Tonight’s episode opens with Oliver and Ruve Adams meeting for the first time as they inspect the stage where they will hold their upcoming mayoral debate, and then the Quiver Crew following Ruve as she heads home, hoping the woman might lead them back to the location of Damien Darhk. Unfortunately for them, their perfectly executed tail ends in an ambush, when Ruve’s car disappears right after Oliver starts following her. Suddenly, she appears to the Green Arrow, telling him how angry her husband would be about being her being tailed, and how annoyed he was at being stood up (when Oliver did not show up for his meeting with the man), and then sending dozens of Ghosts to kill the Green Arrow. Fortunately, the rest of the team is nearby, and they quickly engage and take down the Ghosts, as Ruve escapes once more.
Ruve makes her way back to HIVE headquarters, where she and Damien discuss dealing with Oliver Queen, and Damien reveals he has plans for Oliver’s son William. They then enter into a board meeting with the leaders of HIVE, which somehow now includes Malcolm Merlyn, and they discuss the infamous Phase 5 of the Star City campaign, which hinges on the Darhks taking control of Star City, and on Oliver Queen losing this election. They also discuss the traitorous Captain Lance, who Merlyn confirms has been working with the Green Arrow, and Darhk says he is already dealing with Lance.
Speaking of which, Captain Lance is visited by Laurel, who apparently has been checking up on him a lot recently due to her fear of retribution from Darhk. Lance feels he is safe enough working in a room full of cops (clearly Lance has forgotten how many super-villains have stormed that police station with ease in the past), though he does inform Laurel that they are swamped with work, as he himself goes out into the field to investigate a report of a “602.” Laurel decides to tag along after the cryptic phone call with the report and is there as the building her father investigates starts to collapse, being carefully demoed from within to kill Lance. Laurel gets her father out, but it is now clear he is being targeted, so Oliver and company demand Lance to stay down in HQ for the time being where it is safe.
Unfortunately, Lance is still dating Donna Smoake, and when he tries to lie to her to say why he will be away for some time, she calls him on his BS and decides to break up with him, not wanting to be with another lying man like her husband. The break-up is tough on both, and while Felicity feels for her mother, she knows that Lance is just trying to protect her, and says as much to her mom, claiming that Donna needs to trust that Lance has a good reason for what he is doing. Donna meanwhile throws her energy in Oliver and Felicity’s engagement party, admitting that she is living vicariously through her daughter, whose honest relationship with Oliver is something she greatly envies.
Thea meanwhile is holding down the campaign fort while Alex is away (apparently his mom is having surgery this week, which Oliver did not seem the least bit sympathetic about), and she has uncovered an un-cashed million-dollar check written by Moira Queen to a woman named Samantha while the campaign’s lawyers were digging for information on Ruve. Thea confronts Oliver about the check, but he denies knowing anything about it at first. Thea however, can sense that her brother is dodging and investigates further, uncovering the truth about Samantha and William and confronting Oliver with that knowledge while they are practicing for the upcoming debate. Oliver explains why he cannot tell anyone about William, and Thea seems to understand Samantha’s desire for Oliver to keep William their secret, despite the known history on the show for how damaging any and all secrets can be. Of course, Thea might just be stoked that for once she is the first one to know a secret on the team, and she agrees to not tell anyone about William and support Oliver’s difficult decision to abide by Samantha’s demands.
On the team front, they manage to trace the phone call that lured the Lance’s to the demolished building to yet ANOTHER Star City abandoned warehouse, and it is here that the team confronts the Demolition Team for the first time, a group of three super-villains each sporting a unique weapon, either an axe, a pair of what look like tomahawks, and a nail-gun. Apparently the team is known for precision destruction of buildings to bring down on their targets, and they are currently working for HIVE. Despite their gimmicky appearance and odd weapons, the Demo Team manages to subdue Team Arrow and blow up the building, as well as putting three nails through the laptop with their next target (instead of, you know, taking the laptop with them when the fled. Maybe they did not realize laptops were portable?) The Quiver crew returns to base where Felicity takes the laptop, growing nostalgic as recovering information from a damaged laptop was her first assignment from Oliver, and what led to her joining the team. She. in turn. gives the laptop to Curtis, who is busy at Palmer Tech with a super-secret project that is actually Felicity’s wedding gift.
