And we’re back, Arrowheads! Is anyone else ready for another episode of Arrow? And from the looks of things, "Penance" is going to be a doozy. Last week, we got to see the new Team Arrow finally fight together! We were also left on the edge of our seats when Lyla asked Oliver to break Diggle out of his military prison (and his self-inflicted penance). Strap in, archers! It looks like we’re getting the band back together. Who’s excited for a little vigilante justice?
We open with the team out on a mission -- sans Ragman (which we can only assume is due to Felicity’s revelation). Without Ragman as backup, the mission almost goes south, but, luckily, Oliver steps in -- although he mostly berates Wild Dog for not following orders (again). Oliver tells them to deliver the criminal’s contraband to the police and heads off on his own, telling them to take a few days off.
Oliver meets with Rory, who tells him that he’s off the team. He says that he can’t look at Felicity without remembering what he lost. Oliver urges him to continue, but Rory says he’ll find another way to honor his father. Down in the Arrow Cave, Oliver tells Felicity about Rory’s resignation. Before she can respond, Lyla arrives to discuss their prison break plans -- which are pretty complicated, considering Dig doesn’t want out, insisting on serving his penance for killing Andy. Felicity is apprehensive, which worries Lyla. Oliver reassures her, and Lyla tells him about a new piece of tech that could help their mission. Oliver tells her he’ll handle it.
Back in Russia, Anatoly prepares Oliver for phase three. He gives Oliver the file of a man with a connection to Kovar, but, in order to talk to him, Oliver has to get himself arrested. Back in the present, Oliver tells the City Hall team (including Adrian) about his impending personal days. Luckily, with Lance as his second-in-command, he has someone to pick up the slack. Adrian also fills him in on the criminal Team Arrow arrested, who is connected to Church. They plan to try and flip him against Church, and Oliver asks Adrian to take Lance with him (much to Lance’s dismay). Oliver asks Thea and Lance to protect the city in his absence.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Curtis questions Church’s motives in sending his cohorts to steal a computer chip (aka the contraband from earlier). Meanwhile, Felicity tells Curtis about Rory. He urges her to talk to him, but she doesn’t think it will help. When there’s a break-in at Palmer Tech, Felicity sends the team to investigate (although, like Curtis, I say “Good Riddance”). As it turns out, Oliver was the one breaking in to steal the tech Lyla mentioned.
Felicity scolds Oliver about interfering in Diggle’s life. Oliver says that he wants to stop Dig from making a decision that he’ll regret and urges her to do the same with Rory. She tells him that the situations are different.
On the streets, Adrian and Lance discuss his history with Oliver. Meanwhile, Church stakes out their investigation. Elsewhere, Team Arrow isn’t onboard with Oliver’s plans. Of course, their confrontation doesn’t exactly go smoothly. When Adrian and Lance drop the evidence off at lockup, the briefcase explodes, knocking both officials out long enough for Church to break in and steal a ton of weapons before blowing the place up.
Back with the warring Team Arrow, the infighting begins -- and then ends pretty quickly because Oliver is a badass. Back in the Arrow Cave, the team licks their Oliver wounds, as Lance tends to the ones he got from Church. He tells the team about Church’s plans and how they played directly into his hands. Felicity sends the team out on the streets to investigate Church’s plans, and Curtis urges her to get Ragman onboard, as well.
Meanwhile, Oliver goes forward with his plans to break Dig out of prison ... alone ... like a dumbass. Lyla sneaks Oliver in through a delivery truck, and he’s on his own from there. Once inside, Oliver distracts the troops long enough to knock them out. With only 25 minutes to spare, he makes his move.
In Russia, Oliver lands in the same cell as Kovar’s associate. He “strongly encourages” the man to tell him everything he knows about Kovar. Back in the present, Oliver approaches Dig’s cell, while Felicity visits Rory. They talk about his family’s legacy, and she tells him that her legacy will always be what happened to Havenrock. She tells him that she understands why he quit but urges him to move forward with her. He tells her that he can’t (but I’m hoping that doesn’t last).
Elsewhere, Oliver finds Dig’s cell empty. Lyla learns that Dig has been moved to Gen Pop, meaning that Oliver can’t get him out until he’s back in his cell. Lyla tells him to abort the mission. Back in another flashback, Kovar’s cohort tells Oliver how to contact Kovar through the dark web ... and then Oliver promptly kills him (which is just super rude).
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity tracks Church to the Anti-Crime Unit headquarters, where he plans to take out the ACU for good. Meanwhile, Oliver ignores Lyla’s plans and goes forward with his mission to break Diggle out. He knocks out a guard (possibly killed, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt), initiating a lockdown and sending all prisoners back to their cells.
At the precinct, Church’s ally refuses to flip on him. Adrian grills him on Church's plans and offers him a trade -- his freedom for Church’s. Church’s men show up and attack the ACU, leaving the team to ponder whether or not to interfere without Oliver. Rory shows up, giving them the extra hands (and morale boost) they need to engage.
Meanwhile, Dig resists Oliver’s efforts to break him out, but Oliver urges him to reconsider. Dig insists on doing his penance, but Oliver tells him to do it as Spartan. Finally, Dig agrees, and the two break out through the sewers.
Back in Star City, the team shows up to help the ACU. Ragman plans a bomb and absorbs the blast, getting the rest of the team inside. Elsewhere, Oliver and Dig manage to narrowly escape capture, while Team Arrow attempts to do the same. On the way out, Curtis is wounded, leaving the team vulnerable when Church arrives. Wild Dog sends Artemis (Evelyn got a codename -- yay!) to safety with Curtis, while he stays behind to battle Church. When the fight doesn’t go his way, the team is forced to leave him behind.
On base, Oliver and Dig’s escape is almost derailed, but a helicopter shows up and whisks them away (which, by the way, was probably the coolest escape I’ve ever seen). Dig thanks Lyla (sort of), for breaking him out, and Oliver sets them up with a place to hide.
In our final flashback, Oliver meets with Anatoly and is angry about having to kill Kovar’s cohort. Anatoly tells him that trusting the Bratva’s wishes, even when he didn’t want to, was the third test. Looks like he passed.
At City Hall, Lance asks for an update on Wild Dog’s status. Adrian tells them that the police haven’t found a body. He also says that he’s reconsidering his stance on vigilantes after the team saved him last night. Meanwhile, Thea continues to worry about Lance and his sobriety.
In the Arrow Cave, Felicity stresses about not finding Rene. Rory tells her not to let her guilt swallow her up and says that they can keep each other accountable. Oliver shows up and tells the team that they’re going to find Rene and bring him back, wherever he is. Unfortunately, Church -- who vows to break Rene’s soul until he’s useless to the Green Arrow -- is torturing him, and we end on his heart-wrenching screams.
"Penance" Final Thoughts
Well, I don’t like that ending one bit! I am not okay with Wild Dog being tortured -- or any member of the new team, for that matter! I seriously hope that Oliver and Team Arrow act fast and get him the hell out of there.
In any case, this was a pretty solid episode. I was happy to see the Rory situation get resolved, and I can’t wait for Dig to finally rejoin the team. Oliver was right: his penance is much better served by saving lives in exchange for the one he took. I wonder how he’ll react to the new dynamic. Needless to say, things are about to get interesting!
But what are your final thoughts on "Penance"? Any predictions for this season? Tweet us your responses!