Oliver decides Laurel is ready to leave the nest.

‘Arrow’s’ thirteenth episode sets everything straight following Oliver’s disappearance, brings closure to many of the shows “secret” subplots, and confirms Laurel’s place amongst the Quiver Crew. In what was arguable one of the season’s best episodes, a lot happens.

The show opens with Laurel dressed as the Black Canary, fighting someone at the docks. We quickly realize she is fighting Sara, also garbed at the Black Canary, and Laurel is being admonished by her sister for trying to take her place, saying she is nothing more than an addict looking for an adrenaline high. Laurel gets beat up pretty bad by Sara, and before we can figure out whether it’s a dream, the show cuts to the opening titles.

48 hours earlier, the Arrow, Arsenal and Diggle chase a criminal through the Glades, the guy getting a pretty good lead on the group. Before he escapes however, Laurel swoops in, stopping the guy with her staff. Oliver begins to argue with Laurel about why she is out fighting crime as the Black Canary, an argument which continues as they return to the Arrow cave. Oliver questions how Diggle could have signed off on Laurel suiting up, making everyone on the team rather uncomfortable. Fortunately they are interrupted by Malcolm Merlyn, who informs Oliver that it’s about time he let Thea in on the big secret, as she, Malcolm and the Arrow will need to unite to stop Ras Al Ghul.

At the Starling City Court House, Count Vertigo is being harangued by the press, feeding into their frenzy by demanding his accuser (the Arrow) be at his trial. Unbeknownst to all, a reporter doses one of Vertigo’s guards with a dose of the Vertigo drug, and the man pulls a gun and begins shooting into the crowd. Fortunately Laurel had arrived right before the shootings began, and she easily knocks out the guard before he can hurt anyone else. Unfortunately, Count Vertigo uses the distraction to escape.

Back at the Verdant club, Thea continues her annoying flirtation with the DJ, thankfully interrupted by Oliver who asks Thea to follow him downstairs. He first admits that he lied about the basement being flooded, and then shows her into the Arrow Cave. Thea quickly realizes what the green suit in the glass case means, and is surprisingly cool with Oliver’s secret, grateful that he was out there saving lives every time he gave her one of his lame excuses. Their conversation about Oliver’s secret identity continues as they go home, where they speak about Moira claiming to have known Oliver’s secret before she died. They are interrupted when Merlyn arrives, and Thea quickly turns on her father, angry that he knew Oliver’s secret and had attempted to drive a wedge between her and her brother. (just wait till she finds out that he also made her kill Sara!) Merlyn and Oliver tell Thea about how they all need to work together, but Thea doesn’t want to hear it, she can’t stand Merlyn anymore.

Oliver returns to the headquarters, where Felicity and the team debrief about the goings on with Count Vertigo. Laurel enters with information about the reporter drugging the guard, and Oliver renews his argument with her about becoming the Black Canary. They head out to the alley, where he accuses her of being an addict and the adrenaline rush of fighting crime just being a new way for her to get high. Pissed, she throws it back in his face, saying that he is the only one hiding from real life by running around as a superhero. Point, Laurel.

Felicity finds the address of the reporter, and Arrow and Arsenal go to investigate. Unfortunately Count Vertigo is a step ahead of them, threatening to kill the reporter’s family unless he detonated the bombs strapped to his chest, killing himself along with Arrow and Arsenal. Despite Oliver’s claim that they could protect the man’s family, he blows the explosives, with the heroes fleeing out windows just as the blast hits them. They crash onto the cars below, bruised but no damaged, while on the other side of the building the Count sees the blast and assumes the Arrow is dead.

Oliver returns home to Thea, who comments on the smell of the explosion still on him, and Oliver fills her in on the situation, relieved when Felicity texts him that the reporter’s family is safe. Thea expresses her amazement at the work that Oliver does, and then they discuss the necessity of working with Merlyn, which Thea reluctantly agrees with, saying she still will never trust the man.

