Arrow ‘Unchained’ Recap- Episode 04.12

Arrow
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Return of Arsenal

Team Arrow opens tonight with a seemingly routine mission to catch a masked burglar.  Things don’t exactly go according to plan though since the burglar turns out to be suspiciously adept at parkour.  Between that and some problems with Thea (more on that later), the burglar is able to escape.

The next day at Palmer Tech, Felicity does a dry run for her upcoming presentation (which has now been moved up a few months) of Holt’s big new technology, which is revealed to be some kind of super battery.  Things don’t go well however due to Felicity’s continued adjustments to life in a wheelchair and her usual not-so-great skills at public speaking.  One of the board members then suggests to Felicity that it might be best to let someone else do the presentation.

Later that night, the burglar returns to commit another robbery and Oliver goes after him alone.  A long and very parkour heavy chase scene ensues and Oliver is eventually able to catch up to the burglar and take off his mask.  To Oliver’s great surprise, the thief turns out to be none other than Roy Harper, who uses Oliver’s temporary to make his escape.

Back at Arrow HQ, after Felicity lampshades all the surprise character returns they’ve dealt with this season, the team tries to figure out the deal with Roy.  Laurel’s first guess is a shapeshifter, reminding the team that it wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing to happen to them this season.  Just then Oliver gets a call from Alex that his mayoral campaign just got more complicated since he will no longer be running unopposed.  Things get even more interesting when Oliver finds out his opponent is Damien’s wife, Ruvé Adams.  While that’s going on, Felicity figures out that the stuff stolen in Roy’s robberies could be used to create a “web-nuke”, which could theoretically destroy the internet (okay I’m willing to buy that Ray Palmer can shrink himself to size of an ant but this is asking a lot of me) and all it needs to work is a large power source.  Felicity then realizes that Roy will probably be hitting Palmer Tech next to steal Holt’s super battery.

Sure enough, Roy shows up at Palmer Tech and after a surprisingly decent fight against Holt, Team Arrow swoops in to stop him, though Roy successfully passes off the battery.  Felicity notices something off about Roy and has Oliver shoot him in the shoulder with a tranquilizer arrow.

Back at Arrow HQ, the team patches up an unconscious Roy and Felicity’s suspicions are confirmed when they find a special contact lens in his right eye which she figures has some kind of AV transmitter inside of it.  When Roy wakes up, he tells them that some guy calling himself the Calculator (Tom Amandes) figured out who he was and threatened to expose the fact that he’s not dead which would inevitably put suspicions back on Oliver unless he agreed to help him steal the parts for the web-nuke.  To make sure Roy complied, the Calculator had him wear the special contact lens so he could watch every move he makes.

Felicity decides to try to hack into Calculator’s computer system.  While she does eventually find her way in, it doesn’t take long for Calculator to notice.  He’s able to shut Felicity out of his computer but not before saying that he actually plans to take use the web-nuke to take down Star City (and that he enjoys cat videos).

Felicity decides the best way to figure out where Calculator is going to detonate the web-nuke is to use something designed by Ray last year called a battering ram which can be used to punch through cyber security.  Felicity goes to Palmer Tech to retrieve the battering ram and runs into Holt along the way.  Holt takes this opportunity to convince Felicity to not doubt herself so much about running Palmer Tech.

Felicity is able to figure out where the web-nuke is being installed at and Team Arrow wastes no time suiting up, including Roy in his old Arsenal uniform.  Once they get there though, Felicity realizes the only way to stop the web-nuke is to blow it up and one of the team members has to stay behind to detonate the explosive.  Roy immediately volunteers and promises that he’ll be able to escape the blast radius in time.  Indeed, Roy is able to escape the bombing unscathed by zip lining his way out of the building.  Okay that was awesome but where did that zip line come from exactly?  Afterwards, Roy admits that while he enjoyed his brief return to action, he still thinks it would be best for him to go underground again.

The next day at Palmer Tech, Felicity does the super battery presentation and thanks to Holt’s pep talk, it goes off without a hitch.  It’s at this point we see that the Calculator, who up until now has been an unseen by Team Arrow, sitting next to Oliver in the audience.  He goes to introduce himself to Felicity and we find out he’s actually her father (insert Luke Skywalker “No!”clip here).

Flashback Time

The flashback opens with Oliver getting tortured by Reiter demanding to know why Oliver went looking for the maps on Amazo.  Before the interrogation goes any further however, he’s saved by a mysterious archer revealed to be Shado.  This is course a hallucination and Shado tells him that he needs to learn to forgive himself and urges him to make his way through his inner darkness.  She tells him the best way for him to start is for him to be honest to Taiana about killing her brother.  Right before he comes out of his hallucination he finds an odd looking rock inside his hand.

When Oliver wakes up, he confesses to Taiana about killing her brother but some reason decides to leave out the part where he did it in self defense because of Conklin.  Once he’s made his confession he notices the rock from his hallucination is still in his hand.

Nyssa

Ever since destroying the Lazarus Pits, Nyssa has apparently been spending all of her time in a Nanda Parbat jail cell. That all changes though when an ally named Talibah helps her escape by slipping her a small knife hidden in a pepper (presumably because a nail file inside a cake would’ve been too obvious).  Nyssa, Talibah and some other League allies are then able to make short work of the other nameless guards and take over Nanda Parbat.  I hate to say it but if staging a mutiny was that easy then Merlyn is kind of a sucky Ra’s al Ghul.

