Well it is safe to say that last week’s episode of ‘Arrow’ was no fluke, and the show is definitely back on track after this week’s excellent installment, wherein Oliver and company head to Russian to enlist the help of the Bratva to take down General Walker. Everything seemed to work, from the flashbacks, the twists, the character moments, it almost felt like I was watching an episode out of ‘Arrow’ Season 2.
Jumping right in, the team heads to Russia because they’ve learned that General Walker has escaped the US with his men and the nuclear warhead, and is planning on selling it to some terrorist group. So of course the Quiver Crew is going to track him down, especially since current US-Russian relations are not great (I guess the Arrowverse didn’t elect Trump), meaning the US cannot send in their own forces or ARGUS to do anything about it.
Oliver leaves behind Rene, as Quentin Lance has just come out of rehab and for some reason has agreed to do an interview about him resuming his post at the Mayor’s office post-rehab. He is interviewed by Oliver’s reporter girlfriend Susan Williams (no one else in Star City sees a conflict of interest with a reporter dating the Mayor she is covering?) as Oliver wants someone to keep an eye on the former police captain.
In Russia, Oliver had hoped Anatoli and his Bratva contacts would help him track down the general, but no such luck. Anatoli is pissed at Oliver for what happened to Leonov way back in Season 2 when Oliver refused to reciprocate his Bratva brother’s request and Slade Wilson killed the man. So Felicity uses her newfound dark internet hard drive full of blackmailing secrets to track down an exec and blackmail him to give her the general’s location, which only Rory realizes she does and is not comfortable about. They find General Walker, but he knew they were coming and escapes, but not before Dinah manages to capture one of his men using her cry. So now Diggle steps up and starts beating on the man to get information out of him, just as Oliver learns that Felicity got the General’s location by crossing a line, and he realizes his friends are going to dark places that they should not be, all because he is refusing to cross that line and work with the Bratva to get the information they need.
Oliver takes Dinah and makes a deal with Anatoli, who offers them Walker’s location in exchange for Oliver acting the thug and threatening someone, and then breaking their fingers, which Oliver reluctantly does. As he broods about falling back into bad habits and dragging his friends down with him, Dinah tells him that Prometheus seems to have gotten in his head, and that his influence on his friends is not a bad thing, that they listen to him because he is more than just his fists. Back at the safe house, Oliver, Diggle and Felicity talk, and Oliver explains to them that he made the deal with the Bratva to prevent them from having to cross the line to get the job done, while Diggle says that they are all similar people, and make each other better, that’s why they are a good team.
At that moment, Anatoli arrives with a squad of Bratva, and they all go after Walker at a nearby warehouse. While Dinah knocks over a fleeing van with a fake bomb inside with her cry, Diggle confronts Walker himself inside the warehouse, where the General threatens his wife and child the same way Andy did last season. Only this time, Diggle does not kill the villain and decides to bring him to justice. Meanwhile, while Walker’s men are taken down by the Bratva men, Felicity and Rory deal with the very real nuclear bomb, which is about to go off. When Felicity finds she cannot deactivate it, she plans on taking a nearby plane and at least getting the device to a less populated area, which Rory reminds her would just be another Havenrock situation. Instead, he tells her to run and wraps the bomb in his rags, which he reminds her protected him from the detonation in Havenrock, and might be able to contain the blast this time. The bomb goes off, no one dies, and even Rory survives. The day is saved and everyone goes home, but not before they drink with Anatoli and the Bratva, with the former reminding Oliver that his oath to the Bratva was for life.
Meanwhile, in Star City, Rene and Lance do not get along as famously as one might have hoped, though they are damned entertaining together. Rene’s in-your-face attitude does not mesh well with the recovering alcoholic, especially when he tries to run practice questions with Lance and starts asking tough ones about Laurel and whether Quentin feels responsible for her death, to which Lance throws Rene out of his office. They later make amends, with Lance confessing that he is still struggling to find a way to live with what happened that does not involve alcohol or anger after apologizing to Rene.
