We meet again, Arrowheads, for another action-packed episode of Arrow. Get excited! Last week, Oliver faced the streets of Star City alone for the first time since Season 1, and things got off to a bit of a rocky start. With the introduction of a new villain and the acceptance that the old team wasn’t coming back anytime soon, Oliver finally took Felicity’s advice and decided to form a new team. Now, let’s see how that turns out (I’m guessing not well at first).
We open with Oliver rounding up his new recruits. As usual, his methods are super delicate and don’t involve dangling people upside down or shooting them in the leg ... is anyone buying this?
Down in the Arrow Cave, Oliver warns Curtis that his training is going to be more difficult because he has no prior experience. He also informs Felicity that he doesn’t intend to reveal his identity to the other recruits and urges them to do the same. Felicity, of course, isn’t on board with this plan. Curtis isn’t sure that lying to the team is such a good start, but Felicity reminds him that the old team started off the same. Curtis does have a point, though, when he states that everyone in the old team is either dead or quit.
Meanwhile, we get our first real look into Diggle’s new world in Latvia, as he sits through a briefing about a lost trigger from one of the nukes launched on Genesis day. A dangerous team of insurgents is close to obtaining it, and the US Army must retrieve it first to avoid further destruction. Dig talks to a young soldier named Private Collins, who is afraid on his first day. Dig tells him to find comfort in his uniform and his job, and Collins seems inspired.
Back in Star City, Oliver and Thea make a deal with a company called AmerTech for an event they’re sponsoring. After their meeting, Thea tells Oliver that she can’t take on all his work just so he can be the Green Arrow. He tells her that he’s recruiting a new team, and she’s happy for him. She suggests that she hire a team for the mayor’s office, and he agrees. Naturally, Thea’s first call is to Detective Lance.
In the Arrow Cave, the new team finally meets. But the niceties only last so long, as it seems the Green Arrow isn’t here to play nice. He has the recruits stand on a line and tells them to ring a bell behind him. Naturally, they’re confused and a little resistant (*cough* Wild Dog *cough*), but they agree to play along. But playing along proves to be fairly painful, as ringing the bell is much more challenging than they thought.
In a Russia flashback, the origin of this exercise is revealed, as Oliver and a group of Bratva recruits attempt to ring a bell behind their trainer. Just like in the Arrow Cave, the task proves nearly impossible.
Back in the present, one of the AmerTech leaders is attacked by what appears to be a metahuman (what were those weird tentacle things?). Oliver asks Felicity to track the meta and learn whatever she can. Meanwhile, AmerTech’s president tries to pull out of Oliver’s medical event. Oliver assures her that the event will be safe and promises to bring tons of security.
Thea asks if Oliver plans to bring the new team along to help cover the clinic. He tells her that the team isn’t nearly ready and that he can handle the event on his own. Of course, Thea isn’t thrilled about this idea.
Back in Latvia, Dig and his team, including Private Collins, prepare to retrieve the trigger. Once inside, they’re ambushed, and Collins is shot. Meanwhile, training continues down in the Arrow Cave. The recruits are tired of being beaten, but Oliver tells them that, until they can figure out the goal of the exercise, it will continue. Felicity pulls Oliver aside and shows him footage of the meta they’ve been searching for. She tells him that defending the clinic alone is stupid and that he should take the new team. Oliver says they’re too green (cue a joke that’s been five years in the making about the color of his uniform) but eventually agrees to bring them along, warning them not to engage.
At the AmerTech event, Oliver plays both mayor and vigilante, and he attempts to lead his new team from a distance. When Lance, who is still drinking, drops the ball on guard duty, the meta from the night before breaks in and heads straight for the AmerTech president. Before Oliver can shoot him, Wild Dog tackles him and the meta escapes. On the bright side, he manages to snag a piece of cloth for Felicity to analyze.
Down in the Arrow Cave, Oliver is naturally pissed by this turn of events. His aggression, however, doesn’t sit well with team or Felicity, who takes him aside and tells him to stop berating them and to teach them, instead. Ignoring her criticisms for the time being, Oliver tells Felicity to analyze the cloth while he leaves to play mayor. Since the computers in the bunker are down, Felicity enlists her detective boyfriend to test the sample for her, lying about the reasons why (and quite terribly, I might add).
In Latvia, Dig patches up Collins, and they head out to retrieve the trigger. Instead, their own men, who apparently plan to steal the trigger instead of bringing it to the government, greet them with guns and threats.
At city hall, Oliver learns that Thea is planning on hiring Lance. He tells her that, with Lance drinking again, the job wouldn’t be good for him or anyone else. Thea promises to talk to him and Oliver heads back to the Arrow Cave.
