Also known as THE DADDY ISSUES EPISODE.
I mean, uh. YET ANOTHER DADDY ISSUES EPISODE.
Don’t get me wrong, even the slightest bit wrong, I have a huge crush on stories about legacy and family and being the best person your parents could conceive. But… this is a lot of Very Special Daddy Issues episodes for a show only six episodes long. And this isn’t the most exciting of episodes either. One of my favorite characters isn’t in it at all, and two of the others are involved in a chemistry-free tacked on “love triangle” plot that has nothing to do with anything. So it’s not the strongest.
Bright side, though – if you can call it that: We are now at the shortest DRAMATIC VOICEOVER EVER. Basikly: Ollie was on an island, he had one goal, now he has another goal, thanks for that Daddy. I did get another look at The List during the opening sequence, but none of the names were very interesting.
The episode proper opens with a pretty run-of-the-fictional-mill bank robbery. A bunch of three bad guys march into a bank wielding shot guns and beating on people, wearing hockey masks, each of which is marked with playing card decals.
At this point, L starts singing The Ace of Spades, and I am thoroughly earwormed for the day.
Note for Non-Comics Readers: This is the Royal Flush Gang, who in comics are a second-string supervillain gang with a pretty fluid membership, always running by code names corresponding to a Royal Flush. Which means usually there’s five of them. (Ace through Ten). At one point the gang was a national organization with 52 ‘cells,’ but usually their motivation is money and their narrative purpose is to have the crap beaten out of them.
Anyhoo. Bank Robbery. Money is stolen. A man is killed and he turns out to be an off-duty cop. The gang escape by dressing all the hostages up in similarly themed hockey masks and sending them out to the waiting police, while the four of them escape through a tunnel in the vault. As they do, they bicker about cop-killing. It’s not very interesting.
Fortunately, the next scene has shirtless Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in a tank top.
You’re welcome, internet.
Ollie is teaching Diggle some sweet hitting-things-with-sticks moves, and dropping him a few tempting hints about his island experiences. We also learn Captor-Mentor’s name. It is Yao Fei.
NNCR: Yao Fei is the name of Accomplished Perfect Physician, a member of the government-approved Chinese superteam the Great Ten. He appears in the excellent series 52, but otherwise I know very little about him
The next man on Ollie’s List is a man called Scott Morgan, who does a Bad Thing in the Glades by which Ollie means he jacks up the price of the water and power he supplies in winter, thus cheating people out of money. Which is nice, Diggle says, but hey, how about that Royal Flush gang, huh?
NNCR: The gang were first seen in Keystone City. This is the city that the first and third Flashes (Jay Garrick, Wally West) operate out of.
The cop who was shot is in a coma, Diggle explains, and may or may not make it. He and Oliie then have a disagreement over whether this is Maninnahood territory. See, Diggle was under the impression that Hood was a hero, who wanted to help the city, fight crime &c. Ollie, meanwhile thinks that it’s really a way to get at all the people on The List. There’s talk of symptoms and causes, but Diggle is not buying it for a second.
I start wondering at the screen whether Diggle can’t just half inch the outfit and go after the gang himself. It’d confuse the cops, for one, and throw John Barrowman off the scent. But apparently the show’s only going to give me one chance to draw a yellow goatee onto David Ramsey’s beautiful face. Stupid show.
Mind you, I do love to see Diggle tell Ollie that he’s rubbish at being a hero.
ISLAND FLASHBACK TIME. Ollie is in the cave on his own, and he’s sad about it. He’s got the book he took from his Dad’s dead body (which still has blank pages, and he’s throwing a page at a time onto a fire to keep warm. Then suddenly, he is rolled over from behind and finds himself looking at… dun dun dun… HIS DAD.
Yep. time for a dream sequence. In a flashback sequence. END DREAM. END FLASHBACK.
Joanna is back! And she’s talking to Laurel about something that isn’t a man; she’s talking about business! The largest donor of CNRI (City Necessary Resources Initiative – Laurel and Joanna’s legal clinic) is pulling out, and this leaves them in financial trouble.
