Felicity: "Optimistic. That's not usually a word I'd associate with his demeanor."
So Oliver finally learned the lessons from the previous episodes about leadership, beating a political opponent at his own game, and finally treating his people like human beings... oh wait, that wasn't actually Oliver.
In all fairness, Oliver seemed like he's starting to accept things for what they are. He's not being quite as harsh with his people, he was classy with Felicity about her new boyfriend, and he seemed to see that the way Christopher treated everyone while he was pretending to be him was a good thing. I guess we'll see if he changes at all in the long run.
Although really, this episode belonged to Wild Dog. His was the emotional story line that anchored the episode, about choices and redemption. It's possible that he's finally started to accept his demons, at least partially in thanks to Diggle who did a lovely job helping Rene recover from torture. Their interactions were probably the best part of the episode, and Diggle's key role as a founding hero of the team is well deserved.
As soon as Wild Dog told everyone that Church made him give up Oliver secret identity, I knew Church was probably going to be dead by the end of the episode. It sucks loosing Chad Coleman from the show; he's a great actor, and his performance on Arrow has been creepy and memorable. But it's time for the main villain to step in apparently, so now Prometheus has stepped up to the plate and eliminated the competition to kill the Arrow. Oh, and Church revealed Oliver's secret to him as well.
There was a bit of movement here, Oliver was officially initiated into the Bratva. But one of the leaders, Viktor, doesn't like him at all so he tried to have Oliver killed. Thankfully, Anatoly hired the Human Target to keep an eye out for him. The flashbacks in the rest of the episode mostly centered on Oliver and Anatoly hanging out some more, drinking and conversing about the nature of family. Also, apparently Oliver got his picture taken at that party, and that picture has now ended up in the hands of Susan Williams who seems to have a personal grudge against Oliver.
Comic Book Bits:
Christopher Chance aka The Human Target has been around for a long time in Comic Books. He first appeared in Detective Comics #201, which was published in November 1953, as Fred Venable. Although he only had a handful of appearances, the name Human Target eventually switched over to Christopher Chance in 1972 and from there he has popped up all over DC Comics, mainly in Action Comics (Superman's original title) and Detective Comics (Batman's original title) until he got his own title under the Vertigo label. He has always been some form of detective or private eye who is a master impersonator that uses his client's identity to protect them.
Rene looked awful, so great makeup job there. It also made the character more sympathetic, which is good because I haven't really liked Rene until this episode.
Felicity was kind of all over the place in this episode, and all her reactions could be taken in a couple of ways. To me it was clear she was mildly disappointed that Oliver let her go, but I could be wrong.
The funniest moment in the episode for me was when Felicity put on the face mask of Oliver and said; "You have failed this city."
We got some of Rene's back-story, which involved going too far interrogating a prisoner while he was in the Navy, and getting dishonorably discharged.
Anatoly: "To survivors of Amazo. May we experience as much sorrow as drops of wine about to be left in glass. Prochnost."
Oliver: "I was just thinking about why I came here."
Anatoly: "Because this best bar in town, actually only bar."
Anatoly: "There is old saying in Russian. Okay, maybe not Russian but still works. There is no problem beautiful woman cannot fix."
John: "You're safe, Rene, nothing can hurt you."
Rene: "Is this going to be one of those hippy dippy meditation things?"
This one really good, with a lot of emotion and story synergy.
3 out of 4 Temporary Big Bads
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.