Maybe it was the use of a villain that originally appeared in Central City with a penchant for puns. Or maybe it was the surprising number of pop culture references from the entire crew. Or maybe it was even Curtis Holt’s smooth transition into a Cisco Ramon-esque team member. Whatever it was in the waters of Star City, Arrow’s latest episode, “Beacon of Hope” had more than a few traces of its companion series The Flash, which made for an at-times jarring and other times delightful blend of the two shows. And a little Die Hard thrown in for good measure didn’t hurt either.
Brie Larvan (Emily Kinney), who previously appeared in The Flash season 1 episode “All Star Team Up” (which featured Arrow cameos, including Felicity), has hacked her way into an early release out of prison, but she has more than the precious nature of bees on her mind. Brie has a tumor on her spine, and she needs a way to repair the life-threatening disease. Luckily, one Felicity Smoak happens to have a miraculous biochip in her back. Unluckily, it’s the only one of its kind still out there.
So Brie sets her sights on Palmer Tech and holds the company’s board hostage while demanding that Felicity, who is in her office with her mother and Thea (there to get Alex a PR job), hand over the biochip. Oh, and to ensure a minimal level of meddling, Brie has surrounded Palmer Tech with a giant swarm of robotic bees.
Thankfully, earlier in the day Felicity made a decision that inadvertently became a life-saving one — she sent Curtis home because of his cold. But when her trusted employee sees the danger at work, he decides to head back into the world, sneezes and all, to help his boss. He heads to the former campaign office headquarters to find some help and stumbles upon the secret elevator to the Green Arrow lair. (Shades of scarlet red here, of course, as S.T.A.R. Labs might as well have an open-door policy to any and all metahumans.)
Curtis finds himself face to face with an unmasked Arrow, Canary, and Spartan, a revelation that, mixed with his cold, causes the shocked interloper to faint. And it’s quite the lair he’s walking into. Oliver is still consumed by his split from Felicity, and Laurel is the one this time around to offer some help, despite their romantic past. (Though he’s still got enough presence of mind to excel during combat training while simultaneously surprising the group with his Harry Potter reference.) She warns him that he’s dealing with a different kind of pain than the type endured while fighting supervillains, and this pain doesn’t heal quite as easily.
But no matter the pain Oliver is feeling, he still cares enough about Felicity to immediately spring into action. With Curtis awake (and feeling slightly better thanks to an IV of fluids) and behind the console of Felicity’s former computers, Team Arrow figures out how to save their former teammate.
Felicity hasn’t taken the attack lying down, however, and so she finds an exit for her, Donna, and Thea through the ventilation system. They end up in the back pathways of the building, eventually making their way to a storage closet as one of Brie’s bees targets them.
Back at base, Curtis is able to assume control of the bee to clear their path and send them on their way to Oliver, Laurel, and Diggle. Unfortunately, as they make their way outside, a swarm of the bees blocks their paths and turns into a corporeal, humanoid foe (who looks vaguely like a H.I.V.E. agent as depicted in certain comics and previous cartoon series).
In the ensuing ordeal, Oliver is stung by one of the bees and undergoes severe pain. That’s because, as Curtis notes once they bring Ollie back to base, he hasn’t just been stung. The bee has made its way inside his body and is multiplying rapidly.
Luckily, with some modification of Laurel’s Canary collar, they’re able to log into the frequencies of the bee drone and disable it along with its many offspring. (A solution not unlike one employed on this week’s The Flash, when the returning Pied Piper used his skills with soundwaves to fight a time wraith. For those who don’t watch…it’s a bit of a long story.)
Their sonic gambit pays off, but Curtis’ wisecracking about the bee drones passing through his system in a few days is one joke too many for Oliver. He’s sick of this new face in the lair making light of the situation, a situation in which strangers and their friends’ lives are at risk.
NEXT: Team Arrow has to bee careful in the fight with Brie (I’m so sorry)