Oliver struggles with trust and leadership tonight, but with a little help from the women in his life, Mayor Handsome gets a handle on things. Diggle, meanwhile, finds himself in a dire situation with no allies at all.
The episode opens with Wild Dog and Green Arrow once again in pursuit of the same bad guy. Tonight’s tussle ends with Wild Dog dangling upside down by a leg courtesy of a trick arrow while Green Arrow offers him a choice: Be a man in a hockey mask, or be something better. He leaves Wild Dog with a decision … and a card with a date and address on it.
In the Arrowcave, Curtis is struggling with the salmon ladder (but still doing better than 92 percent of the audience could, I’m guessing). “How does he do this?” he marvels after he tumbles off. Naturally Oliver strolls in at this moment and shows him how in his business suit.
“Impossible,” Curtis marvels.
“It’s really hot. I mean not,” says Felicity, speaking for those of us in the audience inclined to agree with her.
They’re gearing up for the first session with the new team, which Felicity’s hoping won’t involve Oliver shooting his trainees, as it has in the past. Oliver makes no such promise. Oh, and he’s planning on being the Green Arrow throughout and encourages Felicity to hide her identity, too.
“I only wear a mask once a year, and that’s if my Halloween costume calls for it,” she says. Curtis is concerned about the first act of team-building being based on a lie, but Felicity assures him that’s how Ollie did it with his old team.
“And everybody who’s not dead, or presumed dead, quit,” Curtis points out. Burn.
The first training session is… well, it’s brutal. Present at the old HIVE headquarters are Curtis, Evelyn Sharp (a.k.a. the wannabe Black Canary), and Ray Ramirez (a.k.a. Wild Dog, played by Rick Gonzalez). An un-masked Felicity is also there for moral support and/or “to make sure that the horrible maiming stays at a minimum.”
Green Arrow strides in, bristling with hostility, and tells them to start at the line on the floor. Their job will be to get past him to ring a bell attached to a post.
Evelyn’s surprised that they’re going so hard already, but Ramirez grins at the challenge and strips off his hoodie to show some impressive biceps. (Sorry for the objectification, Rick! Loved you in Reaper!)
The trio all charge Green Arrow, and he knocks them down one by one. “On the line!” Oliver shouts, and they do it again. And again. And again. “At least he’s not shooting them,” Felicity mutters.
Bloody and pissed, Ramirez questions the necessity of all of this, and Green Arrow growls at him to check out the statue of Laurel Lance to see why it’s necessary. We’re… we’re going to hear a lot about Laurel this season, aren’t we? Sigh.
Flashback! Oliver wakes up amid the Bratva, and he and the other three recruits are told to get on the line and try to get past the fighters to ring the bell. Just like the present-day training, the applicants get knocked down one by one. Eventually, Oliver uses another applicant as a quasi-human shield, and the two of them get farther than anyone else before being brutally beaten down.
Suddenly, Oliver’s Mr. Miyagi training looks downright kind in comparison, although his recruits might disagree. They’re demoralized, and Oliver barking that “the goal of this exercise is to figure out the goal of this exercise” doesn’t help.
At this point, Felicity calls Green Arrow away for some mayor/vigilante business. Earlier, Oliver and Thea successfully convinced Fortune 500 company AmerTek to foot the bill for a much-needed free medical clinic. Yay! But when one of her VPs is hospitalized following an attack, CEO Janet insists on heightened security at the clinic.
This is complicated when Felicity pulls satellite footage of the attack, which shows that the VP was attacked by someone in a ragged cloak that seems to have sentient tentacles. Hmm… puzzling…
Felicity encourages Oliver to use his new team at the event — not to engage, just to watch.
“They’re too green!” Oliver protests.
Felicity chucks him on the chest and says, “Some could say the same about you.” Then she chuckles and says, “I’ve been waiting five years to make that joke!” WORTH IT! And seriously, that Olicity chemistry? Still there. Let’s get this fixed, writers. By November sweeps, if possible.
NEXT: The source of Oliver’s trust issues