Well, the show needed something spectacular to make up for the big miss that was Ollie taking away all of Huntress’ agency. And – I really don’t think it pulled it off. I’m sure that some of this episode was exciting and shocking to some people, but I doubt this will be anyone who reads these recaps.
And as I know some people only watch it for John Barrowman, I should say at the top that yes, after two skippable episodes, you can go back to watching this one.
(If you’re watching for Laurel, then no, this is skippable.)
So hey, remember Adam Hunt? It’s okay if you don’t. Back in the pilot, we thought he was just a generic bad guy of the week being used to set up the characters and the premise.
(Aw, remember the pilot? Remember Joanna and Raisa? I do, and I miss them.)
Well, it turned out that Hunt was a bad guy of the week, being used to set up the characters and the premise, but we all thought the premise was going to be an archer fights crime, not a man with daddy issues crossing names off a LIST.
Anyway, Adam Hunt is on the phone, being evil, and he looks up to see someone off camera. “Come back for another pound of flesh?” This show loves its Shakespeare references. There will be a Macbeth quote later.
The person of camera shoots Hunt three times with arrows, and he drops down dead, revealing a man in a hood carrying a bow, looking his dead body. IS OLLIE KILLING PEOPLE? (Noooo! Ollie never kills…. oh wait.) But the arrows are BLACK. Therefore this is an evil sort of killing people, not the good sorty of killing people that Ollie does.
In the Arrow Cave I am regretting my inability to screen cap action scenes, because Ollie and Diggle are sparring, inexplicably shirted the both of them – although Diggs has a tank top on so at least we have his delicious arms. Anyway, Ollie’s Maninnahood gig is getting easier, because people are so shit scared of him they’re rolling over as soon as he turns up. More spare time for getting sweaty with his friend, right?
Diggle has to bow out of training time early because he has a date to take his nameless nephew to the mall to see Santa. Ollie stares blankly. He hadn’t realized Christmas was coming! Must be the War on Christmas hit Starling City and outlawed tinsel and carols in every single store or something. He spent 5 years not celebrating Christmas he completely forgot. Ollie reminisces about Robert’s love of Christmas and his giant parties and his Christmas tree in every room. Of Queen Manor.
The Christmas Tree industry of the Starling City area must have gone bankrupt when Robert died.
Diggle suggests Ollie take a holiday and spend it with his family. He doesn’t waste an opportunity to remark on a certain other List that’s associated with this season, and how he’s sure Oliver is on it under “nice.” Aw, Diggs.
Hey, who’s missed the Island of Low Saturation? If you did, you’re in luck, because:
FLASHBACK TIME! Yao Fei finally returns to the cave, where Ollie has been trapped for three episodes, hallucinating his father. He’s surprised to find Ollie not dead (Yao Fei: Worst. Mentor. Ever.) Fitting with the Christmas theme, he’s brought Ollie a present! It’s Eddie Fyers, who unsurprisingly, Ollie throws himself at and starts to beat. Yao Fei pulls him off, and tells Ollie that he can either kill Eddie, or Eddie can take Ollie home from the island. END FLASHBACK.
In Queen Manor, Thea looks gorgeous and I wish L were here to see it. Ollie asks Thea why there aren’t any Christmas decorations up, and reminisces about when the two of them used to race to eat candy canes. Thea always won – probably that’s why she was called Speedy – but Ollie says she cheated. Anyway, says Thea, they probably just haven’t gotten around to decorations yet.
The reason Thea is dressed up is that Moira and Walter are having a dinner party, with guests such as John Barrowmerlyn, and the never-before-seen Police Commissioner, who is wearing his uniform to dinner because he’s a dick. (I personally can’t think of another reason.) The dinner table conversation is about Maninnahood, and when Barrowmerlyn directly asks Ollie for his opinion, Ollie suggests that he needs a better codename than “Hood guy!”
“How about Green Arrow?” Merlyn suggests.
“Lame,” Ollie says dismissively.
Dear show: if you think Green Arrow is lame, why are you writing about him? Just a thought.
Walter is called away from his meal by Felicity Smoak, who is working late on the List and has IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY. 1) that 7 of the people on this book-long list of people have been targeted by Maninnahood, and b) Doug Miller – head of Applied Sciences at Queen Consolidated is also on the book-long List and may be Maninnahood’s nest target. I have know idea where she’s getting this from and neither does Walter.
As he’s on the phone, uniformed policemen arrive to talk to the Commissioner. He excuses himself from the table, saying the Vigilante has just killed Adam Hunt. Ollie keeps a perfectly straight, if mildly surprised face, and then his phone goes off. Time for a third business related excusing from the table!
(Moira really hates cellphones at this point.)
