Arrow Goes To Prison
It's okay, because he only goes to prison for a good reason, like to bust a friend out or learn a secret IP address.
Quentin Lance is the new deputy mayor, which will be relevant for all the plotlines about the way the Star City government runs. Which isn't going to happen, because this isn't The Wire. Oliver's new team includes one guy with apparently unlimited supernatural powers, but he quit when he found out Felicity was sort of responsible for the nuclear incineration of his home city of Haven Rock. Or possible Havenrock. I'm not sure. John Diggle's life off the team has not gone well, and Lyla has come to Oliver asking him to break John out of a military prison. That last part sounds like the story that will be the most fun.
Finally, Something To Do
Name: Evelyn "Artemis" Sharp. Age: Early 20s. Occupation: Vigilante. Goal: Until this episode, her goal was to come up with a hero gimmick. Now that it looks like she's going to be the latest archer in town, she's just looking for a bad guy to shoot an arrow into. Sample Dialogue: [stands quietly in the back while more colorful people say things]
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Mr. Terrific vs. Sergio Espinoza
Team Arrow is engaged in a training exercise where it takes three of the new kids (Mr. Terrific, Artemis, and Wild Dog) to almost do what Oliver can do without even straining. It doesn't go very well, because Wild Dog can't wait to start shooting at bad guys, and he's not even a very good shot. This ends up with Curtis having to punch it out with the thief they're trying to get.
Winner: Sergio Espinoza, who has apparently spent his life getting good at fisticuffs. Unlike Curtis.
All Is Not Forgiven
Who called the meeting? Rory the Rag Man.
What's it about? He's letting Oliver know that he'd like to drop out of the team.
How'd it go? Oliver doesn't like quitters. But once he finds out that Rory knows about Felicity's role in the whole Haven Rock situation, he admits that things could be awkward. Rory doesn't want to take revenge on Felicity or anything, but he can't look at her without being reminded of his dead family. You know, Batman uses his dead family as motivation. Maybe Rory could try that.
Get The Look: Bratva Spy
Five years ago, Oliver was still learning to be a good and productive member of the Bratva. The final test he needs to pass is to sneak into a prison and get some kind of information. It doesn't matter what kind. It doesn't matter. The point is that Oliver has to be properly prepared for this job. So here's what you'll need if you're making a "Prisoner Oliver" costume this year.
A Goofy Smile: Naturally, when you're posing as a random drunk, you want to appear friendly. The goal is for the police to arrest you, but not to let them feel so threatened that they rough you up.
A Bad Haircut: This is traditional, because it's a flashback scene in Arrow.
The Smell Of Alcohol: There are probably ways to simulate this, but Anatoly's plan is just to pour booze all over Oliver. It's direct, but it works. If anyone catches you drunk this Halloween, just claim that this is your costume. They won't buy it, but at least you'll feel like you tried. Bonus points for having an uninterested onlooker in the background.
Just A Quick Pre-Heist
Alert Type: Cool Theft Alert.
Issue: Someone is breaking into Palmer Technologies to load up on gadgetry.
Complicating Factors: It's Oliver Queen! And he didn't tell Felicity he was doing this, so Team Arrow is trying to decide if they should do something.
Resolution: Felicity figures out that it's Oliver because his phone has a GPS in it and her whole deal is monitoring him at all times. But she doesn't approve of him stealing, even if it's from the company that fired her as CEO. They fired him, too, didn't they?
Spoiler: Felicity doesn't approve of Oliver's plan to rescue John against his will. Oliver doesn't care. He keeps saying that he's going to stop John from making a decision he'll regret, and does it without the slightest trace of self-awareness.
Plot Lightning Round
A Diabolical Plan
After Team Arrow captured that criminal at the beginning of the episode (although, to be clear, Oliver did all the work), the thing he was stealing got taken to the secure evidence building. In order to keep it safe, Quentin Lance and the District Attorney went along with them. But that safety is drastically overstated, because the whole time, Tobias Church and his men are massing outside.
And...KABOOM! It turns out the thing that was stolen was secretly a bomb. And now Church's whole gang is coming in and taking all the cool guns and stuff. It's fun when the show occasionally remembers that it should justify how the criminals have so many guns. Although someone may have forgotten that they already covered that with Church buying all those guns a few episodes ago.
While that's going on, Team Arrow has stopped Oliver to tell him they're not going to let him break into a federal prison. They're all united, which ought to impress him.
It doesn't. He beats them all up and continues on his way. Oliver's not really much of a team player, is he? Incidentally, how did they know to stop him on this particular road? It doesn't look like a major artery or anything. Maybe it's the only road to the federal prison? If John's even being kept near Star City, which is not at all clear.
This Prison Has Terrible Security
Alert Type: Heist Alert.
Issue: Oliver is breaking into the prison with remarkable ease.
Complicating Factors: None! Lyla bluffs her way past the guys at the gate, and Oliver sneaks inside in a laundry basket. It all works perfectly. Oliver's even wearing a mask that obscures his face for once, instead of his usual plan of assuming that no one could possibly recognize him by the 90% of his face that his usual "disguise" leaves uncovered.
Resolution: Oliver sneaks around like a ninja until he gets to John's cell. John isn't in it. Whoops! Maybe it didn't work as perfectly as all that.
