Season: 3 / Episode: 19 / CW

So, Omar’s sitting the recaps out for a couple of turns because… well, between you and me, I think he’s a little fed up and needs a break from this season of Arrow. There’s no shame. We absolutely understand the agony of reviewing something you don’t like so much. Taj had to review Gotham for a while (is that shit even still on?), I think Whitney had to read Suicide Squad once… we all have our burdens to bear once in a while here at Black Nerd Problems. We do this so you guys don’t have to.

Anyway, down to business. When we left Team Arrow last time, shit was looking rough for the Emerald Archer. His identity had been compromised and Quentin Lance’s manhunt ended with Oliver turning himself in. Suddenly Roy “Arsenal” Harper shows up in Ollie’s Arrow garb, claiming that Lance has the wrong man, that he is, in fact, the Arrow. I’m convinced that anyone who willingly does a bid for someone else hasn’t seen the Wire. That shit didn’t work out well for D’Angelo and he did the time for family. As you could imagine, Ollie is just as pissed as Quentin is. After all, self sacrifice is important when you want to be Batman as bad as he does. Just when he’s ready to beat Roy to the punch and sign a full confession, Laurel swoops in and lawyer’s Ollie right out of those handcuffs faster than the Flash could super speed himself into the Friend Zone with Iris West.

SN: Can we talk about the fact that Laurel has had more takedowns this season with her law degree than she’ll ever have with a mask and a baton as the Black Canary? Honestly, as much as I like this season, one of the downers has been watching Laurel skip out on those AA meetings to waste time on rooftops, getting her ass kicked worse than that first guy you fight in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Black Canary II has had exactly two wins on this show and one of them was against herself. In her imagination. And that would be great if this were the Neverending Story, but most of us so started watching this show want to see the good guys dropping bodies. Seriously, Laurel Lance needs another intervention because (and I never thought I’d say this about a female character with real agency) I almost liked it better when she needed saving every other episode.

Anyway, Ollie goes to visit Roy in his shiny new Hollister Co. prison jumpsuit to ask him what the hell has gotten into him. It turns out Roy WANTS to be in prison because of that one time a while back when he was high on Slade Wilson’s miracle drug and killed a cop back in Season 2. Yes, y’all… Roy is STILL whining about that shit. And, to be fair, he also recognizes that the city needs Ollie a lot more than it needs him because… well, how many unnecessary parkour moves can you stand, right?

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop turning just because your secret identity has been revealed and your ex’s cop father is determined to see you under the jail doing that Aaron Hernandez Special (too soon?). It’s Starling City, so there’s still crime to fight. This week, crime comes in the form of a bankrobber named Jake Simmons aka Cyclops… I mean, Deathbolt. Usually, this would look like a job for the Arrow, but Captain Lance isn’t going to turn the heat off of him anytime soon. Just when Ollie is ready to suit up and hit the streets, Lance shows up to the club with a warrant to get into the basement aka the Lair (sorry, Omar, I’m NOT calling it the Quiver). At this point, I’m surprised he didn’t get a floodlight with an arrow on it, drag it to a rooftop and smash it Dark Knight style.

Fortunately, the only fingerprint they find in the whole place is Roy’s… and he’s already caught. We’ll get to him in a second. It’s only half a win, however, because Ollie still can’t hit the streets. So, through gritted teeth, he’s forced to outsource the task to a hero friend. However, his first choice has his hands full in Central City with time travel and the Reverse Flash and being unable to escape the Friend Zone. The good news is he’s not out of options. The bad news is his last option is Ray “Not Quite Tony Stark” Palmer. Yeah, Arrowverse fans… that makes twice this week we’re stuck with this fucking lame.

Sidenote: If it sounds like I fucking hate this guy… it’s because I DO. I know the CW has a budget to work with now and all that, but as someone who sat through ten seasons of Smallville, I’m saying it. Don’t do this shit anymore. Find something else for Brandon Routh to do. (Because we KNOW he won’t be back for Scott Pilgrim 2)

Anyway, Ray is eager for the chance to go out for another team up. He’s been making some modifications to the suit since his visit to Central City… where he barely made it out of a fight with BEES….and he’s ready to prove himself to Starling City again. So, he goes out looking for a fight and would you believe it? He found one almost immediately. Deathbolt shows up and pretty readily hands him his ass and even taunts him a little on the way out like, “Look, man, the streets is talking and ummm, you ain’t ’bout this life. Go summon a megazord or something.”

After catching his obligatory ass whupping, Ray gets a stern talking to from Oliver about how he relies too much on his technology and needs to anticipate his opponents movements before he makes them like he does as Bat… the Arrow. Of course, nobody brings up how much that would have helped Ollie against Ra’s Al Ghul a while back, but I digress.

Meanwhile, Roy isn’t having the best time at Abercrombie Penitentiary. He’s only been there one night a bunch of butthurt criminals the Arrow put away have a bone to pick with our buddy, Arsenal. Well, actually, they probably want to pick several of his bones, but I’m not one to split hairs. They knock the guard and try to jump him. Roy met the challenge and responded in kind with an extinction level beatdown. While handcuffed. Roy Harper is kicking more ass and taking more names than Ray Palmer has in a billion dollar super suit. Just making sure we’re still keeping score. Still, Roy takes a few nice little cuts and bruises in the process.

Upon hearing about the incident from Thea, Oliver is ready to suit up and break him out of prison. Diggle tries to talk some sense into him but fails. And of course, Felicity knows all the right words to soothe the savage beast. She helps him realize that there’s a very good chance that his life as the Arrow could very well be over and breaking Roy out of prison isn’t going to change that. Eventually, he realizes that things may be grim, but he can still be a good man in the situation. It’s not everything, but for now, it has to be enough. This leaves Oliver forced to take a seat and allow the remainder of Team Arrow to handle the Deathbolt situation.

Since the team deduced that Deathbolt absorbs energy and stores it up for a defense mechanism, Felicity heads to do some groundwork and track down any anomalies in the city’s power grid. It doesn’t take very long before she finds one: Deathbolt. Ray immediately jumps back into the action to get his girl back, but since there’s not much time to practice all that “anticipate your enemies” crap Oliver was talking about before, Ollie decides to just take over the suit via remote. Let me just say that I would pay any amount of money to see these two alpha males trying to share a brain and control a jaeger from Pacific Rim. Anyway, Ray gains enough of the edge in the fight to kick Cyclops oops Deathbolt’s ass and flies him to Central City to personally drop him off in the particle accelerator superjail that the police either a). doesn’t know about or b). is WAY too cool with the Reverse Flash having underneath his office.

Oliver gets back to his loft just in time for Thea to hear from Captain Lance that Roy Harper caught that D’Angelo Barksdale Special and get killed in prison. The real secret, unbeknownst to Lance, is that this was all a ruse from the start. Roy faked his own death thanks to an ARGUS hookup, compliments of Lyla. It turns out he wanted to take this opportunity to not only save Oliver, but start fresh somewhere far off from Starling City.

After everything’s all done, we find Thea killing a bottle of wine, presumably pouring some out for Roy when none other than Ra’s Al Ghul himself appears in her apartment.

Thea unleashes her newly learned five fingers of death on the Demon’s Head and even though it was light years more impressive than we saw from Oliver when he was in a similar position, Ra’s finally gave her that sleepytime tea with a sword through the chest. Now, Oliver will have no choice but to take Ra’s offer to head the League of Assassins if he wants to get Thea to that magic healing water. Shit ain’t looking good for Team Arrow, fam.

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