ARROW Recap: “Broken Arrow”

     April 15, 2015

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Will Roy survive prison? Will Oliver come to his rescue? Will Ray and Felicity return home to Starling City in time to help sort things out? Will Laurel ever be a decent fighter? The answers to all your questions and more will (hopefully) be answered on the latest episode of Arrow!

Tonight’s opener features an awesome introduction for the laser-eyed villain Deathbolt (played by the fantastic Doug Jones) who executes two security guards at a bank. Who is he? What’s he up to? Where’d he come from? It doesn’t matter. Laser eyes!

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Meanwhile, Quentin hauls Roy into the precinct as Oliver watches from the Captain’s desk. Though Ollie has no plans to let Roy take the fall for him, Laurel steps in to get all lawyer-y with her father, using a technicality to spring Oliver despite his earlier confession. Before he leaves the police station, Oliver gets a minute to talk to Roy (which seems totally implausible, but whatever). Roy’s still feeling guilty for his drug-addled murder of the police officer during the riots, and he wants to pay for his crime. If his sacrifice helps to get the Arrow back on the streets, Roy’s at peace with it.

Back at Palmer Technologies, Felicity is dotting Is and crossing Ts (and looking fabulous while doing so), but betraying no reaction to their recent visit to Central City. Instead, Ray brings up the fact that he said, “I love you,” at the hospital, to which Felicity still has not responded in kind. Yeah, it’s awkward for everyone.

At the Arrow Cave, the team learns they have more bad news when the bank-robbing meta-human Deathbolt makes his appearance on the nightly news. Chalk up another strike against the team as Quentin and half of the city’s police force show up with a search warrant, and soon discover the secret lair hidden beneath Club Verdant. Their forensics team comes up short with their fingerprint matches as they’re only able to link Roy to the entire … arsenal.

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On the surface, Diggle and Felicity try to wake Oliver up to their current predicament, that being that whatever move he makes as the Arrow, he’ll be tracked by police. In a tight spot, they turn to Ray for his help. Thanks to some quick recon work at the bank and facial recognition on Ray’s company’s fancy computers, the team tracks the culprit down. Ray, as the Atom, flies off to take down the villainous Jake Simmons, but gets an eyeful as Deathbolt blasts him and his supersuit to kingdom come. A return volley from the Atom suit only serves to supercharge Deathbolt, and though a brief flight gives Ray the upper-hand for a moment, he soon ends up at the mercy of the meta-human. He barely manages to limp back to HQ, where Oliver chastises his lack of battle experience in the field. His advice is to put his trust in his own abilities and not rely solely on the suit.

At the prison, Thea drops in to visit Roy. Though they seemed to patch things up in recent episodes, Roy and Thea have a tough conversation through the jailhouse glass. He can’t handle seeing her while he’s stuck inside and couldn’t face himself if he lied to her again, so he cuts off communication with her. We soon get the expected fight scene between Roy and a small army of prisoners who want to take a shot at the Arrow without his weapons. Roy gives them exactly what they’re looking for: an ass kicking. It’s a great solo fight for Colton Haynes that strips away all the arrows, armor, and Parkour, and just gets down to a bare-fisted brawl. Round one goes to Roy, but it’s only a matter of time before Roy pays for Oliver’s mistakes with his life. Thea brings the problem to her big brother, but Diggle interferes. The tension between the two nearly boils over when Oliver stands his ground.

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Ollie heads out of the Arrow Cave and takes his frustrations out on Felicity at Palmer Technologies. He’s clearly not used to sitting on the sidelines while other people do the dirty work. Felicity infers that, even if Oliver manages to break Roy out of Iron Heights, the Arrow is finished thanks to Ra’s al Ghul. She convinces Oliver to let others help out for a change … right before she walks smack into Deathbolt. Luckily the meta-human villain prefers to hold Felicity hostage, giving Ray and Oliver a chance to rescue her through a pretty badass team-up. Ray may be physically in the suit, but Oliver is controlling it from the Arrow Cave. Once Felicity is safely out of harms way, Oliver takes over for a brief moment, but Deathbolt’s powerful strikes sever the neural connection that had allowed him to operate remotely. When it looks as if Deathbolt’s about to deal a deathblow, Oliver’s encouragement gives Ray the necessary confidence to knock the villain out for good.

