Arrow RECAP: Fetching Thea (S3:E3)
Previously on Arrow: Sara is dead and Oliver is pissed, Ray Palmer is running Queen Consolidated and Felicity is working for him, and Thea Trusts No One, except apparently for Malcolm Merlyn.
Episode three begins with Thea: six months ago, she’s getting into a limo, angstily (it runs in the family). Malcolm is waiting for her, looking smug (not that he really has other expressions). They can go wherever they want, but she “intuits” that Malcolm wants to get out of Starling City. Malcolm acts like this is some sort of talent, but in reality he orchestrated the destruction of the Glades so it would be obvious to literally anyone that he needs to avoid people finding out he’s not dead. He’s curious about why Thea decided to acknowledge his existence, and it’s because Thea wants him to teach her how to not have feelings. Seems legit.
Today, Arrow is chasing a dude. The dude is running through traffic, and Arrow is car surfing because it beats running. He reels in his prey with a rope arrow; he’s questioning the dude about Sara’s murder because his fingerprint was on a fragment of glass from a beer bottle Oliver found on the roof. Beer-drinking dude says Sara showed up while they were hanging out and told them to get lost, so they did, and didn’t see anything related to her murder.
He breaks the bad news to Team Arrow, and Felicity seems personally slighted that the lead didn’t pan out because she worked really hard on that print, you guys. Oliver laments that the trail has gone cold, and Felicity must be tired of platitudes because she heads off to her real job, which apparently she hasn’t told anyone is back at Queen Consolidated now. But she did find out that Thea wasn’t texting from Europe after all, but Corto Maltese. Diggle exposits for the fictitious-geography-challenged that Corto Maltese is an island off the coast of South America (which does not really narrow it down, but knowing DC comics, it’s bounced around anyway) and clearly the Queens have a thing for islands. Roy protests that Thea doesn’t want to be found, but Oliver nitpicks that the letter in which she made that request was addressed to Roy not Oliver so obviously she’d love for Oliver to come find her. Roy grabs his bow, giving an impassioned plea to Oliver about why he’s definitely coming along, but Oliver was just wondering how he thinks he’s going to travel with a bow. Uh, maybe on your private jet, genius?
Baby Sara is being prodded adorably by John before he and Lyla shut the door to her nursery because it’s time for the grown-ups to drink some wine. Lyla wants to know why John suddenly has time off from his full-time job of being on Team Arrow (I think he’s the only one being paid). Turns out, Lyla wants John to accompany Oliver and Roy to Corto Maltese because ARGUS has a missing field agent there by the name of Mark Shaw (comic check: Mark Shaw served as Manhunter in the comics, a character (and group) with a long and interesting history that I won’t go into unless it becomes relevant). Lyla wants John to go check up on Mark since Team Arrow will be there anyway. John is disappointed to miss quality time with Sara and tells Lyla that the baby better not do anything interesting while he’s gone. Aww.
Laurel shows up at a boxing gym looking for Ted Grant (comic check: also known as Wildcat, Grant has nine lives, magically, and trained Batman, Superman, and, more relevantly to this show, Black Canary in boxing… I wonder why Laurel could be looking for him). She’s asking Ted about one of his students who was at the scene of a break-in the night before, but Ted gives the kid an alibi, along with pretty much admitting flat-out that he’s lying to protect the kid. Laurel is angry, and Ted plays dumb for about ten seconds but then tells her that too many people in the city have been dealt bad hands and he won’t let this one go “into the system.” He also pegs Laurel as someone that needs to work out some rage and invites her to come back sometime. Gee, I wonder if she’ll take him up on it.
