The Arrow Cave! Oliver and Felicity make googly eyes at each other in a scene reminiscent of their last encounter before Oliver left to fight Ra’s. In fact it is their last encounter except instead of Oliver leaving, he says he’s staying the change of heart resulting in a swoony kiss between the two. Unfortunately this Olicity moment takes a horrible turn as Felicity pulls away in horror as Oliver begins spitting up blood, the penny dropping (if it hadn’t already) that this is someone’s nightmare-
And we cut to Oliver waking up with a start. Yep, it was his nightmare. Pain and the sight of bloody bandanges bring him back to reality: all that crap with Ra’s really happened. Tatsu and Maseo/Sarab do the awkward dance of a couple who have a lot of baggage between them they’re too afraid to acknowledge. Instead Maseo tells Oliver he’s going back to Nanda Parbat to tell them he couldn’t find Oliver’s body, dismisses Oliver’s concern for him and tells him to worry about himself and his beloved Starling City.
Speaking of which…back in Starling city we watch a classic woman running through a dark alley in distress until Laurel, once again suited up in the Canary costume shows up and takes on the thug but not very successfully. Arsenal shows up and saves Laurel’s bacon before telling her that they need to have a talk about her new activities.
Later at the Arrow lair Roy patches Laurel up. Laurel tries to avoid Roy’s gaze by wondering where Felicity is. Roy to his credit isn’t dissuaded and wonders what Laurel thinks she is doing. Diggle seconds this WTH. Laurel defends that with Oliver gone someone needs to pick up the slack in making the thugs of Starling afraid. Way to burn Roy/Arsenal, Laurel. And not sure many thugs are afraid of this Canary given she’s been owned by everyone she’s come in contact with.
Over at Palmer Techologies Ray pays a visit to Felicity who is still moping about everything and kind of harshing on Ray’s buzz with his ATOM. Project. No, she still won’t help Ray fix his suit problems. Or be any kind of fun to be around apparently.
And at Verdant we follow Thea as she shows up at work to come upon Chase the DJ to get some early morning flirting on only for Malcolm to arrive and bust up that fun with his anxiety that Thea isn’t packed and ready to flee Starling City. Thea maintains she has to stay for Oliver (who is still MIA by the way) and because she’s not leaving until Malcolm tells her why he wants to leave. Malcolm wrinkles his nose at this and backs into his limo. Thea continues on into the club to work. From afar Roy watches this all go down.
City Hall! The mayor has called a City Council meeting over the Brickwell situation. Quentin pulls Laurel aside to ask about Sara. He’s heard the Canary is back in town which makes Laurel hem, haw, and gulp because of course she didn’t think it through that people seeing the Canary and thinking it was Sara would also mean her dad would think it’s Sara and want to see her. The Mayor calls the meeting into order, saving Laurel’s bacon. Ray offers up as much money needed to assist the local authorities but maintains they should also call in the Natoinal Guard. Before anyone can pick up the phone, Brick and Co. break in to kidnap the Mayor and her aldermen and move to kill everyone else. Laurel and Ray and Quentin take on the gunmen, saving the Mayor but losing the aldermen in the process. Not a win, guys.
At the other side of the world, Oliver sips tea and tells Tatsu they can’t let Maseo go back. Tatsu tells him that Maseo is still punishing himself for ‘what happened’. (Given that Akio is not with them, one guesses that’s the thing that ‘happened’) He’s no longer reachable.
Flashback! Hong Kong! A club. Oliver’s hair is looking a little bouncier despite the grim situation. He and Maseo are escorted back to meet with China White and Oliver quickly realizes that Maseo made a deal with her: The Alpha component for Tatsu – who is revealed to still be alive!
Present Day. Quentin inquires to Felicity on the wherabouts of the Arrow since he didn’t break up the fracas earlier. Felicity tells him that the Arrow is gone. Quentin tells her to give him a call to come back.
Police Interrogation. Laurel the lawyer interrogates one of Brick’s thugs from the ambush. She plays tough, he plays tough. Laurel gets him to sing when she staight up says she’ll frame him for anything she wants and he gives up Brick to save himself. What is it they say? No honor among thieves?
Over at Thea’s loft, Malcolm and Roy have their own chat, where Roy is trying to play the intimidation game and warns Malcolm to stay away from Thea. Malcolm dismisses him with the situation being a family matter – and Ray ain’t part of the family.
Felicity tends to a cut up Ray. He took quite a licking at the ambush at City Hall. She worries it brought up bad memories of Anna’s death. Ray admits that it did but it made him realize that he’s been going about this mission all wrong. Initially he wanted to avenge, he realizes now he wants to protect people. Like Felicity. Not a bad epiphany to make. Ray’s now crystallizing what he’s fighting for.
Arrow Lair. Roy and Laurel suit up. Diggle wonders WTH they’re doing. Laurel isn’t sitting this out. This being going to rescue the Aldermen from Brick.
City Action sequence! Arsenal and Canary try an ambush of their own but Canary’s a little unsteady on her feet. Actually, the mission proves to be a bit much for Canary who is no match at the moment for Brick. Arsenal does his best to save the rescue mission but as Brick and his men escape, he takes out his displeasure with Arsenal and Canary’s interference and shoots an Alderman before throwing him out of the getaway van. The Canary takes it hard, blaming herself for the effort going so sideways.
