Mar 30, 2021
Arrow: Hey, Oliver, the World Doesn't Revolve Around You Anymore
Previously on Arrow: Sin clued Quentin in on the fact that the current Canary is not Sara, Thea and Malcolm are marked for death by Ra’s al Ghul, Verdant DJ Chase is actually a League of Assassins plant, and Oliver’s going to learn how to kill Ra’s from Malcolm. We open with Canary getting thrown against a shipping crate. I think it’s a dream, because it turns out Sara!Canary is doing the throwing. Sara calls her a fraud and an addict, and they fight. Sara wins, which should come as a shock to no one who’s watched Laurel fight the past few weeks. I expect Laurel to wake up at the end, but it’s just the title card. Forty-eight hours earlier, Arrow and Arsenal are chasing a baddie across a rooftop and down a fire escape. He beats them down, but Canary is waiting at the bottom and takes him out with brutal efficiency. Arrow is less than pleased, and he drags Laurel away for a lecture while Roy deals with the bad guy. Oliver says he told Laurel to stay off the streets, Laurel says Oliver isn’t the boss of her, blah, blah. He says she’s selfish and not a hero, which is fucking rich coming from Mr. I’m Going to Challenge the Best Assassin in the Entire World to a Duel.
In the Arrow Cave, Oliver takes his annoyance out on John, who reminds him that Laurel does not actually need permission to fight as Canary. Malcolm is hanging out in the cave, too, to keep everyone apprised of the fact that Ra’s totally knows Oliver’s back in town and thus not dead. Malcolm thinks it’s time to bring Thea onto Team Arrow, because the three of them are going to have to fight together to beat Ra’s. As Malcolm leaves, John reminds Oliver that if he ‘fesses up about his dual identities after lying to Thea for so long, she will probably never speak to him again. Thanks, John, that’s super helpful!
On Island Time, Maseo is packing. Now that Amanda Waller knows he tried to steal the Alpha to trade for Tatsu–and now that Chen Na Wei knows where they live–they need to disappear. He recommends the opposite for Oliver, though: he says if Oliver goes back to his real life, it will limit Waller’s options and ARGUS won’t be able to just assassinate him without repercussions. He gives Oliver some money and tells him to save himself. In the present day, a man in an orange jumpsuit is being led from the Starling City Courthouse. It’s—oh, are you fucking kidding me? It’s fucking Count Vertigo, Werner Zytle, because apparently the Vertigo storyline WILL NEVER, EVER DIE. That explains the open, at least; I suppose Laurel’s on the drug rather than dreaming. Anyway, he rambles something to gathered reporters about facing his accuser–which doesn’t apply because I seriously doubt Arrow gave testimony–before Laurel intervenes to encourage the U.S. marshal to get him into the transport already. The marshal is looking a little sweaty and pale, though, and soon draws his gun and starts shooting reporters until Laurel knocks him out. Werner, of course, escapes.
At Verdant, Thea and Chase flirt a little until Oliver comes by. He wants to talk, and it sounds ominous. He’s taking her down to the basement, which she’d assumed had stayed flooded for, like, a year. He admits that was a lie and escorts her down to the Cave. She realizes immediately the implications, of course, and he says he only lied to protect her. She’s not actually angry, though—she thanks him for saving people and hugs him. It’s…really sweet, actually. Is this going to be a Vertigo-dream, too? Apparently not, because they’re still talking about it in their loft in the next scene. I wondered why she wasn’t angry about that time he busted through their living room window, but apparently she’s cool with it because she kicked his ass. Fair enough, Thea. She recalls that he was looking for Malcolm that night, and Oliver admits that Malcolm totally knew he was the Arrow, which is Malcolm’s cue to enter and Oliver to reveal that they have to work together to defeat Ra’s. Thea is actually angry at Malcolm, though, for driving her away from Oliver and manipulating her. Ohh, Thea, you have no idea.
