And perhaps that's for the best. Moira gets a few good scenes, but this episode belongs to Deathstroke. Slade Wilson fans get a thousand character Easter eggs. It also brings up a new character from Green Arrow continuity and a new tattoo for Ollie. And it gives me gender-neutral manly handshakes. So everyone should be happy.
There is bad news and good news in this episode of Arrow. The bad news is we won't get the Moira and Ollie story we've been craving since last week. The good news is that Moira grabs the Most Interesting Character of the Series spot with the white-knuckle tenacity that Charlize Theron did in Snow White and the Huntsman. We leave off where we were last week, with Ollie threatening Moira with his arrows. Moira grabs a picture of Ollie and Thea and sinks to her knees, crying about how she has a son and a daughter, and their father is gone. "Please don't take me away from my children," she says, and when Ollie relaxes his grip on the bow, she reaches under her desk to a hidden gun and shoots him in the chest! Oh, that is perfect. Never change, Moira. She then calls for help, while Ollie limps away.
He shows up in Felicity's car, and begs her to take him to his "father's factory." She does, and recruits Digg for help in moving Ollie downstairs because, "He's really heavy." No he's not, Felicity. He's a CW actor. The amount that they feed CW stars is a human rights violation. I'm surprised that they haven't set up feeding centers outside the studios. Throughout the episode we cut to Digg and Felicity trying to keep Ollie alive with their combined sidekick skills. Also, Digg gives quite a good speech about how, in the army, he believes he was in the moral wrong by protecting evil warlords from the people trying to kill them. Now he feels that he's doing good again, even though it's against the law.
The rest of the episode is Ollie and Slade Wilson's attempt to escape from the island. They start with training sequences — swords, staffs, and those two little sticks. Ollie screams that training him to use the sticks is stupid. (Nightwing: "Hey!") Slade Wilson says that he's seen Girl Scouts with more fight. (Esther: "Hey! You've been warned, Wilson!") Ollie says that this training won't protect him when someone jams a gun in his face. At every point of this episode, including parts we've already seen, he is proven right. Even when he's proven wrong — like when Slade gives him a gun and then disarms him in that very training sequence — he's proven right, because the whole point of guns is that they are not to be jammed in faces. If hunters went up deer and jammed a gun in their faces before firing, we'd have a lot less hunters and a lot more hoof prints in foreheads. If armies had to fight by jamming guns in each others faces they'd have to be way better at jogging. And as for snipers, well, let's look at the bright side and say that they wouldn't need those little lasers on their guns.
The day before they set out on the mission, Slade explains that the air strip has a supply plane that comes every three months. If they don't get the plane the day after tomorrow, they won't survive another three months. They have to take out the 10 men on the airstrip, which Slade will do, while Ollie takes out the guy in the tower before he radios the main evildoer base. They haven't gotten more than a few yards the next day when Ollie steps on a mine. It's not current — it's a Japanese mine from World War II. This makes Ollie officially the world's unluckiest billionaire heir since John Paul Getty III. When soldiers show up, Slade hacks them to death and then throws himself on the mine while pushing Ollie off of it. (NOTE: It actually appears that Slade threw one of the dead bodies on the mine.) It doesn't go off, but still, Ollie's shaken "thanks," sounds anticlimactic.
Back at the evildoer's camp, Eddie Fyers summons Yao Fei, and tells him that he'll be training the soldiers in archery, and that he had better stay loyal, "for her sake." Ooh! Mystery! Yao Fei notices a copy of The Odyssey is on Fyers' desk. Hello, title of the episode. I notice it's a nice old book with an embossed gold title. It's never the paperback or cliffs notes, is it? And yet they're so much lighter to carry.
That night, Ollie attempts to light a fire with sticks while Slade observes that clearly Ollie was never a Boy Scout. What about the Girl Scouts, Slade? Huh?! I will have you know that when I was in the Girl Scouts they taught us how to make a fire. We were a suburban group so they actually just showed us how make the set up with pretzels as logs, shredded cheese standing in for kindling, and a marshmallow for a bucket of water, but they did teach us. And the pretzels were delicious. Fire and feeding ourselves. How do you like the Girl Scouts now? Bam!