Now everyone is feeling the pressure. The Canary and Arsenal are now leading the evening news cycle, Quentin is still wondering to Laurel why Sara isn’t reaching out to him since she’s back in town, and The Mayor gets a call from Brick demanding a parlay in person with the Mayor. If she refuses more deaths will follow.
Thea at home. Malcolm shows up again. He comes to apologize and to give her the 411 on why he wants to leave and take her to a safe hidey hole: He’s marked for death which also puts her in danger. He wants to protect her. Not quite the complete story, Malcolm. Apparently the gist is all he thinks is important.
Laurel stews over the death of the Alderman in her office when Felicity interrupts. Laurel thinks of hanging up the mask. She thought she was honoring Sara btu all she’s doing is getting people killed. Felicity tells her it’s not about doing it for Sara. It’s about protecting the people that are still alive. Felicity realizes that she hasn’t quit Team Arrow afterall. Yay!
Parlay time. Brick banters with the Mayor and talks down to Palmer (who tagged along). Brick wants The Mayor to get out of the Glades and leave it to Brick to rule. The Glades. It’s always about the Glades with these people. He gives them a deadline or else the remaining hostages are dead.
Felicity gets an urgent call from Quentin who asks for the Arrow and she offers up the Canary.
Back to the mountain cabin. Maseo preps to leave but Oliver and Tatsu beg him to leave. Maseo is amazingly stone faced at Tatsu’s kisses. Probably because his LoA senses were telling him that there were two LoAers lurking outside. Oliver and Tatsu hide just as the goons come in. Maseo nearly has them back out the cabin when Tatsu makes a noise and Maseo has to dispatch the three scouts.
Flashback! Hong Kong! Oilver is not pleased at Maseo for betraying him. China White realizes the Alpha Maseo supplied is a fake and tells her goons to kill them all. The trio fight their way out of the club complete with Oliver pulling a sweet sliding down a bar on his side shooting move.
Back at the Arrow Lair, Roy mourns the fallen Alderman. Diggle pours a drink for them both and they toast Oliver. Which is nice. Felicity then comes in and says she was wrong. It’s up to them to stop Brick. Oliver’s mission isn’t over because it’s now their mission. People need them. And the full Team Arrow is back in business.
Police Station. Quentin warns the Mayor not to capitulate and won’t order his men to stand down but she’s adamant about caving, er, meeting Brick’s demands so she’ll make the call herself. As soon as Quentin hangs up he gets another call: Laurel using a voice modulator to sound like Sara (thanks Felicity, only seriously, no, not cool at all) to keep up the lie to him that Sara is still alive so he’ll back off of Laurel. Oh and to also get info about what’s going on about Brick. Supposedly.
Felicity, fresh off of making nice with Ray, gets him to give her his helicopter for the Team Arrow op. Diggle pilots the copter into the Glades and drops off Arsenal and Canary to do their thing. This time they’re a success, saving the remaning Alderman and Canary feeling a bit more redeemed from her earlier efforts.
Back at Mountain Cabin, Oliver is dressed to leave as Sarab/Maseo returns from hiding the bodies. Keeping up the intended charage, Sarab injures himself to make it look like he put up a fight to let Oliver escape. Oliver asks him to come back to Starling City but Maseo remains stoic and leaves as Tatsu looks on.
Flashback! Hong Kong! Tatsu is reunited with Akio. Oliver warns Maseo to let him in on his bluffs next time. Maseo admits that he didn’t know it was a bluff. He thought he was handing over the real Alpha. Waller must’ve swapped the vials. Oliver is shocked. Maseo affirms there is nothing he wouldn’t do for his family. The Yashimoro’s thank Oliver for having their backs..
Back in Starling. Quentin in the police alley which is becoming the new meeting place for cops and vigilantes.. Laurel as the Canary with Sara’s voice modulator chats with Quentin from the safety of the fire escape. Quentin tells her that the Mayor capitulated to Brick. Quentin tries to get ‘Sara’ to open up and wonders why she’s avoiding him. ‘Sara’ mutters something about needing to keep her distance but at least tells him she loves him. (Ugh, Laurel. Just ugh for this crap you’re pulling on your dad)
Thea’s loft where Malcolm and Thea enjoy the cityscape until Thea informs Malcolm that she’s not running and is going to stay and fight. She waves off Malcolm’s warning that she should be very afraid and says these bad guys should be afraid of them. Malcolm smiles proudly (or is it because Thea is playing into his hands?) and agrees that they’ll stay.
Felicity returns Ray’s helicopter AND the chip he needs for his suit. Felicity realizes with her help he might not end up dead.
One last scene with Thea but it’s a doozy. You know that DJ cutie of hers, Chase? Yeah he’s revealed to be a plant and working for the League. His orders from Maseo are to stay close to Thea while he informs Ra’s of her and Malcolm’s whereabouts.
Oh, Thea, still getting played and you don’t even know it.
Next week: Blood on the streets in Starling. And flashbacks to an earlier Malcolm Merlyn when he was a decent dad but horrible fighter.