Arrow RECAP: Oliver Is Soooooo Dead (S3:E10)
Previously on Arrow: Chen Na Wei kidnapped Tatsu, the League of Assassins demanded Oliver bring forward Sara’s killer or they’d start killing random citizens, Thea killed Sara albeit while drugged by Malcolm Merlyn, Oliver told the League he killed Sara to protect Thea from their wrath, Oliver fought Ra’s al Ghul in trial by combat, Oliver got his ass kicked by Ra’s al Ghul in trial by combat, Oliver got his ass kicked over a cliff by Ra’s al Ghul in trial by combat. Whew!
A van speeds down a Starling City freeway, back doors open, firing on the police cars in pursuit. Everyone is tense, cops and criminals alike, and the van’s driver fires at an oncoming eighteen-wheeler, causing it to veer between the van and the police cars, cutting them off. Quentin, in the front seat of one of the cop cars, swears at the impediment, but a motorcyclist has picked up the chase: it’s Arsenal, and he’s pretty delighted to be on Oliver’s sweet bike, even though Felicity warns him he’s in a shitload of trouble when the boss finds out he took it joyriding. As Roy herds the baddies towards a bridge, Arrow—John, unhappy with how tight Oliver’s costume is—takes aim at them from above. The van’s occupants quip about how they thought the Arrow was supposed to be good, but one of them is unceremoniously pulled out the back by Roy, who knocks him out and leaves him in the street for the cops to find.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity marks the baddie off on Team Arrow’s facebook page of villains and exposits that they don’t know what happened to Oliver but they have All The Reconnaissance Satellites looking for him, even though it’s only been three days since he left. She then heads off to her “other office,” leaving Roy and John to worry over Oliver’s disappearance.
On Island Time, Waller is displeased with Oliver and Maseo going off the reservation and kidnapping the Omega scientist themselves. She also tells them that Omega is harmless without some magic second component, which is obviously called Alpha. Waller orders Maseo to take Oliver and break into the Hong Kong military lab where Alpha is being kept, even though destroying it will probably spur Chen Na Wei to kill Tatsu. Maseo is less than okay with this.
At Palmer Tech, Ray is gearing up for “gauntlet pulse test 37-alpha,” which he is recording. He’s wearing an Iron Man glove and shooting at some clown balloons, but instead of firing, the glove just sparks. Ray swears as Felicity enters.
Felicity wants to talk about Ray’s offer from last episode—of helping him play vigilante in a big suit of armor. She’s trying to tell him how it’s not safe, but he just points to how Arrow and Arsenal don’t wear armor, which is a bit of a sore spot for Felicity, obviously. Ray almost looks like he’s listening, but since the suit isn’t anywhere near functional, it’s all still hypothetical, so he hands off the control chip to Felicity for fixin’.
The criminal Roy and John caught, Jermaine Fisher, is being led into court, with Laurel prosecuting and Quentin ranting passionately about how the cop he shot is a father of three and may never walk again. Laurel makes the case for 41 counts of attempted murder and no bail. Of course, Jermaine’s defense attorney claims that since the police didn’t actually catch him, the case should be thrown out, which is just stupid. The cops have the guy’s weapon with fingerprints; what happened after he escaped from the police and they found him in the street has literally no bearing on the attempted murders. The judge agrees with me and Laurel.
John has been to ARGUS, asking Lyla for help tracking Oliver down, but there’s been no sign of him. Felicity refuses to consider the obvious, instead trying to focus on the case; she’s figured out the driver of the van is Jose Anton and that he works for a Glades criminal boss named Danny Brickwell (comic check: Danny Brickwell, a.k.a. Brick, is a Star City crime lord with brick-like skin, making him very hard to damage).
Roy exposits that Brickwell is supposed to be in Iron Heights prison, but the case against him was dropped a week ago when all the witnesses mysteriously died. Roy heads off to canvass the Glades, and John sits down with Felicity to remind her that they know Oliver challenged Ra’s al Ghul to a fight to the death and they haven’t heard from him in four days so there’s a pretty obvious reason that Oliver hasn’t contacted the team. He’s trying to get Felicity to prepare herself for the worst.
On that fucking mountaintop where Ra’s and Oliver fought, the blood-covered sword is still stuck in the snow, and the camera helpfully zooms down the sheer cliff face, in case we forgot how steep it was, to Oliver sprawled out shirtless in the snow on a ledge. It’s still a good hundred feet down, and he was stabbed in the chest. Just reminding everyone of how dead he is. A figure in black picks his way along the ledge and looks at Oliver’s body.
Back in Starling City, Jose is getting punched in the face—no, not by Roy, but by members of Brickwell’s gang. The man himself steps up and tells us that Jose and Jermaine had been disobeying his orders to lay low after killing all the witnesses to his crime. Jose apologizes, saying that it was a mistake to shoot at the cops. Brickwell is unimpressed, and they have their own trial by combat—apparently if Jose can take down Brickwell first, he gets to live. Jose cannot.
