Felicity: "You're gonna be really upset when you meet my partner."
Well, this one was jam-packed full of plot movement. The biggest of course is... hmmm, I'm really not sure which one was the biggest.
Where should I start? I mean there were at least three huge character and plot developments. Let me start with Malcolm, and his mustache-twirling super villain plan for the Hollows, ahem, Glades. I'm not disappointed, but I kind of just rolled my eyes. It does confirm, to me at least, that he's been influenced by the League of Shadows, because damn, that plot smacks of their involvement. I could almost hear Ras Al Ghul whispering in Malcolm's ear, giving him half-baked motivations for destroying thousands of lives.
That being said, I really liked the flashbacks. I was really glad to see Frank and Walter again, and it was a nice way to bring Walter back without bringing him back, or so I thought. I never thought they would have Oliver not only find out that his mother was a bad guy working with Malcolm to destroy the Glades, but was complicit in Walter's kidnapping. Then they actually had Arrow go and rescue him. That scene in Bludhaven (saving Walter) had some of the best action beats in the entire season, even if it was a bit over the top. Also the reunion scene with the Queen family was really affecting, and I loved Felicity showing up with flowers and Oliver introducing her as a friend.
It was also nice to get a solid glimpse of both Robert Queen and a young Oliver. Actually, the stuff with Oliver was the most fun. Seeing the younger, more selfish version of Oliver interact with Laurel, seeing their chemistry, getting to see her really in love with him was very important to the overall arc. It was a great detail that Laurel was the one that gave him that picture of her that he's been holding onto (on the island) since the beginning of the season (good continuity). Of course, the biggest moment was Oliver finally admitting to her that he still loved her. Her reaction reminded me that Katie Cassidy can actually act.
All of those flashbacks culminated in the send off of the Queen's Gambit. Watching the boat leave for China was sad, knowing what was about to happen to them. It was interesting that Robert was never a bad guy, that the list was the original plan to save the Glades before Malcolm's more radical approach. Malcolm's story about his wife was touching, and John Barrowman did a great job with it. He managed to create sympathy for his reasoning. But at the same time, I felt creeped out by the way he told that heartbreaking story.
I haven't even gotten to the primary mystery, Oliver finally getting a lead on Walter. The whole interaction between Oliver and Felicity, who took charge for the first time, was nearly perfect. I'm not one to praise without reason, but I loved Felicity's foray into the illegal casino. Her purposely getting caught counting cards so that she could get into Alonso's office was very much in character, and how she taunted Alonso about how he wouldn't like her partner made me smile from ear to ear.
I think the resolution for the Dig relationship might have been a bit fast, but it fit. This series really is about growth, and Oliver being able to apologize is a big one. Only it wasn't just an apology about their latest falling out; he gave credit and apologized for his anger about Dig accusing Moira of being involved in the Undertaking. That little bit of continuity was yet another reason this show is becoming so solid. Only two more left this season, I can't wait to see what happens in the finale.
No Island stuff, so no resolution for the cliffy from the last episode.
So Frank was the one that betrayed Robert to Malcolm. And here I was sad that Moira got him killed.
Oliver without stubble is far too pretty boy, no wonder they keep him scruffy.
Laurel visited Tommy at Oliver's advice. I really like that they are all being honest except for the big thing that they can't be honest about Oliver's secret identity.
The music to the hallway beat down scene (where Arrow rescues Walter) worked really well with the scene. I don't notice the music much, but I've never felt that it was out of place for the series. That in and of itself is a compliment to how well it's scored.
I liked the moment between Moira and Thea, even though it left Thea pretty much stagnant plot-wise in this episode. I expect more in the next two.
Oliver calling Rebecca (Laurel's sister) as Laurel is walking towards him to say goodbye illustrated how much he's changed. I couldn't imagine him doing that now.
Robert's demon is a very human one. He was trying to get something done in the Glades and a dirty politician tried to shake him down for money. Things got bad and Robert accidentally killed him. It makes his story fit into the bigger picture, and I'm genuinely surprised that he was basically a good guy.
Laurel and Felicity meeting was cute, and I could see a touch of jealousy in Laurel. I guess they really are going for the Oliver/Laurel romance finally.
Malcolm and Oliver talking at the hospital was full of half said things and insinuation. It was as if they were sizing each other up.
Oliver: "Stay focused, please. I'll be with you the entire time."
Felicity: "Thanks, it feels really good having you inside me. And by you I mean your voice, and by me I mean my ear, I'm gonna stop talking right now."
Oliver: "That would be my preference."
Yet another very good episode. I'm a little afraid to say it before the finale, but I think this show is finally getting close to reaching the potential I saw at the beginning. It still isn't quite where it could be, but it's closing the gap to get there fast.
4 out of 4 Hallways of knocked out henchmen.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.