The team learns that the Demo Team uses a specific kind of acid in their work, and they head to the only factory in town that makes the stuff, only to find all of the guards dead and the full supply of the chemical gone, leading them to believe the next target of the Demo Team is going to be something huge. For anyone not sure where this is going, luckily the show then proceeds to take us to the large building where the Mayoral debate is going to occur, where Oliver, Thea and the Smoakes arrive to prep and get ready for the big event. While Donna runs off to find a better make-up sponge, Curtis contacts Felicity and sends her the blue-prints for the next building the Demo Team is targeting, which just happens to be the one they are standing in. Thea pulls the fire alarm to evacuate the building, and then hurries off to change into costume so they can disarm the bombs (luckily she and Oliver knew they had time to change before the bombs went off).
As the Smoakes head outside with the crowd, they spot Captain Lance heading inside, claiming he was not going to sit this one out while lives were in danger. So once again Team Arrow takes on the Demo Team only this time, they come better prepared. Diggle, who had been bested by the ax-wielding member of the Team, comes equipped with a magnetic device that deflects the ax, leading to a much simpler fist-fight which Dig easily wins. Despite almost taking a nail to the face, Laurel manages to face down the nail-gun wielding member with Thea, while Oliver fights the guy with the tomahawks, helped at the last minute by Captain Lance who puts the man down with a bullet. Before the bombs can go off, the team manages to disarm them using a red chemical which somehow makes the acid in the bombs less lethal, or something like that.
With the bombs gone, Ruve Adams now has to actually debate Oliver, which she was not planning on, and later on TV it is announced that Oliver was the clear victor of the debate, which is sure to angry the higher ups of HIVE once again. Following his victorious debate, Oliver and Felicity head home to their engagement party, a party that for once is not ruined by the arrival of a super-villain.
In tonight’s flashbacks, Oliver, Taiana and a handful of other prisoners work to break through a wall that is somehow part of Reiter’s plan, and the prisoners denounce Oliver as a killer, claiming they will only trust him if he kills Conklin. While Oliver is at first against it, Taiana encourages him to do it, claiming that sometimes you have to become a monster to beat a monster. So Oliver waits for the opportune moment and then engages in a rough and tumble knife fight with Conklin, which ends with a knife in the man’s chest, and Conklin telling Oliver that Reiter is still going to kill them all. Reiter is pissed about the death, but claims he needs Oliver alive to accomplish his task, claiming Oliver is fated to help him in his quest. He does, however, warn Oliver not to pull anything else without expecting consequences.
In the episode aftermath, Captain Lance comes clean with Donna about everything, his involvement with HIVE to protect Laurel, being a target by HIVE now, and she understands and is grateful to him for being honest. Curtis gives Felicity his early wedding present and it turns out to be some kind of bio-microchip, powered by their new Palmer power cell, which when implanted in Felicity’s spine might allow her to walk again for her wedding, which of course makes the couple exceptionally happy. And finally, in the Darhk home, Damien approaches his daughter, and introduces Willaim, who he claims is going to stay with them for a little while at the request of his mother.
– How long has Merlyn been part of HIVE? Could he have been working with Darhk all along? Playing both sides to his advantage?
– I like that the arc of the season has a lot more to do with cunning and brains and less with brawn, as Seasons 1 -3 were all about who was the strongest/ best fighter, and this season it really is a kind of chess-match between Darhk and Oliver, especially with the political side of things.
– I suppose now that Curtis is on the table as someone who could potentially end up in that coffin, though he will need to meet and befriend Barry Allen before I really believe it. My money, as always, is still on Captain Lance, especially now that we are seeing how happy he makes Donna Smoake.
– Is Samantha dead? Hospitalized? I just cannot image her letting HIVE take William that easily.
– Could there be more to Taiana than we realized? We only have her word that she was Vlad’s sister, and based on how she pushed Oliver to kill Conklin, I’m thinking she might be something more mystical, maybe like a physical manifestation of the island’s magic?
Lots going on this episode, and I cannot wait to see how Oliver and the team react to Darhk having William, as well as finally seeing the end of this damn mayoral race which I think has gone on for too long. Just make Oliver the mayor already so we can move onto how HIVE is going to deal with that loss. Also, I knew they would not keep Felicity handicapped for long, though I thought it would be Palmer Tech nano-bots that repaired her spine. At least I was kind of close. Ah well, see you back here next week!