In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, Arrow has been on a remarkable streak of episodes that is reminiscent of its sensational run in season two equipped with as much heart-stopping action as actual heart with the relationships that keep us forever tethered to this show. And Wednesday’s episode of Arrow was the epitome of that.
In “Unchained,” Roy Harper made his grand return to Star City only not in the circumstances we all would’ve liked. He was essentially forced to steal technology in order to protect the secret of his not-so-dead self and to protect Oliver’s identity as the Arrow.
Also, Felicity Smoak took a stand against the board members of Palmer Tech — and the Calculator in a differing incident — while Thea’s blood lust took a turn for the very worse. Meanwhile in Nanda Parbat, Nyssa made her grand escape and made her intentions known to Oliver in the hour’s final moment.
Arrow continues to slay every week with its combination of action and drama and a focus on the characters that have made this show what it is. What a time to be alive.
Here’s the rundown…
Roy Harper made his improbable return to Star City in “Unchained” — and he was back to his old, thieving ways as our villain of the week, The Calculator, forced him to steal technologies for him otherwise he’d reveal Roy Harper to be alive, which would mean that the world would once again look at Oliver Queen as the Arrow.
After Green Arrow, Spartan, and Black Canary corner Roy at Palmer Tech — where he has just beat our adorable puppy Curtis in order to get the world-changing battery that he had created for Palmer Tech’s big board meeting — Felicity notices a piece of tech in Roy’s eye. So she tells Oliver to shoot him with an arrow, and they bring him back to the lair and remove said tech.
Roy informs them that this guy that calls himself The Calculator — which Felicity hates — threatened to out his not-so-dead-self to the public if he didn’t do what he told him. And that piece of tech essentially forced him to do whatever he had to — including punching Oliver in that first meeting — in order to satisfy Calculator and protect Oliver. Roy, always protecting his big bro Oliver Queen.
Roy stops by Thea’s place and their reunion is a thing of sheer beauty and heartbreak all rolled into one. But it’s quickly squashed by Thea’s blood lust that is now eating her alive. But Roy and Thea have been reunited and the tears and feels are real, y’all.
After Felicity uses some technology that Ray Palmer crafted to locate where the Calculator is placing a bomb that will essentially wipe out thousands of lives, Roy gets his chance at redemption and another go in his Arsenal suit — “I have seriously missed this,” he says with a smile that makes me want to hug him and never let go. Seriously, why does he have to go? They’re cornered by the Calculator’s mercenaries before Oliver arrives — with an entrance — and saves the day. Well, not the day so much as his partners.
It would be Roy that saves the day as he volunteers to stay behind and shoot the bomb dead. But he’ll have to hightail it the hell out of there immediately after he fires because it’s going to explode. And it was in this moment that I feared Arrow might be killing Roy Harper, and the fear was real. Just because he’s dressed in red doesn’t make him as fast as The Flash — heh, nice Dig. Roy’s aim is better than ever as he fires on target and literally flies the hell out of there with the explosion and sparks fly in the background. It was like a big ass action movie, and Roy Harper is the hero. “Just like riding a bike,” Roy says. Oh yeah, he’s back.
But even though it feels like old times having Roy back on Team Arrow, we all know that he can’t stay. He needs to remain hidden and out of sight so that he can protect Oliver. But thanks to Felicity the Calculator can’t out Roy as being alive, thanks to a nifty virus that our badass genius unleashed on the Calculator. But Roy still has to leave. And once again it’s an emotional round of goodbyes that have us cursing whatever reason Colton Haynes left the show for. Because Arrow needs him.
But the most emotional moment of the night happened in Roy’s final scene with Thea. His first scene in season one was with Thea so his last scene in this episode — although hopefully not his last on the show — should rightfully be with Thea. And given the circumstances, there’s a chance this could be the pair’s final goodbye.
Thea wishes that Roy could stay, and he tells her that he considered staying…for her. Already the tears are falling. Thea tells him that she wants Roy to go live his life. To go be normal; to get married; to have kids; to be happy. But you can see it in his eyes that that’s not what he wants. He wants everything she said…just with her. And he tells her as much, which just makes the tears fall faster down my face. “I love you, Thea Queen,” Roy tells her. “I love you, Roy Harper,” says Thea. And in this moment — as they embrace — you can’t help but wonder if this is the final time they’ll see each other. And it hurts so damn much.
Felicity Takes a Stand
After Felicity tried out that self-pity thing in last week’s episode, she decided that wasn’t who she is so she returned with a vengeance in this week’s episode. Felicity took two incredible stands in this episode against two men that completely underestimated her power, intelligence, and passion.
