Oliver Queen has many good qualities - strength, aim, the ability to seduce foxy evil ladies. But we all know that his brain is the equivalent of a bunch of earthworms tied in a knot, and he feels the consequences of that in this episode, entitled "Deathstroke."
We start out with a good example of Ollie's noodle-power early in the episode, when he is coaching Roy through an archery lesson. (Just after instructing Felicity to throw out every message from the company of which he is currently CEO.) Roy points out that it has been only hours since he broke Thea's heart, and his own. He doesn't understand why he can't tell Thea the truth. Ollie says, "Telling Thea the truth won't make her safer. Just the opposite. And anyone who is in our orbit might get hurt."
Now, anyone with the ability to hold the meaning of three sentences in their head all at the same time would notice a flaw in that plan, but a person with that amount of smarts ain't Ollie. Ollie is blissfully unaware that Slade (aided by a masked Sebastian Blood) just kidnapped Thea simply by waiting for a time when she was without her superpowered boyfriend and asking her to get into his car.
When next we see Ollie, he's at the first debate between Moira and Sebastian Blood. I don't blame him for not catching on to the fact that Blood's a villain, even when Blood says he's "responsible" for Thea being late (because of his motorcade). Blood hasn't been an obvious villain, and if anyone has to give people a pass for having frat-boy looks combined with creepy dead-lizard eyes, Oliver Queen has to. I am pissed off that Ollie, when calling his inexplicably missing sister, knowing that a supervillain is after his whole family, just sounds a little impatient with her. I would love to see Thea's face when she plays this voicemail message later. She is going to need a prescription strength swear word to respond to it.
The debate starts, and I wish both candidates would be honest about their supervillainy, because that would make it so much more interesting. Soon they get to the video question round, and up pops Thea on the screen, with a masked man behind her. That's the end of that debate.
From here on we get an episode that, if slightly tweaked, would be an excellent satire on Missing White Woman Syndrome. We're at the Queen Headquarters. On a screen is Sebastian Blood, saying he'll suspend his campaign and donate all his resources to make sure that Thea Queen is rescued. Moira is surrounded by the Starling City police force, which of course means Quentin Lance and one other guy. The Arrow team is on the case, and Felicity tracks Slade to an address.
Isabel talks to Ollie, saying they have to do a vote on a pressing issue in the next 24-hours. I wonder what would have happened if Ollie had just said, "Fine. Get everyone here in 23 hours." Instead, he picks up a legal pad, and makes Isabel temporary CEO. Remember, this is the woman who was introduced as the person who wanted to take over the company. He didn't even center the writing! He just scrawled it diagonally across a corner like he was writing a flirty message to a girl on a cocktail napkin. That's how empires are lost when Ollie is involved.
The address Felicity found has no Thea, but it does have Slade sitting alone in an armchair. Sara shoots him full of pitt viper venom, and he is sedated. Ollie calls Quentin to have Slade arrested. And as much as I try, and I have tried, I do not understand why Ollie did that. Was it the opportunity to explicitly connect Quentin Lance to a wanted vigilante? Was it the idea that Slade, unwilling to talk when Hulk-Roy smashed him across the face, might have opened up to a police officer? Or did he just relish the thought of putting a murderous metahuman in the middle of a bunch of cops who don't know the metahuman has powers, and wouldn't know how to combat those powers if they did? What were you even thinking, you shaggy blond dummy?
Whatever it was, it doesn't work out. Slade has an alibi. He gets let go. And he publicly pledges five million dollars for information leading to the return of Thea Queen.
Then he loses the Arrow team, and saunters over to Thea. He tells her he only took her to make a point, and she can go. And also that she's wearing silly pants. (All right, only I think that, but it has to be said. It looks like she bedazzled some leggings.) When Thea walks to the door, he says, "You're free to go, but if you do, you may never know about your brother's secret." Thea proves as rock dumb as her brother. When she turns back, I expect Slade to say, "You clearly did not get your father's brains," but they cut away.
Now we have a very interesting scene, both because it foreshadows another scene coming later in the episode, and because it instills the moral that Ollie has to learn. Moira, once again facing the idea that she will have to wake up every day knowing that one of her children is dead, is coming apart at the seams. Ollie, touched, but still resentful, tells her it's not her fault. What he doesn't know is that Moira feels so terrible is she believes that Barrowman kidnapped Thea because of her. Ollie knows that Slade kidnapped because of him. But neither of them feels that they can say anything. Moira tells Ollie that, as a parent, you worry about what the world can do to your children, but you never realize what you can do to your children. As she speaks, Ollie quietly takes her hand.
Ollie does not get quite as sympathetic an ear from Isabel Rochev, who does what everyone, including Ollie, knew she wanted to do from the beginning. The twist is that she's in league with Slade. Why? She cryptically says, "The sins of the father are the sins of the son." My first thought was that she's another illegitimate Queen kid, but then I remember she slept with Ollie, and that would be a little dark even for this series. Interesting, in a V. C. Andrews kind of way, but too dark. She gives up Thea's location quite willingly, and tells Ollie to come alone.
Back at the Arrow base, Roy is freaking out. Or maybe freaking out isn't quite the right term, as every point he makes is absolutely right. They shouldn't be listening to Ollie, as Ollie is making very, very stupid decisions and has been for a while. Things come to a head, and even Ollie starts yelling, but Felicity cuts them all off, saying, "Go. Go get Thea. Stop Slade. Do whatever it takes. End this."
And bam, Felicity proves she is still the best character in the series. If we could have a series of just her, and Sara, and KGBeast, I'd be very happy.
Ollie fights his way into the secret lair, but finds it empty. He calls Felicity, who tells him that Thea just walked into a police station, safe and sound. And she is. She just has the absolutely right reaction when Ollie and Moira come in to see her. She correctly points out that they both lied to her, and put her in a very dangerous situation, and are exactly alike. I still pity Moira. That woman hasn't had a decent family Christmas card photo in seven years. Ollie I pity less, since he gave Moira a hard time for doing exactly the same thing he did. To be fair, though, he does, at last, have a moment at the end where he realizes how stupid he's been.
Now let's wrap this up. Quentin is arrested for aiding the vigilante. Slade frees a bus full of criminals, who will be dosed with the mirakuru that Isabel creates. Thea tells everyone that Slade kidnapped her. Roy sees that Thea is safe and leaves town, lowering Starling City's average IQ by several points. And Slade tells Laurel that Ollie is the Arrow. Oh, and Moira is now going to win the mayoral race, because of a sympathy vote. All hail Kodos!
We end with some scenes from the island. The crew decides to trade the prisoner who can fix Slade's boat to Slade in exchange for Ollie. Slade throws Ivo in for free. Sara, being a badass, decides to strap a mine to the prisoner to blow Slade up, but Slade smells the TNT. He threatens to kill all of them, until a hallucination of Shado tells him to leave them on the island and let them suffer. The real star in this story is KGBeast, who has all the best lines.
Prisoner: "What gives us the right to decide who lives and who dies?"
KGBeast: "He is tied up. We are not."
. . .
Sara: "Can you remove the explosive [from the landmine]?"
KGBeast: "Certainly. Without it going off? Less certain."
. . .
(When taking apart the landmine.) "Russian bomb. Japanese bomb. They all go boom."