Now this was an episode of Arrow. Bravo to Stephen Amell for tonight’s fearless, haunting performance of Oliver at his darkest, most shocking low.
We open on what’s clearly the latest in a long series of torture sessions, with Chase holding Oliver’s head underwater until he confesses. Confesses what? Chase says it’s the one thing Oliver’s been afraid to admit even to himself. Oliver has no idea what that is, so it’s back underwater for him.
Flashback, the first of many: Oliver and his wig (which actually looks pretty good tonight!) spare Gregor’s life — only to jump straight to torture to get the man to confess what Kovar’s planning. Anatoly warns that Gregor will never tell the truth when he’s in pain.
Yet he does speak some truth just before dying, saying “samovol shchnia” to Anatoly and telling Oliver, “You are no one’s hero. Everything and everyone that you love will wither and die at your touch.” As last words go, that’s awfully metal.
The Pakhan’s dead, long live the Pakhan! Seniority gives it to Anatoly, and after his installation ceremony, he tells Oliver that Gregor’s phrase meant, “Do as you will.” It was code for overthrowing the government during the 1917 Russian revolution — and perhaps a clue about Gregor’s deal with Kovar, which Anatoly plans to honor.
Meanwhile, Oliver offers to see if he can get any information from Kovar’s housekeeper, Galina. He finds her shopping for apples at a market, where the music playing in the background is definitely one of the songs from the old-school Tetris Nintendo game. Before he can do much more than say he knew her daughter, Taiana, Galina’s bodyguard tussles with Oliver and gets shot for his pains, resulting in a fruitless trip (except for the pie supplies).
Anatoly’s meeting with Kovar goes a little better, and can I say how nice it is to have Dolph Lundgren’s gorgeous, slightly unsettling smile back on this show? He’s meeting with none other than Malcolm Merlyn, the CEO of Merlyn Global Group, to arrange a not-at-all mysterious shipment. As Merlyn leaves, he bumps into Anatoly, who amusingly introduces himself simply as “gangster.”
Kovar congratulates Anatoly on his ascendancy, and Anatoly blames Kapiushon, or “the hood,” for Gregor’s death. Then he assures Kovar that he’ll honor Gregor’s commitments, including samovol shchnia. Unfortunately, Kovar explains that his plan has to do with ridding Russia of the weakness that’s gripped it since the death of the Soviet Union. In other words, it’s time for a coup.
Anatoly rightly recognizes this is a big, terrible plan and urges Oliver to return to America. But Oliver points to their brotherhood, so they head to the docks to see exactly what Merlyn Global’s shipping to Kovar.
In the present, Chase is keeping Oliver shirtless and chained (calm down, ladies and/or gentlemen!) in a cell with photos of Oliver’s victims tacked to the walls, but he promises to set Oliver free if he’ll just confess his secret. When Oliver still claims ignorance, Chase shoots him in the shoulder with the arrow he used to kill The Count (who was about to murder Felicity at the time).
Then Chase really digs in, brandishing a pair of Felicity’s glasses that he took from her apartment without her knowledge. Oliver starts to vehemently threaten him, and Chase next says he’ll locate Oliver’s son. Oliver may not know his location, but Chase brags that he’ll find it. He leaves Oliver to think about his confession along with the person Chase will kill next. Oliver’s starting to break down, but he still doesn’t know what Chase wants him to confess.