Trouble in Paradise
Since last week, Felicity has seemingly done nothing but listen to Ray’s message over and over trying to figure out a way to find him and for some reason not telling Oliver about it, which has Holt more than a little concerned. When Oliver asks Felicity what’s going on with her, she finally fills him in on the situation with Ray. Felicity is finally able to contact Ray and he says that he’s being held prisoner by unknown people who want to use his A.T.O.M. suit. The good news is they are unable to use it given Ray’s and the suit’s “current state.” It’s then revealed that the suit in Ray’s words, worked a little too well as we see that Ray is now the size of a “tater tot” (Felicity’s words). Fortunately, Ray has a set of schematics at Palmer Tech for a device that should be able to bring him back to regular size.
Felicity goes to Palmer Tech to pull up Ray’s schematics and Holt says he should have no problem building it since all but one of the materials are already at Palmer Tech. The bad news is the only place to get the last piece they need is from Palmer Tech’s biggest competitor Kord Industries. To make matters worse Felicity’s mom, Donna takes this moment to make another surprise visit and Felicity is none too happy to find out is was Oliver’s idea.
Team Arrow break into Kord Industries to get the missing piece for Ray’s device and despite some bickering (most notably Felicity giving Oliver the code name Chatty Kathy) and a couple of hiccups, the team is able to get away clean with the device. Shortly afterwards, Ray is able to make another video contact to Felicity but before he can say anything helpful, Felicity sees Damien standing behind him right as the camera feed cuts off.
While Felicity is understandably worried to find out that Damien is the one holding Ray captive, Oliver points out that the good news is now they can use Captain Lance to help find him. Oliver then suggests that they have dinner with Donna , since there’s nothing they can do to help Ray until they find out where Damien is keeping him and also until Holt gets the re-sizing device built.
The dinner unsurprisingly doesn’t go very well and Donna, sensing some tension between Oliver and Felicity and decides to give them some privacy. Once they’re alone, Felicity admits that she blames herself for not helping Ray sooner because she was so focused on her relationship with Oliver and has her questioning whether she should even be with him. Later, Felicity has a heart to heart with Donna, who encourages her to work things out with Oliver since she knows how much they love each other.
With Lance’s help, they are able to track Damien to the building where he’s keeping Ray. According to Felicity, it was once said to be the most secure building on the west coast and Oliver decides that in order for them to find a way in they need to get creative. Also, since Holt hasn’t quite finished putting the re-sizing device together and Team Arrow is pressed for time, Oliver decides to have Holt go with them on the rescue mission.
The mission appears to go wrong very quickly when Oliver is captured by a Ghost and is brought to Damien. As it turns out however, this was all part of Oliver’s plan and the Ghost that captured him was really Diggle (now code named Spartan to keep his identity a secret to Holt) in disguise. Damien is once again on the verge of killing Oliver but Oliver is able to make a last minute escape with the help of a smoke bomb. While Oliver was keeping Damien busy, Laurel, Thea and Sara take on the Ghosts. Meanwhile Felicity and Holt meet up with Diggle by parachuting through a window (yeah it turns out Holt is an accomplished base jumper on top of being a world class engineer and a bronze medal winning Olympic athlete) and go to find Ray. There are some technical difficulties along the way but thanks to some techno babble, Ray is now back to human size and the Team Arrow makes their escape.
Back at Arrow HQ, the team brings Ray up to speed about the situation with Damien and H.I.V.E. and after having a very Ray-like response to it (“Oh like SPECTRE? That’s so cool! And terrible.”), Ray warns them that since Damien saw him contacting Felicity that she may become a target for Damien in the future. It’s also worth noting that at least for the time being, Ray isn’t ready for people to know he’s alive yet and lets Felicity continue to run Palmer Tech.
Back at Oliver and Felicity’s apartment, they finally decide to clear the air. They apologize to each other and patch things up (likely leaving the many fans wanting them to break up sorely disappointed). While that’s going on, Captain Lance and Donna appear to be starting a relationship of their own as they bond over how complicated their relationships are with their respective children at a bar.
