Feeling like the show is beginning to find its groove here in the 4th season, as this episode was chock full of action and more importantly, amazing character moments, especially with everyone’s favorite cop, Captain Lance. The episode opens with a drug bust by what appears to be the SCPD, except for the fact that the “cops” are killing all the gangsters rather cold-bloodedly. When two detectives show up saying they were tipped off as to the whereabouts of the drugs, they are also killed by the team in SCPD gear, and we learn these people are not exactly cops.
Next we see Oliver taking the gang to his new headquarters, and while they were expecting a vigilante lair, he instead reveals that he bought Sebastien Blood’s old HQ to be the Campaign HQ for his run for mayor. Oliver is dismayed to see that Thea, Diggle and Laurel are not as keen on the idea as he is, especially in light of his lack of experience and qualifications. To appease them, he also reveals that Blood had a secret sub-basement for his nefarious activities, which he and Felicity have converted into the Arrow Cave 3.0. All are impressed by the space and activity within, and Oliver explains that a lot of the advancements were provided by Cisco and STAR Labs, making them a handy scape-goat for any new cool tech the Quiver Crew receives now.
While scoping out the new digs, Felicity receives an alert on her new computers about the dead police officers at the warehouse. Oliver goes to speak to Captain Lance to see what he knows, and while doing so, tells Lance about his mayoral aspirations, wanting an endorsement from the man. Lance is not impressed, but after being frustrated by lack of resources within his department, gives Oliver a SIM card from the heist that could be used to track down who did it. The team uses the SIM card to locate a warehouse full of supplies for the gang, realizing that all of the equipment is SCPD gear, leading them to believe it is a gang of dirty cops.
Deducing that the gang has been consistently going after drugs, Oliver and Thea (using her old connections) procure about 80 kilos of cocaine in order to set a trap for the dirty cops. Lance wants in as he cannot tolerate traitors on the force, and when the gang shows up, they prove to be more than a match for Team Arrow, escaping with the drugs before anyone is apprehended, but not before they spot Lance and he recognizes them as cops. Lance reveals that the team and the tech they are using seem to be part of the anti-vigilante task force, which was restarted last year when Lance went after the Arrow (which of course explains why they were able to handle Oliver’s team of vigilantes).
We next meet the team of dirty SCPD officers, led by Liza Warner (played by the amazing Rutina Wesley of ‘True Blood’ fame) and learn that despite the recent murders, they do try to hold themselves to a certain code: no killing, especially other cops. Which explains why they do not just go and kill Captain Lance now that he has seen them in action. Instead, they decide to use him to their advantage. As for Lance himself, he gives Team Arrow access to the SCPD computer network to help them hunt down the dirty cops, and while hacking into the security feeds from the SCPD, Felicity and Oliver spot Captain Lance conversing with none other than Damien Darhk.
To explain that conversation, we first have to go back a bit in the episode, where we learned that Laurel and Thea have brought Sara back to Star City, but are keeping her a secret, especially from Oliver who Laurel thinks will be too judgmental. Laurel does however, bring her father down to the basement of her building where she is holding the feral Sara prisoner, though Lance immediately notes that whatever Laurel brought back, it is not Sara. Laurel assures him that with time Sara’s sanity will return, but Lance does not buy it entirely. He instead visits Damien Darhk, knowing his dark acquaintance has familiarity with the Lazarus Pit and the mystic arts. And it is while Darhk is telling Lance, father to father, to put Sara back in the ground to end her suffering, that Oliver and Felicity catch them on camera.
Lance returns home to find Oliver waiting for him, for once, having the moral high ground. In what is probably the best dramatic scene of the season so far, Oliver confronts Lance about his association with Darhk, demanding that he stop using “protecting his daughters” as his excuse for his actions, and we learn that a lot of Oliver’s motivations for being a better man and wanting to help the city by running for mayor comes from his association with Lance, a man whom he wanted to prove that he was a good person to. Now, he does not even know if Lance is a good person, and leaves in disgust, telling Lance he does not know what he is going to do now. Lance, dejected, decides to visit Sara and take care of what he knows is wrong, but he cannot find it in him to pull the trigger and kill what remains of his youngest daughter. Fortunately, he is also confronted by Laurel, who talks him down, promising Sara just needs more time. As Lance leaves the basement of Laurel’s apartment, he is confronted by Liza Warner and her crew, who kidnap the man. Laurel tries to stop them, but she is taken down by a taser and left in the apartment building.