In the police station, Laurel is advising Jermaine that his defense lawyer is an idiot. Jermaine insists that he’s more afraid of Brickwell than the justice system, so apparently he and his lawyer were trying to keep him in prison. Laurel is suspicious, which is only magnified when she hears Jermaine’s lawyer on the phone talking about how Jermaine didn’t flip.
Malcolm and Thea are having daddy-daughter bonding time. With katanas, like you do. They spar a bit, and Malcolm is pleased when Thea gets the upper hand. She ends the battle to check her phone, because she hasn’t heard from Oliver in four days and is worried. Malcolm offers to have his people look into Oliver’s whereabouts.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity is hacking into Jermaine’s lawyer’s phone records and tracing the call back to Brickwell, who is in the Glades. Felicity has to head to her day job, so she’ll direct Roy and John from there.
On Island Time, Maseo and Oliver are preparing to break into the lab to destroy alpha. Maseo is tense; Oliver tries to remind him that Waller said they’d rescue Tatsu as soon as the alpha was secure, but Maseo says Waller is lying. The plan is for Maseo to shoot out the window of a building across the street as Oliver zip-lines in, but the window is apparently shatterproof, leaving Oliver stranded.
Roy springs across the roof of a warehouse while John watches from outside, but sees no signs of life. He and Roy both break in, but all they find is a charred body, not identifiable as Jose. There’s also a barrel fire containing useless burner phones (heh) and a file with a miraculously unburnt corner containing a lot of numbers. The boys take the evidence and head out.
At Verdant, they produce what they found to Felicity, and the three of them start down to the cave, only to find the door already open. Felicity of course thinks it’s Oliver, but the only one down there is Malcolm, who wants to talk. About Oliver, of course. Malcolm asks if Oliver is still alive, and Felicity immediately insists that he is, though Roy side-eyes her pretty hard. She does not, however, try to lie to Malcolm and claim they’ve spoken with Oliver since he left, and Malcolm reminds them that Ra’s does not take prisoners before peacing out.
The team is pretty glum after Malcolm’s visit, and as usual Felicity is coping through work, running pattern analysis on the uncharred numbers Roy and John found. They want to know what’s the point of working on cases if Oliver’s dead, because apparently they’re going to stop being vigilantes without Oliver around? Sure, guys. Sure. Laurel comes in with the ME’s report on the burned body, confirming it’s Jose, and immediately notices Oliver’s absence. Felicity looks blankly to the boys, and John comes right out with “he went to fight the head of the League of Assassins.” Laurel is angry at John and Roy for believing Malcolm’s bullshit, which is fair, but come on. Laurel does, however, have perspective the other’s don’t: she was around for Oliver’s first death. She also believes he’s still alive.
Malcolm is apparently in Nanda Parbat now himself, walking around with a fancy lantern, and he peers off the edge of the cliff where Oliver fell.
On Island Time, Oliver is pushing at the glass window, then swinging into it, finally breaking through. Short on time, he finds the lab and the Alpha remarkably quickly. Nice job securing that, Hong Kong military. As Maseo and backup join him, they get fired on from above by the Triad.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Felicity, Roy, and John are trying to figure out the numbers from the unburnt file when Malcolm strolls in again, because they still haven’t changed the locks. It’s been like twelve hours, but Malcolm has in fact been to Nanda Parbat and back. He presents the team with the blood-covered sword, but tells them that Oliver fell into a ravine and his remains are unrecoverable. Malcolm tells the team about how many conspiracy theories they’ll come up with once they confirm the blood on the sword is Oliver’s, but he claims he’s not lying. Felicity tells Malcolm that it’s all his fault, and Malcolm does not deny that, saying he’ll live with the guilt. Yeah right, Malcolm.
Meanwhile, Oliver’s unrecoverable remains are in fact being recovered, but we don’t know by who yet. Maseo?
On Island Time, Maseo and his minions are returning fire on the Triad troops. He tells Oliver to run while they provide cover, and Ollie protests for a second, then takes off. He attracts one bad guy and eludes him, but he fails to kill the guy, who gets away.
In real time, Roy is drinking alone in Verdant when Thea joins him, commenting on this new habit. Roy says he got bad news about a friend, but when she asks if it’s anyone she knows, he just asks how she’s doing. Thea says she’s worried about Oliver and asks Roy if he could use his Arrow connections to ask around. I kinda feel sorry for them both. Everyone Thea knows is lying about Oliver, but Roy doesn’t really have a choice here. In fact, Roy goes straight down to the cave to tell John about it. They wonder if there’s any point from keeping it from Thea if Ollie is really dead, and Roy takes it a step further: he isn’t sure it’s worth doing anything vigilante-like without Oliver. Seriously, Arrow without Arrow? What is this, Gotham?
John doesn’t have an answer, but focusing on the case is the only thing he can do to cope. John realizes that he’s seen the numbers in the mostly burned file somewhere before, and it finally clicks for him: they match case file numbers on several baddies Team Arrow has caught in the past few months, as well as a few who were arrested instead by the police. They even put together that all the numbers listed are prisoners who are awaiting trial for assault charges. Aw, boys, you did so good without Felicity holding your hands!
