Merlyn tries to help the team find the old magic.

Another great penultimate episode of ‘Arrow,’ setting the stage perfectly for the season finale next week, even with the unnecessary and completely unbelievable “deaths” at the end of the episode, which we all knew was bunk when we saw the preview following the episode for the finale.

Jumping in, Team Arrow is still on the hunt for criminals, with Diggle chasing down a guy with Felicity chatting him up on the com, the kid leading Diggle to his friends and a “trap,” which is actually a trap laid by Diggle and the Black Canary, the latter hero taking down most of the gang with her new Canary Cry. Once the gang members are down, Diggle beats mercilessly on one of the guys, despite Felicity’s protests, and it’s clear John is still reeling from Oliver’s betrayal last week. The team reconvenes at Diggle’s apartment, sans Lyla and baby Sara who have left for safety reasons at the moment, with Felicity telling John he can’t beat on gang members that way just to let out his frustrations. They discuss Oliver’s betrayal, and Felicity says she is not mad at Oliver because the Oliver they knew died when he was brainwashed by the League. At the Queen apartment, Merlyn visits Thea as she prepares to leave Starling City to find Roy, with Thea unsure if she is going to come back. Merlyn attempts to comfort her, but Thea reminds him that Merlyn was responsible for bringing the League into their lives, and should would never have agreed to trade Oliver’s life for her own.

In Nanda Parbat, Ras and Al Sah-Him discuss the upcoming wedding plans, with Ras revealing that it was Maseo who brought him the Alpha-Omega virus, as his offering to the League for membership. At an uncomfortable dinner with Nyssa, Ras tells the group about Nyssa’s mother and how she was a unique woman he loved, but even then she had no choice but to bear him children (i.e. Nyssa). He tells Nyssa that she will bear Al Sah-Him’s child, and Nyssa is furious, railing against her father for forcing her to marry a man she does not love. Al Sah-Him says he needs to take a walk, clearly uncomfortable with the discussion, but as he heads to the forests outside Nanda Parbat we realize he is actually going to a secret rendezvous with Merlyn, and we realize that Oliver Queen is not actually dead. Oliver and Merlyn discuss the plan, worried that the timetable has been moved up by the wedding and the impending release of the Alpha Omega on Starling, and the pair decide they need the rest of Oliver’s team to make their plans work. Maseo arrives just as Merlyn disappears, joining Oliver’s revere, as they discuss the past, with Oliver offering Maseo freedom from the League once he becomes Ras Al Ghul. Maseo declines the offer, saying that the League is not his prison, but rather life is. Ras has a talk with Myssa in private about her mother, and presents her with her mother’s jewels, which Nyssa claims is not enough to make her want to marry Oliver. During the scene, we see Myssa has managed to get ahold of a small knife, which we know will come into play later.

Back in Starling, Merlyn calls the remnants of the Quiver Crew together, with everyone annoyed at being summoned by a man who has lied and manipulated them countless times before. He tells them of their plan, and the fact that Oliver has not really turned to the dark side, which pisses everyone off, especially Diggle as it meant Oliver thought endangering his family last week was acceptable collateral damage, which further breaks his friendship and trust with Oliver. Merlyn brings along Tatsu to help convince the group, and she warns them about the coming Alpha Omega virus, leaving them with footage of the Hong Kong outbreak to convince them to help. Felicity alone does not want to go help save Starling, but after a visit from Tatsu at Palmer Technologies, Tatsu points out that she gave up on Maseo when he joined the League, and it is a decision she has always regretted. As the group prepares to board the plane for Nanda Parbat, Felicity arrives, ready to help. After threatening Merlyn if he pulls anything, the group boards the plane, and we get our first glimpse at Tatsu’s Katana mask.