Off goes nameless-Commissioner to the crime scene, where he meets Det. Lance (but not nameless black partner, who I guess is Det. Not-Appearing-In-This-Epsiode. In fact, only two of the five recurring black characters are seen this episode at all) Quentin explains that he doesn’t think this is the work of Maninnahood because the arrows are black.
It’s a COPYCAT KILLER.
Ollie and Diggle know it’s a copycat killer, of course. They’re just wondering why. Diggle suggests that maybe it’s someone covering up their murder by framing the Hood. Ollie is more concerned with how good the shooting was, with the tight grouping of the arrow placement. He’s certain they were shot with a compound bow.
Note to Non-Comics Readers: Oliver Queen has a completely unfounded and irrational snobbery against compound bows. This is entirely character driven, and not necessary writers being stupid about bows. Arsenal uses a compound bow.
Knowing he’s a good archer, Ollie’s next “logical” step is that Black Arrow must be particular about his choice of arrows, and that the way to trace the shooter is to track the purchase of arrows, by getting hold of one.
I assume Ollie covers his own tracks in that respect. Maybe he makes his own? Who knows?
Ollie’s plan for getting hold of these arrows is to send Quentin a cell phone in the mail – which is presumably UNTRACEABLE mail – and to call that cell phone the very second the SCPD mailman gets around to delivering to Quentin’s desk. Using a voice masker, Ollie tells Quentin that he doesn’t like the nickname Hood, thanks.
Oh, yeah, and also he can help trace the copycat if he can have an arrow? Quentin tells him to buzz off, and Ollie gets angry and tells him to think about it, then call the number saved on the phone.
Meanwhile, Walter has called a meeting with Doug Miller with an excuse that security have red flagged him as a potential target for the vigilante, and can Doug shed any light on that? No, really. That’s all Walter has to say.
Thea and Ollie are having delicious fries at Big Belly Burger (though Carly is nowhere to be seen) . Ollie confronts Thea with the complete lack of Christmas party, but they are interacted by Some Guy called Shane who is a friend of Thea’s. He is established as an unlikeable guy by being mean about the food here which he hasn’t tried, and asks Thea to hang out, but she’s with her brother. then he leaves. Ollie immediately doesn’t like him because of the being mean about the food.
Thea explains that the lack of Christmas celebrations is because they stopped celebrating after Robert and Ollie’s deaths. Reading between the lines here – Robert was a massive Christmas junkie, and after he died the remaining family couldn’t handle it without him. Ollie, of course, assumes it’s all about him, and announces to the family at the manor that he’s having a Christmas Party! He’s been a terrible son/step-son/brother but he’s hoping a big empty gesture will fix that!
This is totally IC for Ollie, just FYI.
ISLAND FLASHBACK TIME Sao Fei and Ollie are escorting Eddie Fyers through the forest, and Fyers is monologuing about how Ollie is a “good man” under it all. He could tell because Deathstroke tortured him. By the way, the idea that Good People don’t crack under torture is a lie and a pretty disgusting one at that, as it opens the door to all sorts of survivors’ guilt, but w/e.
Fyers explains that the island was a prison used by the Chinese military to house particularly dangerous criminals. Eight years ago they shut the program down and hired Fyers &co to kill all the inmates. Everyone except Sao Fei, who was presumably too good at island living to be caught, and Deathstroke, who Fyers kept as a pet to torture any random shipwreck victims who might help them find Sao Fei. Um. Also, Sao Fei is a mass murderer, says Eddie. END FLASHBACK.
Moira and Barrowmerlyn are having another mysteeeeerious night time meeting on the side of a random road. Doug Miller went to Barrowmerlyn after his completely random and apropos of fuck-all meeting with Walter, saying it was obvious Walter had seen the List, because there’s basically no other reason he’d be talking to him. Barrowmerlyn is annoyed at Moira’s inability to keep her husband in line. He threatens her with using “their associate” to handle it.
HMMMM. White man telling white woman to keep her black man in check? There’s no issue here I don’t know what you’re talking about!
Cut to some other dude on the phone explaining that he’s handed over money because he doesn’t want to get an arrow in the chest. He is promptly killed by an arrow through the chest. This is irony.
The dead guy, Quentin explains to nameless Commissioner, is Nelson Ravage, how had recently been hit by the Hood for money he embezzled, which he gave back promptly. Commissioner insists that they tell the press that it’s clearly a Hood case because he doesn’t want anyone to know that there are TWO murderers with bows and arrows running around. Catch one guy, he says, he doesn’t care which. Lance tells him to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, and Commissioner takes him off the case.
He also calls him “sergeant.” I have idea if this is a sudden demotion for being an ass, or if Lance has always been a sergeant (I don’t think so) or if the writers are just phoning it in right now. I suspect the last. Seriously, where did this Commissioner dude come from? I bet he dies soon.
