Arrow Learns A Lesson About Teamwork
Can Oliver Queen balance being a mayor and running a team of vigilantes? Honestly, probably not.
First of all, some stuff happened on The Flash, but I'm a couple weeks behind on that so I don't have the whole story. Basically, Flash went back in time and screwed up the timestream so he was in an alternate universe. I assume he's back now? I bet he hasn't learned his lesson. Back to the people that stay in their own universe. John Diggle's in jail because he's been framed for crimes he didn't commit. And Oliver's still putting together a new Team Arrow, which isn't going as well as it could. Because Oliver's basically a jerk.
Plot Lightning Round
Do As I Say And Also As I Do
The episode begins with Oliver's new approach to training the team. They're all back at the base while he's in the field doing all the work, so his new approach is suspiciously like his old approach, which was exactly like not having a team at all. They're watching him on a monitor, which raises questions about the camera taking this footage.
Oliver demonstrates the correct way to take down a thug: just shoot a handcuff arrow at them, and then hang them from a convenient pipe. Are you taking notes, new team members that don't even use bows?
Once he has his criminal hanging helplessly, Oliver is free to interrogate him about Stardust, the latest superdrug to infest the city. The guy isn't very forthcoming until it's clear that he might get murdered right here on a rooftop. Then he tells Oliver all about Derek Samson, and is even willing to let Oliver grab a sample of the drug. He gets a dirty look when he suggests that maybe this grim vigilante of the night might want to consider taking some himself, to take the edge off.
I Am Not A Crackpot
Dear Mister President, Oliver Is Still Far Too Violent. I Am Not A Crackpot!
The good news is that Oliver decided not to kill this guy. The bad news is that, as Oliver says, he can't guarantee he'll ever walk again. And then Oliver cuts him loose, dropping him what looks like at least two stories. This show needs to decide what kind of protagonist it wants. If you want someone who kills a lot, go ahead. Go full Jack Bauer. But if you're going to keep claiming that Green Arrow is a beacon of hope, he can't go around crippling people like this. All we know about this dude is that he's a low-level drug dealer who gave Oliver the information he needed. And he's just sent off to some life-alteringly violent end without any sign that the hero cares. Or, more importantly, that the show cares. Every season, Oliver has a different opinion on whether he should be murdering people, and after last season's relative lack of killing, this regression is not making the main character someone worth rooting for. I am not a crackpot.
Name: Detective Billy Malone. Age: Late 20s. Occupation: Cop. Goal: To warn Green Arrow that there's a weird ninja archer in town that killed one of the officers that was on the Anti-Crime Unit and also told Tobias Church he was going to kill the Green Arrow. Maybe he wants to be the new liaison between the cops and the vigilantes. Sample Dialogue: "I have no time for dialogue that is not completely plot-related. Also, I'm Felicity's boyfriend; I hope you don't notice that."
So, How's Jail?
Who called the meeting? Lyla Diggle.
What's it about? John has to explain that he was framed, and that he would prefer to not be in prison anymore, please.
How'd it go? Not all that well, since they had about twenty seconds for their entire discussion. That's not even enough time to talk about their child, let alone to get into the details of whatever conspiracy has ensnared John.
Aren't You Dead?
Who called the meeting? Floyd "Deadshot" Lawton.
What's it about? Mostly Floyd explaining how it is that he's John's cellmate when he's supposed to be dead.
How'd it go? John is willing to accept Floyd's explanation that since his body was never found, he just survived through a miracle and never got seen until now. The audience (me) is more skeptical, because this is not the first show that's made me ask if a given character is really there. Or is a robot. Anyway, regardless of whether this is really Floyd, he makes some good points about how ironic it is that John was mad at him for killing Andy, but really Andy ended up getting killed by John himself.
Curse You, Journalism
Alert Type: News Alert.
Issue: Channel 52 is the only channel in town, which is kind of a weird way to assign channel numbers when you think about it. They're running their usual 24-hour news coverage, and Susan Williams is complaining about Quentin Lance being offered the job of deputy mayor.
Complicating Factors: Ms. Williams is not wrong about Quentin being a weird choice. He was fired as police chief, and he's spent the last six months getting drunk.
Resolution: Oliver agrees with these criticisms, because he wasn't aware that Thea had offered Quentin the job. He tells her Thea to go fix this, and also to remember that the free press is allowed to criticize him.
Spoiler: Oliver's probably not going to maintain his calm attitude about being criticized.
Place Of Interest
Welcome To The Hellraiser Inn
Five years earlier, in Russia, Oliver is continuing his initiation into the Bratva. If you were worried that it would be nothing but a terrifying, joyless slog, good news! They let him sleep sometimes. He just has to find a way to get some rest while he's still bleeding through his clothes. In a room filled with ominous chains. No problem. Sweet dreams, Oliver! Don't let the bedbugs bite, because they will give you some very serious diseases.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Wild Dog vs. Derek Samson
Oliver has strictly ordered his team not to go out and try to find the source of Stardust, which Rene promptly ignores because he has street smarts. This leads him directly to the source, just like all those times when Roy did exactly the same thing. And having located the target, Rene pops on his hockey mask and starts waving guns around. This brings him directly into conflict with Derek Samson, who I think looks suspiciously like David Boreanaz. Although it's actually Cody Rhodes, who's in the WWE as Stardust. He had a feud with Stephan Amell, which I think you'll agree is quite a coincidence.
