With only a few episodes left of the season, this week’s Arrow throws a huge curveball our way. After three seasons and many ‘almost’ moments, Oliver Queen is finally revealed as the Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver bumps into a surprisingly familiar face in the Hong Kong flashbacks.
It’s been a while since Arrow truly gripped me; I miss the one-episode storyline structures where there was something new each week. However, the emotional depth of this season has been wonderfully explored, and this episode really brought out the big guns – car chases and all.
The ‘Ra’s al Ghul is a giant asshole to win Oliver’s favour’ plotline is going ahead full steam. Determined to force Oliver out of Starling City, Ra’s kidnaps Lance – as if the poor guy hasn’t enough to deal with already – and slyly outs the vigilante. Yep, that’s right. Lance has now fully entered the game. Furious, he goes full-on hunter mode and demands an arrest warrant for Oliver Queen, aka the Arrow. He’s soon brought the entire population up to speed with the Arrow’s identity. Of course, this leaves Oliver with little room to manoeuvre as Lance has cut of every possible exit route. There really was no way out of this one. No last minute hiding places or team breakthroughs.
So, Oliver does pretty much the only thing he can do and surrenders. He waltzes into the police station and puts himself at the mercy of Lance, who is more than ready to throw Oliver in jail without a lawyer present. And if that isn’t enough, Lance’s remarks in the transfer van are harsh and cruel. He brings up everyone who has died around Oliver: his parents, Tommy, Sara, and every other casualty in a bid to show Oliver the villain he truly is.
Our comic relief this week comes from the return of Mama Smoak, who reappears in Starling to support Felicity and boyfriend Ray, who is caught in a dangerous position. After being struck with an arrow during last week’s Mayor attack, the doctor has discovered a blood clot that could prove fatal to Ray if not treated. However, treating it so soon could also result in brain damage. Ray’s risky suggestion of using Nano-tech to remove the blood clot seems to be the only bet worth taking. At first, Felicity refuses to inject her boyfriend, but Mama Smoak – does she have a name? I forget – encourages her daughter to take the risk. The mother/daughter relationship is so naturally warm and loving that it was a great addition to an otherwise tense episode.
After the pep talk, Felicity turns up at the hospital and injects Ray with the Nano tech and thankfully, despite a brief seizure that Ray calls a ‘side effect’ – his clot is removed and a speedy recovery is announced. Felicity and Ray’s scenes are as sweet as sugar until Ray slips an ‘I love you’ into his thanks, causing Felicity to freak out and rush off without a response. Looks like someone’s about to consider their relationship status on Facebook.
Mama Smoak also reminds Felicity of the issue she continues to ignore: her feelings for Oliver. She denies them once again, but after careful probing, Felicity seems to acknowledge her feelings for both men and realises that a decision must be made, and soon.
Ray has always been a roadblock in Oliver and Felicity’s on-off romance, but I’ve really warmed to him. He’s charming and, as Felicity notes, looks like a Disney prince, so I can’t grasp how the fan reception has been so negative. He adores Felicity and it’s nice to see her having that support outside of Team Arrow as well. Let’s hope his heart isn’t completely broken when their relationship comes to an inevitable end. You guys saw that promo, right?
Before I wrap the review up, I’d like to question the point of this week’s Hong Kong flashbacks. As always, there’s gunfire, chases and Oliver running, but we’re also introduced to a familiar face, but new character in Shado no.2 (who’s actually her sister).
Oliver bumps into her whilst he and Akio are running around the marketplace. She invites them back to her house after Oliver dumbly stares and repeats her sister’s name. We quickly learn that Shado had a twin sister, Mei, who has been unaware of her sister’s whereabouts for 3 years, and Oliver broods for the remainder of the flashbacks before finally revealing Shado’s death. I think we’re supposed to see the parallel between Oliver telling the truth in the past, and him turning himself over to the police in the present, but the randomness of the flashbacks seems to overshadow this.
The end of the episode brings us back to Starling as another Arrow jumps in front of the transfer truck. Lance and Oliver watch as the hood falls back to reveal Roy, who surrenders himself as the ‘real’ Arrow and nods to Oliver. Did anyone see Roy’s martyr act coming? And what does it mean for next week’s episode?