Flashback! 6 months ago! The Mirakuru soldier invasion of Starling City. Dig, Felicity and the Arrow bob and weave through the burning city on their way to confront Slade when Oliver sees a damsel in distress and has Dig stop the van. A quick arrow through the thug saves the girl and the Arrow continues on his way, oblivious to the grateful woman he leaves behind watching him leave with stars in her eyes and a souvenir arrow to remember him by.
Cut to the present. Captain Lance and the Arrow stand over a dead body…dressed very much like the Arrow in an obvious display to get someone’s attention. The only clue left at the scene is an arrow with a spade as the tip. The Arrow is rankled by this grotesque display. I’m more interested in Captain Lance looking full on into the Arrow’s face during this conversation. Unless he’s blind or has facial recognition disorder there is NO WAY he cannot tell that Oliver Queen is standing in front of him.
We flashback again! This time to Hong Kong where long haired Oliver is getting a severe side-eye from Tatsu for regressing back to his rich boy ways and not doing his laundry. Oliver is saved from another scolding when Maseo books for the door on an errand for Amanda Waller. Oliver wants to go. Tatsu wants Maseo to stay. Maseo reminds Oliver he needs to do his laundry and leaves a not very happy Tatsu with a not very happy Oliver.
Back to the here and now. Felicity walks in on Ray doing the salmon ladder in his office. While not as ripped as Oliver, Brandon Routh’s Ray ain’t nothing to kick out of bed. Even with his crazy eyes. Ray asks Felicity out to a business dinner to help him close a deal. He even bought her a dress. Which is pretty but a little presumptuous. But pretty. Seriously a half-naked man looking like Superman holding out nice dresses and offering me dinner…I’m in.
At the Arrow cave where Oliver and Diggle’s detecting into the copycat killer is interrupted by a special news conference where Ray announces the name change of Queen Consolidated to Palmer Technologies. Oliver is less mad about the name change and more upset at the sight of Felicity beaming next to a proud Ray instead of being in the Arrow cave helping them sleuth. Oliver does some manly smashing of stuff and lo and behold finds a note in the now smashed spade head. Kind of random that it was there and Oliver happened upon it but it’s a solid clue to a location change so off Oliver goes….
To find a shrine to the Arrow complete with some very romantic mood lighting candles. Oliver finally cottons on to the fact that the spade tip on the arrow wasn’t a spade but a heart! Ah, and now a conveniently placed phone rings for Oliver. It’s his secret admirer who we see observing him a building across the street. How Oliver doesn’t feel the power of those crazy eyes on him is pretty head scratching as Cupid (that’s what she calles herself) makes her play. Oliver ain’t interested. She promises to be his ride of die chick to fight and kill for him but Oliver still ain’t biting. Not deterred from his playing hard to get, Cupid makes Oliver an offer he can’t refuse: another victim to save that will force him to come to her.
Annnnd new title card! Instead of an Arrowhead we get…yep, a spade complete with cutesy harp music. Seriously, all that took place before the title card.
Next up. Roy. Poor guys is still torn up over remembering killing a poor cop while under the influence of Mirakuru but buries the angst when Oliver asks him what’s wrong and takes Felicity’s entrance as a distraction for his exit. Ever helpful, Felicity gives Oliver the 411 on Cupid’s next victim but taketh away when she asks for the night off to work with Ray. Awkward tension. Oliver grouches that Felicity can do whatever she wants and grumps away and sends us back to-
Hong Kong. Maseo is hasn’t come home. Tatsu is worried. Oliver volunteers to check it out. Tatsu says she’ll go. Oliver scoffs at wee Tatsu going out to the docks to look for her man. Tatsu insists on going along to find her husband. It’s a team up! Little Akio is left with a babysitter.
Back to now. Thea is stuck in a C storyline interviewing DJs for the club’s re-opening and so far isn’t’ impressed with the pickings. One guy comes in with the swagger and attitude simultaneously grating on Thea’s nerves even as they flirt. Mercifully the love/hate dance is short and we go back to-
The Arrow cave where Felicity introduces us to Carrie Cutter, aka Cupid, onetime SCPD SWAT Team member present day stalker and gardener. More sleuthing takes Oliver and Roy to a green house in search of the poor pawn in Cupid’s game.
Before you can say ‘Parkour!’ Carrie ambushes Roy and takes him out of the picture. Commandeering his earpiece, Cupid and Oliver alternately coo and growl at each other in a kind of Marco Polo until Oliver comes upon the tableau of Roy out cold on the floor while Cupid offers Oliver a cupcake and a gift- the bait with a bomb vest. More banter before Cupid runs away (guess she’s playing hard to get too) leaving Oliver to give chase. Rather than let the poor guy blow up, he leaves Cupid to flee and blows up the bomb vest, saving the bait before knocking him out cold because, well, the guy is a thug.
Now Roy and Oliver are BOTH in bad moods. Roy for getting dropped by Cupid and Oliver having to deal with a woman whose attention he rather not have while the lady he does want has seemed to move on. Diggle can’t take it anymore and presses Oliver on coming clean about his issues with Felicity. Oliver insists he’s fine and lumbers off to check out Carrie’s psychiatrist to get a bead on what makes the lady tick.
