Arrow recap: 'Left Behind'
Team Arrow tries to stay calm and carry on without Oliver.
Unofficially, Arrow‘s midseason return was an official Felicity episode and was all the better for it. To be honest, the introduction of Arrow‘s newest villain, Brick, wasn’t all that compelling, but Emily Bett Rickards’ performance along with the rest of Team Arrow’s response to Oliver’s death carried the episode. Right now, Arrow is in rather uncharted territory. Or, at least to me it is because I can’t think of another show that has sidelined or would sideline the lead character in such a way. (Yes, Oliver shows up in the flashbacks, but those are the worst this season). While we definitely miss Oliver’s presence in the present storyline, tonight’s episode made it clear that the rest of the cast is more than up for the task of carrying the show—i.e. making it worth us suffering through these boring Hong Kong flashbacks.
FLASHBACK — Hong Kong, 3 years ago
No surprise here, Amanda Waller is not happy that Oliver and Maseo blunderingly abducted that scientist. Naturally, all Maseo can think about is finding his wife, but the same can’t be said of Amanda Waller, who just doesn’t give a f— because they have more pressing concerns. ARGUS has learned the bioweapon is comprised of two parts; and Omega, which is now in China White’s possession, is useless without Alpha, its counterpart, which is currently being held by the Hong Kong military. So, their mission is to steal from the military and destroy it.
After some initial troubles, Maseo and Oliver are able to infiltrate the military compound and steal the sample. However, China White’s henchmen show up and start shooting at them—because that’s what henchmen do. As Maseo lays down some cover fire, Oliver tries to escape with the bioweapon, but one of China White’s men follows him. He has no problem knocking him down, but chooses not to kill him with his arrow. Naturally, Amanda Waller hears about this and is not happy—although last episode’s scientist shouldn’t have been captured and interrogated, this guy should have been. When Amanda leaves, Oliver reveals to Maseo that he didn’t kill the guy because he placed a tracker in his pocket in the hope that he can lead them to Tatsu’s location. Maseo says he’ll be forever in Oliver’s debt.
It’s been three days since Oliver went to fight Ra’s al Ghul. No one on Team Arrow has heard from Oliver and, in his absence, they’ve been trying to maintain order in Starling City. We kick tonight’s episode off with Roy and the SCPD in hot pursuit of a truck full of bad guys. The show doesn’t play this up too much, but it’s probably Roy’s first time handling something like this on his own. Well, he’s not actually alone because Diggle, dressed as the Arrow, joins in midway through. “I thought he was supposed to be good,” says one of the thugs when Diggle fires off a few arrows. Eventually, Roy is able to apprehend one guy, but the other gets away.
While Laurel is handling the prosecution of the guy Team Arrow caught, Anton (the guy who got away) returns to his crew, but does not receive a warm welcome—he disobeyed Danny “Brick” Brickwell (Vinnie Jones), his boss, who ordered him to lay low. In the end, Brick, who was recently released from Iron Heights after key witnesses had “accidents,” kills Anton and leaves the rest of his crew to handle the body.
Meanwhile, Malcolm and Thea are having some family bonding time—by which I mean, they are sword fighting. It’s both scary and awesome how good Thea has gotten in the past several months. During their break from sparring, Thea confesses that she’s worried about Oliver because she hasn’t seen or heard from him in a while. Malcolm offers to ask some of his contacts to track him down and has no problem doing it because Oliver is “family.” (ASIDE: Malcolm has a weird conception of acceptable things to put family through. But this is Arrow, where every family’s normal is screwed up.)
NEXT: The team receives some really bad news
Felicity—who’s trying to remain optimistic in spite of Diggle and Roy’s worries that Oliver’s dead—finds out that the two guys they were chasing earlier work for Brick, and she is able to track down some of Brick’s crew’s burner phones. Instead of finding Brick when they go to investigate, Diggle and Roy find Anton’s body, destroyed cell phones, and a piece of burnt paper with a series of seemingly random numbers. When they return to the Arrow Cave, they, along with Felicity, find Malcolm waiting for them. Naturally, Diggle’s first instinct is pull out his Glock, to which Malcolm hilariously and politely asks, “Could you put the gun away? They don’t scare so much as annoy me.” To make sure Malcolm knows what’s up, Diggle responds by pulling out a second one. Anyway, Malcolm asks if they’ve heard from Oliver since he went to face Ra’s al Ghul. The trio’s lack of response leads Malcolm to inform them that they should’ve and that the Demon’s Head does not take prisoners. Malcolm’s visit definitely leaves an impression on the one’s Oliver leaves behind, especially on Roy, who asks Felicity what’s the point of her insisting on trying to figure out the meaning of the numbers they found.