Meanwhile at the Court House, Captain Lance visits Laurel and gives her some files with dock information, which she claims is for a case. He compliments her punch against the guard, hinting that he knows she is actually the new Canary in town. They discuss the strangeness of Sara being in town and not visiting, and he tells Laurel about the things Sin told him about the Canary he saw not being Sara. Laurel continues to feign ignorance, but it’s pretty clear the jig is just about up.

Back at the club, Roy and Thea discuss her knew knowledge about her brother’s nightly activities, eventually leading to her confiding in him her concerns about working with Malcolm Merlyn again. Roy agrees with Thea about it being dangerous, and sees her point of view, but before they can discuss further, Oliver asks Roy to come downstairs. Thea points out that Roy belongs more to her brother than to her these days.

In the Arrow cave, Oliver reveals he put a tracker on Laurel, as the team can see that she is down at the docks confronting Vertigo’s men. They hurry to help, while Laurel begins to fight Vertigo’s crew. While hiding, Vertigo doses Laurel with the drug, and she begins to hallucinate. As she’s fighting Count Vertigo, he morphs into Sara, and we see the fight from the opening once more. Before Sara/ Vertigo can deliver the killing blow, Arrow and Arsenal arrive, saving Laurel as the Count escapes aboard a truck with all the chemicals he needs to produce more of his drug.

Oliver immediately brings Laurel back to HQ, as she is continuing to hallucinate and be overwhelmed by the drug, seeing Sara everywhere, and continuing to apologize to her sister. As the team lays Laurel down and struggles to calm her, Thea enters the Arrow cave, asking about Laurel just as they give her the anti-dote. Oliver brusquely orders Thea to leave, which Roy takes offense at, telling Oliver he can’t talk to Thea that way. Thea heads out, seeing her presence was causing issues, but it appeared to be the opening to an argument the team had been meaning to have with their leader. Felicity speaks up and tells Oliver that things changed while he was gone. They thought he was dead and moved on without him, and he has no right to come back and question all of their decisions. Oliver leaves, clearly taken aback by the words from his team.

Thea meanwhile headed upstairs, saw her DJ friend, and immediately pulled him into a kiss and took him home with her, clearly needing a simple distraction. Shortly afterward, Diggle comes upstairs and finds Oliver at the bar. They discuss the state of the team, how it started as Oliver’s crusade, but in his absence, the team learned that they all had loved ones they wanted to fight for, and took up the crusade on their own. In my favorite Diggle line of the night, he tells Oliver:

“You started something, something strong enough to live on past you. Question is, can you live with what it’s become?”

Downstairs, Laurel awakens to find Felicity watching over her, and they get to talking about the Sara hallucinations, and how Laurel feels like a fraud. Parallel to the feels going on upstairs at the bar, Felicity gives Laurel a pep-talk, claiming that she noticed Sara wore the mask as much as the hide from her demons as to help people, but she doesn’t see Laurel doing that. According to Felicity, Laurel has an inner light that Sara lacked, and she suggests Laurel stop trying to be Sara and become her own version of the Canary. At that moment they get a lead on Vertigo, as he opened one of the chemical canisters they had put a tracer on.

At the Queen Apartment, Thea and her DJ snuggle after making love, with the DJ getting up to prepare Thea a special drink. Fortunately, her training with Merlyn included poisoning situations, and she realizes the DJ is trying to kill her. They fight, but the DJ is more skilled than she thought, eventually getting her cornered with a knife to the throat. Luckily Roy (as Arsenal) arrives, beginning the fight anew with the guy, which only stops when Merlyn himself arrives, putting an arrow through the DJ’s shoulder (by the way, we also learned the DJ’s name is Chase). Instead of being interrogated by the Arrow Family, Chase downs his own poison, taking his life.