The next day, Lance informs Rene that the interview was relatively easy, and says it was because Rene apparently spoke to the reporter beforehand. Rene then informs Lance that years ago, when Lance was still a beat cop, he caught a young Rene tagging a building. But instead of arresting him, Lance got down on one knee and told Rene that he could be more than just a thug, an event which greatly influenced the young man, and set him on a better path. Lance is touched but then points out that Rene was still dishonorably discharged from the military, to which Rene nonchalantly replies “Nobody’s perfect,” clearly setting up a story of Rene’s path that we will probably learn later this season.
In tonight’s flashback, Talia and the newly hooded up Oliver go after some low-level drug dealers to show off Oliver’s new training, eventually going after the drug dealer from Starling City (who is responsible for supplying the city with the drugs Thea had been taking back home) who just happened to be in Russia. We get Oliver’s first utterance of ‘You have failed Starling City,’ and Talia got to watch as he crossed off the first name from his father’s notebook. She encourages him again to return home, but he first must cut his ties to the Bratva, which he attempts to do by going to visit Anatoli. However, Anatoli has been badly beaten as apparently, he questioned Gregor over his business dealings and loyalty to Kovar, which did not sit well with the Bratva leader. Anatoli says there is nothing they can do, but Oliver points out they can kill Gregor, which Anatoli seems ok with. With the new plan in mind, Oliver does not yet tell his friend about leaving to go back to America, clearly deciding that can wait till after Gregor has been dealt with.
In the episode aftermath, Oliver returns home and finally sleeps with Susan Williams (apparently they had yet to do the deed up to this point), who you’ll recall was busy this episode prepping and interviewing Quentin Lance. She sees all of his scars and tattoos and asks about his past, but Oliver is not quite ready to share with her everything, which for the moment she seems ok with. Felicity catches Rory about to leave the Arrow Cave, and he explains the nuclear blast did something to his rags, and they no longer seem to be working, and without the power of the rags he is a liability to the team, especially with Prometheus running around. Felicity then receives a text from her dark web hacktivist friend who encourages her not to quit now that Walker has been taken down, and Felicity assures her that she is not, meaning Felicity is going to continue to walk down that dark path. And lastly, Susan Williams meets up with her shady contact on a dark street, where he confirms the picture of Oliver in Russia is him with his Bratva friends, while also showing her a picture of “Luchnik,” which is “the Archer” in Russian, who just happened to be operating in Russia when Oliver was there. When he asks about the odds of Oliver and the Green Arrow being in Russia at the same time, Susan replies “Very good, if Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow,” which would be shocking if we had not already gone down this path like THREE TIMES already on this show. Sigh, at least now we know she’s evil, and not just stupid or suddenly a changed character.
- So Oliver can borrow the Star City jet and fly a plane load of people to Russia to “visit” their sister city whenever he feels like it? You’d think someone would connect the dots when they see the general being taken down by an armed group of americans and Oliver just happened to be in the country with a cadre of highly trained fighters.
- Will we see Anatoli in Star City before the season’s end? Could he have a connection to Prometheus?
- I certainly hope this is not the end of Ragman on the show. If so, the new folks are dropping like flies, first Evelyn goes evil, then Curtis decides to go back to being mostly behind the scenes, then Ragman bows out. Is Wild Dog Rene really the only one who can survive being on the team?
- I really, really hope that this time, if they “out” Oliver as the Green Arrow, it sticks, as that would be a fascinating dynamic on the show, to have Oliver live the double life and have everyone know who he is. Whether or not that would work in the realistic setting of the Arrowverse (why wouldnt they arrest him for being a vigilante?) I do not know, but I want to see something different beyond, “Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow, arrest him!” – “Oh wait, no it’s someone else.”
- Alright, where is Thea? Is Willa Holland on a long vacation or what? There better be a good story around this absence, and she better have plenty to do when she gets back!
- Could Anatoli be the one who strands Oliver back on Lian Yu at the end of the flashbacks this season, perhaps in anger for trying to abandon his Bratva brothers? He knows about the island, and would have motive if Oliver truly was trying to leave them.
Aside from the Susan Williams story, definitely an amazing episode, everyone had something to do, I loved the characters pairings, especially Rene and Lance, and I really liked seeing the dynamic between the original three, and I hope ‘Arrow’ is able to keep up this momentum moving forward. The threat of Prometheus in some ways is so much better than when the villain is actually in an episode, and I hope when he does return it has some purpose, and not just another way to torture Oliver. See you back here next week!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.