Remember that world-changing technology that Curtis Holt was supposed to have ready for a board meeting in April? Well it turns out that the board moved that meeting up to now. So Felicity and Curtis are about to unleash this world-changing technology that is a power cell battery. Pretty awesome. But at the same time it makes me sad that the technology Curtis creates doesn’t help Felicity walk again. But maybe it’s still possible…
Before the big unveiling, Felicity demonstrates her presentation in a dry run in front of Curtis and one of the head board members whose name I may have purposely forgotten because he’s such a dick to our precious cupcake. Simply put, things don’t go so well for our beautiful tech genius. Felicity stumbles over her delivery and knocks things over. And to top it all off, the dick-that-shall-not-be-named insults her to her face — and about her disability — saying that the entire company’s fate rests with this world-changing technology. He insists that someone else do the presentation. “And by someone else you mean someone not in a wheelchair,” Felicity says. He says that this presentation needs to be perfect or this company is sunk. So a defeated Felicity agrees to let someone else do the presentation.
Meanwhile, Felicity’s day gets worse when a new threat arrives in the picture: an evil hacker that goes by The Calculator, which Felicity could not hate the name more. This is the guy that has been forcing Roy to steal technologies for him in order to create this web nuke that could destroy banking systems, nuclear arsenals, power grids and such, but more importantly it could kill thousands of people.
After Felicity manages to break through The Calculator’s encryption she receives a not-so-friendly call from the man himself. He reveals that it’s not the Internet that he wants to destroy. While he shut Felicity out, he revealed what his plan is: he plans on destroying the city, which would result in the loss of thousands of lives.
While Felicity attempts to figure out where The Calculator plans to unleash this — while Oliver and Diggle are entertained by her bout of stress — she realizes that Ray Palmer created tech last year that acts as a way to get inside Calculator’s system. So Felicity rolls right into Curtis’ office in search of said tech, and you can see the determination, the power, and the dedication that she has. Curtis takes this moment to tell Felicity that the presentation wouldn’t have been an epic failure if this Felicity had shown up. “The one who wheels in here, kicking ass and taking names like you just did.” Felicity feels like those two situations are different, but they’re not. Curtis tells her that there are two Felicities: “the one in that board room whose wheelchair makes her doubt herself, and this Felicity; brilliant force of nature.” And Palmer Tech needs that second Felicity. And damn it if I’m not applauding Curtis right now for an inspired speech that lit a fire under our girl.
Back on the Calculator front, Felicity uses Ray’s tech to locate where the Calculator plans on unleashing that web nuke. She is able to out-hack the Calculator long enough for Roy Harper to blow up the web nuke before Calculator can unleash it and saves the day. Overwatch for the win, bitch.
Later at Palmer Tech it’s time for Felicity’s big presentation where her beaming fiance looks on proud as hell. And Felicity absolutely slays it. She introduces this world-changing solar battery like the BAMF she is, and receives a round of applause. Felicity Smoak: Badass since always. While her beaming future hubby applauds we see none other than the Calculator in attendance. “She’s really something else,” he tells Oliver. “You have no idea,” he says. Suddenly our theory that the Calculator is Felicity’s father has ramped up to 99.2 percent certainty.
After the presentation, Oliver congratulates Felicity before setting off to check on Thea. When Felicity turns around she comes face-to-face with the man she calls, “Dad.” WE CALLED IT, GUYS. WE SO CALLED IT. I am so here for this storyline. Watch out world, because the Smoaks are a coming and it’s going to be sensational as all hell.
Thea Takes a Turn for the Worse
It’s been a while since there’s been a significance on Thea’s blood lust and the effects on her. We’ve known that the blood lust makes her want to kill in order to satiate it, but we also know that she hasn’t killed someone in a while. The last thing that helped her satiate that blood lust was when Damien Darhk tried to whammy her and it backfired taking that blood lust away. In a matter of words, things had been too quiet. And too quiet is never good.
While out on a mission with Team Arrow, Thea begins to feel lightheaded and passes out — and in the process almost falls off the side of a building before Oliver catches her. She brushes it off as nothing until Malcolm shows up and explains what’s happening. Turns out since Thea has been refusing to kill in order to satiate the blood lust that it has been feeding off of her, in a sense. And if Thea refuses to take lives to satisfy the blood lust then it will eventually kill her.
Of course Daddy Merlyn is all about throwing these pedophiles in her face so she can end them and be better, but he eventually comes to an understanding that it’s her choice. If only her brother was so understanding. Oliver is determined to do whatever it takes to save Thea, and he tells her he plans on meeting with Damien Darhk to try and figure out a way to make it permanent. Only Thea doesn’t want Oliver to risk that for her. “It’s my choice. It’s my life.”