At the Arrow Cave, Felicity reports her findings to Oliver, who asks her to find Roy, but he is not answering his phone (he was trading blows with Chase at that moment). Oliver surprises all by asking Laurel to accompany him as the Canary, and they head to the pharmaceutical building where Vertigo is making more of his drug. The heroes arrives, but Vertigo is ahead of them once more, having coated the floor with a highly flammable chemical. He sets fire to the building, trapping the workers (who had been his hostages) within. Oliver saves the workers, while Laurel goes after Vertigo himself. She is dosed once more with the drug, but is able to power through the hallucination and kick the Count’s ass, even when she starts to see her father, yelling at her for lying to him about Sara’s death. She overcomes the drug, and Oliver finds her beating Vertigo senseless on the floor. Felicity calls Oliver at that moment and tells him to check on Thea.

In the Hong Kong flashbacks this week (which were a little better than they had been in the past), Maseo and Oliver return to Maseo’s home, with Maseo telling Oliver to flee and call his family to let them know he’s safe, as then it would be harder for Waller to assassinate him without anyone knowing. Maseo knows Waller is going to be pissed that he tried to steal the Alpha weapon, and he is trying to protect Oliver as well as his own family. He tells Oliver he is taking his family on the ferry to Shanghai, and from there he will disappear. No sooner does Oliver find a phone and leave a voicemail for his mom saying he’s alive than he is taken by one of Waller’s men. Oliver is tortured by ARGUS agents, and only tells them about Maseo’s family being on the boat to Shanghai when Waller threatens Thea. Soon enough Maseo is tossed in with Oliver, and we learn that Maseo lied to Oliver about whether his family was going (in case Oliver was taken by Waller). Tatsu and his son are safe, and Maseo was only taken because he came back to help Oliver. They are beaten down by Waller’s men, and when Oliver next awakens, he is in a limo with Maseo and Waller, with Waller saying she still needs his unique services. Oliver looks out the window and sees a ‘Welcome to Starling City’ sign, and we realize China White has fled to Oliver’s home town, and he will be required to bring her in.

In the episode aftermath, Laurel visits her father and finally comes clean about everything, both her crime fighting career and the death of Sara. Captain Lance is not angry with her about it (yet?) and instead they cry together, Laurel finally mourning Sara’s death with the last of her family. Oliver goes home to Thea and learns about what happened. Thea admits that she might not be as strong as she thought, and admits they might need Merlyn’s help to defeat Ras Al Ghul and his men. Malcolm tells Oliver and Thea that the League’s greatest ally is the fears of its prey, meaning Oliver and Thea need to conquer their fears, and he knows there is a place they can go to do this.

Oliver tells the team he and Thea are leaving, but he is confident that they can keep the city safe in his absence. Back at the Queen apartment, Roy and Thea talk briefly, and it’s clear their romance is being rekindled now that she knows he has been working with her brother and after he saved her life from Chase. We’ll see what happens when she gets back from her trip. The episode closes with the siblings hiking through the woods, the camera pulling back to reveal that Oliver and Thea are now on Lian Yu.


* Captain Lance may have grieved with Laurel tonight, but he is not going to be happy with her for keeping Sara’s death from him so long. And that anger might extend to Team Arrow, who lied to him about Sara and are working with Laurel in her new dangerous hobby. If he ever finds out Thea killed Sara and they are all working with Merlyn, he might finally have that heart attack.

* Almost every secret is out now, minus Thea knowing she killed Sara after being brainwashed by Merlyn. That particular fact will most likely come out at the worst possible moment, shaking her faith in Oliver (who didn’t tell her) and Merlyn, who I assume we’ll see making overtures to restore his relationship with Thea in the coming weeks.

* With the Queens on Lian Yu, does this mean we’ll see Slade Wilson next week? Will he escape the island? Join the Quiver Crew and help fight Ras Al Ghul? (it could happen, I believe they cured him of the Mirakuru, so he might be more reasonable now).

That’s it for this week, as said previously, an excellent episode, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here next week, and to the (hopefully) return of Ray Palmer, who was absent from this week’s outing. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know below!