time. Oliver returns to tell Tatsu and Maseo what he found, but they all agree that there’s no way they’ll be able to get out of Hong Kong with Shrieve looking for them. Backup plan: steal some of the vaccine. Sure, millions of people might still die, but at least you guys won’t get sick!
A couple of guards lead Roy into lockup, where he immediately remembers that the Arrow put away the majority of the criminals in Iron Heights (apparently). They’re quickly attacked by three inmates who are just wandering around unsupervised, but Roy takes them all down, with only a shiv slash across the back of his shoulder in wounds. He reminds them that that ass-kicking was without arrows.
Quentin, because he is a psycho, is now tossing over Thea and Oliver’s condo while Thea looks on, beyond annoyed with his shenanigans. It’s gotten so bad that a detective from the downtown office—his name is Frank—comes by to give Quentin a message from the chief of police: there is no evidence against Oliver and they have a suspect in custody, so if Quentin doesn’t cut it the fuck out, he’s going to get himself in some real trouble. Quentin listens about as well as he always does and then tries to give Thea some BS about how Oliver is going to get Roy killed by letting him take the fall. He says Roy doesn’t even know why he’s throwing his life away, but so far, Roy has been the most logical one in this entire situation, so.
At Palmer Tech, Ray has an idea for catching Jake. Since he made that little quip at Ray about “topping him off,” Ray and Felicity figure he can absorb and redirect energy—so if they hack into the city’s power grid, they might be able to figure out what location he’s using to suck up power. In case Oliver wasn’t feeling helpless enough, Thea shows up to report on Roy getting attacked in prison. Oliver growls that they’re breaking him out right then. John tries to stop him, saying that he knows it’s hard for Oliver to be idle, but it’s the best way to ride all this out and actually not be in prison at the end of it. Oliver listens as well as you’d expect Oliver to and stalks out anyway.
Next it’s Felicity’s turn to try and talk him out of it, and she catches him on the street outside Palmer Tech. He thinks breaking Roy out of prison is the only obvious solution, but Felicity reminds him it’s totally pointless if Oliver just gets put in the cell next door. She tries to zero in on not just Oliver’s helplessness, but the knowledge that he’s sacrificed everything in his life to be the Arrow and now he can’t be. It’s not exactly a cheery pep talk, but it does seem to work.
In Hong Kong, Oliver, Tatsu, and Maseo break into the base where Shrieve is keeping the vaccine. How they found out where that was I don’t know, but they locate it with minimum resistance and steal four vials—and a cell phone from a desk.
Quentin comes to visit Roy to have the stupidest talk ever. He reminds him how he tried to get Roy un-obsessed with the Arrow two years ago and how he’s still trying to “save” Roy. Stuff your hero complex, Quentin, jfc. Roy admits that he deserves to be in jail because of the cop he killed, and Quentin tells him that nothing about prison makes up for what he did as a vigilante. Oh, okay, then what’s the point of prison, exactly?
Felicity is headed to some power station to plug in Ray’s transponder for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, since I’m pretty sure they’ve been able to see large draws on the city power grid remotely before. Of course, Jake interrupts her, and she easily bluffs that she’s on city business. But he either suspects something, knows who she is, or just likes randomly killing city workers, because he takes off his sunglasses and turns around to look at her with glowy red eyes.
The transponder locks on back at Palmer Tech, indicating a power draw at Felicity’s location. Realizing that either something broke or the plan broke, Ray calls Felicity. Jake answers, vaguely threatening, but making no demands whatsoever. Again, why did he go after Felicity? Not seeing motive here. Anyway, Oliver doesn’t think Ray will be able to fight Jake since he did so well last time (they haven’t learned anything from Flash, I guess; he always beats the villain on the second try), but Ray doesn’t think Oliver will be able to get to the power station in time since he can’t fly. Luckily, Ray has recently perfected the suit’s neural link—Atom flies to the power station, and then Oliver takes remote control of the suit, leaving Ray as passenger. Meanwhile, Felicity plays damsel in distress to no one and escapes Jake on her own.
He recaptures her, but she buys enough time for Ray to show up. He blasts Jake away from Felicity and tells her to run. She refuses to leave him there alone, but compromises by running about six feet and hiding behind something. Oliver, driving the suit, fights Jake for a few moments until Jake throws Ray back into something and breaks the neural interface, putting Ray back in control. Jake gets the upper hand, choking him and powering up his eye beams, but with Oliver’s firm pep-talk, Ray breaks free and is able to knock him out before getting fried.
At Iron Heights, Roy is walking in a line of prisoners, eyes darting around for threats. Why is he not in solitary? A line coming the other way is passing a shiv up the line, but before they can knife him, he gets shoved to the wall by a guard, who demands he keep his eyes forward. He apologizes, and the guard knifes him in the gut instead.
When Oliver gets home, Quentin is with Thea and reports that Roy was killed an hour prior. Oliver is shocked, and Quentin tells him it’s his fault because no one surrounding Oliver is an adult, apparently, capable of making their own goddamn decisions.
Down in the Cave, Oliver is moping and picking through the remnants of all their gear, strewn about by Quentin’s men. Felicity and John show up, and Oliver laments that he didn’t even try to save him. John hopes Oliver can forgive them. Oliver think he means for talking him out of the rescue plan, but that isn’t what John’s talking about: Roy is alive and in the Cave! Turns out the guard that stabbed him is an ARGUS freelancer who’s very good at inflicting non-fatal stab wounds. They laced the blade with drugs to slow Roy’s heartbeat so he could be declared dead, and voila, instant exoneration! Oliver is a little incensed that the three of them hatched this plan without him, but Roy reminds him that he does that shit to them all the goddamned time. Also, I hope someone remembers to tell Thea.
However, since he’s officially dead, Roy can’t stick around in Starling City. He has an emotional goodbye with the team and then takes off for good to start a new life. Really, he’s not going to talk to Thea himself? Because like last episode ago she was ready to run away with him. And it’s not like her talents are being utilized on fucking Team Arrow, as the show has forgotten for most of the season that she’s kind of a badass.
Island time. There’s enough vaccine for the three of them and Akio, but they finally seem to realize that saving themselves while the city of Hong Kong gets razed by a bioweapon is kind of shitty. Luckily, the phone Oliver stole has all the plans for the Alpha/Omega distribution, so he’s going to stop it—and Tatsu says she and Maseo will help.
Ray has escorted Jake—promptly named Deathbolt—to the metaprison in Central City, and he and Cisco chat a little before Cisco notices something in Jake’s record: he was in police custody in Opal City, which is canonically in Maryland (comic check! and home to Starman, one of DC’s oldest superheroes), when the particle accelerator exploded. So how, exactly, could Deathbolt be a metahuman?
Back in Starling, Thea is drinking wine and looking at her Roy/Thea selfie collection when Ra’s al Ghul shows up. She knows who he is and reminds him that Oliver will never join him, but Ra’s ominously suggests Oliver just needs more motivation. Thea throws a knife at him, but he catches it. Then they fight. Frankly, she does better than Oliver, but she comes to a similar end: a sword through the middle. Where the fuck was Malcolm? He’s been lurking in her condo for weeks. And I guess that’s why they didn’t bother having Roy take her along, since she was only destined to be fridged for Oliver’s manpain anyway. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t actually think Thea will stay dead. But I’m still angry about it.