At last, Slade laughs and uses a lighter to get the fire going. Ollie shows a gratifying bit of Thea when he snarks at the guy who threw himself on a mine to protect him. Slade
also seems to have forgotten about the mine incident when he says that everyone is out for themselves. The guy in the Deathstroke mask was his partner when the Australian Secret Intelligence Service dropped them at the island to liberate Yao Fei and find out what Fyers was doing. His name was Bill Wintergreen, and he was godfather to Slade's son, Joe. (Deathstroke fans did a little dance during this speech.) But Wintergreen agreed to switch sides and Slade was locked up for six months. Oh the betrayal!
And now to the airstrip. Slade starts taking people out. Ollie sneaks to the tower, creeps through the door, and sees the guy he needs to kill sitting with his back to Ollie. You know what would get this whole situation successfully completed? A gun. Instead we see Ollie lunge at the guy with a knife in a stabbing motion that has to have been fully approved by the health and safety people on set as something that could never, ever do anyone any harm. The guy jams a gun in Ollie's face. Ollie does the move meant to disarm them, and the guy throws Ollie off and jams the gun back in his face. The look of "really?" on the tower man's face is so delicious it makes up for the entire rest of this scene and has me look up the actor on IMDB. Sadly, he doesn't appear to be listed. Good luck, whoever you are! I hope to see more of you!
But I won't in this series, because Slade breaks in and slashes him to death. He then complains that Ollie didn't do the job — which, again, is why Ollie should have had a gun. Slade leaves briefly, giving Ollie a chance to do another dumb thing, like call the woman he loves from the phone of a shadowy organization trying to kill him. I'm sure they won't notice the call to Laurel's phone. Then the plane calls with a code phrase that the guys are supposed to complete. It is from The Odyssey. "Of all the creatures that breath and move upon the Earth . . . " Ollie, for the first time in the chronology of the series, justifies his oxygen and fills in the phrase, "nothing is bred that is weaker than man." You'll notice it doesn't say "weaker than Girl Scouts," Slade! Just "man." Even Homer knew that we were tough. Semper cookie!
With the plane on the way, Ollie decides to go back to the camp and rescue Yao Fei. Slade lets him go. It's a touching thought on Ollie's part, but it ends up going about as well as you'd expect. Yao Fei sucker punches him, and he wakes up about to be beaten to death by Wintergreen. At first Ollie taunts Wintergreen. Then he shows his third flash of intelligence of the episode and says, "Whatever he's paying you, I'll triple it." Suddenly there are explosions and Deathstroke fans cheer. Slade has returned, and his fight with Wintergreen ends with a stab through the eye for poor Billy.
Finally Fyers is the first character on, I think, this entire show, to figure out how a gun is used. He stands far back from everyone, so they can't hit him or knock him down, and shoots Slade — though he only hits him in the arm. Ollie and Slade flee, only to have another henchman jam a gun in Ollie's face. Ollie disarms him, and then hits him on the head with the gun to incapacitate him. This shows that no one, not even the henchman, learned anything from Fyers' demonstration of how to properly use a gun.
Back at their base camp, Slade has Ollie tie him up before taking the bullet from his arm, explaining that he might lash out in pain and kill Ollie if he were to remain free. Sure, Slade. Look, you've both been on that island for a long time. There's nothing wrong with a little brondage between friends. Instead, they do something even more intimate. Slade implies that they're going after Fyers and escaping together. When Ollie reminds Slade that he said they wouldn't make it if they missed the plane, Slade replies, "That dumb kid that I trained, he never would have made it. You, you just might have a chance." And then there's a handshake of honor! I once read that, on Smallville, a manly handshake was more important than sex. I'd have to say that trend crosses over to Arrow. Then Ollie laughs and says, "I'm dropped on an island and my only friend is named Wilson." Ha! I like it. But don't hold out for Hanks' Oscar.
Over at the evildoer camp, Fyers is getting yelled at by someone on a radio because of the explosions Slade set off. He says he'll take care of it and goes to Yao Fei. He explains that Yao Fei was right to sell out Ollie and grants him "five minutes." Yao Fei goes into a tent to find a handcuffed young woman who calls him father and asks him what's happening. Yao Fei tells her not to worry it and calls her Shado. As we pan to the dragon tattoo on her shoulder, I realize who this is and realize she was part of my first-ever post on io9. Ah, memories!