Regardless of Thea’s adamant insistence for Oliver to not try to intervene with her decision, Oliver being the stubborn man that we love vows to find a way to save Thea from this. So he sets up a meeting with his nemesis Damien Darhk to talk about a trade of sorts. Only he never gets to go through with the plan when he’s called to action to help stop The Calculator from destroying the city. When it’s all said and done, Oliver agrees to back Thea’s decision whatever it may be. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call character growth.
Later, Thea gets a final visit from Roy as he comes to say goodbye as he has to return to remaining out of mind and out of sight so as to not compromise Oliver’s identity as the Arrow. Thea wishes Roy didn’t have to leave, as does he, and he tells her that he considered staying…for her. In a conversation that’s reminiscent of Oliver’s speech to Felicity, Thea tells Roy that she wants him to go and live his life; to be happy; to get married; to have kids. Roy can sense, like we can, that this is Thea’s final goodbye. You can see it in her eyes. Her mind is made up, and she knows what will happen. But she also realizes this will be the last time she’s with Roy, and she takes that moment to essentially tell him what he means to her; what his happiness means to her; and that she loves him. “I love you, Thea Queen,” Roy says, as tears run down his face. “I love you, Roy Harper.” And I suddenly love my waterproof mascara.
Just when everything seems to have calmed down a bit — including my sobbing at that goodbye scene — Laurel notifies us that Thea has taken an even greater turn for the worse. She’s fallen into a coma and is being housed at Starling City General, where the doctor notifies Oliver that she’s not even a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which means that she has basically no response with eye, verbal, and motor skills. Simply put, this is bad. This is bad, and it’s only going to get worse.
Suddenly Nyssa appears like the the badass angel that she is with an ultimatum for Oliver. There is a plant called Lotus that is said to counteract the effects of the Lazarus Pit. And she’ll give it to Oliver under one condition — a condition we all saw coming from a mile away but doesn’t diminish the line any less — that Oliver kills Malcolm Merlyn.
Nyssa Sets Her Plan In Motion
When we last left Nyssa al Ghul, she was being hauled away by League of Assassins members after she had destroyed the Lazarus Pit as a reminder to Malcolm that once she killed him there would be nothing to bring him back from the dead. It was an ominous warning that had remained dormant for some time. Until now.
The hour literally started off with a bang as someone loyal to Nyssa put a weapon in a pepper that she delivered to her, and helped her battle her way through the guards in Malcolm’s absence (he was in Star City with Thea remember). But we soon see that it’s not just that one woman who is loyal to Nyssa; there are tons of other members within those walls that help her escape Nanda Parbat and launch phase one of her plan.
Nyssa, along with her guardian angel, journey to Japan to acquire a plant called Lotus, which is said to counteract the effects of the Lazarus Pit. Clearly Nyssa has a plan that runs much deeper than it appears on the surface. It’s here, where the plant is guarded, that she runs in Tatsu aka Katana, whose job it is to protect the Lotus as a member of the Crescent Order (so that’s what she’s been up to). The two battle it out, and for a moment I feared that the DC Cinematic Universe was once again going to take away a character that appears in their Suicide Squad movie. First Deadshot, then Amanda Waller, who next? But luckily Tatsu survives.
Nyssa suggests that they should both yield or this could go on forever until one of them grows tired. She also tells Tatsu that this is a matter that has to do with Oliver Queen, which you can tell strikes a nerve within Tatsu. Perhaps she’s willing if it’s Oliver that seeks the Lotus.
We don’t see Nyssa again until the hour’s final scene when she walks in on Oliver in Thea’s hospital room. Oliver is hopeless and helpless when it comes to saving Thea, but Nyssa arrives with an offer that is literally too good to refuse: kill Malcolm Merlyn and Nyssa will give Oliver the Lotus, which is said to counteract the effects of the Lazarus Pit. I think we all know Oliver’s choice with this offer…
- Oliver gets an opponent in the mayoral race — from Damien Darhk’s wife. Well, that’s just dandy.
- The flashbacks actually got interesting with Shado’s return as a hallucination of Oliver’s.
- Felicity sassing the Calculator gives me life.
- “How much time do we have?” “Um it’s a long story, but somewhere between ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and Hey, Jude.'” That line and delivery by Emily Bett Rickards was flawless.
- Oliver’s superpower is totally feeling guilty for everything that is and isn’t his fault.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.