Arrow found its inner Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in its first post-Winter Olympics episode, which sees Team Arrow fight the B-Team. Alas, like that movie, the conflict between the supposed heroes of this story is rather weak. Nevertheless, Arrow benefits from having made us care about both sides of the conflict.
Star City is a really bad shape when “Collision Course” begins, which is to be expected since the recently deceased Cayden James extorted $70 million from the already struggling city. Oliver still hasn’t been able to recover the money and the city is on the verge of collapse. To be fair, Star City is always in danger on Arrow, but I appreciate that the show is actually giving us a relatively mundane threat: We don’t have enough money!
Oliver boldly promises the various city officials breathing down his neck that the money will be back in the city’s bank account in two days. Obviously that doesn’t end up happening. In the moment, Oliver believes he can guarantee that because the Accountant (alas, Ben Affleck does not pop in) couldn’t retrieve the money from Cayden’s Corto Maltese account since someone got to it already and withdrew it all. With Felicity’s help, Oliver and the Accountant discover that Laurel made off with the money, which isn’t great since Dinah — who, in case you forgot, is hell bent on killing Laurel — got herself assigned to the stolen money case.
The tension between Oliver and Dinah is palpable, and I do enjoy watching Stephen Amell and Juliana Harkavy share antagonistic scenes together. I just wish it weren’t over something so cliché. I get that Dinah is still grieving Vincent’s murder, but this revenge plot is rather boring, especially since Vincent doesn’t deserve this much drama.
Speaking of Laurel: She’s busy recovering in a cabin under Quentin’s watchful eye. I think the writers may have realized how creepy Quentin came off in the last episode, because they make a point of having him tell her she can leave whenever she wants. However, Laurel, who declares she can’t and won’t change, decides to stay because she’s still hurt, and she asks Quentin to tell her more about his Laurel. What’s interesting about Katie Cassidy’s performance is that it’s hard to tell just how sincere she’s being. Is all of this manipulation, or does part of her actually want to get close to Quentin?
Neither Team Arrow nor the B-Team has any idea where Laurel is since Quentin has her, so they both return to where she was shot to figure out where she could’ve gone. Both teams realize that someone took her; however, Team Arrow gets there after the B-Team, sees evidence Dinah was there, and storm into the Helix headquarters to confront them. The ensuing confrontation is tense because both sides rehash their grievances. Dinah’s pissed Oliver won’t let her kill Laurel; Oliver is still pissed at Rene for betraying him; the B-Team is still upset about Felicity hacking them. Team Arrow uses some gas to distract the B-Team long enough for them to search the lair for Laurel, who obviously isn’t there. However, Team Arrow isn’t the only one with tricks. Rene provokes a tiny tussle with Oliver to plant a bug on him. Needless to say, Team Arrow’s little break-in doesn’t do anything to help their already fraught relationship with their old teammates. (Next: The old Laurel rises)
Thea suspects Quentin’s hiding something, so she follows him to the cabin and discovers that he’s hiding Laurel there. Laurel wakes up during Quentin and Thea’s conversation and asks to talk to Oliver. She tells Oliver she’ll return the money if he helps her get out of the country, i.e. far, far, far away from the vengeful Black Canary. Oliver’s unsure if he can trust her, but he agrees to it because Quentin believes she’ll hold up her end of the bargain.
The B-Team overhears all of this, which sets Dinah off because “this isn’t justice!” (Nor is responding to murder with another murder, but whatever.) They try tailing Team Arrow to the meet, but Felicity discovers Rene’s bug and gets rid of it. With no other lead, Curtis crosses a line in order to find Laurel: He hacks Diggle’s chip, which disables it and causes John an incredible amount of pain. You know, it’s hard to sympathize with either side of this conflict when both sides keep doing things that make everything worse.
Diggle’s chip failing alerts Team Arrow that the B-Team is on its way, so they rush to get Laurel and Quentin, who volunteered to flee the country with her, to go. Oliver tells Laurel he never wants to see her or hear her name again, which is cold. However, the B-Team shows up right as they’re leaving the cabin, and fighting ensues — and my frustration rises. As Oliver and Diggle handle Rene and Curtis, Dinah tails Laurel and Quentin into the woods, knocks Quentin out, and prepares to kill Laurel. Thankfully, Curtis arrives in time and is finally able to talk her out of murder. Curtis and Dinah’s heart-to-heart allows Laurel to flee. Meanwhile, Rene is fighting Oliver with an ax, and Oliver simply knocks him down so he can’t get back up. Unfortunately, this reopens Rene’s wound from earlier in the season, and he’s rushed to the hospital.
With Laurel on the lam, Oliver has no choice but to announce that he failed the city in a press conference. You know the writers thought it was so cool having Oliver say “I failed this city,” and you know what? It kind of was. Meanwhile, the doctors inform Curtis and Dinah that Rene needs to be transferred to a facility outside of the city that treats this latest injury. Diggle and Felicity show up to the hospital to see how Rene’s doing, but Curtis and Dinah want nothing to do with Team Arrow because they blame them for this. In the words of Tom Haverford, they’re donezo. Look, I’m not in the habit of defending Oliver, but Rene was attacking him with a freakin’ ax and Oliver responded accordingly. It’s not like the B-Team was holding back. In fact, Dinah literally told them not to if they didn’t want Laurel to escape.
The episode ends with two major developments. First, one of the DAs who works for Diaz (who doesn’t appear in the episode) informs the crooked police captain that he’s found a way to bury Oliver, but he’ll need the full support of the police force. The captain agrees. Second, Laurel stumbles into a truck driver and tells him her name is Laurel Lance and she was kidnapped two years ago.
What’s interesting about this season of Arrow is that while I’ve had some problems with the most recent episodes, I haven’t been turned off from the show. I still find myself interested in what comes next, partly because it always feels like Arrow is so close to solving its issues and getting back on track. The last two scenes of this episode made me feel that way. Hopefully, that faith will be rewarded.
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