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
Meanwhile, Roy’s first night in prison doesn’t get off to a great start. While he’s being escorted back to this cell, several inmates take out the guard and go after him. With his hands cuffed, Roy takes all of them out; however, he does incur a few injuries. Upon hearing about the attack from an upset Thea, Oliver decides to break Roy out because he’s worried about his safety. Diggle tries to stop him, but fails.
But where Diggle fails, Felicity succeeds; she manages to talk Oliver down. Breaking Roy out of Iron Heights won’t change anything, Felicity says. At this point, there is no more Arrow (we’ll come back to this later). This is hard for Oliver to swallow because right now, thanks to Ra’s’ actions, he can’t live by any of his two names; he’s identity-less. It’s a veritable existential crisis that makes me want to listen to “Who Am I” from Les Mis. Oliver might not know who he is, but Felicity does: he’s the man she
loves believes in. That’s enough to make him sit back down and let Ray, Felicity, and Diggle handle finding Deathbolt and stopping him.
During his first encounter with Deathbolt, Ray fired an energy shot off, but Deathbolt absorbed and grew more powerful. This means that he needs to feed off energy to get his powers. Team Arrow Lite decides to track the city’s energy grid using a device they need to hook to the city’s energy grid. Felicity heads out to a power plant to attach the device, but you can guess who is there casually leeching energy off, and he takes her hostage.
Ever the dutiful boyfriend, Ray heads back out to save his lady and for another round with Deathbolt; however, this time he’ll have help. Using technology that’s reminiscent of Iron Man 3 and because there isn’t enough time for Ray to learn to trust his instincts, Oliver takes control of Ray’s suit in the ensuing fight against Deathbolt. Sadly, the tech is damaged in the fight and Ray is on his own. And with Cheerleader Oliver rooting for him in his earpiece, Ray kicks Deathbolt’s ass and even flies him to Central City to imprison him in the pipeline. While talking to Cisco, however, the two of them realize that Simmons wasn’t in Central City on the night of the explosion, so he couldn’t have gotten his powers from it. ***NEW MYSTERY ALERT***
Oliver returns to his apartment and finds Lance there with Thea. While he was out of his cell, someone stabbed and killed Roy—or, so Lance and the CCPD thinks. Turns out, Roy faked his death, with some help from one of Lyla’s A.R.G.U.S. contacts. Roy literally gave his life for Oliver’s. Because people think he’s dead, Roy has no other option, but to leave Central City and start anew someplace else.
Meanwhile, Thea is grieving over a bottle of red wine—ah, a woman after my own heart—when Ra’s pays her a visit. He stabs Thea with his sword and leaves her bleeding on the floor. This is his last move, the move that’ll force Oliver deeper into the corner because the only way to save Thea will be to bring her to a Lazarus Pit in Nanda Parbat.
Wall of Weird:
- FLASHBACK: Oliver goes after Waller, but finds out that she wasn’t the one trying to kill him and the Yamashiros. It was General Shrieve, who is planning on unleashing the Alpha/Omega virus on Hong Kong and claiming that the triads mishandled a bioweapon they never should have had. When they realize they can’t escape, they steal a vial of the vaccine Shrieve developed and decide to remain in Hong Kong to stop him.
- It turns out this was an actual goodbye for Colton Haynes. Read about his departure here.
- “There’s a decent chance you and Palmer are related,” says Oliver to Felicity in reaction to Ray’s in field rambling. This may be his best quip ever.
- “I can’t think of an answer that won’t get me in trouble,” says Felicity when Oliver asks if she gets this worried when he’s out in the field.
- Tonight’s episode takes place after Ray and Felicity’s visit to Central City in last night’s The Flash. Which took place, I think, before Ray was injured and I love you to Felicity because in tonight’s episode, it’s clear she still hasn’t said it back. What’s even clearer is that Ray definitely picks up on her remaining feelings for Oliver.
- “There is no more Arrow”: This season on Arrow, Oliver hasn’t been as likable and has definitely given both his teammates and us a reason to question his leadership style. As discussed above, this was clearly intentional on the writers’ part. They are showing what happens when someone who is used to being in control loses that and is forced to actually ask for help. The show is purposefully breaking him down and I think that quote explains why; to build him up so he’s no longer just the Arrow, he’s the Green Arrow. We’re sanding off his remaining rough edges, so that come season 4, he’s a veritable superhero loved by his city.
- Did you guys think this was a great episode, too? How sad are you to see Roy leave? If Thea survives, do you think she’ll become a new member of Team Arrow? How excited are you for the Oliver and Felicity hook-up teased in a recent trailer?