Corto Maltese! Team Arrow minus Felicity sweatily gets out of a cab, and Oliver says that he’s going to talk to Thea alone first and takes off, sticking the sidekicks with the luggage. Rude. Oliver strolls right up to the address Felicity gave him, rapping on the door and calling her name. No one answers, though we get an inside shot of someone pointing a (black) bow and arrow at the door. An apparent employee calls Oliver from behind, and Oliver tells him in Spanish he’s looking for his sister. The gardener (judging by the wheelbarrow next to him) switches to English for the benefit of us viewers and says Oliver must be looking for “Mia.” Yeah, that’s what he just told you. Gardener takes Oliver to the café where Thea apparently works, and Malcolm slowly lowers his arrow. Drama queen, and he’s not even a Queen.
Thea and Malcolm are drinking tea six months ago. He’s imparting fatherly wisdom about Sohei Buddhist warriors and his own training after his wife was killed. Y’know, when he ran off to train in mystical fighting arts instead of taking care of Tommy. He shows off by pouring boiling water over his hand, intoning that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. He grabs Thea’s hand despite her protests, but we don’t see him pour the water.
Thea is serving at an outdoor café when Oliver calls her name. She seems actually happy to see him. They hug, then sit to talk. Oliver seems most concerned with how Thea speaks Spanish now, which she flunked in high school. That’s rich coming from someone who is a college dropout but returned from his island adventure fluent in every language we’ve encountered on the show so far. He likes her new haircut (shorter and straighter), and she’s sorry she lied about being in Italy. Oliver says it’s okay, but she’s had five months worth of space and he wants her to come home. She says she misses him too, but she’s never coming back to Starling City.
Back to training with Malcolm. She makes it a couple seconds with the boiling water before plunging her hand into the bowl of cool water underneath, apologizing. Malcolm assures her there’s strength in her and hugs her when she protests, saying that it isn’t her fault she’s weak, it’s his. For… not raising her, I guess? Because if I recall correctly, he had a kid, and he did fuck all to raise him.
In Starling City, Felicity comes into Ray’s office at Queen Consolidated. He’s been there all night and is over-caffeinated, but she has a list of demands for her new employment: no late night emails, no personal errands, and no bringing anyone coffee, ever. Ray takes that opportunity to introduce Felicity to her new secretary, Gerry Conway (comics check: Gerry Conway is not a character, but a creator: he co-created Punisher and wrote Amazing Spider-Man and Justice League of America, among others, so this is a nice little shout-out), who will bring her coffee.
Ray launches into his pitch for the Applied Sciences division and how it’s the key to rebuilding Queen Consolidated and the city. Ray has salvaged a server filled with design specs from the explosion in which Applied Sciences was destroyedish (you might remember that from last season). He wants Felicity to retrieve the data. Also it turns out Felicity was entering her own giant office. She seems annoyed with her inability to regret her decision to come work for Ray.
On Corto Maltese, John and Oliver are tracking down ARGUS agent Mark Shaw. John spots Mark approaching a dead drop location and heads off to make sure he’s okay, per Lyla’s request. As soon as he says Mark’s name, though, Mark lunges at him with a knife. John tries to calm him, saying that he’s with Lyla. Mark tries for a challenge code, and John can’t answer because he’s not ARGUS, he’s just Lyla’s baby-daddy (he actually says that, god I love Diggle). And Lyla was worried. Mark accepts that with some reluctance. John passes along verification of his identity, which checks out, and notes that Mark is a little jumpy. You think? Turns out that someone on Corto Maltese hacked ARGUS and acquired some sensitive data involving agent covers, along with their personal details (like family). John is concerned.
Laurel is at an AA meeting in Starling City. She tells the group that a week ago something happened that she can’t share, because Sara is very complicated, but that she didn’t actually want to drink, she was just angry. Quentin shows up, so she can’t exactly go into any more details. Another meeting-goer shares that she got into another fight with her boyfriend, and he still drinks but she just can’t leave him. At a coffee break, she mutters at Quentin that Erica-the-alcoholic’s boyfriend has eight assault charges against him. Quentin says he’d love to go after the guy, but there’s no place for badges at AA meetings.
