It may seems like things are back to the “old times” Felicity remembers fondly at the start of “Restoration,” but that would be a surface-level look at the state of Team Arrow at this point. Diggle and Oliver are out in the field together, but there’s still a cavernous gulf separating the two of them while Diggle continues not to trust the best man at his wedding.
And so the title of the episode is telling even in these opening moments. “Restoration” is about the attempts to restore the show’s core friendship. But it’s about more than that. The episode is about Laurel’s desperate ploy to restore normalcy to her life, even if that means bringing her sister back from the dead. It’s about just how much of a person is restored when they return via the Lazarus Pit, a question Thea has to ask about herself and Laurel must consider for her sister.
And it’s also about a metahuman who can create deadly playing cards from his tattoos. So maybe there’s a little room for some non-restorative plot points. Let’s take a look, though, at how the dual efforts in Star City and Nanda Parbat played out:
Felicity may be excited by the OTA (Original Team Arrow, that is) being on their own for the night’s adventures, but the impassioned mistrust Diggle still holds for Oliver is apparent the moment they return to base. Diggle leaves to go home to his family the moment a group hangout is suggested, leaving them with the cyanide capsule-filled tooth of a Ghost to examine. (It doesn’t hurt that Felicity was once an aspiring dental hygienist.)
But Diggle is paid with a surprise visitor at his apartment from an A.R.G.U.S. agent Lyla called in a favor with months ago. He’s found the woman who hired Floyd Lawton years ago. This is Diggle’s first lead in two years of investigating his brother’s death, and so he decides to tail this woman, who just so happens to be in town.
She’s here to see Damien Darhk, having brought him a tattoo-toting metahuman for his latest job. He wants the Green Arrow and his meddling friends dead, and those killer cards this meta can graft from his body seem like a reasonable option.
This meta ambushes Oliver at a crime scene while Diggle is also hot on the tail of the H.I.V.E. woman, Mina, who hired the cardslinger. But both members of Team Arrow almost face death while going at their respective missions alone. Oliver’s fight with the soon-to-be-named-by-Cisco Double Down ends in the Green Arrow fleeing the scene with a card stuck in his bicep.
And Diggle is caught in a firefight as the H.I.V.E. agent escapes. The two dejected vigilantes return to base, only to be met with the fire of Felicity’s fury. She sits the two of them down for a serious real talk and demands that the two of them settle their differences before they’re allowed to leave the lair. She heads upstairs to enlist Curtis’ help while the two hash out their friendship.
While Diggle’s feelings are completely understandable, Oliver doesn’t let his friend off easily. He gets why his friend lost faith in him, but he doesn’t understand why he hasn’t been given the chance to prove he’s changed, that he can be the man Diggle once trusted. It’s a fraught and tense moment that David Ramsey and Stephen Amell play so well that it’s tough to imagine anyone not wanting the two of them to reconcile.
It appears they start to, as Diggle invites Oliver back to his apartment to tell him the truth about his H.I.V.E. suspicions. He hands Oliver his conspiracy notebook, which includes a photo of Mina, who Double Down happened to mention. They’re able to track her phone to a location where she sits waiting for them. Because she’s dead.
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Yes, Damien was displeased with Double Down’s initial efforts and with Mina’s lack of respect for him. So he uses one of Double’s cards to kill her (though not before she mentions Phase 3, aka “Genesis”) and threatens Double Down with the same fate unless he makes good on his promised Green Arrow slaying.
So while two-thirds of OTA are chasing down a literal dead end, the other third comes under threat. Felicity has been checking in with Curtis, who has been busy working on the world-changing technologies they promised the Palmer Tech board. (A $200,000 pair of HD contact lenses and a communications device that spontaneously explodes are his best leads so far.)
She asks Curtis to look into the bicep-slicing card from Double Down to figure out what it’s made up of and then, more importantly, how they can track it back to its source. Luckily, and unluckily, for them, that source has found them, as Double Down appears, demanding the Green Arrow’s location.