That’s great for Team Arrow, but what about wayward black sheep, Roy? Well he’s doing his best to keep his head up for any new threats inside the prison, but what he doesn’t see coming is a guard with a shiv stabbing him in the guts. Though we don’t see the aftermath, we do see Oliver come home to Thea’s apartment where Quentin informs him of Roy’s death…

But of course he’s not really dead, though they certainly made it convincing enough. The explanation is rather convoluted, but the important part is that Roy’s totally alive, the Arrow is now dead in the eyes of the public and Captain Lance, and Roy is spinning off to a new adventure. Oliver takes all of these revelations rather well, considering.

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Tying up lose ends, Ray delivers Simmons/Deathbolt to Cisco’s prison at S.T.A.R. Labs, but there’s a curious twist to the meta-human’s tale. Apparently he was nowhere near the explosion the night the particle accelerator went boom, so how did he develop his powers? Curious, indeed!

Tonight’s stinger sees Ra’s al Ghul paying Thea a visit to obtain sufficient leverage to make Oliver accept his offer of becoming the Demon’s Head. That leverage? Thea herself. She puts up a great fight, but is ultimately killed by Ra’s. Ollie’s only remaining option? Accept Ra’s offer and save Thea with the Lazarus pits.

Hong Kong Flashback:

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Oliver, sporting a cool beanie, plans to track down Waller with Maseo’s help; Tatsu doesn’t approve. In the A.R.G.U.S. facility, an injured prisoner kills a guard before he can get the drop on Oliver. She reveals that the military plans to unleash the bio-weapon on Hong Kong to eliminate China as an economic threat. The woman, who has quite a bit of knowledge to share with Ollie, buys him time to stop the dastardly plan before it’s too late. (I feel like I should recognize this woman, so if I’ve missed an Easter egg, please let me know in the comments.) Ollie and the Yamashiros break into yet another secure facility and liberate the bio-weapon’s vaccine without incident. Too bad there’s not enough of it to go around to the whole city, so Tatsu offers it up to Oliver, telling him to let other people help, thus bringing tonight’s theme back around.

Season 3 has been a bit of a rough ride for Arrow. In addition to managing the show’s meandering seasonal plot arcs, it’s had to fold in a number of cross-overs and references to sister show, The Flash. Some of those moments admittedly worked better than others. “Broken Arrow” serves to remind fans that this series it as its best when it is focused, tautly paced, and dares to kill its darlings. It also comes as a much-needed salve to soothe concerns that Arrow had lost a step, and reinvigorates the fan base as the season heads into its final few episodes. And though this episode title ironically suggests otherwise, “Broken Arrow” is strong evidence that Arrow remains far from broken.

Rating: ★★★★ Very Good

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Miscellanea:

Quentin: “I got you now, you son of a bitch.”

Oliver: “We need your help.” Ray: “So it’s a team up? High five!”

Oliver’s eye-roll at Ray’s white-collar commentary is one of my favorite Stephen Amell moments on this show. GIF it, Internet!

Ray: “How many abandoned warehouses are in this city? I’m genuinely curious.” As am I, Ray. As am I.

Oliver (to Felicity): “There’s a decent chance that you and Palmer are related.”

Tonight, this show feels like it has a higher heroic body count than The Walking Dead

I love that Diggle’s wife (!) has a friend whose special skill is to stab someone in a convincing way without killing them. Her friend might as well be Liam Neeson.

Oliver: “If everyone thinks you’re dead, then what happens to Roy Harper?” He goes on to star on a spin-off show?

Ra’s al Ghul: “Protect me from Your punishment on the day Your servants are resurrected.”

Watch the excellent promo for next week’s episode of Arrow below!

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