Arrow: Now with 50% Less Sleeves!
Previously on Arrow: Ray blew up the top floor of Palmer Tech, Roy went to jail for being the Arrow and then faked his death to both escape and clear Oliver of the accusation, we learned that Damien Darhk is Arrow’s Next Big Villain, and Oliver and Felicity rode off into the sunset together.
Oliver is running. The music is meant to make you think that he’s running from something, but it’s just a typical suburban jog. He says hi to the neighbors and comes home to Felicity failing (apparently again) to make an omelet. Oliver is oddly good at cooking and starts up an actual omelet, but they decide to have sex instead.
There’s some pillow talk exposition about how Oliver got his island tattoo removed and how Felicity is supposed to inherit Palmer Tech but the board isn’t sold on her viability as CEO yet. Oliver heads off to buy supplies at the farmer’s market for a brunch with the neighbors the next day, and he’s apparently pleased that nobody shoots at him anymore.
You know who is being shot at? Star City’s remaining heroes. Thea, a.k.a. Speedy (“I told you guys to call me Red Arrow!”)…
…leaps from the back of Canary’s motorcycle into a truck of baddies and takes them down with a little backup from John, sporting an all-new, all-different helmet. Canary blows the truck tires, but the baddies have backup arriving in a van and get away.
Back in the Arrow Cave – I’m not sure where it is now – the team checks out what the stolen cargo in the truck might be. It belongs to Kord Industries (comic check: Kord refers to owner Ted Kord, also known as the Blue Beetle! Please tell me we get the Blue Beetle in this universe), which manufactures weapons and high-end electronics. The so-called ghosts who were stealing shit have started to shut down Starling City. Laurel thinks they should ask Oliver for help, but John thinks they can handle it.
In a meeting of city leaders, Quentin swears that the police are doing everything they can to catch the ghosts, but they’re not normal criminals – they bite cyanide capsules to avoid interrogation and seem to vanish from firefights. The meeting also helpfully tells us that Starling City is officially rebranded as Star City (is it that easy to change a city’s name?), there’s a new tourism initiative, and they have a new high-speed rail line to Central City. As they ponder how to bring more money into the city, Damien Darhk wanders on in to say a bunch of weird shit. The gist is how he controls the ghosts and he’s going to kill them, probably. Okay, then!
In another relatively surreal scene, Oliver and Felicity have brunch with their neighbors, who IMDB tells me are named Laura and Adam Hoffman. Oliver actually seems more at home that Felicity does, and when the Hoffmans offer to write them a recommendation for the waiting list at their school, despite their utter lack of children, she excuses herself to get more mimosas. Oliver takes the opportunity to show them the engagement ring he hasn’t quite gotten around to giving to Felicity. He says he’s going to pop the question tonight.
Five years ago, Oliver is just a baby Arrow, operating in Coast City. He utterly fails to take down a drug-pusher, ending up hanging upside down in some power lines, and Amanda Waller looks awfully amused to see him there.
Back in the now, Laurel is walking with the DA, who had been in the meeting that Darhk invaded earlier, when she sudden collapses, an apparent victim of poisoning. Laurel quickly calls John and tells him to get himself and Thea on the other leaders while she goes to watch Quentin.
The head of emergency services gets stabbed, the city comptroller gets sniped, and Quentin gets attacked in the police station — but Canary gets there in time to fight off the ghosts and save the day. So…Quentin’s pretty much in charge now, huh?
Far away in…wherever Oliver and Felicity went, they’re having a romantic dinner. Oliver puts the ring in a dessert soufflé, but before he can serve Felicity, the doorbell rings – Laurel and Thea need their help. Oliver seems torn, even as Thea says they’re in over their heads, overwhelmed by the numbers and training of the ghosts. Felicity makes the decision for him, though: “What can I say? Our friends need our help; we should already be in the car.”
Baby Arrow is having drinks with Waller – she wants to help, aware that he’s staying away from Starling because he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough. She suggests Oliver should embrace his darkness, push through it, and go back to his family. Oh, and also, she’s drugged him.
