Arrow RECAP: Date Night Is a Blast (S3:E1)
Here’s what you missed if you, like me, didn’t quite finish season 2 of Arrow before this premiere but are gonna watch it anyway, goddammit: Oliver rebrands; Roy officially puts on a mask; Sara is called back to the League of Assassins, then quits, then unquits; Slade gets his long-awaited revenge, kinda; Oliver and Felicity “fake” a declaration of love; we discover that Oliver had dealings with ARGUS and Waller back in his island days; and…um, that’s all that was in the pre-episode montage, but I’m pretty sure we also learned that Malcolm Merlyn is Thea’s dad, and he’s not dead, but Moira Queen is.
We begin with shaky-cam. Arrow is running along a set of railroad tracks in apparent pursuit of a tractor-trailer. John is following in a van, and Felicity is coordinating them both. Arrow uses explosives to disconnect the trailer from the cab, and John secures the cargo of RPGs while Arrow takes down the driver. Why do they never stop vehicles before taking down the driver? He radios to Roy that they’re coming to him, and Roy does unnecessary parkour to get in front of the cab and shoots out the tires. He’s wearing a really badass version of Arrow’s costume in red and is using his bow expertly. Full disclosure: Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal/Roy Harper is one of my all-time favorite comic characters, and I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
The driver tries to run, but Arrow trips him up with a rope arrow, then punches him the face. You’ve failed this city, motherfucker. And…title! Aw, you guys, they’re a real team.
Computer-news tells us that in the past five months Starling City’s crime rate has plummeted thanks to the Arrow, but apparently its employment rate and population have also plummeted on account of the two terrorist attacks and general shittiness involved in living there. Team Arrow (3/4 of it, anyway) returns to triumphantly remove their latest catch from their electronic board o’ criminals and puzzle over Felicity’s new fern, which she has purchased to “spruce up the place” since Oliver is living in the Arrow Cave now. He and Felicity flirt while John and Roy raise their eyebrows really hard in the background. ROY’S COSTUME HAS SO MANY BUCKLES I WANT IT I WANT TO COSPLAY IT.
The awkward flirting is interrupted by a text from Thea: an update on her latest location. Roy immediately turns angsty at the mention of her name and says he’s off to patrol, angstily. HIS COSTUME HAS SO MUCH UNNECESSARY LACING WHY DO YOU HATE COSPLAYERS. Felicity and John peace out too, she to get some sleep before her day job and he because Lyla is making him build awful baby accessories. Oh, yeah, Lyla is pregnant! Tiny Diggle, yay. I’m sure that’s not just a plot point for later this season. Either way, Oliver has made the plot point a lovely necklace out of arrowheads. Aww. John pep-talks Oliver about telling Felicity he loves her before he leaves with Ollie’s gift.
Hong Kong, five years ago: Bad hair!Oliver is running through the streets being shot at. He parkours through an open-air market and runs into an internet café, where he shoves a patron to the floor and attempts to send an email to his mother. Before he can hit send, though, his pursuant puts a bullet hole through the monitor. If Oliver had been using Gmail, he could’ve ctrl+enter’d that shit anyway.
Back in Starling City, Laurel is thriving in the DA’s office again. But she hasn’t brought Oliver downtown to admire her conviction rate; her dad, now-Captain Quinton Lance, is giving a press conference that I’m sure Oliver couldn’t watch on his computer-news. The SCPD is giving an official thank-you to the Arrow and announcing that the anti-vigilantism task force is being disbanded.
Oliver is genuinely grateful to the Lances, but someone else is not: whoever is running guns and other weapons through Starling City. While they whine about how the ATF already has their latest shipment (thanks to Team Arrow), a man identified as a low-level pusher of Vertigo (I am so sick of Vertigo. Why has Vertigo as a plot not died?) wanders in and doses one of the gunrunners with his new (what is this, version 17 or so of Vertigo?) formulation, which has made Vertigo a boggart. Terrifying. Their new plan is to kill the Arrow. Wow, what novel ideas by the new leadership!
Oliver catches up with Felicity as they head into the Arrow Cave. He straight-up asks Felicity out. It’s actually cute.
But back to the action: John is driving the Arrow van intensely and reporting that someone on the gunrunning crew has robbed a liquor store. Oliver, who’s also driving around intensely, but on a motorcycle, puts Roy on the case. They ping Felicity, but she can’t talk because she’s at work at Tech Village. There’s a line of customers, but she rushes to the back to hack into the city’s database on her work computer anyway. Oliver thinks this is a good time to discuss their dinner options for later; it is not, but she loves Italian and tells him so, along with the location of their perp.
Before Arrow tracks him down, Quentin catches up to the perp and punches him, then staggers in pain. Luckily Oliver is there to take over the punching, while Quentin pops some pain pills. He is a moron.
Island Time! Amanda Waller is not amused with bad hair!Oliver’s escape attempts. Oliver wants to know why Amanda saved him from drowning, but apparently that’s classified. Oliver doesn’t care; he wants to go home, and he doesn’t value his own life. Amanda is exasperated but apparently thinks that punching him enough will make him stop trying to send emails to his mom.
