Oliver is none the worse for wear as he is now a free man after being deemed innocent of the accusation of being the vigilante archer in last week’s episode. He is now back to that list, but Diggle has other plans and hopes to open up Oliver’s horizons when it comes to crime fighting. Meanwhile, Tommy is still crushing on Laurel who needs to figure out who she likes while Moira has to comes to terms with the fact that Walter has left her on the pretense of business.

Let’s get to the recap!

The episode immediately starts off with a wonderful gratuitous shot of shirtless Oliver working with Diggle (who should have also been shirtless but alas, has kept his shirt on) on their Escrima techniques. Diggle asks Oliver about his time on the island but he is vague on his answers. He does, however, reveal that it was Yao Fei that taught him all his fighting skills.

After the work out, Oliver tells Diggle of their next target but Diggle has another suggestion. Why not take out the Royal Flush gang who has been hitting the city’s banks? Oliver tells him that he is only concerned with the names in his father’s book as they are the ones that are making the city sick and bank robberies are just a by-product of this “disease.” Diggle tries to convince him to think outside the box stating there is more than one way to save the city, but Oliver is adamant and believes the only way is to bring the names in his book to justice.

Tommy is still trying to woo Laurel but she kind of shoots him down because, at the moment, the legal aid office that she works for just lost their biggest donor and if they don’t find a way to make up for the lost donation, their doors will close.

So what’s a guy to do? He goes to see his best friend, but Oliver had just received a call from Diggle telling him Scott Morgan (the next guy Arrow was to target) tried to commit suicide so he’s out the door to find out what is going on. Thea comments on how quickly Oliver left and Tommy, obviously in the need to talk to someone, decides to ask Thea for some love advice. She tells him that he should find out what is important to the girl and make that important to him. Pretty sage advice!

When Oliver gets to the hospital, Diggle admits that it was a rouse for him to see the officer that was shot during the bank robbery. The officer’s wife thanks Diggle for arranging the transfer for her husband to Starling General, but Diggle tells her to thank Oliver as he’s footing the bill. Oliver is upset that he was lied to but Diggle, in another attempt to change Oliver’s mind, says that he’s not the type of person that will walk away when there’s a chance to make a difference. I guess that worked as Oliver decides to take on the Royal Flush Gang.

At the hideout, Oliver and Diggle go over the bank’s video and see that the robber that shot the police officer was wearing some kind of ring. Oliver decides to break into the police station as Arrow to get the files on the case to move forward.

In the files, he finds out the ring left a mark on the police officer and its insignia belongs to Larchmont High School. After cross referencing the high school records, Oliver deduces that the bank robberies are being executed by a family – the Reston family to be exact.

The next day, Tommy tells Laurel that he would like to sponsor a charity fundraiser for the legal office but she doesn’t believe it’s for altruistic reasons – she thinks it’s just another way for him to try and get into her pants. Joanna tells her that the office needs the money so let him do it. Reluctantly she tells him thank you.

It’s brunch time at the Queen Manor and the Queen siblings have been ordered by their mother to attend as one of her oldest friends and her son is coming over. A big of rivalry is seen between Carter and Oliver as Carter has always been seen as the “golden child.”

Anyway, the Royal Flush Gang has hit another bank and Diggle thankfully saves Oliver from the boring brunch. As the Gang tries to make their getaway, a shootout occurs between them and the cops. Arrow arrives just in time to shoot the bag of cash out of their hands giving them no other choice to retreat without the loot. The cops chase the Reston men but they manage to get away – as does Arrow.

The Reston family gathers at the meet up point. Their mother says that things are not working out and their dad, Derek, agrees. He suggests that they head to Mexico as planned by Kyle tells him they haven’t got enough money to really retire on. He’s upset and convinces dear ol’ dad to do one more heist before getting out of the business.

Felicity Smoak is back at the computer and this time she’s helping Oliver locate Derek Reston. She tells him that Derek used to be a foreman for the Queen Steel Company before Oliver’s father closed it down. Because of a loophole, the corporation didn’t have to pay those who lost their jobs any severance or pension. Oliver realizes that the Reston’s road to crime is a byproduct of his father’s actions.

