Starling City Docks! Laurel, aka Canary, is tossed into the side of a shipping container and drops like a sack of potatoes. She tries to recover, moving slowly to prepare for the next assault by her assailant…who happens to also be wearing a Canary costume and is revealed to be …Sara?!
Knowing that Sara is well and truly dead, I smell another nightmare opening or hallucinogenic drugs for Laurel. Especially since Sara is giving Laurel both a physical and emotional punch as she accuses her sister of trying to replace her.
As ‘Sara’ ignores Laurel’s pleas and delivers a deadly wack with her staff we cut to-
And we’re back. Starling City! It’s 48 hours earlier (really, guys? Again with this?) and Arrow is back in action hunting down criminals with Arsenal at his back. Only this catch is bogarted by Canary as she corners the perp and takes care of business bringing the thugs into submission. Oliver is less than thrilled to see Laurel in the field but Laurel isn’t taking his attitude and not backing down. She says she’ll make a point to stay out of his way if he can do the same.
The Arrow Lair! Oliver does what he does best (or in his top ten best): complain. This time it’s to Diggle and Felicity on how they could allow Laurel to do this. Diggle defends that it’s not like he’s one to give permission, besides Laurel is handling herself okay. Now. Before Oliver can snark back, in walks Malcolm who tells Oliver he needs to stop avoiding the issue of training to beat Ra’s especially now that everyone knows he’s back. First step in that training is to clue Thea in on Oliver’s secret life. Keeping her in the dark will only make her vulnerable. Of course none of Team Arrow agrees with this, with Diggle voicing the ominous warning: you tell Thea you’ve been lying to her, you’ll lose her.
Starling. Front Steps of City Hall. The new Count Vertigo is being transferred for trial and begins posturing to News reporters angling for a sound byte. Laurel goes into Prosecutor mode and tries to break up the scene but the guard escorting CV does a better job by firing his gun at the crowd due to a nice dose of the Count’s drug cocktail. Laurel knocks the guard out but of course CV’s used the distraction to make his escape.
We spin on over to Thea at Verdant whose flirt with Chase/ The DJ/ LoA spy is broken up by a super serious Oliver who is prepared to drop the big bomb. Leading her down to the basement, Oliver bares all to Thea, steeling himself for her anger but instead she surprises both him and us when after taking in everything before her – the lab, the suit – Thea realizes that all those times he lied he was out saving someone’s life and instead of throwing a ‘You betrayed me!’ tantrum, she takes Oliver in her arms with a tearful ‘Thank You’.
Thea, however, does get upset upon learning that Malcolm kept his knowledge of Oliver’s secret from her and does a classic storm out when Malcolm tries to explain. Oliver leaves Malcolm to clean up his own mess and gets back to Arrow-ing when Team Arrow updates him on the Count’s escape. Laurel rolls in with her gear and drops the nugget that a reporter was the one who dosed the guard not Vertigo. Oliver’s ready to have a nice chat with the reporter but hits pause when Laurel unzips her bag to change as well. Oliver wants to have a chat with her alone ASAP. Hopefully it’s about her presumptuousness about using his lair as a changing room.
Instead Oliver appeals to Laurel on a different level. Her addict ways are having her seek the high of crime fighting to avoid her feelings of grief over Sara’s death. Of course Laurel is peeved at Oliver throwing that in her face and counters he’s the one who buries his emotions in his work. That tantrum Oliver thought he would get from Thea, he gets from Laurel as she storms off. Oliver leaves her be as he and Roy get an address on the reporter-
Who is waiting for the Arrow and Arsenal at his apartment with a bomb vest. Vertigo’s threatened his family if he doesn’t take the Arrow out. Arrow can’t quite convince him that his wife is beyond Vertigo’s reach and it’s bombs away for the reporter. A couple of windows make his sacrifice folly as Arrow and Arsenal escape and live another day. Vertigo watches the inferno from afar believing his goal of besting this thorn in his side has been achieved.
Later, at home, Oliver is relieved to be able to tell Thea about his day and makes one more bid for Thea to agree to work with Malcolm. Suddenly the Malcolm apologist has no time or room in her heart for Malcolm- he tried to turn her against Oliver and she won’t trust him again. Whaaaaat? THIS turns you again him, Thea? Not the murdering, lies, or manipulations prior to this?
Laurel’s Office. Quentin drops by for a visit with Laurel under the pretense of case information but really about his concerns about Sara. Prompted by Sin’s previous assertion that whoever this current chick running around in black is, it ain’t Sara. Laurel looks appropriately nervous and continues to cover with lies. Quentin isn’t blind and picks up on it.
Verdant. Thea and Roy finally catch up on her knowing and his helping Oliver when Oliver calls him away to help him with Laurel, who apparently has gone rogue to try to catch up with the Count.