Quentin’s response is to phone Maninnahood and tell him he’s going to leave a package for him in a heating vent at the corner of O’Neil and Adams. He’s giving Maninnahood leeway until Christmas to catch the copycat, and then he’s going to get back on the chasing the Hood Guy trail.
NNCR: Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams were the creators of the acclaimed Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the 1970s, in which Ollie was first set up as a left leaning socially aware hero who liked to shout JUSTICE.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Ollie investigates the arrow, and gets excited about the teflon-titanium serrated blade and the specialized polymer shaft that’s stronger than carbon fiber. His conclusion: custom made arrows!
Felicity has a new job showing off all the wonderful features of Windows 8! I mean, she’s investigating the List for Walter when Ollie walks in and asks her to help him trace an arrow supplier. Because he wants to get his archery-loving friend “Steve” an arrow for Christmas and he needs to know where he gets them, and here’s an arrow can she help?
This is the actual excuse he gives. He clearly thinks Felicity is an idiot. I’m kind of wondering how Oliver Queen doesn’t know anything about archery supply companies.
Now sit back, because this next bit is nuts.
Felicity takes one look at the shaft, which has no distinguishing marks that I can see, and immediately recognizes it as a patented composite. One second on Bing, and she’s tracked the patent to a company called Sagittarius (oooh subtle). She brings up all of Sagittarius’ transactions, and traces the exact arrow to a bundle shipment of two hundred units delivered to 10245 Wharf.
This takes about a minute, while Ollie is sitting right in her office.
Quentin is at Laurel’s apartment, watching Commissioner No-Name give a press conference offering a reward for any information on the Maninnahood, because they hadn’t already set that up, idk. Laurel walks into the room and says it can’t possible be Him, he didn’t kill those people.
(Man inna hood only kills other people.)
There’s a knock on the door, and Laurel mentions Joanna, but it turns out to be Tommy, who has come over to be glared at by Quentin and to explicitly ignore earlier requests by Laurel to leave him alone during the Holidays because she wants to spend it with her Dad, it being a tough time since Sara’s death. Tommy says ‘something it holding her back,’ – maybe it’s that her would be boyfriend ignores explicit requests to leave her alone? – and invites Laurel to the Queen’s party, because apparently she didn’t get invited in her own right. He also gives her a present and leaves.
Quentin disapproves of Laurel being anywhere near Tommy and lets her know, but Laurel’s more interested in the ‘something that’s holding her back’ and the present, which turns out to be a framed photograph of Quentin, Laurel and Sarah. I think this is supposed to prove Quentin wrong about Tommy and Ollie being selfish, but I don’t know how.
Dressed in his Hood, Ollie arrives at the warehouse at 10245 Wharf to find a chemistry bomb waiting for him and the door locked behind him. Using a blow-the-bloody-doors-off arrow and a some running, he escapes the explosion but the warehouse is destroyed. so he heads back home to the party, that he is throwing. Apparently Diggle’s been doing most of the hosting in his absence. Not that Diggle’s a sidekick or anything. Ollie is unimpressed when That Guy Shane turns up with flowers. For Moira, apparently.
Thea’s dress, by the way, is the single biggest reason I’m sad L isn’t here. She would be dead at this. Anyway, Ollie corners the fam for a photo, but the ladies aren’t in the best of moods. Walter asks Moira if she’s alright, and she says they should talk alone. Ollie is distracted by the arrival of Laurel and Tommy: Tommy asks how long they think it’s going to be before it’s not weird between them, Ollie says it’s not weird, and they laugh weirdly.
In a quiet part of the party, Moira confronts Walter with lying to her about not investigating Robert’s death. Walter points out that Robert was his best friend so of course he’s going to look into it. He asks her why she embezzled the money and salvaged the boat, and she says it’s for leverage. Walter asks her to tell him who, so they can fight them together.
“I can’t fight them,” Moira says. “I am them.” She was trying to get out of what she was caught up in, and loving Walter was supposed to be her salvation. Walter says she needs to tell him exactly what is going on, and Moira promises she will, but after the party.
Laurel sends Tommy away so she can talk to Oliver on their own. She tells him that the ‘something holding her back’ from Tommy was Ollie.
“For five years I was emotionally off because of you. And the truth is, the last person I was expecting to make me feel again, has.”
I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, WRITERS. Shame they’ve been working so hard to make Laurel and Tommy a cute couple that it doesn’t actually work. Oliver kisses Laurel on the cheek and gives her his blessing to date Tommy. Because that was obviously what she wanted.
(Laurel, hon. Hook up with Diggle. Or Joanna! Or Carly! All of these people would be better for you than these dicks)
Ollie decides he needs to talk to Thea and barges into her room with only the barest minimum of knocking, finding her in a compromising state of undress with That Guy Shane. Ollie kicks him out and initiates a fight with Thea, because he’s throwing her a party. Which she didn’t even want! (The theme this episode is men ignoring women’s explicit requests). Thea points out that she’s been trying to get Ollie to talk to her for months, and the party is exactly what she didn’t want.