Oliver and Felicity are headed back into the city, and Oliver sighs at the abandoned, graffiti’d buildings they pass, wondering aloud if they even did any good. In the Cave, Oliver wants to run through the team’s encounters with the ghosts, but seeing John stops him short. He says he doesn’t expect John to forgive him; he’s just here to help, and then he’ll be gone. John doesn’t think they need his help, but the argument is on hold: Felicity quickly hacks into the Kord Industries server to find out that the ghosts stole super-powerful cluster bombs, so finding them is now more important than how Oliver kidnapped Lyla and John can’t trust him anymore. Oliver issues orders, but Thea, Laurel, and John stare at him until he realizes he’s not actually in charge, which is amusing.
Ultimately, Laurel goes to try and liaise with the police, Thea heads out to try and collect intel on the street, and John goes home to Lyla and the Digglet. Felicity is still working on the computers, but she’s working a little too fast, and Oliver suspects that she’s actually been providing tech support to the team behind his back. Which, duh, she’s bored as fuck in suburbia; I don’t blame her.
Quentin is angry that Canary is still engaging the ghosts, but she’s too impatient to put up with his overprotectiveness and pushes him for potential targets. He mostly whines that there’s nobody to buy tickets for ballgames and concerts, and nobody comes to Star City anymore, they only leave. His only hypotheses for what the ghosts might be hitting are the canned food drive at Starling General or the opening of the train station to Central City. Yeah, probably the food drive.
In the Cave, Oliver is going over all of his travels with Felicity and every little fib she may have told to get a second to help out the team, and he’s feeling a little betrayed, even when she swears she wasn’t bored with him, just him exchanging recipe tips with Laura Huffman. She needs Team Arrow to have a purpose in life, and her purpose is being very good at her job, because she finds that the cluster bombs have a GPS and their last known location was an abandoned warehouse (shocking!). She tells Oliver that Cisco made him a new suit, but Oliver swears he won’t be around long enough for a suit.
As the team watches from the rafters, Darhk gives a speech to the ghosts that’s a lot of bullshit about how people fight progress and they have to fight back, blah, blah, megalomaniac. He singles out the ghost who led the theft of the cluster bombs, saying that he failed by not killing Team Arrow, even though he got away with the bombs. And then he kills him. But not with, like, a gun, no. He puts his fingers on the man’s chest and sort of…sucks the life out of him. Creepy! And awesome!
Team Arrow attacks, and they get most of the ghosts down before the SCPD storms in to finish the job. As an aside, I enjoy the different fighting styles of the team. Thea fights very quick and, well, speedy, which is fair because she’s tiny. Also lots of throws, using her opponents’ momentum against them. Laurel is brutal. Not pretty, but efficient. And John just shoots the shit out of people from behind his weird-ass helmet (comic check: Word is that John is meant to be the hero known as Guardian, which is a title that’s been held since the Golden Age by various people—one of these was Mal Duncan, who didn’t have any powers, and is probably the model for John).
In the Cave, Laurel thinks Darhk must be a metahuman, but Oliver says no, what he did wasn’t meta (though, literally, yes, it was), it was mystical. Which he knows because he’s “seen things.” But he’s not going to tell the team the things he’s seen because they need to focus on finding the bombs. And since it would take Felicity too long to activate the GPS, they’re basically just walking around with hand scanners.
Which gives Oliver the opportunity to talk to Thea about a particular piece of brutality during the fight – she had a ghost down and pulled out her sword; presumably she would’ve killed him if Oliver hadn’t intervened. He tries to remind her to have some restraint, but she’s not impressed with the lecture.
Also, John flatly tells Oliver that he’s not mad at him anymore because it’s not Oliver’s fault. He’s clearly incapable of trust or love, and he can’t help being dead inside. Ouch.
