By Samantha Highfill
Updated December 04, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW
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With only one episode left before Arrow‘s midseason hiatus, everything is finally coming together… but also falling apart. Let me start at the beginning: Amidst a very foreshadowing lightning storm — The Flash. Get it? — Brother Blood’s first successful super soldier broke into a Queen Consolidated warehouse. Although Quentin and his men couldn’t quite piece together the crime scene, they were in luck. The new guy in town might suck at making it to train stations on time, but he’s one heck of a brainiac. Everyone, meet Barry Allen. Barry, meet everyone.

The fresh-faced lad came ready to play, with lots of energy and lots more knowledge. He informed Oliver and his team that the break-in was orchestrated by one man. One very strong man who had stolen an industrial centrifuge, which does something about separating liquids and having the lighter objects move to the top. Cue Felicity and Barry’s first interaction, Barry’s prolonged stare, and Oliver’s uneasiness about said stare. Ollie had his team look into Barry’s theory, and the kid ended up being right. A centrifuge had been stolen. Oh, and did I mention that Felicity invited Barry to set up camp at Queen Consolidated considering Ollie likes to keep things “in house?” Just like that, we had our second moment of Oliver jealousy. This is going to be fun.

With things not going so well for him as they were for Arrow, Oliver tried to mend things in the corporate world. Moira was back, but Isabel didn’t want her “back” at Queen Consolidated. According to Isabel, the city still hadn’t forgiven Moira, so Ollie decided the best way to address her homecoming was to act normal, which for the Queens meant throwing a lavish party.

So as Oliver planned his next big shindig, Felicity and Barry were busy sitting in a tree lab. While examining the intruder’s very large footprint, Barry revealed some personal information. For one, he was completely obsessed with the vigilante and had basically figured out all of Oliver’s secrets. That, plus he found a way to improve his arrows. Perhaps brain is greater than brawn… until brawn takes his shirt off. But let’s stay on track here: Barry’s mom was murdered when he was 11, and he never found the guy who did it. His obsession with the vigilante stemmed from the idea that maybe the vigilante would find the man who killed his mother.

Speaking of mothers, Oliver’s was getting a visit from her ex-lover. Malcolm Merlyn showed up at the house to threaten her into telling Thea the truth about Malcolm being her real father. Apparently Thea is all he has left, and Moira is to thank for the man he’s become. Whatever, Malcolm. Shut up and start beating people up again.

When Oliver and Diggle found Barry and Felicity, they had discovered sugar in the intruder’s footprint. And what would you know? There was a sugar refinery two miles from their current location. Fun fact: That sugar refinery had a truck stolen from it a few days ago, and that same truck was just used to rob a blood bank. And despite Diggle’s witty remark, it didn’t appear as if Starling City had a vampire on its hands. Oliver knew more than he was telling the group, but instead of divulging his secrets, he hopped on a motorcycle and tried to take down the super soldier himself. Let’s just say it ended with Felicity having to patch up the shirtless hunk.

And as she did, Oliver finally decided to fill his team in on the super serum he had found on the island. It enhanced endurance, reflexes, and strength. From the amount of stuff being stolen, it was obvious someone had found the recipe — Oliver had burned all of it on the island — and was trying to mass produce it. But they still hadn’t gotten the third ingredient: a strong sedative. Ollie gave Felicity an arrow covered in the super soldier’s blood so that they could figure out what sedative was being used, a.k.a. where he would strike next. She, of course, went straight to Barry. One final dose of jealousy got Oliver to ask Diggle to look into this Allen kid.

Spoiler: Barry wasn’t telling the truth. He didn’t work with the police. He was an assistant. He told Oliver that when his mother was murdered, the police blamed his father, who was now serving life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Barry talked about the person who broke into their home that night, and described a blur with a person inside. When he went to stop the intruder, Barry somehow ended up 20 blocks from home. Nobody believed him, which is precisely why he works these strange cases now. If he can make sense of one of them, maybe he can find out who really killed his mom and free his dad. As beautiful as this foreshadowing was, I could hardly enjoy it, because Oliver and Felicity were busy fighting. She had just lost her plus one to his party, and she was not happy about it.

But before we get to the party, let’s find out what Roy and Thea were up to this week. When Sin called Roy and told him her friend was missing, Roy and Thea both agreed to help. Her friend, Max, had gone missing at Blood’s blood drive (say that five times fast). By episode’s end, Max had shown up dead and bleeding from his eyes. The cops said he overdosed, but Roy knew better. He asked the vigilante for help, but Oliver didn’t want to involve Roy in all of this super serum business. And when that pissed Roy off, Oliver put an arrow through his leg to slow him down. Aggressive move, but effective.

Oliver’s big party ended up being a bust for everyone except Felicity. Only a handful of people showed up, but Moira took it like a champ. And after feeling bad about the Barry business, Oliver invited Felicity’s plus one, and the two adorable nerds danced while Isabel and Oliver grabbed some drinks at the bar. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a fan of the pairing off in this scene. Mama Queen immediately made it known that she wasn’t on the Oliver-Isabel train. For once, I’m glad Moira’s back.

However, the after-party wasn’t as great for poor Felicity. Barry was in trouble with his bosses and had to catch the next train back to Central City. The two shared an equal parts awkward and adorable goodbye before Felicity took their findings to Oliver and Diggle. The sedative was housed at an A.R.G.U.S. bunker on the edge of The Glades. Oliver, assuring them he’d beat someone like this before, headed out on his own. Ollie got the super soldier to admit he was “merely a follower,” but that was about all he got out of him before he was thrown around like a chew toy. In his final fall, Ollie was accidentally injected with something. By the time Felicity and Diggle found him, he was out cold. She couldn’t figure out how to save him, but she knew who could (without revealing his secret identity). And thankfully, Barry once again sucked at catching a train, which meant they were able to kidnap him. He woke up in the vigilante’s lair, where Felicity asked him to “please save my friend.”

Back at Oliver’s home away from home — a.k.a. his actual house — Moira proved that she, for one, didn’t need saving. Malcolm might have gotten past her security guards, but she had been doing a little homework of her own. Thanks to something Malcolm told her earlier in the episode, she had found out all about the League of Assassins. Even more than that, she learned of their code of honor. Basically, The Undertaking was Malcolm betraying that code. And now that Moira had informed Ra’s al Ghul that Malcolm was still alive, she suggested that he run. He claimed this wasn’t finished, but one thing was clear: Prison made Moira tougher.

And finally, this week on the island, the gang found the submarine full of “miracle.” However, there were no sedatives on board, which meant injecting Slade would be a risk. Considering his state, they decided it was one worth taking… but not until after Slade made an incredibly uncomfortable comment to Shado about not telling her how he really felt. (Dude: Oliver is right there.) Ollie injected Slade, Slade’s eyes started to bleed, and when Sara checked his pulse, there wasn’t one. To top off the horrible moment, Ivo and his men showed up with guns. Until next week!

What did you guys think of part one of the midseason finale? I thought Barry Allen was a great addition, but was he everything you hoped he would be? And is anyone else getting a little sick of Roy and Thea’s separate, very short stories? Sound off in the comments!

UPDATE: Here’s the promo for Part 2.

Episode Recaps


Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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