Well, this was one of the episodes we had been waiting for this season, the long-awaited return of Roy Harper to ‘Arrow,’ and I can say it was not exactly what I had expected. Some of the side-stories seemed a bit more interesting, and it definitely felt like a bit too open-ended (I know there’s a second half to it coming along in 2 weeks), so I am honestly not sure exactly how I felt about the episode.
Jumping right in, the episode’s main story involved new information in the case against Oliver Queen by the DA, wherein they are claiming that with Cayden James dead their new “star” witness is Roy Harper, which sent shock waves into Team Arrow, especially Thea, as no one actually believes Roy is willingly testifying against Oliver, not when he sacrificed his life in Season 3 the last time Oliver was accused of being a vigilante. Also, in the B-story, Black Siren is now posing as Earth-1 “Laurel Lance,” claiming that she was kidnapped and held for 2 years by Damien Darhk’s people after everyone believed the villain had killed her, even going so far as to hold a press conference to get her face out there. And to keep Team Arrow in check, she threatens to reveal the identity of the Green Arrow to the press if they try to break her cover, so Oliver’s hands are tied when it comes to the return of Laurel Lance, for the moment.
So instead, Team Arrow uses their resources to track down where the SCPD might be holding Roy, and discover he is being beaten by phone books in a hotel and head out to do some recon and potential rescue, with Thea even suiting up (despite Oliver’s objections) because this is Roy after all. With Oliver watching from a nearby rooftop Speedy sneaks into the hotel room and reveals herself to the badly beaten Roy, who tells her to flee before she is caught, even as Felicity comms that SWAT is on their way up.
As Thea prepares to make her stand Oliver literally pulls her out using some kind of snare arrow, saying that she and Roy would have died had she tried to fight off all those cops. Still, they did learn that some of the SCPD cops are dirty, which Felicity manages to confirm, and Oliver visits with Quentin and Dinah in SCPD HQ the next day to discuss. Lance and Dinah are already working together to hunt down “Laurel Lance,” as after having been treated in the hospital she was “escorted home” by some SCPD and she disappeared, which made Dinah think Laurel escaped. After speaking with Oliver, and reluctantly agreeing to work together to figure out which SCPD cops are crooked this time around, she realizes Laurel was probably taken by the cops on Diaz’s payroll.
Felicity learns they are moving Roy and the team heads out to try to intercept the former Quiver Crew member during transport, but upon opening the van they discover it was nothing but a decoy, with Roy having been switched to alternate transportation while underground which Felicity cannot find. Meanwhile, Roy awakens to find himself in the hands of Diaz himself, who claims Roy should join his crew and abandon his loyalties to Oliver, and begins to threaten Roy with hurting Thea, who Oliver let suit up again, taunting Roy with the knowledge that Thea only went back out into the field because she clearly still has feelings for Roy.
Laurel meanwhile meets up with Diaz and Anatoly, and after watching Diaz initiate a new fighter in his gang and show off his street fighting skills, Diaz berates her for trying to steal their money, but assures her that she has nothing to fear from Dinah Drake or Oliver Queen, and convinces her to rejoin their team of villains, who now want to control the city instead of destroy it as Cayden wanted.
Laurel returns to Quentin’s house, where he offers her a couch to stay on, and claims to want to genuinely live Laurel Lance’s life now as Quentin seems to want, and claims to Oliver and everyone else that she is going to really try. She even goes so far as to give the location of Diaz’s HQ to Oliver and company so they can try to get Roy back, which Oliver is a bit suspicious of, but they have to take the chance. Dinah tries to go along as well, but Oliver stops her, claiming that since Dinah doesn’t trust him, and he doesn’t trust her, he would rather be short-handed in the field than have her go out with them.
At Diaz’s lair, Dig, Oliver and Thea storm inside, finding the gang not expecting them, meaning Laurel’s intel was actually good, surprising Oliver as she did not lead them into a trap. They make their way through Diaz’s goons, taking down Anatoly, with Dig keeping him covered while Thea heads out after Diaz who is trying to escape with his prisoner, Roy. She faces down Diaz, but he is a surprisingly good fighter and gets the best of Thea (which I think is BS considering her training, her father, and her skills) ending the fight by holding an arrow to her throat, but luckily Oliver arrives just in time to knock Diaz down and now he and Thea hold him at arrow point. Oliver tells Thea to jump in the escape van with Roy and drive away, which she does, as Oliver knows the SCPD, both corrupt and real officers, are en route, and he cannot hold Diaz. He waits for Thea to drive away, being taunted by Diaz the whole time, as he knows Oliver won’t kill him and the cops won’t arrest him because he owns the chief of police, and Oliver escapes at the last minute, frustrated at the situation.
The episode ends with Team Arrow well-aware that the DA could very well be adding obstruction of justice and other charges to the case against Oliver after their saving Roy, but they do not care, as they did it for Roy and Thea, and Roy deserved their help after everything he has done for them in the past. He and Thea head back to her apartment (which does not seem smart, seems like the first place Diaz and his cops will look for Roy, but ah well) and they rekindle their relationship, as Oliver visits Laurel at Quentin’s house and thanks her for the intel, with Laurel claiming she really does want to make an attempt to be Laurel Lance now. Sadly, after Oliver leaves, her phone is revealed with congratulations from Diaz on a job well-done, meaning even her “helping” the heroes is all part of a long-con, and she is still helping the villains.
- Is this how they bring Black Siren into the fold? They pretty easily got around the legal ramifications, with only Team Arrow and Team Dart aware that “Laurel Lance” is the Black Siren who committed all those crimes/murders, but it still seems a little easy…It is an interesting angle though, and I kind of like it as I would like to see her redeemed. I do NOT want to see her and Oliver have an affair though, and it does kind of seem like there was a spark there at the end of the episode tonight.
- Oliver told Thea to go with Roy when he leaves, as he sees that she needs him in her life. Is this the end of Thea for ‘Arrow?’ I know I called it earlier this season, but it does make me sad that right when we get bad-ass Thea again, she might be gone for good…
- I don’t like that magically Diaz is this brilliant fighter who can hold his own against experience members of Team Arrow like Thea. Fighting prowess should not be something that characters just “have” to make them interesting. Cayden James couldn’t fight and I thought he was one of the more interesting villains in recent years.
- No Rene tonight, I wonder with only 7 episodes left for the season how much action he will be able to see while recovering from those injuries…
- Who was the League of Shadow spy talking about when she said “I have found the heir of Ras Al Ghul?” Thea makes more sense, but Thea has been right there in Star City for months, it is not like she has been hard to find. So that means she was talking about Roy? But what makes him the heir?
- Also, I liked that they are bringing up the idea again that Diggle does want the Hood, and is waiting for Oliver to step down as the Green Arrow as it has been about 2 months since they fixed Diggle’s arm and Oliver has still not given the mantle back to his friend.
Solid episode, always good to see Roy, though I kind of wish he was back in a more permanent fashion, and I was kind of hoping to see him suit up and go out and fight with the team again, like old times (though at least they put him in a red hoodie at the end, that was a nice-callback). I like where the show is going, though I think I want to see some closure or something on the split team storyline soon before they go to all-out war with Diaz and his SCPD goons. And I’m definitely not happy that we have a break next week before the second half of the Roy arc. Ah well, see you back here in 2 weeks!