By Chancellor Agard
October 22, 2018 at 09:52 PM EDT
Dean Buscher/The CW
S7 E2
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Arrow’s season 7 efficient premiere set about righting the show’s ship while also introducing some interesting twists and the second episode continues to build on that table-setting. “The Longbow Hunters” marks the introduction of the season’s new villains, and also complicates the already-unusual dynamic between the former members of Team Arrow.

As I mentioned, the episode introduces the Longbow Hunters, the trio of assassins that Ricardo Diaz hired to exact revenge against, well, everyone. We first meet the three villains — Red Dart, Kodiak, and Silencer — as they infiltrate one of ARGUS’ offsite safehouses and steal, well, a super battery. What makes them stand out from previous villain groups on the show is that they appear to have some fun while doing their work, especially Red Dart and Silencer, the latter of whom uses noise-suppression technology to sneak up and kill her enemies. I’ll admit, though, that I find Kodiak kind of silly but in an endearing way. It’s like Arrow looked at itself and was like, “Okay, we have a guy with a bow and arrow, a sword guy, what’s the next outdated weapon we can give someone? Oh yes, a deadly shield.” (Yes, I know Kodiak is a character from the comics, but that still doesn’t make the fact that he uses a shield as an offensive weapon any less funny).

Anyway, the Longbow Hunters’ theft sets everything in motion, including the rising tension between Felicity and Diggle. Following her decision to fight back, Felicity is eager to go after Diaz, so when the Longbow Hunters come up she begs Diggle to let her get involved. But, as Diggle reminds her several times, this is ARGUS, not Team Arrow, so Diaz can’t be the focus. Part of Diggle’s stance is also due to the fact that his boss reminded him that retrieving the battery is their priority since ARGUS isn’t chartered from criminal investigations.

So, Felicity takes matters into her own hands and recruits Curtis and Rene to help her track down the Longbow Hunters’ lair. It’s empty when they arrive and in their excitement, they accidentally trip an alarm that erases all of the data on the laptop. Oh, also Diggle shows up with an ARGUS tactical team right at that moment. And cue a firm scolding from Diggle, who is forced to reveal that ARGUS is so anxious about the battery because it can be used to power an energy weapon.

In the wake of Felicity’s blunder in the field, Diggle revokes her computer access at ARGUS, which leads to the duo’s first fight in, well, I don’t know when. Felicity accuses Diggle of giving up on Oliver and the mission and even brings up the fact that he declined Oliver’s desire for him to pick-up the Green Arrow mantle. While some of what she says isn’t totally fair — specifically that the last six years clearly didn’t mean anything to him — it’s easy to understand where she’s coming from because she has lost everything, and it also makes sense that she’s channeling her pain into finding Diaz. Furthermore, the tenacity with which Felicity is trying to go after Diaz feels very much in line with how she acted back in season 5 with Prometheus and teaming up with Helix.

Diggle gives Felicity her space, but eventually pulls her aside to talk some more and reveals he didn’t pick up the hood because he saw what it did to Oliver and Felicity’s family and he couldn’t do that to Lyla and Little John. Like Felicity, it’s completely understandable why Diggle made his decision, and I’m glad that the show recognizes both of their viewpoints and it never feels like it’s choosing sides. Furthermore, David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards turn in pretty great performances in the scene, too.

NEXT: Black Canary and Black Siren!

With the hatchet buried, Felicity agrees to work with Diggle to track down the Longbow Hunters. Eventually, they discover that the assassin is targeting a train carrying one of the weapons. When they arrive on the scene, Diggle comes face to face with the shield-wielding Kodiak, and the look of disbelief on David Ramsey’s face was PRICELESS! In the fire-fight, Diggle ends up coming face to face with Diaz, which leads a fine fight between the two men that involves a flamethrower and Diggle throwing a knife in Diaz’s chest. Unfortunately, Diggle ends up finding himself in a tough spot: recover the battery and protect the weapon, or stop Diaz. Diggle chooses the former and lets Diaz escape, much to Felicity’s chagrin.

While Diggle was busy facing Red Dart, Kodiak, and Diaz, Dinah and Laurel had their hands full fighting Silencer in one of Diaz’s old hideouts. Laurel, trying to evade SCPD protection, went looking for Diaz, but instead found Silencer. Luckily, Dinah arrived in time and the combined power of their cries was enough to disable Silencer’s device. But, alas, the stealthy assassin managed to get away. The biggest development to come from this outcome, however, is that Laurel ends up apologizing to Dinah for killing Vigilante, and admits that losing Quentin helped her understand how Dinah must have felt. I’m sure Dinah will never be able to forgive her, but I’m glad that the two women have gotten to a place where they can be in the same room together.

After being forced to watch Diaz get away, Felicity decides that she needs to work with someone who can focus all attention on Diaz. So, she leaves ARGUS and joins up with none other than Agent Watson at the FBI.

While all of this was going on, Oliver was busy trying to get some information about Brick, who hired the men who attacked Oliver last week for Diaz. However, Brick says he’ll only tell him if he gets rid of Officer York. Working with Green Arrow fanboy Stanley, Oliver endeavors to find a way to make York leave without ruining his life, but in the end, he fails. With no other option, Oliver frames York for trying to shank him in the middle of the cafeteria. The message of the storyline is pretty clear: Oliver will have to compromise once again if he hopes to survive and get what he wants.

This was the first normal Arrow episode of the season, and I’m surprised by how well the show handled not having its main character with everyone else. Part of the reason I think I enjoyed it so much is because Oliver’s dynamic with Stanley is very entertaining and feels really fresh. I loved the moment when Stanley wondered what Overwatch was. I’m looking forward to seeing this relationship develop.

FLASH-FORWARD:

Meanwhile, on Lian-Yu 20 years from now, William explains to Old Man Roy that Felicity and Oliver just left him, and he thought he was basically on his own until the Hozen started beeping and led him to Lian-Yu. At first, Roy — who is trying to ignore the past and bristles at the mere mention of Thea — tells him to just leave the island. But William keeps pushing, so Roy admits that he knows why the Hozen brought him here, and the two of them end up digging up Oliver’s old crate, which contains his bow and some arrows. With that discovery, Roy tells William to grab that stuff because they’re heading back to Star City.

We’re the second week into the flash-forwards and I’m not entirely sure how this story will affect the present. I imagine (read: hope) there must be more to why Felicity and Oliver never went back for William because that just seems odd and very crappy on their part. Furthermore, what happened between Roy and Thea? I need to know!

Wall of Weird:

  • Felicity loves her wine, and that’s why she’s my favorite.
  • “Back in town a week and you’re already sneaking out of ARGUS behind Papa D’s back,” says Rene.
  • What Would Green Arrow Do?

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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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