Oliver can’t handle all-of-her love.
Welcome back to the Starling City! This week’s drama takes us back 6 months ago to the Quiver crew racing to get to the Mirakuru cure during Slade’s siege of the city. Even though they’re short on time, Oliver demands they stop as they see one of the miraku-goons attacking a woman. Oliver shoots once with an arrow, which doesn’t stop the guy, and then uses an exploding arrow to finish the job, saving the girl and leaving her staring dreamily at an arrow Oliver left behind. A ‘Cupid’ is born.
Flash back to the present, where Captain Lance and Oliver survey the body of Stansler (the villain from last week who we saw Cupid kill) after he’s been dressed up in an Arrow costume and dumped off in the same alley where Oliver saved Cupid 6 months earlier. Captain Lance then hands Oliver an arrow with a point shaped like a spade, to which Oliver replies that he’ll look into it.
Meanwhile, at Queen Consolidated (enjoy that name while you can…), Ray Palmer is doing a workout similar to Arrow on the salmon ladder when Felicity enters, clearly turned on and very aware of another similarity between Oliver and Ray. Palmer invites Felicity to a business dinner that he says he’d be otherwise bored enough to slit his wrists with a butter knife at, and even buys Felicity a nice dress to convince her. Although he claims it’s a platonic dinner, both the audience and Felicity know how quickly that could change. Still, Felicity says she’ll go if for nothing else than a chance to wear the dress.
At HQ, Diggle and Oliver discuss the spade arrow, calling the villain a ‘copycat’ archer, and then they watch as on TV as Palmer and Felicity appear for Palmer’s announcement of changing the name of the company from “Queen Consolidated” to “Palmer Technology.” Enraged at both Felicity standing beside the man and the end of his family’s business legacy, Oliver beats away at the spade arrowhead, which breaks under the pressure. Inside he finds an address written on a little fortune cookie type note inside. Arrow and Diggle investigate, and find a creepy apartment full of hearts and candles, Arrow articles, and lots of red and pink hues. Diggle realizes the new archer is a ‘dedicated fan’ of Oliver’s, as Oliver realizes that the arrowheads were not spades, but rather hearts. Just then Cupid calls Oliver on a phone she left behind, announcing her love and her need to look out for the Arrow, as he does for the city. (Which she intends to do by killing people for him). She shows Oliver another hostage, and claims that the man doesn’t have long, wanting the Arrow to find them soon.
And then we cut to the opening credits, where the normal arrowhead (which had already been altered this season) has been replaced by one of Cupid’s bright red heart arrowheads, with a music sting at the end of a harp. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the changing up of the opening credits based on the villain of the week, but then again not every villain uses such distinctive arrowheads.
At this point the episode goes down its usual path of the team tracking down the villain, only this time Felicity cannot devote 100% of her time to the task, for she has a dinner with Palmer that night, a fact that throws Oliver in a loop for most of the episode. And while the Arrow is tied up dealing with the one woman obsessed with him, and the other woman he’s obsessed with, Roy is busy dealing with his own guilt about the cop he remembered killing in the mirakuru rage last week, as well as helping Thea with the pending Verdant re-opening. Which was all Thea had to do this week, as we saw her hiring a DJ for opening night, who turned out to be terrible, and then being forced to hire another DJ she had dismissed earlier for being an arrogant jerk. So of course the jerk comes to the rescue, saving the day and then kissing Thea when they talk after fact, an intimate moment she does not recoil from. I’m almost surprised they didn’t have Roy watching sulkily from a corner somewhere, although that trope does still make an appearance later in the episode with another couple…
Meanwhile in the A story, Felicity did manage to figure out who the new Cupid hostage was before she left for her evening engagement, a Mob Boss that is normally untouchable, and gives the information to Oliver. She also learns that Cupid is a former SCPD officer named Carrie Cutter, who Oliver might recognize as she’s been appearing in the crowds around a lot of the crimes scenes the Arrow has visited recently. She tracks Carrie to a greenhouse using the labeled bags of manure that could be seen in the picture of the hostage, and the Arrow and Arsenal (A&A) head out to investigate.