Felicity, meanwhile, is crying at her desk at Palmer Tech, trying to work, and ignoring calls from John. Ray comes in, cheerfully informing her that he never goes home and asking if she’s made progress on the nanite chip. She tells him that his whole plan is absurd, and so is the suit, and that it won’t bring his dead fiancée back. Felicity continues to explain death to him like he’s five, and he takes offense—telling Felicity that she doesn’t know what his ex would have wanted. Felicity apologizes and flees, leaving Ray mostly confused. She finally answers John’s call, too, and he and Roy explain their findings.
A truck backs into the evidence storage facility for SCPD, and two baddies jump down from where they were hiding underneath it, taking out a guard and running into the warehouse, quickly picking out evidence boxes. But Arsenal jumps down from the rafters, kicking one in the head and firing arrows at another, who fires bullets back. John comes in from outside, and he and Roy both fire and run and try not to get shot in the apparent parkour obstacle course that is SCPD evidence lockup.
Quentin and some uniformed cops arrive on screen to add to the general confusion, and John runs out of bullets just in time for Brickwell himself to hit him from behind. John gets the same deal Jose got: take Brickwell down and live.
John picks up the gun and fires at Brickwell…only to have the bullet pretty much bounce off his head. And so enter the metas to Arrow! John is confounded, and they begin to fight. Luckily, Roy shows up. Arrows work a bit better than bullets, naturally, and Brickwell flees. John’s okay, but Brickwell and whoever’s left of his crew escape in a truck with a lot of evidence boxes. Dear god, there sure were a lot of police at this encounter, and they sure were useless. Did they not even chase the truck?
Back in the Cave, Felicity fusses over John, who is very, very angry that Brickwell got away because those evidence boxes encompass everything Oliver’s been working for since Slade went down and John is sentimental that way. Plus, it turns out Felicity was the one who shut the garage door after Brickwell drove away, preventing Roy and John from pursuing, because she was sure they would get themselves killed. Neither boy is happy about that either, but again, what the fuck were all those cops for?
John tells her that they have to find a way to keep doing their thing without Oliver, but Felicity seems to agree with Roy: there IS no Team Arrow without Arrow. That said, when she leaves, even turning out the lights on them, Roy stays with John.
In Nanda Parbat, vaguely mystical music is playing and someone is moving around in a room filled with candles. Maseo pounds on the door: he is the one who picked up Oliver’s body. Maseo says, “He needs your help,” implying that Oliver is alive, but come on. Stabbed, hundred-foot fall, four days wearing only pants in the freezing weather? If this isn’t a Lazarus Pit, I’m gonna be pissed.
At Palmer Tech, Felicity returns to Ray’s office to apologize properly. Ray wants to know why she was upset in the first place. She admits Oliver died (though without saying it was Oliver, of course), and coupled with Sara’s death three months ago, she’s lost too many people. She doesn’t want to lose Ray too, who she does in fact consider a friend. She tells him that she can’t stop him playing superhero, but she doesn’t have to help.
In the Cave, John has apparently turned the lights back on and is looking at their bad guy facebook with Laurel. Laurel says she tried to keep them in prison, but the judge let them go. Let me get this straight: there is ample surveillance footage—we know, because Felicity was watching it in real time—of a bunch of armed lunatics ransacking the evidence locker, which would ONLY be stuff like guns and drugs, not eyewitness testimony or DNA evidence/forensics, but the judge was just like, yeah, sure, throw all eighty of these guys back on the streets? All in a matter of hours? COME ON.
Anyway, John segues into how Oliver is not coming back. Laurel asks if John will be back, and John says he doesn’t know what he’s doing next since he couldn’t protect Oliver. Aw, Digg. He and Laurel hug, and he heads out. Laurel leaves too, but not before taking Sara’s wig, gloves, mask, and sonic scream devices with her. Nice.
(Although, really, sonic screams? As opposed to…?)
Thea gets home to an empty loft and is checking her mail when she hears a noise behind her. Without looking, she flings her letter opener—and Malcolm catches it. (Who actually uses a letter opener?) Thea asks if he heard anything about Oliver. He says no, but the two of them are in danger—and they need to leave the city right away (and NEVER RETURN because Malcolm is a drama queen).
Brickwell is having a meeting with his new army of freed prisoners. He’s keeping their evidence boxes as collateral so they all keep working for him. Apparently they’re going to take over the Glades. Wow, what vision Brickwell has. Two of the new henchmen agree with me as they leave the meeting, discussing just how crazy the guy is. Before they can drive away, though, they’re assaulted by a very loud, very familiar screech. And Black Canary knocks them the fuck out.
On Island Time, Waller is pleased to have re-acquired the Alpha but annoyed that Oliver failed to kill every Triad henchman he came across. When Waller leaves, Maseo reminds us all that Oliver actively chose not to shoot the henchman in question, and Oliver reveals that he put the GPS that had been on the Alpha in the guy’s pocket so they can track him back to Triad headquarters and find Tatsu. Maseo decides Oliver maybe isn’t such a moron after all.
In Nanga Parbat, Oliver is bandaged and breathing. Tatsu tells him to quit moving, he’ll pull out his sutures, and then Maseo makes everything okay (in my book): “I asked her to come here. So she could bring you back to life.” Yessssss.