Welcome back, Arrowheads! So Ollie’s back in town to help Team Arrow, who managed to do okay without him. Then there’s Ollie aligning himself with Malcolm Merlyn so they can fight Ra’s al Ghul when he comes for them. Oh, and Thea’s DJ buddy Chase, is a League assassin. Plus, how’s Ollie going to take another woman he slept with becoming a vigilante wearing her sister’s outfit? Well, let’s all find out…
Try and Run. In the flashback this episode, Maseo is ready to get his family out of town, mostly because of escaping China White and also for fear Waller will harm them. Maseo tells Ollie how they’ll be escaping Hong Kong. Ollie tries a different way out for him, by calling his mother and telling her what’s happened. Too bad Ollie is caught by Waller’s men and even worse, his phone call never reached Moira. Waller wants Maseo and his family, and when some water torture doesn’t work, threatening Thea’s life (remember, she’s still a troubled child here) makes Ollie spill the beans on their escape route. Later, Maseo is thrown into Ollie’s cell, where Ollie’s apology for selling Maseo out is met with Maseo saying that was always part of the plan. He gave Ollie false information, but came back himself when hearing Ollie was captured. Before we can ask how big a mistake that might have been, both men are knocked out.
Into The Fold. Its been a few weeks since Ollie rolled back into Starling City, and has seemed to pick up where he’s started with Roy, Diggle, and Felicity…and Laurel. Although Ollie is really not cool with this new Canary running around, Laurel decides to just avoid him altogether. Later at Arrow HQ, everyone is wondering why Ollie is giving Laurel a hard time about going out there like him, when Malcolm shows up with another brilliant idea. “Frame your daughter for another of our friends deaths?”, everyone is thinking of asking, but Malcolm suggests Thea may need to know what her brother is up to. Diggle thinks this might be a bad idea, but guess what happens next?
“I thought the basement was flooded.” “I lied.” Thea’s at Verdant when Ollie pops up to show her something, namely what’s in the basement. She’s a bit shocked to see her brother has a secret base underneath her club and is the Arrow, but the weirdest thing happens: she’s okay with it. Thea almost considers it an upgrade from the Ollie she knew before, and later at the apartment, learns Malcolm knows this too. So, when Malcolm comes back, Thea pieces it together and realizes Malcolm tried to put a wedge between her and Ollie for all these months (oh, Thea, trust me, that’s not as bad as you think your dad is). She’s not happy with dad, but let’s put that on the backburner for now.
Return of Vertigo. The next day, Laurel is around as Mr. Zytle, Count Vertigo, is being brought into court for a hearing, and then one of his guards starts wigging out. Some confusion starts as the guard attacks the crowd of media, which ends with Laurel punching the guard out. But, uh oh, Zytle escaped in the confusion. That night, Team Arrow learns of Zytle’s escape, but Laurel brings a lead in Zytle’s other guard having gone missing after the breakout. While Ollie appreciates the help, he’d prefer it if she didn’t dress up to join him and Roy as they look for the missing guard. Both Ollie and Laurel hash it out over her recent turn to vigilantism as just her feeding another kind of addiction, which Laurel points out that sounds more like he’s describing himself. Ow. I mean that’s a pretty accurate analysis, Laurel, but still, OW.
Ollie and Roy find the guard, who explains that Zytle threatened to kill his wife if he didn’t help him escape…and blow up the Arrow with the bomb strapped to him! Despite assuring the guy his wife would be safe, Ollie and Roy escape just as the guard blows himself up. Zytle watches the explosion and seems to think the Arrow is dead. Yeah, a little overconfident, are we?
Bad Dose. At her office, Laurel gets a visit from Quentin, who would still like to know where Sara is, and who that Canary on the streets is. She brushes it off, but this weighs on her pretty heavily. Meanwhile, Thea talks to Roy about his being partners with her brother and not trusting this alliance with Malcolm (yeah, no kidding), but hey, duty calls as they find out Laurel has tracked Zytle down to the docks, and rush to help out. Laurel’s doing just fine on her own, until Zytle hits her with a dose of Vertigo, and she starts seeing Sara, who lets her know to stop pretending to be her while beating her up. Ollie and Roy interrupt Zytle’s beating of Laurel, but let him escape along with the chemicals he’s stolen, when realizing how bad she’s been doped up.