NNCR: The company in question is Stagg Industries, a nod to Stagg Enterprises : a large multinational in the DCU that is famous for the R&D accident that turned Rex Mason into Metamorpho/The Element Man.
Enter Tommy! (Good bye, Joanna, who disappears from the scene.) Tommy wants to take Laurel out on his private jet to Coast City, wine, dine and generally boyfriend at her. Laurel tries to explain that she has this work thing going on.
NNCR: Coast City is the home of Hal Jordan, the second Green Lantern and comics!Ollie’s sometimes dead best friend. It is usually set in Southern California, the fictional LA to Star City’s fictional San Francisco.
At Queen Manor, Thea is worried about her mother, who has been down since Walter ran off to Australia. Ollie is surprised Thea is paying attention to her mother, but that’s because Ollie’s always surprised when people pay attention to other people. Meanwhile, Moira announces that she’s invited Janice and Carter Bowen over for brunch. Janice is apparently a friend of Moira’s the latter’s admiration of Carter’s prowess growing up was apparently quite the shadow over Oliver’s less prestigious academic career.
NNCR: I got nothing.
Ollie tries to bow out with an excuse, but Moira’s having none of it. She wants to see the Bowens, and she wants her kids there so for once be less of a dick, Ollie? Please and thank you.
Diggle phones Ollie’s cell to let him know that Scott Morgan tried to kill himself, and that he’s at Starling General, so Ollie drops everything to run over there. And by ‘everything’ I mean Tommy, who shows up fresh from being blown off by Laurel in order to get blown off by Ollie. Poor Tommy is left alone with Thea, who offers to be there if Tommy wants to talk about.
And Tommy, who is either an idiot or a giant douchebag (or BOTH) proceeds to tell Thea all about this “cryptic girl” he is interested in, who he has known for a long time, and that his usual ‘I’m a millionaire’ line doesn’t work because she’s not interested.
L and I both have our heads in our hands for this scene. The only saving grace is that Tommy clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing, and Thea is seventeen and this is the kind of mess seventeen year olds get into. (Or at least it was in the 1990s. I assume it’s the same now)
“Maybe you just have to figure out what’s a big deal to her and make it a big deal to you,” is Thea’s relationship advice. He says she’s amazing and kisses her cheeks before running off.
Hey, you know who’s learning from everyone around him how to lie to and play his friends like xylophones? Diggle’s line about Morgan attempting suicide was just that – a line to get Ollie out to the hospital at short notice. There, he introduces him to Janice Washington, the wife of Stan Washington, the cop who was shot in the opening scene. Diggle himself arranged for the victim to be transferred to the better hospital, using Ollie’s name and money to do so. Here you go, Ollie, have a few veiled references to helping others at all times and the opportunity to look a grateful wife in the eye and see her hope for her injured husband.
Put that in your “I’M DOING THIS FOR MY DADDY” pipe and smoke it.
(Diggle continues awesome.)
Ollie responds in typical Ollie style. He storms off to catch the bank robbers and gives Diggle the chance to be smug.
In the Arrowcave, Ollie and Diggle search the security footage for a clue to the robbers’ identities, and fix on a ring being worn by the Ace – one of those college or high school rings that Americans do? I’m not sure what the ring thing is about, really. Anyway, the best part of this scene is that it acknowledges that even magical photo enhancements don’t actually do much apart from make pixels bigger, and they’re not going to identify it from the footage. The worst part is the conclusion that by punching someone with that hand, he would have left an impression on the face of his victim, and that’s where Ollie’s going to investigate.
Time to break into the police station!
Boring scene – Ollie breaks into a police station and downloads some stuff onto a flash drive. Back in the Arrow Cave, he finds an impression of that ring that perfectly matches a logo for Larchmont High School. Ollie grabs a list of students and alumni of of about the right height/approximate age (what?) and from there found a boy (Kyle Reston) who dropped out before senior year and went missing along with his entire family (what?) Mom, Dad, two boys. Double checking the robbery stats shows that one of the female customers did not come out of the bank – Mom had acted as a ringer. It turns out, in fact, that she was the one to alert Ace to the cop’s presence and get him shot.