Nyssa makes her way to Japan to retrieve something called the Lotus.  This is easier said than done however when she finds that the Lotus is being guarded by none other than Tatsu.  The two fight for a little bit before Nyssa comments they’re evenly matched.  Knowing the fight could go on for ages, Nyssa instead makes a proposal to Tatsu that involves Oliver.     

Thea

Thea’s troubles begin when she collapses during the team’s fight with Roy, effectively benching her for the episode.  She claims it was simply exhaustion but Team Arrow it’s something far more serious.  While she tries to recover at her apartment, Merlyn informs Oliver that if she doesn’t kill somebody soon then the Lazarus Pit curse will kill her instead.  Oliver is surprised to hear this because Thea seemed to be doing okay until now but Thea admits that was only because of her incident with Damien.  Roy of course pays her a visit to try to cheer her up but her condition only worsens.

Oliver is desperate enough to save Thea that he even considers making a deal with Damien.  When Thea and Merlyn find out this, they both talk him out of it since it’s not only an incredibly stupid idea but that it should be Thea’s decision on how to handle things.  Unfortunately, her condition soon takes a turn for the worse and she slips into a coma.

Cliffhanger

Nyssa and Thea’s subplots weave together when Nyssa shows up in Star City to make a proposition to Oliver.  The only way to save Thea is to use an elixir called the Lotus which she will provide on one condition.  Oliver must kill Malcolm Merlyn.

Analysis

While I’ll admit the team dynamic seems to be doing fine without Roy, it was still nice to be reminded what a badass he could be and the look of glee on his face as he zip lines out of that building was priceless.  As great as it was to have him back for this episode though it’s probably for the best that he’s just a guest star since the episodes with Sara earlier this season already showcased how Team Arrow has been getting dangerously close to being overcrowded.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the flashbacks but this one seemed even more pointless than usual.  Oliver overcoming his darkness has been a pretty constant theme in Oliver’s present day story arcs through most of the series, so we know he doesn’t exactly learn to do it once he makes it off the island since he doesn’t hesitate to kill several people in the pilot episode alone.  On the plus side, that rock looks kind of interesting, I guess.

As for Calculator, I haven’t quite made up my mind about him.  On one hand, the super hacker with personal ties with Felicity has already been done in her origin episode from last season but since he appears to be sticking around for at least another episode, he at least has a chance to be more interesting than Felicity’s whiny ex-boyfriend.  It also doesn’t hurt that Amandes has way more charisma than the smug-faced guy playing the boyfriend.

Tune in next week as Oliver faces a tough decision in ‘Sins of the Father.’

Return of Arsenal Team Arrow opens tonight with a seemingly routine mission to catch a masked burglar.  Things don't exactly go according to plan though since the burglar turns out to be suspiciously adept at parkour.  Between that and some problems with Thea (more on that later), the burglar is able to escape. The next day at Palmer Tech, Felicity does a dry run for her upcoming presentation (which has now been moved up a few months) of Holt's big new technology, which is revealed to be some kind of super battery.  Things don't go well however due to Felicity's continued adjustments to life in a wheelchair and her usual not-so-great skills at public speaking.  One of the board members then suggests to Felicity that it might be best to let someone else do the presentation. Later that night, the burglar returns to commit another robbery and Oliver goes after him alone.  A long and very parkour heavy chase scene ensues and Oliver is eventually able to catch up to the burglar and take off his mask.  To Oliver's great surprise, the thief turns out to be none other than Roy Harper, who uses Oliver's temporary to make his escape. Back at Arrow HQ, after Felicity lampshades all the surprise character returns they've dealt with this season, the team tries to figure out the deal with Roy.  Laurel's first guess is a shapeshifter, reminding the team that it wouldn't even be the weirdest thing to happen to them this season.  Just then Oliver gets a call from Alex that his mayoral campaign just got more complicated since he will no longer be running unopposed.  Things get even more interesting when Oliver finds out his opponent is Damien's wife, Ruvé Adams.  While that's going on, Felicity figures out that the stuff stolen in Roy's robberies could be used to create a "web-nuke", which could theoretically destroy the internet (okay I'm willing to buy that Ray Palmer can shrink himself to size of an ant but this is asking a lot of me) and all it needs to work is a large power source.  Felicity then realizes that Roy will probably be hitting Palmer Tech next to steal Holt's super battery. Sure enough, Roy shows up at Palmer Tech and after a surprisingly decent fight against Holt, Team Arrow swoops in to stop him, though Roy successfully passes off the battery.  Felicity notices something off about Roy and has Oliver shoot him in the shoulder with a tranquilizer arrow. Back at Arrow HQ, the team patches up an unconscious Roy and Felicity's suspicions are confirmed when they find a special contact lens in his right eye which she figures has some kind of AV transmitter inside of it.  When Roy wakes up, he tells them that some guy calling himself the Calculator (Tom Amandes) figured out who he was and threatened to expose the fact that he's not dead which would inevitably put suspicions back on Oliver unless he agreed to help him…
Episode Score - 8.5

8.5

Damien Darhk may have been sorely missed this week but Colton Haynes returning to guest star was a more than welcome distraction.

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About the Author

Derek Johns
is a native Texan who has had a love and fascination with movies as long as he can remember. He attended Sam Houston State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Broadcast Journalism. His love of film only grew during his college days, with seldom an hour going by without him making some kind of movie reference. He has since gone on a seemingly never-ending quest to see as many movies (old and new) that he possibly can, a task made possible by his Netflix subscription. Besides movies he enjoys television, reading, writing, video editing, listening to music, and watching Doctor Who.
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