Resetting Boundaries. Laurel is brought back to the HQ to detox, and as tense as that is, it gets worse when Thea shows up to talk to Ollie to see what’s happening. Ollie orders her away, and Roy talks back to him by saying he’s involved her in their little club whether he likes it or not. After she leaves, Ollie is trying to reassure who runs things, but everyone there points out the obvious: they had to keep going after he died, so walking back in thinking he’s in charge in wrong, since its not so much Team Arrow anymore, but Team Arrow now. Ollie takes on a drink on it with Diggle, and starts to see that his crusade is now theirs.
After the blow-up in the HQ, Thea decides to deal with the stress of hearing of all these people she knows being vigilantes by taking Chase home with her. After some lovemaking, he tries to give her some wine, and she remembers something Malcolm told her about the smell of red wine being used to mask cyanide. Chase figures the jig is up and attacks her, but gets saved by Roy, who followed her (which is a bit creepier if it didn’t work out Chase was a League member), and Malcolm. Instead of surrendering, Chase drops some cyanide and kills himself. So to summarize, Thea has learned in a matter of days that her brother and extended family are heroes and the DJ she just slept with was an assassin. That’s going to be a lot to talk about in therapy.
What Canary Are You? Laurel is coming to from her Vertigo dosing, doubting she should even keep going with pretending to be like Sara. Felicity tells her she doesn’t have to be like her sister (unless she applies for League membership in the near future), but to just be herself if she wants to keep being the Canary. Then news comes in that brings Ollie to the HQ about Zytle taking over a lab and using the scientists to cook up some more Vertigo with those chemicals he has. With Roy gone (yeah, where is he, Ollie?), Ollie asks if Laurel is rested up to join him. Before you can ask if Diggle is at home on baby duty, the two arrive and bust up the operation. While Ollie saves the scientists, Laurel goes after Zytle and–d’oh!–gets another shot of Vertigo. Once again, she hallucinates Sara and adds Quentin berating her to that. She manages to fight the drug enough to knock out Zytle, and her drugged up head thinks Sara is happy she’s going to be her own woman now. Oh hey, Ollie, not to spoil this great moment, but Felicity needs you to head back to the apartment NOW.
Hard Truths. Quentin’s in his office as Laurel arrives, hearing Zytle is back behind bars. Laurel has to tell Quentin something, but he thinks he knows what it is: she’s the Canary. “Well, there’s that”, Laurel says, “but its that Sara’s dead.” Good news: Quentin doesn’t drop dead of a heart attack right there, but both have a good cry over this.
At the apartment, Ollie arrives to find out about Chase, and Thea says she’ll accept Malcolm’s help to fight Ra’s al Ghul, but she’s a far way from trusting him for now. Malcolm suggests their next move is something only Ollie and Thea can do by themselves: confront the thing they fear. And how do they do that, you ask?
Heading Home (In More Ways Than One). At the HQ, everyone is there to see Ollie and Thea off to wherever they’re going. Despite Felicity’s concern over them leaving town again (the last time didn’t end so hot, if you recall), he assures them it will only be a few days and from what he’s seen, everyone including Laurel (awwww) can keep things taken care of in Starling. We cut to Ollie and Thea somewhere else, and while Thea’s not keen on the outdoor terrain they’re on, Ollie says he’s used to it. Yep, they’re both on Lian Yu! I smell a reunion with a certain inmate there coming…
Back in the past, Ollie awakens to find Maseo gone, and him in a limo with Waller. She tells him that despite wanting to kill him for helping Maseo, she needs him for a special job…which is in Starling City! I smell another reunion coming, don’t you?
–Comic book connections: Daggett Chemicals is a likely reference to Roland Daggett, more of an antagonist in the Batman books than here.
–I give Laurel some credit: she took two shots of Vertigo in the span of a night, but still had enough strength to beat Zytle and to break the bad news to dad. I’m sure she called in a few sick days from her actual job to super sleep this off.
–Hey, you’re leaving Verdant without a DJ, Thea! Sure Chase was a League assassin with DJ skills, but still, you didn’t leave a “DJ Wanted” listing on Craigslist before you went on your trip with Ollie?
–According to Quentin, Sin is, “the one with the boy hair”.
–“What’s wrong? Was my form off?”
–“You smell like smoke. Korean Barbecue?”
That’s it for now, but come back next week for “The Return”…