Arrow had quite a few balls in the air tonight. In addition to Oliver, Roy, and Diggle’s trip to Corto Maltese to bring Thea back and track down a missing a A.R.G.U.S. agent, there was also movement forward with Laurel’s storyline and Felicity and Ray’s new working relationship. With so much going on in tonight’s episode, it’s should come as no surprise that some things didn’t work as well as others. But that’s okay because while the A.R.G.U.S. plotline felt rushed and rather underwhelming, the episode took its time developing Laurel’s subplot, which was both compelling and poignant.
FLASHBACK — Thea and Malcolm
Last season was tough on Thea. Not only did her mother die, but she found out that her brother, Oliver, and her boyfriend, Roy, were constantly lying to her and keeping secrets from her. This is where her mind’s at in the opening scene, a flashback to her getting into Malcolm Merlyn’s limo the day after Slade’s siege on Starling City. Thea tells Merlyn that she wants to go away with him because she believes he’s the one who can teach her how to never feel this kind of pain again—the pain that comes with betrayal and loss.
Later, we are shown Thea’s first day of training under Malcolm’s tutelage. Her first lesson: learning that while pain may be inevitable, suffering from it is optional. Malcolm demonstrates this truth by pouring boiling water on his hand without flinching. To Thea’s horror, he then takes her hand and proceeds to pour hot water on it.
Thea and Malcolm have their first real father-daughter moment when Malcolm takes her in his arms after Thea becomes discouraged from not being able to handle the boiling water. Unfortunately, the moment is ruined when Malcolm says it isn’t her fault, but his. All this time he’s been trying to train her as his daughter, but for her to actually learn, he needs to treat her like his student. He then starts attacking her. Thea pulls out a nearby sword and commands the son of a bitch—her words—to stay away. Like when she pulled a gun on him in the second seasons finale, Malcolm’s proud of his little girl.
After several leads relating to Sara’s murder don’t pan out, Oliver decides to take a break, and to instead focus his efforts on bringing Thea home. Felicity tracked her phone to Corto Maltese. Initially, Roy thinks it might not be a good idea to go after Thea because of the letter, but Oliver says that letter was addressed to Roy and not him. Watching Laurel grieve for her sister has made Oliver want to see his sister even more. Feeling responsible for Thea running away in the first place, Roy says he’s going to go with him and moves to pick up his gear, but Oliver’s like, “What are you doing? You can’t travel with that.”
Oliver’s decision to go to Corto Maltese is good news for Diggle because it means he now has a few days off from Team Arrow to play with his baby girl. Unfortunately, Lyla asks Diggle to accompany Oliver to Corto Maltese to check up on Mark Shaw, an A.R.G.U.S. agent who’s stationed there, but hasn’t checked in for days. Before sounding the alarm, Lyla wants to make sure Shaw isn’t just drunk in a villa somewhere.
NEXT: Family reunion