Brick building in the Glades. 

‘Arrow’ continues to pick up momentum this week, with a stellar episode that covers a lot of ground, and sets the stage for the return of Oliver Queen.

Jumping in, ‘Midnight City’ opens with what appears to be a flashback to Oliver and Felicity’s final moments before he left for the duel, only this time Oliver agrees not to face Ras Al Ghul, and professes his love for Felicity. In a new twist, before they can kiss Oliver began coughing up blood and looks down to see a sword buried in his abdomen. Oliver wakes up in Tatsu’s hut, where Tatsu and Maseo watch over him. Tatsu explains that Oliver never actually died, that the cold preserved him, aided by his own fierce will to live. Maseo meanwhile, informs them that once the snow clears, he will be heading back to Ras Al Ghul. When Oliver attempts to persuade him otherwise, Maseo tells Oliver he should be worrying about what’s going on in his own city. The “Maseo please don’t go back to Ras Al Ghul” discussion continues for most of the episode, a decision that is made even more dangerous when a group of League assassins comes searching for Oliver’s body at the hut, and finds Maseo there. He tries to bluff his way out of the situation by claiming he was also looking for Oliver, but the group spots Tatsu, and Oliver, leaving Tatsu and Maseo to take down all the assassins. Maseo hides the bodies and then cuts his neck to make it appear Oliver slew the assassins and Maseo barely escaped with his life. In the end, Maseo leaves to rejoin the league, leaving a bewildered Tatsu and healing Oliver behind in the hut, aware they can’t stay there much longer.

Back in Starling City, we see a mugger attacking a young woman, chasing her down an alley until Laurel, dressed in the Black Canary gear, steps out of the shadows to defend the woman. She doesn’t do well against the mugger, but fortunately Arsenal is there to take the guy down, and demand that Laurel speak with him further about what she thought she was doing. They head back to the Arrow Cave, where he bandages her while admonishing her about her lack of training. Diggle enters with similar sentiments, speaking my favorite Diggle line of the night, “Laurel, what the hell?”

Upstairs at Verdant, Thea and the DJ have a brief (and relatively unimportant) exchange, right before Malcom Merlyn arrives and demands to know why Thea is not preparing to leave the city. She basically tells him she won’t leave without knowing what happened to Oliver. Roy meanwhile has been keeping an eye on Thea, and sees her exchange with Merlyn, and is clearly unhappy about it. He visits Merlyn himself and warns him to stay away from Thea or else he will be telling Thea all of Merlyn’s secrets. Merlyn simply tells him to stay out of it, as it is a “family matter. And you’re not family.” Roy’s words apparently had an impact on Merlyn though, as he finds Thea and tells her about Ras Al Ghul and the deathmark placed on all the Merlyn family members. After some thought, Thea eventually tells Merlyn that he trained her to not be afraid, and fleeing from the city would be going against that training. Reluctantly, Merlyn agrees, and they decide to stay in Starling City and fight.

At City Hall, the Mayor, Captain Lance, Laurel Lance, and the Aldermen of the city are having a meeting to discuss Brick and his crime spree across the Glades. Right beforehand, Captain Lance asks Laurel if Sara has contacted her, as the woman the Canary saved from mugging came to the police station the previous night telling the story of her rescuer. They are shortly joined by Ray Palmer and Felicity (fresh off another round of Palmer attempting to convince her to help with his suit), with Palmer offering any aid he can to the city. The meeting is then interrupted by Brick himself (his ears must have been burning), who attacks the city officials and takes 3 Aldermen hostage, more injuries being prevented by the combined fighting prowess of Captain Lance, Laurel, and Ray Palmer, ending with my favorite Ray Palmer line of the night as an aside to Felicity, “See, that’s why I need a technosuit!”

In the aftermath, Captain Lance speaks to Felicity about where the Arrow has been, and she informs him that the Arrow is dead. He then tells her that the Black Canary is back in town, and Felicity is understandably confused for a moment. Laurel takes one of the gang members caught during the fight and interrogates him, using her newfound aggression to threaten him into giving her the location of Brick.

Back at Palmer Technologies, Felicity is bandaging Ray when he admits that she was right, and he was getting into the crime-fighting biz for the wrong reasons. He now says he realizes he wants to do this to protect the people he loves in his life, especially Felicity. It is a sentiment that Felicity takes to heart, and clearly stays in her head throughout the episode.

Laurel takes her information to the remnants of the Quiver Crew, suiting up alongside Roy despite Diggle’s insistence that she stay behind. She and Roy attack Brick’s convoy, even managing the stop the van with the Aldermen hostages, but Brick quickly knocks Laurel aside (basically thinking it’s beneath him to fight her), jumps into the back of the van with the Aldermen hostages, and makes his escape. But not before Roy shoots an arrow into Brick’s arm, which pisses off Brick to the point where he retaliates by killing one of the hostages. Shortly afterwards, Brick calls the Mayor and demands a one-on-one parlay, which she reluctantly agrees with because of the hostages Brick is threatening.