In between all of the action, Thea has sparked up a romance with Oliver’s baby faced political strategist Alex. He asks her out for dinner which she initially turns down saying that her life is too complicated to be dating right now though she changes her mind at the end of the episode. Now, I don’t expect whatever relationship these two have together to last (if they’re still a thing by the end of the season I’ll be greatly surprised) but this is still a great improvement over Thea’s thing with the DJ/assassin last season for two reasons. One, Alex doesn’t feel nearly as pointless of a character and two, he’s isn’t someone I immediately want to punch in the face.
While Sara soul has been restored, she’s still experiencing the same Lazarus Pit side effects as Thea. The trouble begins when she joins up with Team Arrow for the Kord Industries heist and almost beats a security guard to death and things get worse when she kills a Ghost during Ray’s rescue mission. Sara decides the best thing for her to do is once again leave town and try to find a different way to deal with her bloodlust.
Oliver takes Reiter and Conklin to the bunker from last week and Reiter uses the orb Constantine gave to Oliver to read a hidden message (funny how Constantine missed that one) that Reiter says leads to a “very special gift, a heart of water.” Reiter has Oliver lead an excavation with some of the laborers at where he thinks the gift is located and sends Conklin with him.
At the excavation, Oliver gives the laborers a lunch break while Oliver secretly goes to check up on the woman he saved and see what she knows about what Reiter is up to. Conklin is naturally still suspicious of Oliver and has a laborer named Vlad attack him when he comes back. At first it looks like Vlad is about to drown Oliver but eventually Oliver gets the upper hand and kills him. Conklin sees what Oliver has done he says that he better have a story to go with that body. I have to admit, I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what Conklin’s plan is here. There’s no way he was dumb enough to think Vlad would actually be able to kill Oliver. Maybe he wanted to somehow use Vlad’s death as an excuse to discredit Oliver but since the fight happened in front of all the other laborers, I don’t see that flying either.
One of Damien’s lackeys informs him they were able to get some residual power from Ray’s suit and make a power source out of it, which has Damien visibly pleased. He tells him to test out the power source on a mysterious cube that he had been seen practically drooling over earlier in the season (and I get the feeling before long I’ll end up calling it the Magic Mcguffin).
This was another mostly strong episode for season 4. One thing that helped this week is that while there still the same number of subplots as usual, with the exception of the flashback, the screen time dedicated to them was considerably less. Instead, more focus was put into the action which is after all what Arrow fans generally tune in for. The action scenes themselves were also generally pretty well handled with the highlight probably being Laurel, Thea and Sara against the Ghosts.
While this episode was clearly used as a partial excuse to set the stage for Ray and Sara to make their own marks in Legends of Tomorrow, tonight’s episode does a reasonable job to give them both reasons to leave. Ray, while being one of my favorite parts of season three, has never truly fit in with Team Arrow. The fact is he is just way too happy-go-lucky to be a consistent part of Arrow, as tonight’s episode helpfully reminded us with his SPECTRE comment. As for Sara, while the team is happy for her to be alive again, it’s clear things just aren’t the same and she doesn’t mesh with them like before. For the most part, the team was able to move on without her and her being temporarily put back on the Team Arrow roster only made it all the easier to notice that the team’s lair was getting a little crowded.
The one part I didn’t care for so much were the arguments between Oliver and Felicity. I know couples fight and everything and admittedly these two were due for one but their reason for fighting here felt a little forced. At one point, Felicity gets mad at Oliver for talking to her mom without telling her even though this season started out with her admitting that she continued working for Team Arrow behind his back and this very episode started with her waiting what had to be at least a couple of days before telling him about Ray for no reason whatsoever. Even Felicity admits in the end that Oliver was being perfectly understanding the whole time. While the situation bugged me, it’s mostly a minor issue.
Tune in next week when the team goes up against the supposedly deceased Andrew Diggle in ‘Brotherhood.’