NEXT: Never bet against Team Arrow. [pagebreak]
Curtis and Felicity flee into her private elevator and head down to the Arrow lair. On the way, Felicity spills her secret connection to the Green Arrow, though not his identity, but any sense of safety is erased when Double Down follows them down to the secret level. So Felicity improvises by grabbing a gun and blindly firing at their pursuer. A lighting fixture knocks Curtis out in the ensuing battle, but all of the haywire fire sends Double Down running.
Oliver and Diggle return, their bromance slowly returning, as Diggle now has someone helping him look into his brother’s murder for the first time in two years. They’re able to track Double Down fleeing back to Central City, so Ollie and Diggle, now reunited as a team, cut him off at the pass.
And though it’s not a bullet, Ollie takes a card to the chest (his Kevlar protects him), to save Diggle, who pummels Double for answers. Unfortunately, the man is more afraid of Damien than of them, so they send regroup after sending the meta back to Central to be locked up. Sadly, the whole ordeal put their base in jeopardy, as Lair 2.0 might now be compromised if Double Down informed Damien of their whereabouts. Looks like it might be time for Lair 3.0, and Oliver has a surprise in that department.
But even if a safe house was lost, a friendship was restored in the process, as Diggle and Oliver have made huge strides in the healing process.
Back from the Dead
Huge strides are also made in the attempts to revive Sara, but they may not be good strides. Laurel and Thea interrupt Nyssa and Malcolm sparring to ask for use of the Lazarus Pit. But Malcolm refuses, and Nyssa detests the very idea of her former love being forced back into existence.
She warns Laurel that whatever would come out of the Pit would not be the Sara they knew. This decision is coming out of grief, not love, she argues, but Laurel is steadfast in her desire to bring her sister back, Malcolm just needs to be convinced.
All it takes, apparently, is his daughter. Thea confides in him about her bloodlust, which was borne of her Pit revival. The Pit has driven her to want to kill the person who killed her, and since Ra’s is dead, her hunger for battle goes unchecked.
It needs to be curbed with killing, so Malcolm launches a surprise attack on his own daughter, allowing her to easily slay a few of his guards, which should subside the effects of the Pit for a few weeks (how convenient in the structure of a weekly TV series).
The whole ordeal and Thea’s anger toward her father drive Malcolm to allow the use of the Pit on Sara, despite no one having been brought back from such certain death in the Pit before. So despite Nyssa’s protests, Sara is lowered into the pit and rises, restored to life. But she immediately attacks much in the same way Thea did upon her return, so they chain her up.
Laurel is happy with the result, but she’s been warned that they must prepare for the worst. This very well may not be the Sara she believes it to be. (ASIDE: However you feel about Laurel over the years, her driving herself to this point is not surprising. In a world where someone who nearly died can be brought back to life, it’s easy to see why Laurel, who has lost one of the people she cares for most in this world, would travel down this dark path.)
But for their act, Nyssa destroys the Pit, which is what her father wanted if it fell into the wrongs hands. To Nyssa, Malcolm’s hands qualify as plenty wrong, and with Sara still acting rabid, it’s tough not to agree with her for the time being.
What will come of Sara will have to wait for later, but another mystery looms on the horizon, as Felicity’s mysteriously malfunctioning phone presents her with what seems to be a message, her name appearing against a Matrix-style background. It’s a good thing Team Arrow is finding ways to come back together, as danger looks to be coming for them.
On the Island
Oliver continued to ingratiate him into his new platoon on Lian Yu. He’s forced to torture some of the workers in the fields when the other soldiers threaten them with death to discover who among them has been stealing. A woman working on the island comes forward as the thief, and Oliver spares her from a bullet to the head by promising his fellow soldiers he’ll disappear her from the island so that their boss isn’t angered by the mounting body count.
Oliver leads her away from camp, and forces another soldier to run straight into a land mine so that Oliver can set her free without interference.