Arrow, which won my reluctant heart over the course of the last year, opens up with a scene that has us thinking we're back in the last season. Ollie goes crashing through the underbrush on the island and spots a plane. Except it's not Island Ollie, it's New Ollie, and travelling in that plane are Felicity and Diggle. They parachute onto the island, where Felicity promptly steps on a mine. I'm fine with that, though, because it causes Ollie to do a new thing that he does throughout the episode. He swings down on a line and swoops her up and out of the way of the explosion. Oh
Errol, I mean Ollie, I am just as charmed as can be. But no time for vine swinging. There's trouble at home, says Dig, and Ollie has to go back to Starling City.
"Trouble" consists of several things. It consists of Thea keeping her brat hand strong, and refusing to see Moira in prison. It consists of a possible hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated by a woman called Isabel Rochev (who many will know as River Tam). And it consists of four people, called The Hoods, shooting up rich people and political figures as reprisal for the earthquaking of the Glades last season. Ollie can't get a handle on even one of those things.
So let us retreat to the island of a few years ago, where things have also moved on. For some reason, even though Slade is right there in his tank top, Shado has chosen to romantically pair up with Ollie. I should be annoyed by that foolishness, but there's something so earnestly soppy in the way kiss each other. You couldn't get anything cuter unless you videotaped two puppies licking peanut butter off each other's faces. The cuteness is somewhat diminished, though, when Shado gets kidnapped by a new gang of thugs who have invaded the island and Ollie goes nuts and bashes one of them to death with a rock.
Starling City Ollie only seems interested in one of the problems he is presented with. He meets with Isabel Rochev, who informs him that, since they both own 45% of Queen Consolidated's stock, and since she will buy the remaining ten percent in two days, she will control the company. The meeting was organized by Felicity who nervously says, "Just FYI, no one is eating the bagels." Damn. Now I know Isabel is hardcore.
The Hoods crash the meeting and blast the bagels to pieces, along with the table, the glass wall behind the Arrow gang, and not even one, single, solitary human being. Dig shoots back at them while Ollie swings Felicity out of the window by, I think, the power cord on the overhead lights. Good thing they didn't eat. We don't see Dig escape, but we see him later, unharmed, which means that at least five hundred bullets were let loose in a conference room the size of two parking spaces, and the only things that got extra holes in them were the bagels.
Ollie's next stop is Thea, who is alternately making out with Roy and fighting with him because he keeps going out at night and vigilanting. My hands-down favorite moment of this episode is Oliver hugging Thea hello while giving Roy "I-hate-you eyes" over her shoulder. God, I hope those two never become friends. And it looks like they won't, because when The Hoods capture Thea, Roy can't save her. Ollie gives him a look that I can only describe as, "I-will-fill-your-underwear-with-baby-cobras," and goes to emote to the Arrow crew.
It seems he hung up his arrows because his best friend died "thinking" that he was a murderer. Ollie doesn't want to kill people anymore. He doesn't want to be like the Hoods. I approve. It's not that I don't like him killing people. It's just that I hated the fact that he'd kill a bunch of bodyguards - all of whom were doing a legal job - and then leave the main villain alive. When they kidnap Thea, he doesn't think he has a choice.
Fortunately for The Hoods, they go down without much of a fight, and there's no killing. Ollie chains them all to a fence, and delivers them to a newly-busted-down-to-beat-cop Quentin Lance. Who, hilariously, is still around to question people after every. Single. Crime. In that city. When the Hood delivers the bad guys to him, Quentin is actually making a traffic stop. It's too delicious. And then it gets even better because Oliver shoots an arrow into the air and swings off into the night. Every time he does that in this episode I clapped like a seal. I was that pleased with it.
The next morning, Ollie goes into the business meeting with Isabel, who has bought five more percent of the remaining stock. Who gave Ollie to buy the other five percent? Walter Steele. He lent Ollie the money. Ollie and Isabel are now going to be partners. Come on, River, you should have seen that coming like a reaver attack.
Thea realizes, while a bunch of guys are sticking a gun in her face, that Moira only worked with Malcolm Merlyn because she was afraid. She makes up with Moira - who frigging works her prison uniform. Thea happily informs Roy of her reconciliation with her mother, but he ends the call to go stop what looks to be one of those sad moments on network TV when male extras awkwardly shove a female extra around and try to make it look sexually intimidating. Roy gets his ass kicked for his trouble, but before the male extras can really hurt him, he gets saved - by a blonde, leather-clad woman. Could it be Laurel?
God, I hope so, because Laurel breaks my heart in this episode. It's not because she's sad. It's because she decided that, although she cares for Ollie, and forgives him, she can't be in a romantic relationship with him. But they'll still be close. And she thinks the Hood is the worst of the worst, and his vigilante activity brought all the trouble to Starling City. And she's kind of involved with a different guy.
And all of that? Is exactly where she was in episode two of season one. That's so depressing. How can the actress stand it? How does Katie Cassidy not wake, completely motionless, and stare with dead eyes up at the ceiling until someone comes in and forces her out of bed? The entire show is the Indy 500 and her character's in a car up on cinder blocks with weeds growing through the holes in the floor.
Question of the Episode: What the hell does Felicity even do, anymore? Last season I thought they were stretching it when they had a computer person do a spectral analysis on water. This season she's designing crossbows and building glass cases in her private life, and at work jumping out of planes and supervising the snacks at meetings.