Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
This week starts as a follow up to the mystery of Ray Palmer's resurgence. It turns out that in his tinkering that caused the explosion at his lab... actually he managed to shrink himself down along with the suit and escape the explosion unharmed. He was then however picked up by an unlikely but familiar foe. Good ol' Damien Darhk. He's using Ray to try and get at his technology, to what purpose, that is yet to be see, but knowing Darhk, it can't be anything good.
Meanwhile Felicity is racking her brains and going loopy trying to decipher Ray's code that leads her to his whereabouts. She is high on sugar and caffeine and causing a lot of stress between herself and Oliver in their relationship with her (rightful) obsession with finding Ray before it's too late. This episode is very Felicity heavy, and I think it works very well. I love her character, her smarts, ingenuity and having Curtis by her side trying to help has been a really great team that I've enjoyed watching a lot.
Oliver has insisted time and time again that she needs to stop and needs to rest but Felicity keeps pushing until her program cracks Ray's code and gets a live feed of him stuck in a glass cube, still shrunken down, along with his suit, being held captive by Darhk. He sends over some schematics on a gun that should be able to bring him back to normal size. There is however one small problem. They need to collect an item not found at Palmer Industries but at their number one competitor Kord Labs . Felicity, explaining the situation to the team, has them break into Kord Labs and steal the tech they need. In the process however, we see that Sara is still feeding on her blood lust and she beats a security guard to a pulp until Laurel is able to snap her out of it.
With the tech well in hand, the next step is to find out how to get into Darhk's lair and where it is. Oliver enlists Capt. Lance to request a meeting, so that when they leave Diggle can trace him back to his hide away. With that covered they work on a plan to break in and get Ray out. To make sure everything works however Felicity and Curtis must also go out in the field to save Ray. Something a couple of super smart indoors-y types aren't exactly prepared to do.
Unfortunately during the mission, Oliver as Green Arrow is knocked out and chained up by Damien. Darhk goes to reveal Oliver's identity when he managed to kick Darhk away, free himself and shoot an arrow his way. Darhk easily defects it and uses his powers to put a chain around Oliver's neck, choking him. It looks very much like lights out for Queen but Oliver uses a flash bang to blind Damien and escape his clutches, until they meet again. As the rest of the gang goes into the facility to get Ray back, not only does Sara attack someone, she breaks their neck, killing them. It's a shock to the team and even Laurel couldn't stop her this time.
Felicity and Curtis find Ray and start to think of the best way to get him out. Ray suggests that with the power he is able to draw from Dahrk's set up he can power his suit which should allow him to survive the regrowth when hit by the resizing ray Curtis and Felicity put together. And as you would expect from three geniuses, their plan worked and Ray was returned to normal size and they busted out of there.
Throughout the episode the side theme has been the relationship between Oliver and Felicity, now that Ray is back from the dead. Oliver tries everything to keep Felicity from going crazy, but makes all the wrong moves. He invites her mom to come visit, then he invites her to dinner and tells Felicity that she should stop worrying because as of that moment they were still collecting data on where Dahrk was so there was no rush to save him. This infuriates Felicity because all she wants to do is help Ray and keep one of the men she loves from dying at the hands of Darhk if he manages to get what he needs. This leads to Oliver backing off and the two of them having some alone time with some friends. Felicity confides in her mother dispite not being all that happy she is there, and she tells Felicity that he is the best thing for her and it would be a shame to let him go. On the flip side Oliver has a sit down drink with Diggle and they hash out how Oliver feels about Felicity and if he was really the right man for her. It was some good character development for both sides and an interesting storyline I enjoyed and it was nice to see some real life relationship issues being addressed on the show rather than everyone just keeping things bottled up and a secret.
The Island had the military leader go to the place where Constantine and held Oliver the previous week and a location to a "special gift" was found. Oliver is instructed to take a team out to go retrieve his gift. During the expedition Oliver goes to the cave and takes care of the worker her saved earlier and tells her he will come back as often as he can, something that she now knows is true after she thought he may never come back the first time. Meanwhile the soldier who clearly does not like Oliver and wants to get rid if the mole in their squad, recruits one of the workers to take Oliver down once and for all. When Oliver returns from the cave he is attacked by the worker and he begins to drown him. Oliver managed to fight back and reluctantly snaps his neck. When he looks up he sees that everyone had saw what he did, and now he has to explain why that all happened. It certainly has left him in yet another sticky situation and one that may cause problems with the team he has put together to get the gift.
This episode was a pretty great one. I very much enjoyed all the drama and character that infused into the show. I'd love to see more of it in a way that isn't so in the shadows keeping secrets. Breaking Ray out was fun and having Darhk and Oliver meet and have a close shave was pretty cool to see once again. Until next week, this was a darn good episode and it's nice to see Arrow consistently stay out of a rut for a change.