Liza takes Lance to an SCPD holding facility where they dispose of drugs, using his Captain’s status to gain entry to the last score that her team needs to make good money and get out of town. Fortunately for Lance, Team Arrow is able to track him down, and they attack the dirty cops, aware of their anti-vigilante tricks this time and able to easily best them. Except for Oliver, who underestimates Liza, thinking her subdued by his arrow tying her up. He frees Lance and tells him to leave, but before Lance exits Liza stabs Oliver, threatening to paralyze him if Lance does not let her go. Lance talks her down, speaking of redemption and saving the city, claiming that it starts by taking responsibility for their own choices and doing the right thing. Liza relents and frees Oliver, and allows Lance to take her in.
Inspired by Lance’s words, Oliver visits him once again. Lance claims he is going to turn himself in, but Oliver instead tells him that they need a trusted man on the inside with Darhk, and Lance takes up the responsibility of being Team Arrow’s spy. Later, still doubting his mayoral run, even after a good talk with Thea wherein Oliver spoke on how he wanted to inspire the city to unite as it did when they were kids, Oliver walks into his Campaign Headquarters to find it fully staffed, with all present applauding him as he enters. It seems Thea has taken up the duties of his campaign manager, using her social media status (apparently you get a lot of followers when you run a successful night club) to get volunteers for Oliver’s campaign, and even writing his first speech based on the things Oliver said during their earlier talk. Oliver is rejuvenated, and later has his first press conference announcing his candidacy, with a stirring speech that will hopefully get people thinking of him as a legitimate candidate.
In the Felicity B-Story of the night, she confronts Curtis with news that her phone is being hacked from his lab, which confuses him greatly, as he was not playing pranks on Felicity. He does however, have some of the old ATOM tech plugged in, and they realize the suit has been the culprit sending out the signal to Felicity’s phone. Curtis realizes that there is a last message from Palmer in the code, but he does not know the password, and Felicity does not want to hear it, still feeling heartbroken over Ray’s death. Curtis later confronts her on this, explaining that if he could hear anything from a loved one of his that had passed years before, he would jump at the chance. Curtis knows that Felicity probably knows the password, and urges her to listen to Palmer’s last words. In the episode closing, we see her type in the password (a nice callback, the correct password actually being the word “password” which is the code she used against Ray last season when he needed to sleep), and we hear Palmer’s voice. We do not hear what he says, but it will surely come into play in the coming weeks.
In the flashback of the week, Oliver takes the woman he was supposed to kill to his old cave, where he tells her to wait so he can go back and tell the militia that he killed her. Upon returning, the lead soldier does not believe Oliver, and demands to see the body, especially since, in his mind, Oliver’s arrival has suspiciously come with two soldiers killed by mines and more of the product stolen than before. Oliver leads the man to the cave, where the woman’s body is waiting, Oliver clearly having used the same trick Yao Fe used on him in season 1. The soldier leaves and tells Oliver to dispose of the corpse, and Oliver awakens the woman, and assures her everything will be fine. Meanwhile, while strolling around outside, the soldier spots Oliver’s backpack, and finds the communication equipment he used to talk to his ARGUS handlers. It will be very interesting to see how Oliver manages to talk his way out of this one…
In the episode closing, we see Laurel taking a sandwich down to her prisoner feral sister, but upon arriving in the basement, she discovers the chains broken, and Sara is gone.
* Could the glitches in the Arrow Cave 3.0 be caused by the same thing hacking into Felicity’s phone? (aka Ray Palmer?)
* What exactly was in that box the Damien Darhk was looking into at episode’s end? Part of his end game? Could it be the water he stole from the Lazarus Pit?
* I certainly hope there is more than one entrance to the new Arrow Cave, as the “secret” elevator appears to be right in plain site of everyone else in Campaign Headquarters.
* Is Palmer’s message to Felicity how she learns he is still alive? They did not let us hear the whole thing, so I’m assuming Felicity is now in the know, and will tell the rest of the team (or at least Oliver) next week.
* With Sara disappearing, I wonder if we will be seeing Sara find Sin in next week’s episode. They always had a bond.
Definitely a bridge episode, but it still worked because it had some great moments with Oliver and Captain Lance, which was necessary after all the drama and fall-out from last season. And I’m very excited to see the Sara storyline continue to move forward, as it means Constantine next week! Check back here next Thursday for the next recap!