Arrow recap: Family Ties
Oliver takes on a family of bank robbers; Laurel and Tommy's relationship moves forward
….And I’m back. Apologies for my absence, recap readers, you can blame it on Sandy and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show (no, really).
The last two episodes, which were so brilliantly recapped by my sub James Hibberd, had some significant reveals, like Oliver’s mom being very much in cahoots with the enemy, and Laurel being well, um kind of annoying.
In contrast, tonight’s episode didn’t really deliver any truth bombs, but it did make strides in developing the relationships between some of the major players and by giving Oliver a mission beyond his father’s list.
Let’s dig in below:
Just in case you forgot that corrupt rich people aren’t the only threats to a struggling city, tonight’s episode opens with a bank robbery by a group of less privileged masked gunmen.
After a training session, Dig tells Oliver that he wants to go after the robbers, especially since one of them shot a cop, but Oliver says he’d rather focus on taking down Scott Morgan, a bad businessman name-checked on “the list.” Dig doesn’t understand why Oliver is so tied down to the list, and tells him that he’s got a “narrow definition of being a hero,” but the ever stubborn Oliver simply retorts that he’s not a hero.
Instead of letting the matter go, Dig, who apparently really is more than just a sidekick, tricks Oliver into coming to the hospital to meet the injured police officer’s distraught wife. The emotional blackmail works and Oliver declares he’s going to go after the robbers. Side note: For a guy who’s trying to keep his vengeance seeking alter-ego under wraps, Oliver sure does seem comfortable yelling out, “Let’s go catch some bank robbers,” in a public space.
While the two review footage of the bank robbery, Oliver spots an obscure ring on one of the gunmen and realizes it could be the key to unearthing his identity. He quickly dons his Arrow costume and sneaks into the police precinct to get photos of the bank manager who was punched by the man wearing the ring.
After analyzing the indentation’s on the bank manager’s face, Oliver discovers it was left by a high school class ring. He manages to link the ring—a little too easily if you ask me—to, Kyle Reston, a high school student who, along with his family, dropped off the grid right before his senior year. It doesn’t take long for Oliver to tie the entire clan—including the mother–to the robbery.
NEXT: Oliver gives the Reston family a second chance…
All the family talk reminds Oliver that he has one too, so he heads home to meet his mom and sister for brunch with guests, including Carter, aka the perfect child your mom constantly compares you to. Oliver has to cut the meal short when Dig interrupts with intel on the robbers, who are getting ready to make another hit.
Arrow attempts to intercept the robbers as they leave another bank, but they manage to get away — though this time they’re empty-handed as Arrow manages to trap their bundles of cash. Later, the robbers hold a family meeting to discuss whether or not it’s time to give up their life of crime. The parents want to call it quits and head to Mexico but Kyle, the cop shooter, refuses to give up. He wants to be “set for life.” Somehow, this incredibly weak argument convinces his dad, who agrees to one more robbery.
Meanwhile, at Queen Corp., Oliver enlists blonde IT girl—whose name I will one day learn—to dig up some dirt on robber dad Derrick Reston. “I should add personal internet researcher for Oliver Queen to my job title…happily I mean,” IT girl quips. I’m liking her more and more. She tells Oliver that Derrick used to work at the Queen Industrial’s steel factory. After the factory was shutdown due to outsourcing to China, Derrick, who was denied a severance package, lost his home. (Side note: I don’t really understand why Oliver needs research assistance, especially since we’ve seen him track down more difficult intel on his own).
Oliver feels responsible for Derrick’s actions. After all, his dad was the one who shutdown the factory.
Cue flashback: On the island, a weak Oliver hallucinates a conversation with his father. His dad angrily says he begged Oliver to survive. Then, he hands him a gun and tells him there’s one bullet life. Oliver is tempted to take his life, though his dad pushes him to keep on surviving.
