The Simple Life
It’s been about five months since Oliver’s showdown with Ra’s al Ghul and Oliver seems to be enjoying his retirement from being the Arrow. He’s happily settled into a life of suburbia with Felicity, where his biggest problem now appears to be that Felicity’s a lousy cook, though to be fair she’s a little busy trying to keep Palmer Technologies afloat after Ray’s “death.”
Cut to the now newly renamed Star City as Diggle (now disguising himself with a motorcycle helmet that can’t possibly be good for his field of vision), Laurel and Thea (now going by Speedy much to her annoyance) on a mission to stop a hijacked truck. Despite their best efforts, the “Ghosts” (even the characters are rolling their eyes on that name) still get away with some high powered weapons in what it turns out is just the latest in a series of increasingly brazen thefts against the city.
Meanwhile, Captain Lance has a meeting with some Star City leadership over the city’s troubles. They have still been unable to find a new mayor, which Lance points out shouldn’t be all that surprising considering the mortality rate that’s become associated with the job. To make matters worse, the police are having no better luck against the Ghosts than Team Arrow (I know shocking right?), who have apparently taken a page out of the HYDRA playbook by poisoning themselves with cyanide capsules rather than be interrogated. At that moment, the season’s big bad Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) interrupts the meeting to not only take credit for the Ghosts but to tell the city’s leadership that he’s here on behalf of a mysterious organization to finally put Star City out of it’s misery. He then ominously warns them all to say goodbye to any loved ones they may have before making his exit. Darhk quickly makes good on his threats as the city’s District Attorney, Head of Emergency Services and Comptroller are all killed. Lance is also targeted but Laurel manages to show up just in time to save him.
Back at the suburbs, Oliver has plans to propose to Felicity with the age old and rather dumb cliche of hiding the engagement ring in food (knowing Felicity I half expected her to accidentally swallow it). Unfortunately, before that can happen, Oliver’s domestic bliss is sadly interrupted by a visit from Laurel and Thea saying they need his help back home. Given Team Arrow’s track record without Oliver, I’m surprised it took them this long.
While Oliver is at first resistant about coming out of retirement, he and Felicity make their way back to Star City. When they get there, Diggle is none too happy about it since he’s still plenty pissed off at Oliver (though even Lyla tells him he needs to let it go). Nevertheless, Oliver wastes no time taking charge of the operation and also notices that Felicity seems to already know everything about what’s going on in Star City, bringing him to the conclusion that Felicity has been helping out the team behind his back for months. In an admittedly surprising turn of events, Felicity admits that she started getting bored with the domestic life (“When you and Laura Hoffman started exchanging cooking tips, I secretly wanted to gouge out my eyes”) and began missing the action.
Felicity figures out that the Ghosts operate out of an abandoned truck depot and Team Arrow immediately go to stake the place out. Once there, they witness Damien killing one of his henchman by simply touching him. Oliver takes that as the cue to make their presence known and start fighting the Ghosts with Thea in particular showing herself to be especially aggressive, which naturally worries Oliver. The good news though is they are at least able to find out that Damien plans to destroy Star City’s train station.
While trying to look for the bomb at the train station, Oliver is spotted and confronted by Lance. Once again, Lance manages to blame Oliver for everything bad happening at Star City over the last few years and says his coming back yet again will only make things worse (yes because clearly the place has turned into quite the utopia in the last few months). When Team Arrow figures out the bomb will be coming in on a high speed train from Central City, the team springs into action and Oliver finally suits up in a new costume designed by Cisco.
Oliver tries to stop the train but instead is met and confronted by Damien for the first time, (who’s powers besides a touch of death also seem to include stopping arrows with his mind). Damien wins the fight pretty easily and almost kills Oliver but Diggle shows just in time to help Oliver escape and blow up the train outside of town before it can do any actual damage. Back at Arrow HQ, Oliver knowing just how big a threat Damien is to Star City, decides to stick around indefinitely. When Oliver mentions Ra’s describing Damien as having a “hive of operatives at his disposal”, Diggle realizes that they are likely the people that hired Deadshot to kill his brother (though for some reason he doesn’t say any of this to the team).
Oliver decides to make his return more official by hijacking the emergency broadcast system and after giving a good- not-great speech about restoring hope to the city, introduces himself as the Green Arrow (since the Arrow “died” a few months back).
Meanwhile, at Damien’s lair, after he performs some scary looking blood ritual, we find out that he’s had a little help from inside the Star City Police Department from none other than Captain Lance (though it’s worth noting Lance is clearly none too happy with this partnership). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the only thing we see Team Arrow doing right without Oliver turned out to be fake. Damien orders Lance to find out everything he can about Green Arrow so he can get rid of him before his mysterious associates arrive.
Tonight’s flashback opens with Oliver chasing after a drug dealer in Coast City but ends up being pushed off of a roof. So Oliver can take down teams of hit men and A.R.G.U.S. agents no problem but loses a fight to a punk drug dealer? Sure, why not. Anyway, Oliver is left hanging on some electrical wire, where it turns out Amanda Waller is already there waiting for him. Waller then has Oliver drugged and when he wakes up he finds himself aboard a plane and “recruited” for a mission on Lian Yu which is apparently under a new threat. Oliver’s mission is to basically observe and report but that plan goes by the wayside as Oliver finds himself captured literally the instant he lands on the island.
The episode makes a brief jump ahead to six months later where Oliver and Barry are looking over a grave site. The person the grave belongs to is currently a mystery but whoever it is has Oliver devastated and vowing to kill the person responsible.
I have to admit, I went into the episode expecting more of the same. I expected Oliver to return because he got bored with the suburbs but instead that role went to Felicity which is a tad ironic considering how much time she spent last season trying to get Oliver to quit in the first place.
I expected Damien to spend a few episodes as just another man in the shadows like we got with Slade Wilson and Ra’s al Ghul. Instead we see him get in on the action right away and personally overseeing his evil plans. I also expected Damien to be just a rehash of Ra’s al Ghul given the hard to ignore similarity of being an ageless warrior that heads a secret society as assassins. Thankfully, they showed right away that won’t be the case since he already demonstrates abilities beyond anything Team Arrow has seen before, even from Ra’s or Barry.
As for the death we’re shown, my guess right now is Felicity and since the writers are playing the pronoun game with the person responsible, I have my doubts that the killer will be Damien. Then again, we still have another 22 episodes to go this season, so it’s way too soon to tell.
Now that Arrow is back be sure to tune in next week for ‘The Candidate,’