On Island Time, Oliver leaves a message for Moira saying he’s alive and that he’s coming home, and in the meantime she should tell everyone about it. A man–probably ARGUS–ends the call for him, and Oliver dashes away, because we couldn’t end these flashbacks without another chase-through-a-crowded-Hong-Kong-market scene. He gets caught pretty promptly, though, and tasered into unconsciousness. In real time, Channel 52 is reporting on Count Vertigo’s post-sentencing escape. John wonders how Werner managed to dose the marshal while restrained, and Laurel arrives to exposit that a reporter administered the drug. Roy, Oliver, and Laurel start to gear up, but Oliver gets all pissy about Laurel going out with them again. They chat outside Verdant, and Oliver is staging an intervention. He thinks that Laurel has replaced her addictions with crime-fighting, which…is actually a fair point. She thinks he’s just as bad, so can’t talk, which…is also a fair point. Laurel leaves, and Roy summons Oliver to get ready: they have an address on the reporter. Arrow busts down the door of the reporter’s office to find him sweating in the dark, claiming Werner isn’t there. He shot up the marshal because Werner threatened his wife, and he’s also strapped to a bomb. Surprise! Arrow swears they can protect his wife, but the reporter detonates his bomb, forcing Arrow and Arsenal to spontaneously enter the synchronized window diving Olympics to escape. Werner is watching from a car across the street, and he seems pleased.
Oliver gets back to the loft late, receiving a text as he gets inside that the reporter’s wife is safe. Thea is waiting up now that she knows what he’s really doing with his nights. She reminisces about his lame excuses before she knew what he was up to, and he reassures her that it’s his job to protect everyone. He tries to convince Thea that they have to trust Malcolm to fight Ra’s because they can’t handle him themselves, but she’s not buying. On Island Time, Oliver’s being waterboarded by ARGUS, but he’s not giving up the location of Maseo’s family—he knows his own is looking for him…or they would be, if Waller hadn’t erased his message before anybody heard any of it. Waller threatens Moira and Thea, though, and Oliver tells her the Yamashiros are taking a ferry to Shanghai. Quentin comes by Laurel’s office, impressed with her boxing skills, and also bringing her a book of cargo manifests. He’s distracted, though, and asks her about Sara, telling Laurel about his run-in with Laurel-as-Sara a couple episodes ago. He relays Sin’s assurance that Sara is not the one in the Canary garb. I thought he was supposed to be a detective, jfc. At Verdant, Roy’s wearing his trademark red hoodie as he comes in to talk to Thea, a little sheepishly. She’s not mad at him, either, though. She does tell him that she wants to stay away from Malcolm, and Roy reinforces her feelings, until Oliver pulls him down for Team Arrow business. Apparently, Oliver planted a tracker on Laurel so they’d know if she was doing something stupid, although Felicity doesn’t think it’s stupid, because Laurel is closer to finding Count Vertigo than they are. At the docks, Canary is watching Werner receive a shipment of…something when a guard happens across her. She takes him out quickly, but it alerts Werner. Even though she darts away, he somehow ends up behind her (yeah, I don’t know). He throws some sort of Vertigo-infused ninja star at her, and that’s how we get our episode opener, because she sees Werner as Sara. Luckily, Team Arrow is en route, arriving just in time to shoot the police baton from Werner’s hand before he brains Canary. Werner flees while they fight henchmen and rescue Laurel. Back in the cave, they set Laurel up with an injection that knocks her out so she quits seeing Sara everywhere while the drug runs its course. Oliver is stressed enough to yell at Thea when she comes down to see what the hell’s going on. Roy defends Thea, of course, leading to him and Ollie arguing about Thea while she’s standing right there; even once she retreats upstairs, the argument continues, with John trying to calm them down and…Felicity taking Roy’s side? Yeah, she thinks they need to hash out some things: Team Arrow had to function without him, and they all had to step up, and he doesn’t get to question them now. Oliver stops fighting, but he doesn’t strictly agree.