Guilt-stricken, Oliver decides to give Derrick the chance to do the right thing, so he heads to a dive bar where the factory workers used to hangout and offers Derrick a job. Derrick declines and tells him he doesn’t want to take charity from the son of a man who ruined his life. On his way out, Oliver leaves his card with Derrick and drops a bug in his pocket.
Later, he and Dig listen in as Derrick and his family deliberate their next move. Derrick tells his wife he wants to retire, but she says they have to do one more job so that their reckless son Kyle can feel like a “winner.” (Um, what?). Now that he knows the Reston’s are planning another robbery, Oliver decides it’s time to take them down.
But first, Oliver has to attend Laurel’s benefit! Actually, let’s back-up a bit here. You see, while Oliver and Dig were hunting down the bank robbers, Laurel was freaking out about losing CNRI’s largest donor.
NEXT: Tommy makes a play for Laurel…
In a case of classic bad timing, Tommy stopped by her office while she was freaking out and suggested taking her away on a day trip. Naturally, Laurel didn’t waste any time shutting him down (or dropping some serious attitude). Fresh off his rejection, Tommy asked Thea for girl advice (why he would ask his best friend’s messed up younger sister for any advice is beyond me). Thea, who I should note thought she was the girl in question, told Tommy to “find out what’s a big deal to her, and make it a big deal to you.” With this brilliant new insight, Tommy decided to step in as a sponsor for CNRI. Of course Laurel, ever the self-righteous one, wasn’t willing to accept his gesture. Instead, she told him she could manage without his family’s finances. Can someone please explain to me why she’s so hot and cold? Last time I checked, she and Tommy were on good terms. After a little convincing from her co-worker and pal though, Laurel changes her mind and decides to take the money (how principled!).
Later, while planning the fundraiser, she asks Tommy why he’s making such an effort with her. He tells her a heartwarming story about picking up a girl at a bar only to realize he had already hooked up with her. The incident made him realize that he’d rather spend his days making omelets with Laurel, than accidently hooking up with the same girl twice.
Now back to the benefit! Thea realizes that Tommy is just not that into her and proceeds to down drinks until she’s a drunken mess. Meanwhile, Tommy’s convo with Laurel gets interrupted by Carter—you know, the perfect son. Carter tells Laurel that he’s thinking about opening up a free clinic and suggests the two of them catch up over drinks. Within seconds, she leaves poor Tommy behind. As Tommy mopes about Laurel, a wasted Thea confronts him with her feelings and asks him for a dance. Tommy pushes her away and tells her he sees her as a baby sister. Ouch. (Still, I think there’s something brewing between these too. It’ll just take a lot of time and a lot of growing up on Thea’s part to find out what it is). Tommy ends up taking Thea out back so she can empty out the contents of her stomach. Laurel finds him and lets him know that she only danced with Carter because he made a big donation (again, principles everyone!). She leaves him with a peck on the cheek and says he “earned” it. Sure.
Meanwhile, inside the benefit, Oliver’s mom lectures him about ditching brunch earlier but she doesn’t get far because he has to dash off yet again.
Arrow goes after the robbers as they attempt to clean out another bank. As he tries to stop them from getting away, a security guard takes aim at Kyle, but Derrick steps in front of him to absorb the bullet. On the verge of death, Derrick tells Arrow that he’s responsible for how Kyle turned out. The heartfelt admission prompts another flashback. This time, Arrow recalls hallucinating his father telling him to stay strong and right his wrongs.
Later Dig tells Oliver that he’s not responsible for Derrick getting shot, and tells him that his father would have been proud to see his son today. I have to say, the deepening friendship between Oliver and Dig is my favorite thing about the show right now.
Cue another flashback: Oliver is about to burn pages from his father’s book to fuel a makeshift fire on the island when he realizes they have names written on them. It’s essentially the moment when he finds a reason to keep on living.
At the mansion, Oliver’s mother apologizes for lashing out at him at the benefit and tells him she’s lonely and misses her son. To set things right, Oliver takes his mom to his go-to diner, and they bond over burgers. How sweet.
Ok, now it’s your turn. What did you think of tonight’s episode?