On Corto Maltese, Oliver is backing up Mark and John as they meet up for the putative sale of hacked ARGUS info. John wants to know how Mark knew there was going to be a sale at all, and Mark mutters that he’s been the agent on Corto Maltese for three years, so he knows stuff. John immediately realizes there is no buy. Mark tasers him and then starts shooting when Oliver shows himself. The cover fire gives Mark enough time to steal the security verification USB thing that Lyla gave John, which will also decrypt the stolen data. For some reason, he doesn’t pump John full of bullets before he escapes.
Thea is taking out the trash when Roy finally approaches her. She wants to know if he and Oliver are “travel buddies” now. Something like that, yeah. Roy wants to convince Thea to come back to Starling City where Oliver failed, but she is not swayed, even though he says he wasn’t lying when he said he wanted to leave Starling City with her. But she just needed to get away from all the secrets in Starling City, which she did with the biggest secret of all, her supposedly dead father that no one knows about to secretly train to be a ninja with a fake name. Good job escaping all those secrets, “Mia.” Roy says he understands, and he’s sorry; he just wanted Thea to be happy. They part with mutual sadness, and Malcolm watches Roy go suspiciously.
Earlier in Thea’s training, Malcolm vows to train her by treating her like a student, not a daughter. Considering how he treated his son, this can only be an improvement for Thea. Then he elbows her in the face, because becoming a ninja means getting your ass kicked, I guess.
John is talking to Lyla via generic messaging app. ARGUS has hacked Mark’s email and found that he has a buyer en route, but they don’t know who it is. ARGUS has a team on the way, but John is pretty sure they’re not going to arrive in time to help, meaning it’s just Team Arrow on the case. Maybe somebody will tell Roy someday.
Speaking of Team Arrow, Felicity has had no luck pulling any data from the exploded server drive, which she’s explaining to Ray when John calls. She tries to deflect since she’s very busy, but John assumes she can’t possibly be doing anything important and has emailed her all the info. John gets disconnected, but then Laurel immediately calls for a favor. And John rings Felicity’s landline, even though five seconds ago he didn’t know where she was. Felicity promises she’ll get back to John when she has something and goes back to Laurel’s call. Laurel says she needs Fecility to find someone by cell phone. Team Arrow asking Felicity for illegal favors is one thing, but the assistant DA?
While they wait for Felicity to get back to them with intel, Oliver has decided it’s time to tell Thea the whole truth in hopes of getting her to come home, which means all about his five-year training vacation and Team Arrow. John has reservations and also points out that by telling Thea the whole truth, Oliver will be admitting exactly how much lying he’s done. Which is a fair point, but as Ollie points out, he doesn’t have a lot of other options considering she’s planning to chill in Corto Maltese for the foreseeable future.
In Starling City, Laurel is stalking a dude while wearing Sara’s jacket and a ski mask. She approaches the guy as he staggers, clearly drunk, towards his car, then hits him with a pipe. Oh, it’s Erica-the-alcoholic’s boyfriend! She gets in a couple hits before he, predictably, gets with the program and fights back. She doesn’t stand a chance because she has no training whatsoever. This stellar human being leaves her on the pavement and drives off.
Laurel is in the hospital, because at least some people in this city get medical treatment when they’ve had their ass kicked. Quentin is worried about her and really relieved she’s okay, but she doesn’t understand why she would go after that jackhole on her own. She says something about just wanting bad people to be punished for one night, but despite Quentin’s obvious prodding, she still doesn’t tell him that Sara’s dead.
Oliver and Thea get together to talk. Thea is skeptical that anything else needs to be said, but she sits down anyway. Oliver acknowledges that he’s lied a lot, but that if he tells the whole truth, she might hate him even more. Thea is skeptical about that, too, but let’s just wait and see, huh? Oliver says he did Bad Things during his five-year hiatus, but Thea says that doesn’t matter; it’s the lies he told concerning her that matter, like not telling her that Malcolm was her father. Oliver tries to convince her that blood isn’t the same thing as a father, and he tells her the truth about Robert died: to save Oliver. He doesn’t tell her about being the Arrow, though; he just asks her to consider coming home.