Thea is upset when she returns to Verdant proper, so when she comes across DJ Chase (he is just always there, isn’t he?), she kisses him. Hard. She tells him she needs something simple and takes his hand; Roy comes upstairs just in time to watch them walk out together. Ouch. Later, Oliver is brooding at the bar (I should note that Verdant has not been actually open in a Verdant scene in like four episodes), and John comes up to sit with him. Oliver reminisces about the days when Team Arrow was all about him, but John reminds him that it wasn’t just that he was AWOL—he was dead, and the team had no reason to believe he would be returning. They all had to realize they were fighting for themselves, not Oliver, and that he has to accept that if he’s going to live with them. On Island Time, Oliver wakes up, looking surprisingly good for a nice, long round of torture. Maseo gets thrown in with him and expresses concern for Oliver’s well-being, though Oliver immediately spills that he gave up the intel. Maseo admits that he told Oliver the thing about the ferry to Shanghai as a precaution—they were never going there. And Maseo wasn’t captured by ARGUS, he came back when he heard Oliver was picked up. Damn, that’s some loyalty that Oliver does not deserve. When ARGUS agents come in, Maseo demands to speak to Waller, but instead the men just knock them both out. Speaking of knocked out, Laurel wakes up on the table in the Arrow Cave, sore but no longer hallucinating. She tells Felicity what she saw and that Vertigo-induced!Sara called her a fraud. She appears to be actually listening to Vertigo-induced!Sara. Felicity tells Laurel that she can be Canary without being Sara, and they hug. An alarm goes off at the computers, and Felicity tells us that they had hidden a GPS tracker on a stolen chemical tank (…when?) and Werner just opened it, triggering the GPS. DJ Chase and Thea are in bed together—well, on the couch together, but with a pillow and blanket, and naked. Chase pours them both a glass of wine, and they clink glasses. But Thea hesitates before she takes a sip, perhaps smelling something drug-like in the wine. She tells Chase how Malcolm had told her during some father-daughter bonding in Corto Maltese that red wine was a commonly used cover for cyanide. She pulls a knife on him, he admits he’s working for Ra’s, and they fight. He pins her against the door with her own blade against her throat—but is knocked away from her when somebody busts the door open. It’s Arsenal, and he does not look thrilled. He and Chase fight briefly, but the battle is cut short when Chase takes an arrow to the back of the shoulder: Merlyn looks even less amused than Arsenal. Before he can kill Chase, though, Chase downs a vial of cyanide and offs himself. In the Arrow Cave, Felicity is reeling off the address for Oliver, John, and Laurel while her computer screen helpfully has heat signatures labeled as “hostage” or “hostile.” Man, do they get their GUIs from STAR Labs? John can’t reach Roy (because he’s busy following Thea to listen to her have sex with another man) so Oliver has no choice but to take Canary along.
Werner seems to have commandeered a chemistry lab, and a couple of white-coated techs and/or scientists are working fearfully while another bleeds on the floor. One of the techs nearly drops a vial, and Werner nods to a henchman to go ahead and shoot the guy, because mistakes will not be tolerated! But, of course, that’s when Arrow makes his entrance, and he and Canary make short work of the first couple of baddies. Werner has an escape plan, though: he drops a vial that immediately ignites, forcing Ollie to free hostages to keep them from exploding rather than chasing Werner. Laurel, at least, gets outside after him and immediately gets hit again with Vertigo, what the fuck, Laurel. She starts seeing Sara, again, and they fight, again. Once she gets pinned against a fence by Werner, though, the hallucination changes: now it’s Quentin, rightfully pissed that Laurel lied to him about Sara for so long. But Laurel rallies: she mutters that she’s done trying to be Sara and throws Werner off, downing him and punching him in the face a lot. Maybe Werner should just learn to use bullets? As Laurel calms, she sees one last Sarallucination smiling at her, and then it’s just Oliver, radioing Felicity that it’s over…But it isn’t, Felicity says, because Oliver needs to get to Thea. At Starling PD, Laurel comes to talk to Quentin. She’s already pretty much crying as she says she has something to tell him, something she should have said a long time ago. But he says he already figured out that she’s running around as Canary. Laurel doesn’t take the out, though. She follows through on telling him that Sara’s dead, and they both hug. And cry. At the Queen Loft, Roy is sitting with Thea when Oliver gets home, vaguely panicked. Malcolm enters to exposit that DJ Chase was a League agent, and Oliver dismisses Roy so they can talk. The brush with murder has made it clear to Thea that she and Oliver do have to work with Malcolm to defeat Ra’s, but she vows that she won’t be forgetting any of the shit Malcolm’s done. Malcolm imparts his first lesson: Ra’s feeds on fear, so they have to conquer their fears. In the Cave, Oliver breaks the news that he’s leaving again, albeit for just a couple days this time, no really. But he knows the city is safe with the rest of the team in his absence. Up in Verdant, Roy comes to say goodbye to Thea, and she kisses him on the cheek in thanks for saving her life, and for standing up to Oliver for her, before she takes off: to the Island, which is predictably where she and Oliver will learn to face their fears.
On Island Time, Oliver and Maseo wake up in a car with Waller. Turns out she needs something from them, again, because Chen Na Wei left Hong Kong for none other than Starling City. “Welcome home, Mr. Queen,” says Waller.