Real-time; checking up on Team Arrow. Felicity is tech-talking with a customer about hacking. Probably just a throwaway scene to show how Felicity is a badass; I’m sure the customer isn’t anyone important. Lyla and John are at the OB-GYN, where Lyla has been experiencing false contractions. She’s frustrated with pregnancy and feels like an M1-A1 (it made me giggle, I admit). Lyla and John have a sweet pre-parenthood terror moment.
And…we don’t get to check on Roy, so presumably he’s still angstily patrolling.
Date time! Oliver arrives at the restaurant as Arrow via the roof and changes into a suit on the fly, stowing his bag of Arrow gear in some…weird cage? Outside the kitchen? I don’t know, whatever. He then enters properly to meet Felicity, who is wearing red and heels.
They hug awkwardly and are super nervous; Oliver wonders aloud what on earth they have to nervous about, and Felicity points out that they’ve already talked about All the Things. Also, Oliver has been shirtless a lot. He plans to surprise her (I guess?) by telling her that he didn’t spend all five years away on the island, but she’s already guessed that. Oliver goes ahead and turns the angst dial up to 11 by telling Felicity about Hong Kong and that he had to make a lot of difficult choices there. She does, though, know exactly what to say. I didn’t want to like this pairing, actually, but I kind of do anyway.
Meanwhile, the baddies have put a tracker on Oliver, probably during his co-takedown with Quentin. They’ve pinpointed him to the restaurant. Werner Zytle, the new Count Vertigo, lines up a rocket launcher while whistling Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” or as I know it, the theme song from Inspector Gadget. Oliver sees the rocket coming, of course, and tackles Felicity.
Oliver comes to with his ears ringing from the explosion. The restaurant is on fire and destroyed; bodies are scattered around. Oliver picks up Felicity and…um, walks? back to the Arrow Cave. Roy finds a tracker on Oliver’s jacket, because Oliver also retrieved his gear and it is apparently undamaged. Oliver thinks that he’s lost his edge because he was too busy thinking about his date to notice Zytle’s lackey placing the tracer. John knows exactly what’s happening in his angsty little brain and warns him to stop it. Predictably, Oliver doesn’t listen. He’s breaking up with Felicity while she’s unconscious. Dick move, Ollie. She comes to, and once he knows she’s okay, Oliver heads out on patrol, neglecting to take either of the other fighting members of Team Arrow with him.
Out on the hunt for Werner, Arrow comes across Quentin, who Oliver had tipped off earlier about the connection between the guy they co-arrested earlier and the restaurant explosion. Despite the fact that he clearly should not be investigating anything thanks to his pill habit and illness-induced new rank of Captain, he’s checking out the same warehouse as Arrow. Quentin has discovered that Werner is the baddie, and the two of them for some reason stay apart to check different sections of the dark, scary warehouse and…tattoo parlor, if the décor is anything to go by. Predictably, Werner is waiting for Arrow and steps up behind him, stabbing Arrow with Vertigo v. 24: Boggertigo.
Arrow successfully fights off Werner’s initial hand-to-hand, but the drug is clearly affecting him. He begins to hallucinate, and Werner turns into…Oliver Queen! Arrow is stunned, unlike literally everyone else watching this show, and Werner kicks his ass. Before he can do anything permanent, though, Quentin finds them, gun drawn. Werner tosses a dart at Quentin, who dodges, but then he collapses, clutching his chest. He is so stupid. Werner approaches menacingly, but he takes an arrow in the back. Oliver tells Felicity to call an ambulance.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity has put on another slinky dress, this one with a boob window, and cleaned up from being exploded. 1) How many slinky dresses does she keep in the Arrow Cave? 2) If I just got exploded, I would be changing into sweat pants and no bras would be involved, much less full makeup. 3) Where is the wound that left blood all over her face and hair, exactly? Anyway, she’s fine, and so is Quentin. Oliver sends Roy out to the streets and sends John home to extremely-pregnant Lyla. He and Felicity head to Oliver’s big board meeting, so, oh, that’s why Felicity went ahead and dressed up from being exploded.
On island time, Oliver is being tended to by a woman named Tatsu Yamashiro, who is speaking to him in Japanese. Not only does he not speak Japanese, he can’t distinguish it from Chinese. Tatsu is the wife of the man who was beating Oliver up earlier in the episode, Maseo. I guess Amanda’s assimilate-Oliver strategy has switched from tough love to actual love.
Quentin is in the hospital, being glared at by Laurel, rightfully so. He doesn’t know how to be anything but a cop, so he’s struggling at his desk job, which is a really terrible excuse for drugging himself up and waddling around in the field like he has been doing. Laurel says being a dad is enough.