Upon arrival, right after A&A split up to search the place, Arsenal is taken down (rather easily) by Cupid (a fact he greatly laments later). Carrie then takes Roy’s radio and taunts Arrow until he finds her with the hostage. The Mob Boss is hanging from the ceiling, his legs holding him up on a chair, and Cupid tells Arrow if the guy drops, the bombs around his chest will go off. They banter, Oliver refuses her advances, and she kicks the chair out from under the boss, fleeing afterwards. Oliver immediately shoots down the boss, and then grabs the bomb and flings it into the air, shooting it with an arrow so it explodes harmlessly in the air. Crisis averted for the time being.
From there Oliver and Roy head back to HQ where they meet up with Diggle and learn Carrie had a similar crazy problem in SCPD, and saw a psychiatrist there. Diggle notices how distracted Oliver is and asks about him and Felicity, but Oliver dodges the issue and instead goes to talk to Carrie’s old psychiatrist. The woman says Carrie suffers from a detachment disorder, says the only way to stop her is to give her a genuine connection, and then warns the Arrow not to lie to the woman. Before leaving, the psychiatrist also says Oliver could do with some psychiatric help (well, duh).
Diggle visits Felicity before she leaves for her date, and they have a discussion about Oliver and how he’s not very open with his feelings, but Felicity rightfully reminds Diggle that Oliver made his choice, and if he has an issue he should be the one bringing it up with Felicity. She also placates Diggle by holding onto the idea that her and Palmer’s relationship is purely platonic.
As for the date itself, it begins with Felicity meeting up with Palmer at the newly minted Palmer Technologies, where he gives her a 10 million dollar necklace he borrowed for the night (you know, to impress the clients). At the dinner, Felicity is texted by Diggle about the case, but Palmer sees the phone and grabs a butter knife, calling back to the earlier wrist-cutting joke (suicide jokes are apparently hilarious these days). While she does eventually leave to walk Diggle through some light hacking, Felicity returns to the table just in time for a meaningful speech to the clients about the principles of Ray Palmer, and how he’s not out to make money, but rather to change the world.
And while this is all going on, Cupid stays busy. She visits a contact she made while working for the SCPD, a hacker type himself, who has been helping her track the Arrow using his response time to various crimes, and they have managed to pinpoint his HQ to somewhere near the Verdant nightclub (du du daahhh). She thanks him for his help and kills the man, leaving to get ready for a night out.
Captain Lance finds the victim, and calls the Arrow to update him on finding another heart arrow (is it just me or has Captain Lance basically just become Commissioner Gordan – heck, he even has a daughter who is training to be a super-hero in her own right against everyone’s wishes, à la ‘Batgirl). Diggle manages to hack the destroyed computer of Cupid’s contact (hence why he bothered Felicity during her dinner) and the team realizes that Cupid is heading for Verdant. She arrives in an exuberant red dress, making small talk with Thea as Oliver calls her and demands a meet-up. She agrees, but does warn Oliver that if he’s playing her she will return and kill everyone in Verdant.
Oliver meets Cupid at the subway stop where Oliver saved her from the miraku-goons, keeping his radio connection on with Diggle back at HQ, who is soon joined by Felicity. Cupid arrives, blathers on some more about love and her connection with the Arrow, with such winning statements as “love is the cure,” and deriding the psychiatrist for trying to fix her with pills and talking. Oliver empathizes with loving someone you can’t have, a moment that Felicity overhears, and Cupid is pissed at the response. She opens fire on Oliver, who dodges the arrow and then shoots her bow out of her hands, leading to a fist fight that seems to be in her favor, as Oliver at first seems reluctant to hit her. Eventually he knocks her down, right before she breaks the floor beneath them and they plummet down into the subway tunnel below. She handcuffs the Arrow to the tracks after continuing the fight, and then hears the train coming. She plans on dying with him there on the track; but at the last moment Oliver breaks his thumb to slip free of the handcuff and saves both of them. Despite everything that happened, the act of saving her leads Cupid to believe even more that the Arrow loves her.
