The Ace of Spades
This week opens up with Oliver and Diggle chasing after a couple of Ghosts which doesn’t end all that well. They manage to corner one thanks to Felicity hacking into a hydraulic machine (don’t ask) but when Diggle tries to question him (but not before prying the cyanide capsule out of his teeth), the Ghost incapacitates him long enough to get away.
Back at Diggle’s apartment, he gets a visit from an A.R.G.U.S. agent, who gives him the identity of the woman who hired Deadshot to kill his brother. Her name is Mina Fayad and by massive coincidence, she just happens to be in Star City on business for Damien.
Fayad has brought a metahuman in from Central City to take care of H.I.V.E.’s problems with Green Arrow. The metahuman is named Jeremy Tell (though Cisco names him Double Down) and he has the ability to peel playing cards from his skin and basically use them as some fairly lethal throwing stars against his enemies. He demonstrates this ability pretty effectively against the Ghost that got away from Diggle earlier, whom Damien ordered to be killed for letting himself get captured in the first place.
Meanwhile, Oliver responds to a robbery at an auto parts store by himself while Diggle is secretly tracking Fayad. Felicity has some misgivings about Oliver handling things alone and thinks maybe he should let SCPD take care of this one though Oliver rightfully points out they’ve been pretty useless this season and goes anyway (by the way there’s not a single cop to be found in this episode). Unfortunately, Oliver and Diggle both handling separate missions alone turns out to be a pretty poor decision on both their parts. The auto parts store break-in turns out to be a trap set by Double Down to lure the Green Arrow to his death. At the same time, Diggle is easily spotted by H.I.V.E. and both our heroes are lucky to get away with their lives. Back at Arrow HQ, Felicity has finally had enough of Oliver and Diggle’s bickering (that makes two of us) and tells them to pull their heads out of their asses and work it out. Diggle finally admits that his brother was killed by H.I.V.E. and he has been secretly investigating them for awhile now and that Fayad may be able to give him some answers and with that in mind, Oliver and Diggle go out to search for her.
Meanwhile, Damien is not a happy camper. He’s angry at Double Down for letting Green Arrow get away and also at Fayad for letting herself get compromised and causing some of his men to die because of it. He uses his abilities to kill Fayad and to also warn Double Down about what he’ll do to him if he fails again.
While Oliver and Diggle are disappointed to find Fayad dead, Felicity and Holt are attacked by Double Down at Palmer Tech, though Felicity is able to fend him off with an automatic rifle. The bad news however, is that Holt now knows about Felicity working with the Green Arrow.
When Team Arrow regroups, they find out that Double Down has decided to cut his losses and get out of dodge. Oliver and Diggle are able to capture him, but not before Oliver takes a bullet for Diggle or rather a “metahuman tattoo playing card” as Oliver is quick to clarify. Don’t worry though, his Kevlar prevented any serious damage and it finally inspires Diggle to bury the hatchet. Unfortunately, Double Down has opted to keep his mouth shut about Damien, saying he’s way more scared of him than Team Arrow (I can’t say I blame the guy) so they ship him off to Iron Heights.
In the aftermath, Team Arrow worries that their lair may be compromised so they think it might be time to find a new location and luckily Oliver already has a place in mind.
Later at Palmer Tech, Felicity talks to Holt to make sure he won’t tell anybody about her working with Green Arrow. All things considered he takes the revelation pretty well and says her secret is safe with him. At that moment, Felicity gets a mysterious message on her phone (which is probably Ray).
Laurel and Thea
While all of that has been happening in Star City, Laurel and Thea pay a visit to Merlyn and Nyssa in Nanda Parbat. Laurel gets right to the point and asks Merlyn to bring Sara back to life with the Lazarus Pits. To nobody’s surprise, Merlyn tells her no, warning her it’s a bad idea. As a matter of fact, even Nyssa agrees with Merlyn on this, which is why she never considered doing it herself and thinks Laurel is actually being downright selfish for even wanting to try it.
Thea isn’t faring any better when she goes to Merlyn for some advice on how to handle her bloodlust side effect from the Pits. Rather than tell Thea anything actually helpful, he says the best way to keep her homicidal tendencies in check is to give in to them (basically like Dexter Morgan but with a sword), which Thea naturally doesn’t take very well. Later that night, a couple of League goons try killing Thea but she makes pretty short work of them both. It turns out Merlyn sent them after her as a way to satisfy her urge to kill for a little while.
Thea, even more disgusted with Merlyn than usual, tries to get her and Laurel to leave. Merlyn, seeing the traumatizing effect killing his henchmen has had on his daughter, reluctantly agrees to revive Sara in effort to ease Thea’s conscience over her role in her death. Sara’s revival goes about as well as expected and she shows a noticeable anger towards Thea before Merlyn has her sedated and locked up. Nyssa is pretty pissed off about this and in retaliation destroys the Lazarus Pits so that it can never be used to raise the dead again and to get some sweet revenge on Merlyn.
Oliver (who after three years has finally gotten a haircut) has little time to settle into his undercover role as a henchman to Baron Reiter (AKA Baron Blitzkrieg in the comics and yes this is the first time I bothered to learn his name) before his cover is put to the test.
Some of the product being harvested, called Slam, has gone missing and Oliver convinces the henchman in charge to torture one of the workers for information rather than just threatening to kill them. Oliver’s interrogation methods prove to be pretty effective and a female worker confesses to taking the drugs to serve as painkillers for the overworked prisoners. Rather them let the woman get killed, Oliver instead offers to take her to a place where she can be discreetly disposed of and never be found. The lead henchman (I promise, I’ll try to find out his name) doesn’t completely swallow this and sends a guy to go with Oliver. That doesn’t prove to be much problem for Oliver as he lures the guy to another land mine. This helps Oliver to earn the woman’s trust as he helps her to escape.
The first two episodes this season have been mostly setup but thankfully this week the plot has now taken some steps forward (even if the fight scenes didn’t feel quite up to par). To be fair, it probably also helped that I got a break from listening to another one of Captain Lance’s self-righteous speeches this week.
Oliver and Diggle are finally able to put aside their differences so they can work like a team again which I was very relieved about since i felt this issue should’ve been resolved in the season premiere.
It also appears that Holt will be making his journey into becoming Mr. Terrific sooner rather than later now that he’s been partially clued on the Green Arrow. Let’s face it, when somebody finds out Oliver’s identity on this show, it’s never that long before they’re at least unofficially part of the team. Sure, Holt doesn’t know Oliver’s identity yet but it’s not like Oliver hides it all that well.
The most intriguing part though is what happens at Nanda Parbat. Now that the Lazarus Pits have been destroyed, death can have some meaning again on this show, which makes that flash forward in the season premiere all the more important. I’m also very interested to see how Merlyn handles himself as Ra’s al Ghul now that he’s no longer able to heal himself.
The downside of this episode though, is that since everybody basically went on their own separate adventures this week, all the separate plot lines felt a little disconnected from each other though I doubt that going to be a continuing problem down the line.
Tune in next week as Team Arrow face the consequences of Sara’s revival in ‘Beyond Redemption.’