After leaving the cave, Malcolm heads to Nanda Parbat to look for Oliver. Borrowing some of Barry Allen’s speed because that’s the only thing that makes sense, Malcolm pays Team Arrow another visit and tells them that Oliver is dead. However, this time he has the sword with him as proof and explains to the leftovers that it’s Ra’s custom to leave behind the instrument of death to honor the fallen. Felicity, who continues to be awesome and moving in tonight’s episode, gets angry and rightly tells Malcolm that he’s responsible for Oliver’s death. She starts crying; I start crying; there are a lot of tears. In a surprising move, Malcolm agrees that Oliver’s death is on him. “You are right, and I will live with that guilt for the rest of my days [because saying forever wasn’t dramatic enough]. I’m truly sorry, I can see how much you loved him.” He admits that Oliver’s death ensures his own, to which Felicity coldly replies “good.”
After the commercial break, we return to the lair, and enter what I thought was the most emotionally stirring moment of the episode. The Arrow Cave is quiet—there isn’t a single sound, and the camera, which is looking down at the trio from above, slowly moves in. The first sound we here is the computer alerting Felicity that it is done testing the blood on the sword. It’s Oliver’s. Again, the camera slowly closes in on Felicity’s face as she reads the results and thanks Diggle for not saying I told you so. In tears, Felicity gets up and heads off to work, in spite of Diggle saying she doesn’t have to.
While Felicity is at work, Roy decides to raid Verdant’s bar and Thea walks in on him. After dodging her questions about him drinking alone, Roy asks how she’s doing and she says that she’s worried about Oliver. Because she knows that he’s the guy in the red hood who works with the Arrow, Thea asks Roy to ask the Arrow to help her find Oliver. Lying, and from his face, clearly hating it, Roy says he will.
NEXT: A not-so-surprising return
After Thea leaves, Roy returns to the Arrow Cave and tells Diggle what happened. Diggle decides that they should honor Oliver’s wishes and not tell Thea that he’s the Arrow. (SPOILER ALERT: This is a bad decision and Thea will be EVEN MORE HURT when she finds out because she’ll probably learn that around the same time she learns her dad brainwashed her to kill Sara.) To distract himself from dealing with Malcolm’s news, Diggle is poring over the numbers and can’t figure out why they, and the case, seem familiar. And then he realizes that the numbers are case numbers and refer to several very muscular guys—reinforcers or as they say in the biz “the muscle”—who are awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, Felicity is at Queen Consolidated and ignoring Diggle’s calls. Earlier in the episode, Ray asked Felicity to help with a problem he’s having with his A.T.O.M. project. He stops by to see if she’s made any progress and finds her crying. Still upset from Malcolm’s news, Felicity tells him that his plan to save Starling City with this suit won’t work. But, she doesn’t stop there, she brings up the dead fiancee. “It won’t bring her back,” Felicity says. “She’s not coming back. When we lose someone, when someone dies, they’re gone forever and there is nothing, nothing that we can do that will bring them back. So, you have to stop because it’s not what Anna would’ve wanted.” Ray makes it clear that even though she’s upset, she doesn’t have the right to tell him what Anna would’ve wanted. It’s another great scene thanks to Rickard’s performance.
Diggle and Roy realized that from what they found at Brick’s warehouse that he’s planning on breaking into the SCPD warehouse to destroy the evidence against the guys whose case numbers he had. With Felicity providing back-up from the lair by monitoring warehouse cameras, Diggle and Roy head out to stop him. Unfortunately, Brick succeeds in stealing the evidence because the door to the building closes on Diggle and Roy—right as he drives away. When we return to the lair, Felicity reveals that she’s the one who closed the door on because they were outnumbered and outweaponed and she couldn’t stand to lose anyone else. Diggle is upset and says it wasn’t her call to make because if they’re going to carry this on without Oliver, they have to trust one another. “There is no this without him. It’s done. I’m done,” says Felicity before leaving the two men in the cave in the dark.
Felicity heads back to Queen Consolidated to apologize to Ray. She tells him that in the past three months, she has lost two people she loves, which is more than anyone at 25 should have to go through in such a short period of time. “If you want to commit suicide, I can’t stop you. But I don’t have to help you,” she says to him. Meanwhile, Laurel, who was informed of Oliver’s passing earlier, pays Diggle a visit in the cave and tells him that they had to release all of the guys. In another heartbreaking moment, Diggle reveals that what’s bothering him the most is that part of him still saw himself as Oliver’s bodyguard, but he couldn’t protect him from this.
Across town, Brick assembles the men he freed from prison and tells them that he plans to use them to conquer the Glades. As two of the muscle are leaving the rally, Laurel, who stole Sara’s equipment from the Arrow Cave after the conversation with Diggle, attacks them with Sara’s ultrasonic scream device. “I’m the justice you can’t run from,” bad ass Laurel says in her appearance in costume before knocking the two guys out.
MEANWHILE IN NANDA PARBAT…
Maseo retrieves Oliver’s body from the cliff onto which it fell after the fight and carries it through the snow to a secluded house. To no one’s surprise, his wife Tatsu is waiting inside for him. However, it’s clear that they haven’t talked in a while because he tells her that he had nowhere else to go. Somehow, and without the help of the Lazarus Pit, she’s able to revive Oliver, and before the episode ends, we see him wake up.
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