So, this episode certainly ramped the drama up to 11! Holy crap, I am still shaking from the awesomeness!
Lets get right into this, on the island Sara is still desperate to rescue Oliver from Slade, but things start going awry when objections are raised to handing Hendrik over to die. Sara doesn’t care, her only desire is to rescue Oliver, but she is being smart about it. With help from Anatoly they harvest the explosives from land mines around the island and rig up a bomb to Hendrik that will take out Slade as well. Of course this doesn’t work, Slade revealing that among his various super powers is enhanced senses. He is able to smell TNT and disarm the bomb. We then see just how crazy he has gotten since getting the wonder drug, an image of Shado appears, telling him to leave Oliver and the others on the island as their punishment.
Like usual, the island scenes act as a lot of build up and as a break in the action from the Starling City scenes. They were interesting to watch and it did a good job of showing just how far off the deep end Slade currently is and some solid character moments for Sara. Apart from that, not much else to mention here.
Now, on to the good stuff. Last week we closed out with Slade pickup up Thea while she is walking home. We pick up right where we left off, Slade play’s the nice guy at first, but quickly drops the act and kidnaps Thea, with the help of Brother Blood. A ransom video is made and Oliver scrambles into action, assembling his team and launching a mission to save his sister. He drug Slade, courtesy of a handy tranq that Sara whips up, and hand him off Officer Lance. Slade gets off, showing proof he was out of the country, Lance ends up in hot water, and Slade puts on the act of the concerned citizen. At the same time Oliver’s business is in crisis so he hands off temporary control to Isabel so that he can focus on saving Thea. This turns out to be a mistake as she uses the opportunity to take control the business, and when Oliver confronts her, we discover that she is working with Slade (this Goon is theorizing that she is actually Slade’s daughter, Rose) and reveals where he is hiding. To make matters worse, we begin to see dissension in the ranks, Roy is upset and is blaming everything on Oliver. Felicity, Diggle, and Sara try to talk him down but fail to do so. He storms off with a parting shot at Oliver about how he used to believe him, leaving our favorite green glad hero shaken to his core. After storming Slade’s base, giving us another solid action scene, Oliver discovers that Thea is not there. He gets a call from Felicity, saying that Thea is safe and just walked into the police station. Oliver and Moira go to her immediately, only for Thea to turn on them, Slade having revealed to her the truth that Malcolm Merlin is her father and that Oliver and Moira have kept the truth from her. Everything that happened leaves Oliver in a state of depression, blaming himself for what has happened and not having any idea what do. In true friend and teammate fashion, Diggle and Felicity step up. With their help and support, Oliver has shored up his resolve and is ready to take the fight to Slade. The final shot shows Slade paying a visit to Laurel revealing to her that Oliver is the Arrow, fading to black on Laurel’s shocked face.
As I stated above, this episode took the building tension of the season and ramped it up even higher. We see just how dangerous of a villain that Slade is, not only is he strong, crazy, and dedicated to destroying Oliver, he is smart. He planted Isabel in Oliver’s company to gain his trust, allowing her to gain control of his company. This was done so that they could use it to mass produce more super drug from Slade’s blood, his plan is to build an army and take the city. Add in his reveals to Thea and Laurel, and we see Slade being set up as an amazing villain. He is attacking Oliver on multiple fronts and is able to keep several steps ahead oh him. We still don’t know the full details of his end game, but I can’t wait to see how his plot plays out.
This week we also see the ever so welcome return of Summer Glau as Isabel, and boy was it great to see her back. Now I have never trusted her character, I called it awhile back that she was in cahoots with Oliver, but seeing that finally revealed was a joy to watch. Glau played the villain perfectly, even getting a brief fight scene in against Oliver. I can’t help but feel that we’re gonna see her squaring off against Sara in the not to distant future, the Cat Fight seems like a card that Arrow would be more than happy to play.
Seeing everything come to head with Roy was also great. In his time working with Oliver we have seen him getting annoyed and impatient with Oliver’s teaching methods, all the while struggling to keep his anger and strength in check. With his recent separation from Thea, the one thing that helps him to keep level headed, he is quick to anger and is more than happy to turn that anger on Oliver, seeing him as the reason that Thea is in trouble. Roy’s anger and accusations against Oliver further serve to upset the hero, Oliver quickly believing that its his fault. Roy’s break from the team is an interesting twist and I look forward to seeing how that plays out. I do believe I remember reading that he is slated to become Arsenal before to long, so that will be most interesting to see.
I’m gonna say it, the stand out character this week was Felicity, hands down. She had some great one liners, such has her reference to Barry and what happened to him she told him about Oliver. Her best moment came later though, when everyone was telling Oliver to stand down, to not play Slade’s game, she is the one that told him to end it. To ignore everything else and confront Slade to protect his family and friends. I don’t have the words to describe how much I loved Felicity here, Emily Rickards sold the scene perfectly. Add in her final scene where she and Diggle offer Oliver their support, and I can’t see how anyone could deny just how amazing she was. Honestly I am still strongly pulling for a Oliver/Felicity pairing, I really want that to happen. But until then, guess we will have to settle with her just being awesome.
As far as the other characters go, not much else stood out. Diggle and Sara were solid in their support roles, as they usually are, but didn’t do much to really stand out. Same goes for Brother Blood on the villains side, he started off as a pretty impressive villain but over time he has just become annoying, now he is more of a whiner that can’t do anything without Slade and less of an actual villain.
Overall, this was a really solid episode, not the best as of late though. Last weeks “Birds of Prey” and the previous weeks “Suicide Squad” were definitely better, but this week delivered on solid action scenes, great character moments, and solid set up for the future, which is important since we are coming up on the end game. They could have done more to make the island scenes a bit more interesting, but I’m not holding that against the show as the island scenes stay pretty true to form week after week.