At Laurel’s office, after another uncomfortable conversation with her father about why Sara has not contacted them, Felicity visits Laurel to ask about her new nighttime hobby as the Black Canary, but Laurel tells Felicity that she does not need to convince her to quit. After the death of the Alderman hostage (which Laurel blames herself for), she feels too much pain and wants to quit being the Black Canary, that it has done nothing to alleviate the pain from Sara’s death. Felicity shares the insight she learned from Ray Palmer, and tells Laurel that she shouldn’t be out there fighting for Sara, but rather fighting for those still alive that they love and want to protect.

At the parlay, which is full of cops on the mayor’s leash, unable to apprehend Brick, and joined by Ray Palmer and Captain Lance, the Mayor confronts Brick, who demands they remove all police from the Glades, allowing Brick to take over that part of town. Captain Lance knows the Mayor will cave due to the hostages, so he calls Felicity looking for Arrow type help. She tells him again that the Arrow is gone, but she might know where to find the Canary.

Back at the Arrow cave, a guilt-ridden Roy is consoled by Diggle with a strong drink, a tradition that Diggle and Oliver used to have after a mission. As they toast to Oliver, Felicity and Laurel enter, share the news about the Mayor caving, and inspire the team to reunite with Laurel joining the Quiver Crew. They hatch a plan to save the hostages, aided by information about an Alderman with a pacemaker, provided to them by Captain Lance, who thought he was speaking to Sara due to a special voice changer Felicity devised to make Laurel’s voice sound like her sister’s. Turns out the pacemaker has a GPS, which Felicity tracks to a warehouse in the glades. She then asks Palmer to borrow the keys to his helicopter, which leads to my favorite Felicity moment of the night, which occurs while she is trying to convince Ray that she won’t destroy his helicopter.

Palmer: “I’d feel a little more confident in your knowledge of aeronautics if you knew that helicopters didn’t have keys.”

Felicity: “They don’t?”

Team Arrow heads to the warehouse in the helicopter, with Dig flying, Arsenal and Canary taking point, and Felicity running the show from the Arrow Cave. Almost like old times, minus Oliver as the leader. Arsenal and Canary jump down to the building, where their joint efforts take down Brick’s guards and find the Aldermen (with Felicity’s help of course). As Arsenal leads the hostages out, Brick arrives, finally in a mood to fight a woman, aka the Canary. Laurel does her best against the foe (who at this point has already bested Diggle in combat, who is much more experienced than Laurel), ending the fight by kicking Brick in his special area and then leaping through a glass window onto a rope ladder dangling from the helicopter. Victory at last for the Quiver Crew, but we know it will be short-lived as Brick is still on the loose.

In the Hong Kong subplot of the night (which was surprisingly tolerable tonight, which was refreshing after so many ‘bleh’ Hong Kong flashbacks), Oliver and Maseo follow the Triad member with the tracking device back to a Triad owned nightclub, where they are immediately apprehended and brought before China White. She asks if Maseo brought what he had offered, and Oliver realizes Maseo made a deal with her to get Tatsu back. Maseo hands over the Alpha, but China White is suspicious and has it tested, learning it is a fake. Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu then fight their way out of the club, in a well choreographed and pretty fun fight scene, and escape the Triad. Back at their safe house, Oliver speaks with Maseo about bluffing without letting him know, and Maseo confesses it was no bluff. He thought it was the real Alpha, and realizes Amanda Waller must have switched the vials knowing what Maseo would try to do. He then tells Oliver there is nothing he would not do for his family, even if it involves the death of hundreds of thousands of people (which is what would happen if the Triad had actually gained the Alpha). There’s a plot point sure to come into play later this season….

In the episode aftermath, Captain Lance is visited as he leaves the Police Station by the Canary, who remains in the shadows above him. He tells her the Mayor is pulling the police out of the Glades regardless, as Brick has now threatened them with the fact that he knows the names and addresses of almost everyone in the city council/government. He tries to invite “Sara” out to dinner so they can catch up, but Laurel turns him down before heading out, leaving Captain Lance a little suspicious of what’s going on with his daughter.

At Palmer Technologies, Felicity returns the helicopter, and then gives Ray the completed chip he asked her to fix last episode, meaning that she is now onboard with helping him in his crime-fighting quest. When he asks what changed her mind, she explains that her hope is that with her help, Ray has a better chance of staying alive.

At Verdant, Thea walks through the empty club, knowing she will get no customers while the Glades remains under siege, when she is visited by the DJ, who claims to have left some equipment behind. He asks if she will be leaving town, and she assures him she is there to stay. As Thea leaves, the DJ places a call to Maseo, informing him that Malcolm Merlyn and Thea will not be leaving Starling City, information Maseo will surely pass on to Ras Al Ghul.


* I’m guessing Captain Lance will learn the truth about Sara in the next episode, it’s the logical next/final step for Laurel to fully and truly become the Black Canary.

* As is the trope in these things, I’m guessing Brick can only be taken down by the Arrow himself, in a battle that will demonstrate to the team exactly why they need and love their leader.

* Will Ray Palmer join the Quiver Crew? Or will Felicity keep his activities a secret until the team discovers the ATOM for themselves?

* Is Brick tied to the League/ Ras Al Ghul? His supernatural ability to shrug off damage demands an explanation, unless he’s a left-over mirakuru goon from last season.

As stated at the beginning, a pretty solid episode, giving everyone something to do, and a great lead in the final act of what the producer’s have dubbed ‘The Canary Trilogy,’ which will culminate next week. What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!