One of the great accomplishments of “Arrow” is how the writers realized early on the strength of the show was not keeping things status quo. The characters have drastically changed since we’ve been introduced to them. Season 2 Oliver isn’t nearly as developed as Season 3 Oliver and Laurel has arguably progressed further than any character on the show. Tonight marked the biggest turning point for several characters for the better.
Team Arrow is still coming to grips with Oliver’s decision to train with Merlyn. They don’t get too far when Merlyn enters and tells Oliver he needs to tell Thea he’s Arrow. Diggle doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but OIiver is tired of the lies and brings Thea down to the Arrowcave. Thea is stunned, but in a very nice surprise, she’s tremendously grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices he’s made for the city.
Thea does have some anger though toward Merlyn for manipulating her. Just wait until she finds out the full story of Merlyn making her kill Sara.
Arrow and Arsenal nab some crooks, but one escapes and gets put down by Canary. Arrow is not happy with her vigilante actions. First he tries to guilt her by asking what would Quentin do if both his daughters were killed, then he hits her with a low blow saying instead of alcohol her new addiction is adrenaline.That’s cold Oliver.
Count Vertigo breaks free of custody after forcing a reporter to use vertigo on one of his security guards. Laurel knocks out the guard, but Vertigo is long gone. Quentin is proud of Laurel’s quick reflexes and questions if she’s heard from Sara. He shares of his awkward encounter with “Sara” a few weeks back and his conversation with Sin or “you know the one with the boy hair” who says the Canary isn’t Sara. Laurel knows she should tell him the truth, but lets another perfect opportunity slide.
Canary scopes out Vertigo’s men, but gets spotted. It’s really fun watching a hero not know how to do everything perfectly. Vertigo injects Canary with his vertigo drug and her worst fear is an enraged Sara seeking payback for Laurel wearing her costume. Watching the two Canaries fight it’s very clear that Sara had the better costume of the two. Vertigo busts Canary up pretty badly before Arrow and Arsenal make the save.
Back at the Arrowcave, Felicity gives Laurel the vertigo antidote when Thea walks in. Oliver gets back in to protective big brother mode, but Roy stands up to him saying Oliver can’t bring her in and boss her around. Felicity backs Roy up saying Oliver was gone and they were forced to handle things on their own so he can’t question their choices. That was an important message and delivered on the series of episodes where Team Arrow gained confidence in getting the job done without Oliver.
Overwhelmed by everything going on, Thea sees Chase in the alley and wanders off with him just as Roy comes up to check on her. Thea really needed a stress reliever and hooks up with Chase, who seizes the moment and tries to slip poison into her drink. You’re not that good buddy. Thea remembered her training from Merlyn about a particular brand of wine being a masking agent for poison and questions Chase. Instantly, he goes on the offensive and after a brief skirmish, Chase brings a knife to her neck only to get his assassination interrupted by Arsenal. As with most fights, Arsenal can’t quite get the upper hand (that’s becoming a bit of a running joke this season), but Merlyn shoots Chase with an arrow and realizing his advantage is gone, Chase drinks the poison and kills himself.
Diggle tells Oliver they realized they all feel a responsibility for protecting Starling City. The mission started with supporting Oliver, but now it’s their calling just as much.
Laurel is doubting herself again and questioning if she can live up to Sara’s legacy, but Felicity gives her the advice Laurel’s needed all along — stop trying to be Sara and just be Laurel. How rare is that kind of scene in TV these days? Two women talking about something that doesn’t involve a dude? More Felicity/Laurel scenes please!
With Roy tied up with Chase, Oliver asks Laurel to join him in stopping Vertigo. While Arrow takes out Vertigo’s goons and frees his hostages, Canary goes after Vertigo and gets another shot of vertigo. You’d think her high collar jacket and lack of exposed skin would prevent that? This go-round, Laurel sees Sara accusing her of being a fraud and Quentin who’s mad at her for not telling him Sara is dead. Laurel is able to fight through the vertigo this time and beat Count Vertigo. Her first major villain victory.
Fortunately she learned her lesson and in an emotional scene, she tells Quentin. He’d already guessed she was running around as Canary (but still no clue on Arrow…) but was unprepared for the news that Sara is dead. This season has worked better than imagined with Laurel’s season long arc from district attorney to revenge-seeking sister to crime fighting vigilante.
Even the Hong Kong flashback teased some crazy developments. Maseo is clearing his family out — now that Waller is aware he tried to strike a deal with China White she’ll come after him — and he tells Oliver to get out of town too. Oliver takes the advice and tries to call home, but Waller’s agents stop him. Waller threatens to kill Thea and make it look like an overdose if he doesn’t spill Maseo’s location.Oliver reluctantly spills the location and Maseo is brought in. He didn’t want to put Oliver at risk by telling him where he was taking his family, but Maseo felt indebted to Oliver for helping him and allowed himself to get caught so he could free Oliver. Maseo’s got a lot of confidence in his skills. After Waller’s men knock them out they awaken in a limo with Waller where she has a new mission for them — in Starling City.