John, Oliver, and Roy watch Mark prepare to sell the ARGUS intel to the mystery buyers. The buyers pass over a bag o’money, and Mark shows how the transcoder he stole from John works to access the data.
Team Arrow gets ready to move: John with a gun, and Oliver and Roy with bows and arrows that Oliver made from items in their hotel room. Nice.As they get ready to fuck shit up, another jeep full of mercenaries shows up to point guns at our heroes, because Mark has hired soldiers to secure the perimeter. Team Arrow takes them down, but time is running out. While Roy holds off the soldiers, John runs down Mark and pulls him out of the jeep while Oliver goes after the buyer.
He recovers the computer while John gets his revenge on Mark for endangering Lyla for a payday. Mark protests, though, that he wasn’t after the money, he just wanted out of ARGUS because Amanda Waller is a tyrant. Mark asks John to tell ARGUS he’s dead. John clearly would like to make that a reality, but he knocks Mark out instead.
Thea tells Malcolm that she thinks she wants to go home with Oliver. Malcolm says she hasn’t come as far as he thought if she’s ready to go back to all the lying, so she offers to prove her newfound talents with a friendly father-daughter sword fight. I don’t see what swords have to do with lying, but the Merlyn family is a little off. They destroy some probably priceless artifacts, and Malcolm finally knocks the sword from her hand, looking smug. But Thea smoothly steals his and holds the blade to his throat, which means she gets to go home. Thea is pleased, but as she walks away, she turns around and asks if Malcolm let her win. He just says he’ll see her soon. Interesting.
Team Arrow is waiting to board their plane home, and Thea isn’t with them. She shows up dramatically at the last moment, unsure why they have fly to commercial. So say we all, Thea. As they wait, the man next to Thea spills his allegedly hot coffee over her hand, and she doesn’t even flinch. Again with the damn beverages.
Laurel sits in Verdant, still angsting over Sara’s jacket, when Oliver gets back. She tries to justify herself to Oliver, who reacts a lot like Quentin. Oliver says he understands Laurel’s desire to take up the mantle, but that Sara had years of training to become the Black Canary. Laurel says she’s going to start and needs Oliver’s help, but he refuses. He’s not going to contribute to putting Laurel in danger.
Lyla is putting the Digglet to bed when John gets home, and once they get the mushy greetings out of the way, she’s reveals she’s glad he’s home because she needs to go into the office. John starts to wonder if Lyla is as trapped in ARGUS as Mark Shaw was.
Quentin is walking through the police department, where our dirtbag friend from earlier has been arrested. He asks the arresting officer about him, and she exposits that he had outstanding warrants in Coast City and they’d gotten an anonymous tip that he was in Starling. Quentin laments about what a bad break that is, an anonymous tip. So much for no badges at AA meetings.
In a surprise to literally no one, Laurel returns to Ted’s boxing gym wearing Sara’s jacket. She asks him when she can start.
At Queen Consolidated, Felicity has salvaged data from the exploded server, and Ray is impressed. Felicity takes the opportunity to ask for a few days off because her friend was struck by lightning and was in a coma, so apparently she’s off to visit Barry? Ray grants the time off and starts exploring the data Felicity recovered, coming across blueprints for top secret weapons with the OMAC logo in the corner (comic check: OMACs are cyborg assassins who at one point were tasked with killing all metahumans, but these blueprints seem to be for a tank of some sort). Ray is intrigued.
Back home in the Arrow Cave, Oliver commends Roy’s performance in Corto Maltese, and they banter a bit about Oliver’s teaching style before Oliver asks if Thea seems different. Roy assumes Oliver means besides her haircut, but he didn’t notice. Before they can delve too far into Thea’s psyche, there’s the sound of a bowstring being drawn: Nyssa al Ghul looks pissed.