Unofficially, Arrow‘s midseason return was an official Felicity episode and was all the better for it. To be honest, the introduction of Arrow‘s newest villain, Brick, wasn’t all that compelling, but Emily Bett Rickards’ performance along with the rest of Team Arrow’s response to Oliver’s death carried the episode. Right now, Arrow is in rather uncharted territory. Or, at least to me it is because I can’t think of another show that has sidelined or would sideline the lead character in such a way. (Yes, Oliver shows up in the flashbacks, but those are the worst this season). While we definitely miss Oliver’s presence in the present storyline, tonight’s episode made it clear that the rest of the cast is more than up for the task of carrying the show—i.e. making it worth us suffering through these boring Hong Kong flashbacks.
FLASHBACK — Hong Kong, 3 years ago
No surprise here, Amanda Waller is not happy that Oliver and Maseo blunderingly abducted that scientist. Naturally, all Maseo can think about is finding his wife, but the same can’t be said of Amanda Waller, who just doesn’t give a f— because they have more pressing concerns. ARGUS has learned the bioweapon is comprised of two parts; and Omega, which is now in China White’s possession, is useless without Alpha, its counterpart, which is currently being held by the Hong Kong military. So, their mission is to steal from the military and destroy it.
After some initial troubles, Maseo and Oliver are able to infiltrate the military compound and steal the sample. However, China White’s henchmen show up and start shooting at them—because that’s what henchmen do. As Maseo lays down some cover fire, Oliver tries to escape with the bioweapon, but one of China White’s men follows him. He has no problem knocking him down, but chooses not to kill him with his arrow. Naturally, Amanda Waller hears about this and is not happy—although last episode’s scientist shouldn’t have been captured and interrogated, this guy should have been. When Amanda leaves, Oliver reveals to Maseo that he didn’t kill the guy because he placed a tracker in his pocket in the hope that he can lead them to Tatsu’s location. Maseo says he’ll be forever in Oliver’s debt.
It’s been three days since Oliver went to fight Ra’s al Ghul. No one on Team Arrow has heard from Oliver and, in his absence, they’ve been trying to maintain order in Starling City. We kick tonight’s episode off with Roy and the SCPD in hot pursuit of a truck full of bad guys. The show doesn’t play this up too much, but it’s probably Roy’s first time handling something like this on his own. Well, he’s not actually alone because Diggle, dressed as the Arrow, joins in midway through. “I thought he was supposed to be good,” says one of the thugs when Diggle fires off a few arrows. Eventually, Roy is able to apprehend one guy, but the other gets away.
While Laurel is handling the prosecution of the guy Team Arrow caught, Anton (the guy who got away) returns to his crew, but does not receive a warm welcome—he disobeyed Danny “Brick” Brickwell (Vinnie Jones), his boss, who ordered him to lay low. In the end, Brick, who was recently released from Iron Heights after key witnesses had “accidents,” kills Anton and leaves the rest of his crew to handle the body.
Meanwhile, Malcolm and Thea are having some family bonding time—by which I mean, they are sword fighting. It’s both scary and awesome how good Thea has gotten in the past several months. During their break from sparring, Thea confesses that she’s worried about Oliver because she hasn’t seen or heard from him in a while. Malcolm offers to ask some of his contacts to track him down and has no problem doing it because Oliver is “family.” (ASIDE: Malcolm has a weird conception of acceptable things to put family through. But this is Arrow, where every family’s normal is screwed up.)
NEXT: The team receives some really bad news