Joanna is interacting with someone who isn’t Laurel! Sure, it’s about Laurel and Laurel’s storyline, but baby steps, I suppose? Tommy turns up at CNRI to propose sponsoring a benefit. Laurel tries to turn him down because it’s a clear attempt to get laid, but Joanna jumps on this and suggests that not everything is about Laurel’s privates and really, they need the money, OK?
So they go with yes.
Brunch time with the Queens and the Bowens! Um, nothing exciting happens here, either. We learn that Carter Bowen is a neurosurgeon and now a popular medical writer. Also that Diggle is now apparently pretending to be Ollie’s PA, because he comes in the middle of brunch to tell Ollie that his liquor distributor is calling – although really that’s a front to say that another bank is being robbed.
So Ollie runs off, and his mother is peeved.
The Royal Flush Gang hit the bank, and make their escape underground as before, into water treatment tunnels where they run into the police. Gunfighting ensues! Hood is there too, and fires a few trick arrows to pin the bags of cash to the ground. Then everyone except the police runs off.
This incident leads the Restons to had e family spat about what to do. The Hood leaves the adults jumpy, but the kids really want to have ONE MORE robbery before they retire. Ace in particular insists on one more, and Dad concedes.
Ollie, who can hack into a school’s personal records and come up with a missing guy based on rough age and heights, needs Felicity Snoak to track down Daddy Reston – Derek. She finds out that he used to work for the Queen steel factory.
Me: “Is that the Queen factory that makes steel, or the factory that Robert co-owned with Walter?”
L: “…I’m not exactly sure.”
Derek was the foreman before Robert outsourced to China, laying off 1500 employees and using a loophole in the contracts to avoid paying severance packages and pensions to the employees. Reston, among with others, lost his home. Remember people, outsourcing is EVIL.
ISLAND FLASHBACK. DREAM SEQUENCE. Dream!Robert hands Ollie a gun with a single bullet in it. And then says that his suicide is made meaningless if Ollie follows suit. Ollie protests he is starving to death anyway, and Robert tells him he has to survive to do his work. Ollie apologizes and holds the gun to his own head. END DREAM. END FLASHBACK.
Ollie is going to see if Reston’s at a bar the factory employees used to go to 5 years ago, and “give him the chance to do the right thing.” Diggle, as usual, lays it out plain:
“They already had the chance to do the right thing. It’s called ‘not being a criminal.'”
But of course, Diggle DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. Because it’s all OLIVER’S DAD’S FAULT. It’s all about the Queens, Diggle!
(I sorta see Ollie’s point here, I mean, the cause of crime being poverty and unfairness and the 2%. But he does tend to make it ALL ABOUT HIM.)
Ugh, even the subplot is boring, and Laurel agrees with me. Tommy is insisting on involving her in every decision about the fundraiser, and she distracts him by asking him what on earth he’s doing. He gives a speech about how he misses making her breakfast. And he wants to be a boyfriend.
And L and I wince, because there are 1,001 ways to set Tommy up as Ollie’s archnemesis. Doing it over Laurel is boring.
Ollie tracks Derek Reston down, apologizes for his Dad being a dick and offers him a job with Queen Consolidated. You know, that business Ollie doesn’t work for. Derek tells him to get lost. Ollie slips a bug into his coat pocket and leaves. But not before giving a speech about consequences and actions.
Bloody hell, I’m bored.
Time for the benefit! Apparently fundraisers only take a day to organize, or something, because dialog confirms this is the day after brunch. Tommy compliments Laurel, has another line of dialog to exchange with Joanna, then thanks Thea profusely for her great advice, and how well it’s working out for him. She is surprised that he did it all for Laurel, despite having no evidence that he was trying to find out what Thea was interested in.
What is Thea interested in, other than drugs and partying? Not much, apparently, because now she’s gone off to get drunk.