Having struck out with Oliver, Dig pays Felicity a visit. Which is nice that he cares, but, uh, Dig, it ain’t none ya business. And what’s more, Felicity isn’t the one who needs the talkin’ to if you know what’s what. She made her position clear and Oliver was the one who told Felicity to talk to the hand about a relationship, so…yeah.
By this time, Oliver is grilling Carries’ psychiatrist from the shadows, who fills in some of the gaps of Carrie’s issues before diagnosing Oliver in 5 minutes as needing a shrink himself due to his mask and Robin Hood costume. Heh. Actually that’d make a great spinoff. Oliver glowers at the suggestion before stalking off.
Hong Kong flashback. Oliver and Tatsu are doing the stakeout bonding thing on the docks when The Triad that Maseo was supposed to be monitoring appear – with no Maseo in site. Oliver decides to play hero only to get his butt handed to him-
Present Day. Ray and Felicity after work at the office. Dressed to the nines. Ray is tongue tied when Felicity enters but not so much that he can’t get his Richard Gere in Pretty Woman on and present Felicity some crazy bling. They do make a handsome couple but seriously we know this will not end well. The show is called Arrow not Ray so enjoy Felicity’s attention while you can, my well defined friend.
Meanwhile Cupid’s henchman friend has performed some computer-fu and has approximated the location of the Arrow’s lair. And then kills him to cover her tracks. Slipping into an on theme sexy red dress, Cupid arrives at Verdant ready to meet her man. Oliver having gotten the heads up from Lance that Cupid’s dropped another body and is looking for him, has Felicity (back at the lair but not before doing Ray a solid by talking him up at his business dinner) route a call to Cupid’s phone and lures her out of Verdant (and away from Thea who is having a rough night wrangling her DJ). A date! Cupid squeals excitedly and agrees to comply and leave but not before warning that she’ll blow Verdant sky high if he’s lying to her.
Oliver and Cupid come face to face to where it all began and Oliver remembers that fateful night Carrie’s obsession was born. Going for a more sympathetic approach, Oliver tries to connect by telling Carrie all his and Felicity’s business while Felicity listens in (REALLY?) with Oliver summarizing: he doesn’t do relationships and Carrie needs to let it go. Done with being rejected it’s fighting time (!) and Cupid and Arrow square off with Cupid surprisingly giving as good and she gets and even getting the drop on him when they fall onto the subterranean train tracks. Chaining him to the rails, Carrie sees an approaching train as the opportunity for their traffic love story to come to a close. Oliver ain’t going down like that and he dislocates his own thumb to escape and pull them both to safety. Which of course feeds her belief that he really does care!
Back to the Arrow cave. Oliver ices his hand as Diggle strolls in having somehow secreted Carrie away to ARGUS where she’s going to join the Suicide Squad. Seriously, I want to know how this went down. They had to knock Carrie out, right? No way she went willingly. And while girl is super talented with a bow and arrow is Team Arrow really okay with supplying ARGUS with super criminals to put bombs in their heads? Obviously these questions are asked or answered in this episode. As far as Oliver and Diggle are concerned the case is closed. But the case of Oliver’s feelings for Felicity is still wide open. Diggle finally prods Oliver into telling her how he feels which sends Oliver over to Palmer Tech’s offices to see a gut punching kiss between Felicity and Ray. Oliver leaves, missing Ray pulling away from the kiss with a troubled expression and booking out of there with a quickness and leaving Felicity staring after him wondering if she needed to chew more Orbit gum.
Oliver returns to the lair to do some more manpain smashing bringing Roy running out from his hiding place. Both men finally admit, they’re not okay. The solution to their problems? At least for the night. Family dinner at Casa Diggle. Awwww.
Way back in Hong Kong, Tatsu and Oliver return home to find Maseo with Akio?! He’s alive! Tatsu is overjoyed. Maseo apologizes for being dark for so long. Waller called him in for his protection. They kiss. Oliver knows when to make an exit and leaves to do his laundry but not before we know that he and Tatsu have turned a corner in their prickly relationship.
Present day. Thea’s counting her cash from the night, her DJ in shining armor declining to take Thea’s opening night take, preferring to have her in his debt. They exchange smiles and say until next time. As he walks way he places a call to….Malcolm! Yep, DJ is a plant by Malcolm to keep tabs on Thea. But to what end we don’t know yet. . He declines the cash. She appreciates the save and even is warming to her DJ when BOOM we find out he’s a plant by Malcolm!
Next to last for the night we go to Palmer Technologies. Ray is busy at work and we get a nice sneak peek at his supersecret project…a holographic rendering of the ATOM exosuit suit that is revealed to us with some pretty superheroe-y theme music.
But as a hero rises, so does a villain emerge and we go to a dark alley where as a man makes his way down the street, another figure emerges from the shadows and brandishing…metal boomerangs? Before the unarmed man can understand what’s happening, the boomerangs are thrown and swoop past him only to –you guessed it- boomerang back and right into his back. Down he goes and off we go into the ending title card, the spade gone and our good ole arrow head back in place, as we end on a cliffhanger to be resolved (I think; one never knows how long these arcs are) in the next episode.