Down in the bunker, Curtis tells Oliver that the others quit. Oliver says that he was trying to get them to work together, but Curtis says they don’t trust him. He says that he tried to explain how the other team worked, how it was built on trust, but then he realized that the other team didn’t work either. He tells Oliver that he doesn’t respect anyone before quitting, too.
Later, Oliver tells Felicity that he failed as a leader, but she reminds him that he never set out to be a leader. She tells him that working with the recruits didn’t work because he only showed them the Green Arrow, instead of showing them Oliver Queen. He tells her that, in the Bratva, they taught you that the only person you can trust is yourself, and it was effective. Felicity tells him that the other team worked for so long because they trusted and respected Oliver, not the Arrow.
Back in Russia, Oliver and his other initiates finally work together, and Oliver manages to ring the bell. Unbeknownst to Oliver, this means that every other initiate dies. Anatoly congratulates Oliver on surviving.
In Star City, Thea overhears the AmerTech head talking to Church and realizes that the two are in bed together. AmerTech is selling Church weapons to help him take over the city. Meanwhile, in Latvia, Dig is tied up and questions his commanding officer about his dirty plan. The officer tells him that he wants the trigger to protect the world from people with magic and meta-abilities. Two officers bring out Collins and shoot him, which naturally pisses Dig (and me, for that matter) off royally. The officer thanks Dig for helping him with his plan and then knocks him out.
At City Hall, Thea brings Ollie up to speed on the AmerTech/Church alliance. They realize that Ragman may actually be a good guy since he’s trying to take down AmerTech. Felicity comes in with the results from the scrap test, which revealed that the rag is over 2000 years old and radioactive, meaning they can track Ragman to the weapons exchange. She also reveals that AmerTech is going bankrupt because of their involvement with Genesis. Oliver heads off to find the weapons exchange alone, despite protests from Thea.
Oliver sneaks in, only to find Ragman already inside. He tells the AmerTech president that she has to pay for what she did on Genesis day. Apparently, his family was from Havenrock, and he was the only survivor. Meanwhile, Oliver faces off with Church. When Church almost kills Oliver, he calls for help from Ragman, who stops his own fight to save Oliver’s life, letting the President get away.
After the showdown, Oliver and Ragman meet on a rooftop. Ragman sheds his mask to reveal a young man, who tells Oliver about how his father wrapped him in his rags and told him that they would protect him from the fire. Oliver tells his own story and tells Ragman that his father wouldn’t want him to become a killer. He says that he’s tired of failing at his own father’s mission and asks Ragman to join his team. Clearly looking for something more, Ragman agrees.
In Russia, Anatoly tells Oliver why they killed the others and that he’s just passed the first round of initiation. During the fight, Oliver reopened a stab wound and passes out before he can question Anatoly any further. In present day Latvia, Dig's CI names him as their fall-guy and tries to get him to sign a confession. Although Dig refuses (spitting on the paper like a badass), the man says that no one will ever believe his story, especially because they used his gun to shoot Private Collins.
At City Hall, Lance apologizes to Thea and says that it’s probably best that he doesn’t help. Thea refuses to accept this. She offers him the job of Deputy Mayor and says that he should use the job as a reason not to drink. He agrees and says that the job just might be enough.
Down in the Arrow Cave, Oliver reconvenes the recruits and finally reveals his identity to them. He says that he wants them to trust him, and they all agree to come back on as part of Team Arrow. Wild Dog’s only condition is that they change his code name, but that’s a losing battle (and I’m quite pleased about that).
We end at a nightclub with Church, where the dark archer ambushes him. The archer tells him to stay away from the Green Arrow or suffer the consequences. Apparently, savage murderers are very territorial. He also gives himself a name: Prometheus.
Is it weird that my favorite person in this episode started out looking like the villain? I’m really looking forward to the team up with Ragman, as I can seem he and Oliver bonding because of their shared stories. I also am really digging the new recruits! I can’t wait to see what Curtis can do once he’s trained, Evelyn has always been a little badass, and watching Oliver and Wild Dog butt heads is going to be entertaining.
Not going to lie, I sort of wish they would have left out the Felicity boyfriend stuff -- not even just as an Olicity shipper but as a fan. His presence just came across incredibly forced in this episode, and the “drama” the writers seem to be working toward just seems unnecessary -- especially when Oliver and Felicity seem to be headed back to their Season 1 dynamic. And, although it was great to see Diggle, his story seemed a bit out of place in this episode. I’m sure it will become relevant later, but with trips to Latvia and Russia flashbacks, it just felt like filler.
In any case, I’d say this was a solid follow up to last week’s episode. But what did you think? Tweet us your reactions and predictions for the season!