Oliver feels guilty that his family caused the Reston to become criminals so he decides to find Derek and give him the chance to turn away from crime. He goes to the bar where the factory workers used to go and finds Derek there playing poker. Oliver offers him a job at Queen Consolidated but Derek declines saying he doesn’t need his charity. As Oliver leaves, he gives him his card and tells Derek that they are in the same situation: they both have to live with the consequence of his father’s actions and what they decide to do now is on them.

Back at the Arrow lair, Diggle finds Oliver listening to the Restons discuss their next plan of action. He tells his bodyguard that he placed a bug on Derek. As they continue to listen in, they hear Derek agree to do one more job. Oliver now decides to take them down.

On the personal front, at Tommy’s fundraiser for the legal office, Tommy goes and thanks Thea for her wonderful advice and when he reveals he did this all for Laurel, the news brings her to drink. She just gave advice to her brother’s best friend on how to snag the girl her brother likes while all the time thinking he was talking about her. Awkward!!!!

Meanwhile, Oliver says hi to Moira who obviously already has had one too many and chastises him for not being honest with her. She doesn’t understand why he’s always leaving… and with that, Diggle comes and interrupts their conversation whispering to Oliver that the Restons have hit another bank.

As Derek and Kyle are stealing money from the vault, they hear a noise. It’s Arrow! He’s come to stop them! But Kyle is prepared and brings with him a protection shield. As they fight, the security guard, who was knocked out, wakes up and shoots at Kyle. Derek, seeing what is about to happen, jumps in the way and takes the bullet. Meanwhile, Arrow punches Kyle out and tells the guard to call 911. As Derek lies dying, he tells Arrow that it’s not Kyle’s fault and that he turned his son into a criminal. Arrow leaves as the police arrive.

Diggle finds Oliver brooding in his hideout. He tells him that Derek’s death is not his fault because he did give him a chance. He also tells Oliver that had his father seen him this past week trying to help the people he himself had wronged, he would have been honored and proud of his son.

Oliver flashes back to the time on the island right after Yao Fei had trapped him in. He built a fire using the pages of his dad’s book and was dying of starvation. He hallucinates that his father is there with him and complains that he can’t continue to go on. His father tells him that he made a promise to right the wrongs he did and it’s now his responsibility to do this. He apologizes for not telling Oliver the truth about him and that he loves him. When Oliver comes to, he is about to put another page into the fire when he notices the heat of the fire reacts to the invisible ink in the book. A list of names appears which gives Oliver the will to survive and keep his promise to his dad.

Oliver heads home to find his mom drinking. She admits she is lonely now that Walter is gone and that she misses the days they used to talk. Oliver tells her that he missed her too and invites her to a late night dinner at a diner where they can just enjoy each other’s company.

Episode Observations:

• This week’s episode manages to use all the characters in a way that was very cohesive. Although, the storyline of Thea liking Tommy was a bit awkward as in no time in the past 5 episodes that you got the impression she really liked him. And isn’t she supposed to be under 21? Can we say jail bait?

• Another awkward storyline is the Laurel/Tommy/Oliver love triangle. More cliché than awkward. Maybe I’ve watched too many nice-guy-must-hide-his-alter-ego-side-and-the-girl-he-likes-likes-the-alter-ego-or-the-best-friend scenarios that I don’t appreciate this as much as I should.

• I really like Diggle’s character formation during the past 6 episodes. He won’t let Oliver run all over him and is trying to get him to see the bigger picture of what being Arrow can do for Starling City. I’m really hoping we can soon see him in vigilante action too.

• As the episodes go on, we are seeing more layers of Oliver’s character and a little of his damaged psyche.

• So what did you think of the twist of making the Royal Flush Gang a family instead of a group of thieves? I rather enjoyed the tie in that their life of crime is linked to Oliver’s dad and what he had done. This opens the door for Oliver to have some conflict as he begins to realize how deep in the underbelly of Starling City’s powerful criminal element his family is really indebted with.

• Speaking of the twist, I thought the writers did a very good job in showing the dichotomy of Oliver and Kyle and how their father’s legacy shaped them to be who they were. While Oliver chose work on what was needed for him to right his father’s wrongs in the 5 years he was on the island, Kyle joined in his father’s wrongs for the same 5 years.

There won’t be a new episode next week but when the series returns on November 28th, we’ll get to see the Huntress in action!

So what did you think of this week’s episode?