If there’s two things we know about Oliver Queen, it’s that he needs to be in control of everything and hates having to depend on people. This season, Arrow has been concerned with exploring what exactly happens when Oliver encounters an existential threat (such as Ra’s al Ghul) that forces him to cede control and turn to others for help. To make matters worse for him, his teammates, who used to blindly follow his orders, are becoming more assertive and independent. And, Oliver reacts as anyone else would to losing control: He doubles down and tries to reassert his dominance, which has led to some not so likeable behavior. But, his behavior is understandable.
Thus, we arrive at tonight’s episode, which brings this theme into sharp relief. With Lance hot on his trails and his Arrow persona compromised, Oliver Queen has no other option, but to turn to others for help—which we know he hates. However, by the end of the episode, he’s definitely learned that depending on people isn’t such a bad thing, and that sometimes, he is the one who needs to be saved.
Last week’s episode ended with Roy, dressed as The Arrow, turning himself into the police to save Oliver. Tonight, we pick up right after he’s been arrested. Naturally, neither Oliver nor Lance is happy with this course of events. Lance is made even angrier when Laurel uses the law to get him to release Oliver. Newly freed, Oliver pays Roy a visit in an interrogation room and demands to know what the hell he was thinking. However, Roy doesn’t back down from his plan. Not only does he feel he deserves to go to prison for his crimes, but he also knows that the city needs Oliver more than it needs him. Oliver saved his life by bringing him onto the team, and now it’s his turn to repay the favor.
Because Oliver’s life isn’t difficult enough already, there’s a metahuman bank robber, Jake Simmons, a.k.a. Deathbolt, on the lose in Starling City. Unfortunately, the Arrow won’t be able to handle this situation himself because Lance is not ready to drop his case against Oliver. Oliver is about to suit up, when Lance storms Verdant with a search warrant for the basement, the Arrow cave. You can imagine how pleased Lance was with himself when he enters the lair for the first time; he even mocks Oliver for keeping his suit in a glass case. However, that moment slowly goes away when the only fingerprint they find in the lair is Roy Harper’s. This was clearly Diggle and Felicity’s doing, and Oliver is not happy.
Since the Arrow has been forced into retirement (for the time being), Oliver has no choice but to turn to another hero to help him handle the metahuman problem. Unfortunately, his first choice, The Flash, has his hands full with Wells and everything, so he’s forced to ask Ray for help. Excited by the prospect of a team-up, Ray accepts.
Once they track down Deathbolt’s location, Ray jumps into his Atom suit and flies off for a fight. No surprise, it doesn’t go well and Ray quickly flees the scene. Oliver uses this first failure as a teaching moment. Ray ran into battle thinking he was set because of his fancy suit; however, that’s not enough. He has to anticipate his opponent and trust his instincts. As Oliver explains it, the Arrow’s equipment isn’t his best weapon, his mind and body are. This lesson is very similar to the one Oliver taught The Flash in the first crossover episode. It would’ve been nice to see more of these teaching moments between Oliver and Roy, but that’s a small quibble.
NEXT: Ra’s makes his move