Back at HQ, Diggle enters and says, “It’s done, Lyle says Cutter is even nuttier than the last woman they had in the Suicide Squad.” (To which my mind immediately thought, wait – was he referencing Harley Quinn? Is there any chance in the world they might do Harley Quinn on ‘Arrow’ ?) Apparently Oliver wanted Cupid taken to Amanda Waller, as he says that Iron Heights isn’t right for Carrie. Diggle invites Oliver to dinner with him and Lyla, which is immediately turned down. They then have another quick talk about Felicity, with Diggle urging Oliver to tell Felicity how he feels before its too late
While at Palmer Technologies, Felicity is working as Palmer comes in, announcing that her speech apparently convinced the clients to sell the mine to Palmer. After he thanks her for the night, and takes back the borrowed necklace, they have a moment, which ends in the first kiss between the two. Of course, as mentioned earlier the kissing while the real love walks in trope is visited here, as Oliver enters the floor and sees the exchange. He leaves, clearly upset, and misses Palmer pulling away from Felicity, angry with himself for not being able to keep things platonic. He leaves her there, while she remains perplexed about what had just happened.
In the flashback this week, (which thankfully was much more exciting than last week) Maseo goes missing while on a Waller assignment at the Hong Kong docks, so Tatsu and Oliver head out to find him, forming a reluctant partnership, as she does not like Oliver. After a brief stake-out, Oliver sees a gang trolling the area and heads out for answers, finding himself woefully underprepared for the beating he’s about to receive, but fortunately Tatsu (who’s actually the super heroine named Katana in the comics) comes to his rescue wielding her sword with extreme skill. She eliminates the entire group save one, who tells them 3 agents were killed earlier that night. Believing Maseo to be dead, Tatsu and Oliver return home, where they discover Maseo safe and alive. He had been on lockdown with Waller’s group following the deaths of the 3 dead agents.
In the episode wrap-up, Oliver flips out and knocks over a table of instruments when he returns to HQ, startling Roy who asks what’s going on, and they both admit that neither one of them is doing great. Oliver takes Roy to dinner with Diggle and Lyla, pleasing Diggle who knows what his friend is struggling with, and also for the time being making Diggle the father figure of the show. Does that spell doom for the man? Every important parent figure to Oliver has died so far, including Robert Queen, Moira Queen, Yao Fei, and even Malcolm Merlyn (for a time), and it would make sense as to why they are building up so much good will for Diggle this season, so his death would have a significant impact on the characters and the audience.
Anyways, at Palmer Technologies we see Ray Palmer on the phone, and we learn he is interested in the mine for the dwarf-star alloy it has within. He then activates a computer rendering of the A.T.O.M. EXOSUIT, confirming that the producers do plan to let Ray Palmer become his superhero alter ego ‘The Atom’ on the show. (in the comics, his suit is powered by a small white dwarf star kept in his belt, no coincidence the mine has an alloy with a similar name).
And in the final sting of the night, we are taken to a back alley, where an innocuous man walking alone is taken out by a man with a boomerang, who says, “That’s the thing about our work, it always come back to haunt you.” Captain Boomerang introduced, just in time for next week’s HUGE ‘Arrow’ / ‘The Flash’ crossover event!
* With Palmer changing the name of the company, Oliver is now free to start up Queen Consolidated again. After all, in the future newspaper seen in the pilot of ‘The Flash,’ it is said that Queen Consolidated and Wayne Enterprises were merging, but in order for that to happen, Queen Consolidate needs to exist again.
* Tatsu mentioned she and Maseo fled Japan because they angered a very powerful man. Is there any chance this was Ras Al Ghul himself? Only asking because it almost seemed as though Ras would be the big bad this season, but we’ve only seen him once, and it might be cool if he factored into both the Oliver flashbacks and the present, much as Slade did last season.
* Will the CW DC Universe be featuring a Harley Quinn cameo as was hinted at tonight?
I thought this episode was much better than last week’s outing, and even though Laurel and Merlyn were absent, I like that the cast is big enough that we don’t need to have every character in every episode, just the ones that matter for the current story. Make sure to come back next week for the recap of the highly anticipated crossover with ‘the Flash!’