Diggle arrives before Ollie can apologize (not that he was going to) with the news that Black Arrow has taken hostages and is making one of them broadcast an ultimatum on the news.
“I will kill a hostage every hour in the name of this vigilante until he surrenders himself to my authority.” Is this even supposed to make sense?
Diggle suggests the police handle it, because this guy seems dangerous. Ollie yells at him that he can’t be more dangerous than the island.
ISLAND FLASHBACK TIME. Still walking through the forest, they stop, and Yao Fei holds a walkie talkie up to Fyers,, telling him to call his people and bring the plane to take Ollie. “There’s no need,” says Eddie, his people are here. Then they are attacked by Deathstroke and black clad mercenary dudes. Yao Fei fights, Ollie runs, but looks back in time to see Yao Fei being taken prisoner and dragged away. When did the island scenes get more interesting than Starling City? END FLASHBACK
Anyway, there’s a hostage situation going on around a warehouse that’s rigged with explosives so the police can’t break in. Commissioner No-Name and Sgt. Lance are arguing about that when Maninnahood swoops in on a zipwire. He rescues the hostages and sends them onto the roof where they are picked up by the police. Back in the warehouse, he is confronted by Black Arrow, who is using dramatic voice changing machinery.
“What do you want with me?” Ollie demands.
“What any archer wants. To see who’s better!”
NNCR: This is pretty much Merlyn’s motive for everything in the comics. In straight up archery competitions, he often wins, because Green Arrow’s got to use his brains to win in the comics. That’s right kids, in comics ollie has brains. Sometimes.
Also, this guy is totally dressed by the BBC costuming department in clothes left over from Robin Hoodie. I’m just saying.
They fight, and Black Arrow is indeed a better archer, and ends up kicking Ollie in the ribs while he lies on the floor. And, because he’s a bad guy, he monologues.
“I know about the List,” he says, “and the man who authored it wants you dead.”
Before he can unHood Ollie, Ollie manages to stab him in the thigh with an arrow. Rather than stick around, with arrows sticking out of his shoulder, Ollie staggers out of there, lands in an alley, and calls Diggle for help.
Diggle: not a sidekick.
Ollie wakes up in hospital to find Diggle there, with just enough time to let him know what his injuries are before the family come in to say hi. Diggle told them Ollie was in a motorcycle accident, so I guess they didn’t see the doctor’s notes about the punctures in his back.
Thea accuses Ollie of bailing on his own party, and Ollie makes it sound like he stormed off in a sulk after their fight. It’s effective emotional blackmail, and Thea confesses to being a bitch. Walter says that Ollie threw a party to get them closer together, but all he needed to do was have a motorbike accident. Smooth, Walter.
Thea and Ollie have a sweet moment about accepting each other not for who they were. but for the people they are now, but still Ollie doesn’t acknowledge he went against Thea’s explicit wishes.
Black Arrow has a lair of his own! Don’t worry, I was only calling him that because that was the only thing that distinguished himself from Green Arrow. Now it’s time for DRAMATIC REVEAL.
It’s JOHN BARROWMERLYN.
I wonder if this is a spoiler if you don’t know who Merlyn is in the comics. I’m going to go with yes.
Porn face in the cap entirely coincidental, but you’re welcome.
Walter is on the phone with Felicity, who apparently called up just to check on Ollie, which is sweet. He hangs up, walks into an elevator with a guy I don’t recognize, and is promptly stabbed with a sedative that knocks him out. Merlyn is behind this, and Moira knows about it. He gives her his word Walter will not be harmed and she’s not impressed.
He blames Moira for failing to get Walter “under control” (his words. Wincing mine). She’s getting deja vu regarding his murder of Robert. He reminds her about having Ollie kidnapped and tortured to prove he didn’t know anything.
“What’s done is done,” says Lady Macbeth Moira.
“No, Moira. It’s just beginning.”
Oh good grief. Now there’s an “Organization” that has a “vision of what the city should be” that will be complete in six months – so the end of the season, then. It’s a plan that involves the death of thousands of innocent people, as well.
Kind of losing all sympathy whatsoever for Moira, here. Show may have overdone the evil. Anyway, Walter’s going to be used as leverage over Moira for that time. If that means he’s not in the show, then I’m not sure what the show will have left going for it. Guess we’ll have to see, huh?
Anyhoo, we have to end with Ollie being dramatic, right? In his hospital room with Diggle, he bemoans that he failed the city tonight. Diggle’s pointing out that he saved lives means nothing to Ollie, who isn’t in it to save lives. He’s in it for The List, and now he knows Robert didn’t write it, he finally has a Big Bad he needs to go after. And List Writing Man is going down!