The team arrives at Nanda Parbat, with the plan to destroy the plane Ras has set to deliver the virus to Starling City. With everyone in costume (minus Diggle and Felicity, who work in their streets), they attack the plane, but find it heavily defended by League Men. While the team defends her, Felicity sets to work on her tablet taking down the plane, with Katana showing off her moves in a duel against Maseo himself, Laurel showing how much she’s improved by holding her own against the League members, and Diggle bringing guns to the sword fight and wreaking havoc on his League enemies. A stray arrow destroys Felicity’s tablet, but fortunately she has a back-up plan, which she announces as the plane takes off. The ATOM streaks into the sky, destroying the plane but taking damage, crashing down near Felicity, bruised, but not badly hurt. Tatsu meanwhile, while almost being bested by Maseo, manages to kill him instead, with Maseo thanking her for freeing him from his prison. Ras and Al Sah-Him arrive, revealing that the plane was a trap, as Ras still has the vial of the disease. The team is captured, with Merlyn being brought in for investigation.

Thea finds Roy and they re-connect, with Thea toying with the idea of running away with Roy since things have gone so far south in Starling City. She brings Roy the Arsenal uniform, and they have a night of love-making that culminates with Roy asking Thea why she really came to see him. After hearing about her plans (and realizing that she was once again running away from her problems), Roy sneaks out early in the morning, leaving Thea a note at the garage where he was temporarily working, claiming that now is her chance to be her own person, not defined by her father, her brother, or him. He also leaves her the Arsenal costume, saying red was always more of her color.

Back in the League’s headquarters, Merlyn quickly rats out Oliver (which seems a little convenient for me, I think this was all part of the plan), and Ras confronts Oliver. Al Sah-him claims still that Oliver Queen is dead, and to test that, Ras decides to expose Team Arrow (meaning Felicity, Diggle, Ray, Laurel and Merlyn) to the Alpha Omega. He removes Tatsu first, aware that she has been inoculated to the disease, and then smashes a vial in the team’s cell, sealing the doors behind him while Diggle and Felicity , feeling betrayed, scream that they trusted Oliver. As the teams “dies” in the cell, the wedding ceremony is held, with Nyssa clearly still looking for a way out. Halfway through the ceremony she tries to kill Oliver with her knife, but Oliver stops her easily, and the wedding ceremony is complete. Down in the cells, it appears the team is dead, though none of them have the telltale blood coming from their mouths/noses that we had seen other victims of the Alpha-Omega have. (as stated above, they’re not going to kill the team in the second to last episode of the
season, as confirmed by the preview for next week)

In the flashbacks this week, Maseo, Tatsu and Oliver comfort Akiro as he dies from the disease, Maseo claiming his young body did not accept the inoculation the same way it had for them. He and Oliver go to confront General Shrieve and demand the anti-dote (if there was one), and killing many soldiers along the way, they find Shrieve at his desk, taking the general and the “cure” with them as they need Shrieve to administer it to Akiro. However, Akiro has already passed by the time they arrive, and Shrieve admits that the “cure” was his insulin. At that moment he reveals his men had followed them, and the group is surrounded, which pleases the General as he knew he had to take down Oliver, Tatsu and Maseo before leaving Hong Kong.


– Correct me if I’m wrong, but did Ray Palmer trick Felicity into signing forms that gave her control of Palmer Technologies? Is that set-up for next season, where perhaps she is going to give the company back to Oliver?

– Will Thea become the Arrow’s new sidekick in the finale? Or will she need the break between Seasons to get the Arsenal costume tailored to her size? Either way I’m excited to see her out there fighting crime with Oliver.

– How will the team survive? I’m guessing Merlyn had everyone inoculated before they left Starling, and that everyone is faking so the guards don’t realize anything is wrong. Of course, if that is the case, the group is acting very sad for no reason as they “die,” as it doesn’t seem like anyone is actively watching them.

Another great installment for the season, and I can’t wait to see how they wrap everything up in the finale. Will the “Arrow” return to Starling? Will he come back with a new costume and name? (Perhaps the GREEN Arrow?) We’ll find out next week, and I love that the Flash is going to pop in to help!