Baby Arrow wakes up in the cargo hold of a ship, because Waller has sent him on a mission while he was drugged. Of course, it’s to the island. He is unimpressed with this whole chain of events, but they pretty much throw him out of the plane, so he’s short on choices.
In real time, Oliver is mopey about John being mean to him and running into Quentin in the train station. Felicity suggests they go home, but Oliver knows she doesn’t want to do that. He misses parts of their old life, too. Felicity suggests he just change how he operates, because he’s not a solo act anymore. On cue, the team returns, but they’ve found no sign of bombs at the train station, which makes Felicity realize that they must have the bombs on a train that’s coming to the station. The team suits up—including Oliver, who gets a montage to put on the new suit Cisco made him.
Oliver leaps onto a train from the Arrow van while Speedy and Canary, with help from the SCPD, clear the train station. Canary helps up a little boy who comments, amazed, at how strong she is and she gives him a wink. It’s a very cute scene.
Oliver throws some ghosts off the train and confronts Darhk, who is not interested in stopping the train, and he also destroyed the braking system, so there’s no stopping it. Oliver wants to know how he’s getting off the train, and he suggests that Oliver must not know who he is, because Damien Darhk has no plans of dying. Oliver shoots at him, but Damien stops the arrows midflight. And much like Ra’s, he fights Oliver without really breaking a sweat. He’s poised to kill him with the same life-sucking mojo as earlier, but luckily John shows up to shoot him in the back with a tranquilizer. He helps Oliver up, but Damien has vanished when they turn around. With no brakes, they stop the train the old-fashioned way…by blowing it up with an explosive arrow.
In the cave, Thea proclaims that Oliver needs a new code name, since everybody thinks Roy was the Arrow. Oliver confirms that he doesn’t think he and Felicity would be happy going back to Ivy Town (comic check: Ivy Town is supposed to be in New England, and it’s where the comic version of Ray Palmer became the Atom), especially since they know that Darhk is leading the ghosts. John asks if Ra’s told Oliver anything that could help them fight Damien now, and Oliver shrugs and says that all Ra’s told him was that Damien had a “hive” of operatives. That means something to John, though – Deadshot told him long ago that HIVE was the group that killed his brother. But he doesn’t tell the team.
The team has one more task for the night — Felicity hacks into the emergency broadcast network so Oliver can record a video. He says that the Arrow is dead, but what he stood for lived on through the heroes that have continued to protect the city. He plans to join them as a symbol for hope: he’s the Green Arrow.
Baby Arrow, on the other hand, is not a symbol of hope; he’s a symbol of Amanda Waller being a dick. He parachutes down onto the island and immediately gets punched in the face.
In real time, Damien Darhk creepily opens a cabinet with a weird idol inside. He takes a knife and slices open his forearm, then drips blood into the idol’s cup and whispers a few words. Sigils bloom on his skin, and he seems to be absorbing power.
He’s interrupted by a ghost, who brings in a visitor…and it’s Quentin. Damien is disappointed that the train station didn’t go off, but Quentin isn’t, because he didn’t sign up for mass murder. No matter, says Damien, but he wants Green Arrow dead before his next play. Quentin wants to know what happens if he doesn’t comply, and Damien shrugs that he doesn’t have a choice.
Oliver and Felicity are moving into the Queen loft. (After being stabbed to death there, Thea has been living with Laurel.) Felicity is pleased with how hopeful his speech was, and they kiss, the engagement ring cleverly hidden in a…table centerpiece?
Six months later, Oliver is standing at a freshly covered grave, and Barry walks up. He’s sorry for missing the funeral, because he was fighting Zoom. Oliver says before, he would’ve thought this (death, presumably) was his fault, but now he knows it’s his responsibility: to kill “him” (Darhk, presumably). Barry asks if there’s anything he can do, but Oliver just says he wants to be left alone, so Barry speeds off. Oliver kneels, hand on the gravestone, and sheds one manly tear.
We do not see any clues to who the grave might belong to — we’re clearly meant to think Felicity, given the juxtaposition with their previous scene, but that’s certainly not a given.
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