Anyway, Laurel is schmoozing with Carter, who is impressed with all the good work Laurel is doing and considering opening a free clinic in the Glades. The two of them go off to discuss, leaving Tommy with a sickend look on his face.
Basically, Carter Bowen is Doctor Rick.
(And Tommy is Jeff Winger, Thea Annie and Laurel Britta. I am not amused by these ridiculous out-of-the-blue parallels)
Oblivious to the fact that his love interest and his BFF are branching out their love triangle into something more polyhedral, Ollie chooses the party as the right time to apologize to Moira. In her awkward Moira way, hs esays that she’s really hurt that she never gets to spend time with the son who was miraculously returned to her. With SPECTACULAR timing, Diggle interrupts to say that the Royal Flushes are picking right now this instant to stage a nighttime bank robbery. Moira lets him go, but not after twisting the mother guilt knife a little.
Derek and Kyle are burgling when they are interrupted by the Hood. Fortunately, Kyle has the superpower of being able to pull a riot shield out from nowhere, and arrows are rendered useless. They fight, and the bank’s nightwatchman recovers from having been knocked out. He grabs a shotgun, and when Kyle doesn’t drop his weapon as ordered, shoots. Derek, because this is the daddy issues episode, throws himself in the path of the bullet.
Security guard runs off to call an ambulance and Ollie kneels down beside Derek, unmasking them both while I yell at him not to be an idiot with his secret identity. Derek says how bad he feels that he turned his son into this. Then he dies.
ISLAND FLASHBACK. DREAM SEQUENCE. The gun Ollie shoots himself with doesn’t work because he’s hallucinating it. Dream Robert is still mad at Ollie for not being good enough at staying alive and throwing away the ‘gift’ of Robert dying for him. He yells at Ollie to RIGHT HIS WRONGS and lectures him about responsibility. Oh also? He loves him. END DREAM. END FLASHBACK.
Ollie’s Head!Dad is even more of a dick than his real Dad. Which is OK, I guess. My Head!Mum is more of a dick than my real mum, definitely.
Tommy is watching Laurel and Carter jealously when he is drunkenly come on to by Thea. It is embarrassing to watch, there is no chemistry and I am sad. She does tell him that she’s used to rejection from her Mom and from Oliver, which is playing into her storyline, and makes me want to introduce her to Lydia Bennet (and not just because I’m thinking of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries since Fitz was in the KFC commercial just before this scene)
While Thea is throwing up in the street and Tommy is holding her hair back, Laurel comes out to check on them. He drops a passive aggressive remark about Carter Bowen, she says that he’s a dick who she was dancing with because he wrote a check to the clinic. Tommy – well, doesn’t apologize, but you know. He goes to drive Thea home, and Laurel promises him a dance, then kisses him on the cheek and goes back into into the party, shooting him a killer smile that basically destroys all the knees and the ladyparts of the people watching it.
This was one boring-ass episode, but it was worth it to see Katie Cassidy smile like that.
The end? Not quite. Diggle finds Ollie brooding in the Arrowcave and tells him that Derek’s death wasn’t his fault, and that The List isn’t the only way of righting his father’s wrongs – going after the people Robert hurt is a good way too. Which basically means Diggle has realized that the best way of persuading Ollie to do some proper crimefighting vigilante justice is to figure out how to make crime ALL ABOUT OLIVER QUEEN.
ISLAND FLASHBACK Ollie wakes up from the dream and goes back to burning the blank pages of his dad’s book. Except when he holds the latest page to the fire, he starts to see writing materialise on the paper. The book was filled with heat sensitive invisible ink. This is where Ollie’s List has come from. Ollie makes his promise to his dead father there. END FLASHBACK.
Moira can’t sleep, because she misses Walter. She’s pouring herself a nightcap when Ollie finds her. They apologize to each other for being shitheads and Ollie takes her out to dinner at Big Belly Burger. No, Carly isn’t there, but I look anyway. It’s basically an adorable little mother son scene, and it melts me.
But still, nothing happened this episode and I was bored. The bright side? Now you don’t have to watch it!