Felicity and Ollie are heading to the board meeting, but a suit stops them on the way in, claiming there’s another bidder for Queen Consolidated. They’re both confused, but the new bidder enters cheerfully from behind: it’s the customer Felicity was tech-flirting with earlier, to the surprise of no—well, the surprise of Felicity and Oliver. His name is Ray Palmer and HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS IT’S THE ATOM.
Despite the presence of a more charismatic, richer bidder, Oliver gives his planned speech about how much the company means to him by comparing its proposed recovery to his own after surviving the island. Oliver, honey, you are not recovered. The board shifts uncomfortably because they know Ray is going to wow them, which he does, with a bunch of gadgets, a flashy presentation, verbal emoticons, and the actual data showing Oliver is a terrible CEO, numbers that he got by hacking into Queen Consolidated’s system. Gee, wonder how he learned how to do that, Felicity? Ray’s proposal is to change the name of the city to Star City, so…a rebranding is all he’s offering, but the board loves it.
Felicity and Oliver segue from Ray’s board-room victory to their own relationship. Ollie tells her about Werner’s Boggertigo making him see himself. They stare at each other, but Oliver still hasn’t broken up with her conscious self.
In the Arrow Cave, Roy reports that Werner has been killing off other crime bosses to take over their enterprises. There are three left, and they’re all at a heavyweight title fight, along with 20,000 other people. Team Arrow figures Werner will remorselessly blow up Rockets Arena to kill those three dudes. So what sport do the Rockets play, exactly? It’s definitely baseball in the comics, and I thought we had established that detail in CW-verse, but baseball is not played in a 20,000-person arena and cities don’t name two sports teams the same thing. Anyway, Oliver and Roy are heading out into the field, while Felicity and soon-to-be-daddy John run things from the Arrow Cave. John isn’t thrilled about the assignment, especially since Oliver is just projecting his jealousy of John’s “normal” life.
At Rockets Arena, boxing is happening while Whistling Werner sets up his bomb mere feet from the ring itself with no interruption. There are five minutes on the timer. Arrow and bb!Arrow ambush some of Werner’s lackeys and take them out I LOVE ROY’S COSTUME. Roy goes after the bomb while Oliver chases Werner.
Werner escapes onto the rooftop of a building across the street, but Arrow is waiting for him. Werner hits him with a boggertigo dart, but Arrow doesn’t flinch: he sees Werner as Oliver again, but wandlessly casts Riddikulus and the face shifts back to Werner. They fight. Werner’s henchman makes a run for it but doesn’t get far before he runs into…the Black Canary!
Meanwhile, Felicity is coaching bb!Arrow through dismantling the bomb, with only a couple minutes left. She tells him to cut the yellow wire, which doesn’t exist, so they move to plan B: freeze the bomb with Freon from an AC pipe. Good thing this bomb was planted in a maintenance tunnel!
Unsurprisingly, our heroes are victorious: the bomb is frozen with a second left, Black Canary finishes off her henchman, and Oliver pumps Werner full of arrows, which triggers the inevitable Villain Monologue. He says there will always be a Count Vertigo. Please, god, no.
Sara and Ollie have a heart-to-heart on the roof. She tells him they aren’t their masks, and that they need people who don’t wear them, too. That rules out pretty much everybody in Ollie’s life; I would not argue that Felicity is maskless. Speaking of Felicity, she’s at the hospital to visit Lyla and baby-Diggle, but is intercepted by Ray. He tells her that he reallllllly wants to hire her, especially because his phone and computers have been hacked. Felicity has learned some stuff from Oliver about vengeance, huh? He tries to apologize, but she tells him that “there’s another slimy little human that needs my attention.” I love it. So does Ray, unfortunately.
Felicity coos over the Digglet (why didn’t I go with that from the beginning?), and Oliver stops by too. Everyone is very smiley, even angstmaster Oliver. John thanks Oliver, saying that as soon as he saw his daughter, he realized that his universe had just reordered. Oliver eschews a handshake in favor of a hug.
On Island Time, Oliver is confused about his new situation as guest and not prisoner. Except he’s still a prisoner; he can’t leave Maseo and Tatsu’s home. And instead of threatening Oliver, Amanda is now threatening Maseo. If Oliver escapes him, she will kill Tatsu and their son, Akio.
Felicity and Oliver leave the maternity ward happily. Ollie wants to talk, but Felicity doesn’t want to, because she knows what’s coming. Oliver does it anyway, but then kisses her.
She’s the one who walks away, and Oliver gets a phone call: it’s Barry Allen, who you might know as the motherfuckin’ Flash. He’s standing on a rooftop having just run 600 miles from Central City, as seen in the Flash premiere.
On a presumably different rooftop, Laurel and Sara hug. Sara doesn’t want Quentin to know she’s around, because her life is complicated. She and Laurel chat a bit, then Laurel has to go to work to interrogate Werner. It’s a sweet scene and did not in any way prepare me for what comes next: Sara puts her mask back on, preparing to return to work, when someone says her name. She turns, startled… and takes three arrows in the gut. She falls from the roof onto a dumpster, and then onto the street…right in front of Laurel. :(