Katie Yu / The CW

Arrow Is One Episode Away From Retirement

Team Arrow is all set for some offseason fun, but it turns out Prometheus isn't done with them yet.

When this episode starts, it seems like the members of Team Arrow think their work is over just because the bad guy's in a secret prison. Oliver's birthday party is full of people all essentially announcing that they're one day from retirement. Diggle's gonna teach his kid to fish! Oliver's gonna buy some socks! And none of that happens, which probably disappointed some very specific fetishists. Instead, Adrian Chase's confederates start kidnapping Oliver's pals. We didn't know until now that Chase had confederates, but they turn out to be Evelyn Sharp (who I guess we did know about), Evil Laurel (who I thought was supposed to be locked up in Central City), and Talia al-Ghul (who...we also knew about). Okay, we knew about two of them. But there was still no previous hint that Adrian had a plan so elaborate that he was going to get himself locked up just so he could have some friends kidnap Arrow Teamsters to force Oliver to let him back out again.

Even the appearance of Evil Laurel isn't much of a surprise, because we're getting close to the end of the season and it's fun to get the old gang back together. Although it does come as a surprise to Quentin, who had just about gotten over the death of his daughter and didn't know anything about alternate Earths. But it looks like he accepts it pretty quickly, because he even manages to get some alternate guilt on Evil Laurel.

So Oliver has to break Adrian back out of prison to save his son from getting killed. And now he's put together a team of villainous allies consisting of Malcolm Merlyn, Nyssa al-Ghul, and-- is that Slade Wilson's music? Frankly, if they could have just dug up John Constantine and Floyd Lawton, this would be my dream team. And it all builds to next week's season-finale throwdown on the island, which will also be where the flashbacks finally catch up with the beginning of the series.

But that's next week. Let's live in the now. How Arrow-y is Arrow?

Arrow-ish Element Present?
Trick Arrow I don't know if we've seen this specific explosive arrow before. Previous iterations just blew up, but this one introduces a slight delay. And it has a thing that changes color right before it blows up. It may not sound like much, but if a color change counts as a new kind of mobile phone, it counts as a new arrow.
Oliver Queen: A Jerk Okay, first of all, I don't care if it is a surprise party: it's not cool to take down Curtis with a judo throw. And then there are all those cops you beat up. Those guys just didn't want you to steal their van.
Comic book reference In one of their tense staredowns, Oliver tells Chase, "You're not pulling my strings anymore, Adrian." That's clearly a reference to Pinocchio, which probably had a comic book adaptation at some point. Also, they mention a fictional city called "Chicago," which is where Plastic Man is from.
Someone walks into the Arrowlair without warnin. Oh, hello, Malcolm Merlyn! It's been a long time since we've seen you lurking in the rafters of the Arrowlair, huh? It's good to see that even that Die Hard episode didn't convince Oliver to tighten up lair security.
Flashback scenes mirror the present day Not really. In an interesting twist, Oliver is tortured in the flashbacks by visions of other flashbacks. So the flashback scenes mirror themselves. But aside from the occasional mention of allies, they don't have a lot to do with the regular story.
Things get gory How about when Oliver punches Adrian and then there's that bright splatter of blood on the cell wall? Pretty cool, right?
The Only Hospital Room In Town Everybody is getting injured this week, and the hospital room is for recovery. And tearful goodbyes.
Someone gets kidnapped Practically EVERYONE gets kidnapped! The whole support team gets nabbed, and Oliver's son finally shows up in captivity. Oliver was even trapped in a cell in the flashbacks.
Someone goes shirtless Flashback Oliver spends his whole time shirtless. Look, if you're going to be put in chains and tortured by Dolph Lundgren, do it right.
7 / 9
Final Score
Daddy Issues
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