Spoiler: Oliver will get John back to his cell eventually. It'll be fine.
Come To This Prison Often?
Who called the meeting? Oliver.
What's it about? Oliver needs some information.
How'd it go? This man he's talking to is too tough to just tell him right away. Oliver will have to do something more dramatic. Which would also help these flashbacks with their ongoing quest to be more interesting than last year.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Mistakes Were Made
Rory and Felicity are going to have trouble being friends, since neither of them can even think about the other one without thinking about Haven Rock. But Felicity has researched Rory, and she knows that those rags he wears belonged to his father and grandfather. This seems to impress Rory enough that he's willing to join Team Arrow as they try to figure out what Tobias Church is up to. That's good, because he's clearly the most powerful member of the team, even including Oliver.
That Quote"What is the IP address?!"- Oliver Queen, learning the Bratva secrets of the Dark Web -
He's A Rogue Cop Who Plays By His Own Rules
Who called the meeting? District Attorney Adrian Chase.
What's it about? Trying to convince Sergio Espinoza to flip on Tobias Church.
How'd it go? Badly! Adrian tries to threaten Sergio, but he's not convincing as someone who would just hit a prisoner. And he's about half as big as Sergio, so it's not entirely clear that Sergio would be afraid of him anyway. And as soon as the interrogation starts, Tobias's gang raids the Anti-Crime Unit headquarters with machine guns and explosives, which is not the sort of thing that will convince Sergio to testify against him.
Hurry Up And Escape Already
Alert Type: Motivational Speech Alert.
Issue: John doesn't want to escape from prison because he thinks it's his penance for killing his brother Andy. The fact that Andy turned out to be a scumbag who was trying to kill John doesn't seem to bother him.
Complicating Factors: Oliver's plan doesn't work if John doesn't go with him, so he needs to resolve all of John's problems in about thirty seconds before the guards find them.
Resolution: Oliver talks fast and convinces John that he could do penance in the form of being vigilante hero "Spartan" instead of just taking the rap for a crime he didn't commit. This would be a good time to mention that this episode contains a million instances of people saying "locked in a military prison for a crime he didn't commit," and every single time that gets said, the theme song for The A-Team starts playing in my head.
Spoiler: The coolest thing in this scene is actually the ridiculous "antimolecular spray" that Oliver stole from Palmer Technologies. It dissolves everything as soon as you spray it on, which makes me wonder what the can is made out of. Anyway, escaping is pretty easy when you can just make a hole in the floor.
Place Of Interest
Roomy, Isn't It?
Too many people use the ventilation shafts to escape buildings. Sure, they're always implausibly large and easy to creep around in. But you have to crouch down, and who wants that? Follow Oliver's lead and sneak through the sewers. They're a bit stinkier, but you can stand up. And you might meet an albino crocodile! Although Oliver doesn't. Which is a shame.
Did You Know You Could Do That?
While Oliver is making a mockery of thee federal prison system, the junior members of the team are trying to save Adrian and the Anti-Crime Unit from Tobias Church's goons. It's nice to know someone is keeping track of what's important. It's also nice to know that Rag Man has the ability to withstand explosions, because without antimolecular spray, they have to make a hole in the wall the old-fashioned way.
Look Out, Curtis!
The operation is going pretty well, until Curtis gets a knife in the back. He's not feeling too Mr. Terrific now, huh? Wild Dog tells Artemis and Rag Man to drag Mr. Terrific out while he keeps Tobias Church from coming after them. It's a relatively heroic act, undercut only slightly by the way it gives W.D. an excuse to fight someone.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Tobias Church vs. Wild Dog
The two combatants set aside their guns so that they can punch each other. This is some John Woo stuff. Although it turns out that this is a bad move for Wild Dog, because Tobias is like twice his size, much stronger, and is using his signature brass knuckles. And he seems to really enjoy punching people.
Winner: Tobias Church, by beating his opponent to a pulp. But everyone else got away, so that's something.
A Perfect Escape
Alert Type: Airlift Alert.
Issue: Oliver's escape plan has gotten him and John into the prison courtyard, and now they're just standing around.
Complicating Factors: The prison guards might not be the best guards in the business, but even they can find you if you just stand there like that. And they would like John and Oliver to surrender immediately. Or they'll shoot.
Resolution: Lyla flies a plane overhead, and she grabs both of them with some kind of skyhook, which yanks them out of the courtyard and to freedom.
Spoiler: In the real world, I'm pretty sure this would have shattered every bone in both of their bodies. Going directly from standing still to a couple hundred miles an hour is a lot like doing it in reverse.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Reunited And It Feels So Good
Oliver takes John to a safe house that I think is actually provided by Lyla through her ARGUS resources. And although John is still a little iffy about this whole thing, it's nice to see him have an emotional reunion with his wife. They're still in love!
Wrap It Up
Oliver finally checks his messages and discovers that his city has been having some trouble while he was away on personal business. And since he's in a "nobody gets left behind" mood, he vows that they'll rescue Rene. But they have no idea where he is, because Tobias hasn't been parading his captive in front of traffic cameras.
We already assumed that Tobias was doing horrible things to Rene, but that's a pretty cool shot. Kudos, Arrow!