I mentioned in my last review for the “Canaries” episode of Arrow, that the flashback portions of the episode meant nothing to me, yet it foreshadowed Oliver Queen’s return to Starling City, a full few years before his eventual return in Season 1. Now, normally the present day plotline of the show is the real “bread and butter” (as my Dad used to say….what does that mean anyways?) of the show, with the flashback scenes giving you a nice understanding of how Oliver got to this point, why he feels a certain way, and what all of those tattoos mean.
This episode, though, show runner Marc Guggenheim flips that, making the flashbacks the most entertaining part of this episode, and gives fans of the series since the beginning a nice little, “thank you”, of sorts.
Oh! And Slade is back…yeah, there’s that too…
Oliver is back in Starling City, doing the dirty work once again for Amanda Waller (have I mentioned how much I hate her?) with his partner in crime Maseo. What he sees is an “Easter Egg” filled version of what Starling City’s favorites have become in his absence, and what has been alluded to throughout the first 2 1/2 seasons. We see the brother that Diggle lost at the hand, or trigger finger, of Deadshot, working security with him at Tommy’s (yes, that Tommy) birthday party. Speaking of Tommy, he’s doing his best to get with Laurel, OIi’s ex (and we know how that turns out) while at the same time, protecting Thea, Oli’s sister (and his…for that matter…DRAMA!) in Oliver’s absence. We also see, and so does Oliver, a bit of the substance abuse that Thea struggled with in Season 1, knowing that it predated the first episode.
You also get to see what a complete lowlife Det. Lance is at this point, thanks very much to losing his youngest daughter on the Queen’s Gambit and hitting the bottle pretty hard. And let’s be honest, who can blame him. After the death at Tommy’s party, which came at the hands of Oliver, protecting his sister from the dude she’d been scoring drugs from, we see Det. Lance lash out at Laurel for continuing to go after the “bad boy” and not using her life to help people, like she said she would. We see this conversation paralleled later on in the episode at Sara’s grave, when Lance tells Laurel he can’t trust her anymore, for keeping her sister’s death from him, and in not so many words, disowning his other daughter (at least for the next episode or so).
The best parts of the flashback sequences though had to do with the modern Arrow-verse being alluded to. I mentioned Diggle, which was nice to see. But it was also a treat to see a young, blonde Queen Consolidated employee taking a look at a picture of a young Oliver and letting slip a “You’re Cute” (…………..it was Felicity. C’mon guys! Stay with me here!) Oliver, after “hacking” into the Q.C. server in order to find clues for the Omega Bioweapon for Ms. Waller, finds a video for him, from his father. The video tells Oliver about the book of names for all of those who have “failed Starling City,” which was really the object that carried all of Season 1.
In my opinion, my favorite scene in the episode came after Oli foolishly enters Tommy’s party, a place where, ya know, ANYONE could have ID’d him. Maseo escorts him away at gun point, where this gem of a conversation took place…
Maseo: “Anyone at that party could have recognized you!”
Oliver, wearing a green hoodie: “I pulled the hoodie down over my face!”
Maseo: “That disguise wouldn’t work even if you smeared grease over your face!”
A nice little “lol” moment for those who thought the same thing throughout the first 2 seasons.
As for the present timeline, the whole returning to the island in order to “face their fears” was a disappointment. As far as I’m concerned, it was a cheap way of bringing Slade Wilson back for an episode, which allowed him to do next to nothing other than get his ass kicked by the Queen kids. The monster known as Deathstroke deserves better. Perhaps the writers knew this, having Slade retort this dagger (arrow? blade?) of a quote back to Oliver as he’s being locked back up:
“How many people can Queen lose, before there is no more Oliver Queen?”
Damn, Slade, you took the words right out of my mouth.
The highly anticipated “Nanda Parbat” episode is coming next week, which is very exciting with how much this particular episode has been talked about by cast and crew alike.
Oh! And we get to see the Atom in full costume. Please don’t suck. Please be awesome. Please don’t take Felicity away from Oliver.