And catch up with him she does at the docks where her greenness as a crime fighter comes to the fore. Vertigo corners her and doses her with a little of his famous drug. Laurel Canary then gets a visit from her sister and we pick up from where we left off at the beginning with a Canary v Canary fight. Laurel is somewhat holding her own until ‘Sara’ (i.e. Vertigo) lays her out and is about to strike the death blow when Arrow and Arsenal arrive and hold him off. Vertigo flees while his goons busy distract the Arrow and Arsenal to allow his getaway. A bloody and beaten Laurel begs Arrow for help.
Back at the Arrow lair, Team Arrow tends to Laurel who is wigging out and seeing an accusatory Sara everywhere. Thea comes in wanting to help but Oliver tells her to leave sparking Roy to rise up and tell Oliver to stop telling Thea –and everyone else – what to do. They can make their own decisions and choices. Oliver, properly chagrined, bows out for a drink. Diggle joins him and reminds Oliver that things changed when he ‘died’. They realized his mission had become theirs and what he had started had lived past him. He now needs to decide can he live and work with what his mission has now become. An actually good food for thought scene between the two brothers in arms.
Down in the lair, a wobbly Laurel awakens and is depressed about failing Sara. Felicity instead tells her to stop trying to be Sara and start being herself. Felicity gets a hit on Vertigo’s location.
Meanwhile Thea, steamed off Oliver’s treatment, hooks up with Chase, but quickly realizes that he’s not on the up and up (unfortunately post coital). They end up in a pretty spectacular fight at her loft with Chase having a slight edge (he is LoA trained afterall) but big daddy Malcolm and Roy enter the fray and the odds more than shift in their favor. Not deigning to be taken alive, Chase takes himself out via poison as Thea and Roy suddenly realize that these LoA dudes do not play.
Team Arrow is busy trying to track Vertigo and they get a hit! Daggett Chemicals (Nice Easter egg for Batman fans). With Roy MIA, Oliver swallows his pride and ego and asks Laurel for her help.
Arrow and Canary double-team Vertigo at the chemical labs where Vertigo has the chemists chained up to mass-produce more of the Vertigo cocktail. Vertigo launches a Molotov cocktail to set the place is set ablaze and distract the duo while he flees. Canary battles the flames to pursue Vertigo while Arrow frees the chained workers.
Once again Canary finds herself fighting hallucinations – this time her father as he chokes the life out of her for lying to him about Sara’s death. Then Sara who scolds Laurel for lying and trying to take her place. Laurel powers through and banishes her demons, fighting back and taking down Vertigo. As the one Canary looks up from Vertigo’s bloodied face, she sees Sara, sans mask, smiling in approval. (Actually it’s Oliver but Laurel’s still working the drugs out of her system).
Cut to Quentin at the police station as Laurel, in street clothes, comes in to finally come clean. Quentin thinks it’s about her dressing as the Canary but Laurel actually goes full disclosure- Sara is dead which causes Quentin to collapse into his chair sobbing as Laurel comforts him.
Thea’s loft! Having gotten a call from Felicity saying Thea needs him, Oliver bursts in looking for Thea finds her with Roy. Thea realizes that she can’t keep herself safe from Ra’s and his agents. She’ll work with Malcolm but will never forget what he is. Malcolm tells them they need to conquer their own fears before going against Ra’s and that means going to the place Oliver fears. Oliver leaves the city in Team Arrow’s hands (after just promising never to leave again in the previous episode, but oh, well, priorities change) and takes off with Thea to a place where they can conquer their demons and prepare to face Ra’s – Lian Yu.
What happened in the Hong Kong Flashback story this episode? Oliver and the Yamashiro’s split and make a run for it knowing Waller won’t be happy about their double- cross. Oliver hits the streets and places a call to Moira, leaving her a voicemail message that he’s alive and coming home but Waller’s goons catch up with him and taser poor Oliver of the bad hair and skull cap into submission. Oliver wakes up to a lovely waterboarding session overseen by Waller who shows just how big a heartless agent she is by threatening Thea to get Oliver to tell her where Maseo and his family are. Oliver caves and gives them up looking absolutely torn about it. Maseo is captured and Oliver apologizes for selling him out but Maseo reveals he intentionally gave him the wrong info in case he was captured and came back to rescue him when he heard he was capture. (Awww). Maseo tells the goons to take him to Waller, but it’s both he and Oliver who are subdued and wake up in a limo with Waller sitting across from them. They’ve gotten a reprieve because they’re still useful? Why? Because the bioweapon has made it’s way to a place Oliver can easily gain access to- Queen Consolidated. We cut to the limo speeding down the highway and see it pass a sign welcoming them to Starling City.