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This episode’s title tells you everything you need to know. For most of the season, Arrow has been slowly setting up a conflict between Team Arrow and The Outsiders, even if, up to now, their main point of contention felt like it could have all been sorted with a cup of tea and a nice sit down. That all comes to a head in this episode, which shoots for something similar to Captain America: Civil War, but falls disappointingly short.
Last episode ended with a surprise twist, whereby Ricardo Diaz murdered supposed season Big Bad Cayden James, after revealing that he had been pulling Cayden’s strings all along. After that genuine shock, you might reasonably expect Diaz’s plans to come into their own, but no. Instead, Arrow focuses on the conflict between the two teams and, well, let’s just say no one wins.
Pesky Diaz murdered Cayden before he could give back the $70 million he extorted from Star City, so Oliver and company still have to get that money back if they’re going to stop the city’s infrastructure from collapsing or something. Felicity uses her camera-hacking skills and discovers that Not-Laurel took the money from Cayden’s bank account in the Cayman Islands. Or Cayden’s Caymans, if you will. So, the hunt is on for Not-Laurel.
However, what Team Arrow don’t know is that Quentin has kidnapped a wounded Not-Laurel and is holding her in a secret log cabin, hoping somehow to coax out her inner goodness and become “his” Laurel again. There’s no way around it – this is creepy as hell, and the idea that all Not-Laurel needs is for her daddy to be nice to her is both patronising and irritating. Thank goodness for voice of reason Thea Queen, who follows Quentin to the cabin and lets him know in no uncertain terms that this is Not Okay.
Team Arrow find the location where Quentin abducted Not-Laurel and wrongfully deduce that Dinah has her. Slow clap for Team Arrow. They storm the Outsiders bunker (nickname still pending) and accuse them of holding Not-Laurel. The Outsiders: annoyed. Rene does a good job of getting under Oliver’s skin by accusing him of wanting to punch him so hard right now, but he sort of ruins it by pushing Oliver first (like the worst kind of pub drunk) when Oliver tries to walk away. However, it’s all a Clever Ruse and it turns out Rene has planted a bug-slash-tracker on Oliver. Round one to The Outsiders.
Meanwhile, in the Cabin of Wrong, Thea has persuaded Quentin to tell Oliver he has Black Siren. Not-Laurel cuts a deal with Oliver whereby she’ll return Star City’s money, if he’ll allow her to leave the country. Oliver agrees, so they head to the Cabin, with The Outsiders in hot pursuit, thanks to the tracking device. However, Oliver finds it and throws it out the window before they arrive at the Cabin, so The Outsiders are back to square one. (Oddly, Dinah destroys the discarded tracker when she finds it, which is what you do when you find someone else’s tracking device, not what you do when you get back one of your own. Those things don’t grow on trees, you know.)
It’s obviously the week for Arrow characters to act wildly out of character, because in addition to Quentin going full weirdo on Not-Laurel, Curtis decides to hack Diggle’s robotic arm implant to track him, knowing full well it will cause him enormous pain. Which it does. Not cool, Curtis. (To be fair, he does look a bit troubled by it, but still, it doesn’t tally with anything we’ve seen from Curtis so far and if there was one member of either team that was previously able to occupy the moral high ground, it was Curtis. Well, not anymore. Cold.)
So, The Outsiders arrive at the Cabin of Wrong as Team Arrow and Not-Laurel are making their escape. There’s a solid fight scene, but it’s far from the action spectacular it should have been, given that the entire season has seemingly been building to this moment. It doesn’t help that the entire thing takes place in a forest, at night, with everyone wearing dark costumes. That said, the fight is notable for how absolutely willing to hurt each other everyone seems to be – Curtis fires his gun at them (and shoots Felicity when she jumps in front of a bullet to save Not-Laurel), Oliver lets fly a volley of arrows at, well, everyone, and Rene ends up swinging a blooming great axe at Oliver, which, again, you have to wonder if he really thought through.
During the fight, Dinah finally gets the drop on Not-Laurel and comes very, very close to killing her, but Curtis stops her, by pointing out that she sounds just like Oliver in her thirst for “justice”. Dinah releases her grip and Black Siren sonic blasts them into the woods and makes her escape. The two teams are about to start fighting among themselves again when they realise that Rene has been badly injured and needs to be taken to hospital.
So, it’s pretty much a disaster all round. Not-Laurel has escaped and presumably still has the money. Rene is severely injured in hospital (it turns out his gunshot wound has opened up again) and Star City is basically screwed unless Oliver can come up with the missing $70 million. Meanwhile, Felicity and Diggle try to visit Rene in hospital, only to be told by Curtis and Dinah that they are finished and never want to see them again. Can things get any worse for Oliver? Just a bit, yes. The new Chief of Police conspires with someone in her department to bring Oliver down, telling him, “I can see why Diaz likes you”. Ruh, roh!
Oh, and the cliffhanger for the episode goes to Not-Laurel, who emerges from the woods, panicked and breathing heavily and tells a total stranger she was kidnapped two years ago and that she’s just escaped and that her name is… yep, Laurel Lance. So she’s going to attempt to pass herself off as Dead Laurel? That’s either brilliant or dumb as hell. We’ll have to wait and see which.
All in all, this is a frustrating episode that’s impossible to watch without a strong feeling of “Was that it?” – hopefully, the Arrow writers can pull it all back together for the back end of the season, but it has to be said, things are not looking good.
Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
– Hang on, what’s this? Roy Harper is back next week? We take it all back, Arrow is clearly awesome again. Hurrah for Roy Harper and his parkour skills!
– Another terrible episode for Thea, although at least the show paints her as the only voice of reason in the whole debacle. She basically spends the entire time rolling her eyes. You can hardly blame her.
– In fact, it’s probably time Thea got her own spin-off series, isn’t it? Yes. Yes, it is.
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Photo: 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.