written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The Queens go camping this week on a special Arrow. After Ollie comes clean with Thea about how he's been spending his nights over the last couple years, it feels like the bond between this brother and sister combo has gotten infinitely stronger. On Malcolm Merlyn's urging, the dynamic duo makes trip to Lian Yu... the infamous island where Oliver Queen took his first steps to becoming the hero Starling City deserves. What starts as a simple training vacation takes a turn for the deadly when Malcolm orchestrates Slade Wilson's escape as some sick form of on-the-job training.
As for the flashbacks, Oliver's back in Starling City to hunt down China White and find the Omega that was originally bargained for Tatsu's life. Oliver receives a first hand look at the life he left behind, already over two years into his assumed death. Thea's coping with the death of her father and brother thanks to drugs, Laurel butts heads with her drunkard father, and Tommy begins expressing an attraction for Laurel. In hunting down China White, Oliver stumbles across a message his father prepared in the event of his death, further explaining an exchange Ollie shared with Diggle explaining his father's list.
Seeing Oliver face to face with the life he left behind was depressing to say the least. It's a stark reminder of how far his relationships have progressed since he's been back.
On the island, the brother/sister duo face off with a newly freed Slade Wilson while tackling one last lie, the truth about Sara Lance's death. Oliver and Thea's relationship has greatly improved, and even though telling her the truth about the Arrow improved it, revealing Thea's involvement in Sarah's death could push them further apart... or it could prove Oliver's point about Malcolm.
Seeing the island and Slade Wilson again felt nostalgic but the episode seriously lacked a certain green-hooded-vigilante, in fact... this episode had zero Arrow-y goodness. After such a high octane episode last week, this felt boring again. As much as I love this show, it's been sorely uneven this entire season... here's to hoping it begins to pick up.
For the first time in a long time, I've enjoyed the flashback story line more than the actual present day part of the episode. Quote of the week belongs to Maseo, when Oliver tries to explain that no one would recognize him with his hoodie pulled down, Maseo responds with "That disguise wouldn't work even if you smeared greasepaint over your face."
The next episode looks to kick it up a notch... here's hoping...