Winner: Wild Dog, thanks to the assistance of Evelyn Sharp, who helps knock Derek into a giant vat of drugs that also have some ventilation fluid (whatever that is) in it.
Just Because Your Name Is Mr. District Attorney
Who called the meeting? Adrian Chase, the new Star City District Attorney.
What's it about? He'd like to update the mayor on their campaign against Stardust.
How'd it go? The campaign isn't going all that well, because right before they were able to arrest Derek Samson, some jerk in a hockey mask killed him. But the actual meeting went fine, because Mayor Ollie is surprisingly well informed on the state of things. He seems a bit put out about the hockey mask jerk, but that's not Adrian's problem.
That Quote"This guy was all sorts of nutso loco. It was him or me!"- Rene, explaining, in a calm, dispassionate voice, why he had to kill Derek Samson -
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
The Fourth Estate
Thea is under the impression that the Channel 52 newscaster is on her side, so she tries to set the record straight by telling the honest truth that Oliver didn't know whom she was offering the job of deputy mayor to. She will soon discover that the press is not necessarily interested in fixing the PR problems of the mayor's office.
Felicity Set Up Us The Bomb
Situation: Rory is pretty bummed about that time Haven Rock was hit by a nuclear bomb, which killed his parents and also everyone else he knew and loved.
What makes it awkward? Unbeknownst to Rory, that nuke was not originally destined for Haven Rock. It was aimed at Monument Point in Star City, but Felicity redirected it. So you could say that Haven Rock was destroyed by Felicity Smoak. That's certainly how Felicity sees it.
How is order restored? Felicity decides not to tell Rory yet, because she's rather wallow in guilt for a while first.
That's A Bad Sign
Derek Samson is not actually dead. He ought to have been, but instead he has gained super-strength and an inability to feel pain. So when Oliver puts an arrow through his shoulder, Derek just pulls himself along the arrow and continues to fight. The moral appears to be that when drugs make you feel great and invincible, you should just trust that feeling.
Never Underestimate A Good Quote
Alert Type: Literary Reference Alert.
Issue: Derek Samson is not dead, and he wants the entire Stardust distribution network to know it.
Complicating Factors: Samson, who seemed like a standard-issue mook, kicks things off by announcing that rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated, which is borrowed from Mark Twain. And then he throws in a Lethal Weapon quote to make sure he appeals to all demographics.
Resolution: Samson wants to make everyone into pain-free ruffians like himself, and they're all on board.
Spoiler: In the real world, people who can't feel pain actually have to be pretty careful about not sustaining injuries. Samson seems to think that if he can't feel the bullets entering his body, they don't count. And even if the writers of the show agree with him, I'm not sure actual bodies work that way.
Nobody Is Surprised
Hey guess what? Floyd Lawton's still dead, and his appearance in John's cell was just because John was hallucinating. Isn't that an exciting twist? Just think of it! A character who the audience thought was there...actually wasn't! That certainly isn't a central conceit of another TV show and a famous movie. They've really swerved us with this one, huh?
At this point, I would like you to imagine a dismissive fart noise.
It's Mr. Terrific!
Curtis is taking a little guff for his awesome leather jacket, which has the words "FAIR PLAY" written on the sleeves. He explains that he's a fan of a wrestler named Terry Sloane, who wrestled under the name "Mister Terrific." By a strange coincidence, that's also the name of the first comic book character to be called Mister Terrific. The second was Michael Holt, which is who our Curtis Holt is. I'm tremendously hyped to see the leather jacket make an appearance in all its goofy sincerity. The only thing that could make it better is if Curtis wore a mask that was a capital T across his face.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Samson vs. Green Arrow
Oliver beats up Samson as well as he can, considering that Samson doesn't notice when he's being punched. In the background, Team Arrow works well together as they finish off the rest of the Stardust gang. Finally, Oliver quits screwing around and gets brutal.
Winner: Oliver, by cutting Samson's tendons so he can't walk anymore. It's rough on Samson, but this treatment feels justified.
Wrap It Up
Team Arrow blows up the warehouse (don't worry; Star City has plenty of other warehouses) and walks away from the explosion like bosses.
Then they're finally allowed into the Arrowlair, where the new team members look at the cool lighted costume displays. They presumably feel things.
Back in Russia, the next Bratva trial is for Oliver to stand still while his new brothers carve up his shoulder with knives. This demonstrates trust, as well as explaining where all those scars came from. If you were worried about that.
Oliver returns to Mayor Mode long enough to officially receive the news that Derek Samson has been captured, thanks to some heroic vigilantes. He walks directly into a press conference where he makes a good speech about how he trusts his team and stands behind any decision made by his team members, which culminates in him welcoming Quentin aboard as deputy mayor. This might be a controversial decision, although it's important to remember that the mayor's office is usually vacant because anyone who takes the job gets killed. So it's not like anyone's trying to take the job away from him. Although if he's really worried about his approval rating, I might suggest that one of the men in his administration learn how to shave.
Felicity tells Rory about her role in his home town being incinerated. He doesn't take the news very well, but on the other hand, he doesn't murder her with sentient rag tentacles. So it went about as well as it could. Felicity's still pretty sad, though.
And finally, Lyla comes by to tell Oliver he needs to break John out of military prison. A heist sounds like fun!