In "Corto Maltese," we finally see a key character in the Arrow universe revealed for who they really are, even though they're never on screen. And it's so very satisfying. Learn who the (probable) villain will be this season.
Thea Finally Makes a Good Choice
And no, I'm not talking about her haircut. I've decided I'm not a fan of it. It's too severe, although I freely admit that "severe" fits her character at the moment. (Fantastic make-up, though. Too many actors on this show are spackled with the stuff, so a light dusting really works on her.) At the beginning of the episode, we flash back to last season, when Thea got in Merlyn's car. She says that she's going with him because she doesn't ever want to "hurt" again. That doesn't work out well for her, as Merlyn's first act is to pour scalding hot water over her hands, saying that "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
Thea does not feel like repeatedly scalding her hand is good training. She tells him she can't continue, at which point Merlyn gives her the brutal beating that, I'm sorry, you should expect when you throw your lot in with a psychotic mass murderer, no matter how much his eyes look like twin pools of mystery. When she stops crying and grabs a sword to defend herself, she begins her journey to badassery.
That journey is interrupted in the present, when Ollie arrives in Corto Maltese and finds Thea calling herself "Mia," in a good nod to the Mia Deardon character in the Green Arrow comics. Ollie convinces her of a few things. The first is that her true "father" is the man who loved her and raised her. The second is that that father killed himself so that his son could live, meaning that both of their real parents sacrificed themselves so that their kids could lead happy lives, preferably together. Mia comes to her senses, partially. She has a very cool duel with her biological dad for her right to go home, but doesn't seem to take his promise that he'll see her soon as the threat that it is.
Laurel Meets (Baby) Ted
Those who spotted Wildcat as a boxer in the first episode have good eyes, and should be at least partially gratified to see that he's back. Unfortunately, instead of a gruff father-figure, he's a young hot boxer. (As the wholesale slaughter of parents in both the superhero genre and the CW genre shows us, it's better to be dead than old.) Ted Grant runs into Laurel when she's asking about a burglary committed by one of his students. He gives a fake alibi and a real personality assessment. Laurel, he says, is burning with rage.
Laurel proves him right by going after the abusive boyfriend of a girl from her AA group. She gives the guy three full swings with a baseball bat, and he shrugs it off like it's nothing. Either it's a foam rubber bat or Laurel has the arm strength of a sleepy kitten. Anyway, after her face is rearranged, she goes to Ollie, demanding he train her. His incredulous rejection is like a tiny, sweet sip of nectar. Oh, how I love that moment. Ted Grant, however, takes on the challenge. Eye of the tiger, Laurel! Good luck!
Felicity Has the World's Best Boss
Guess who helped Laurel find the abusive boyfriend? The same woman who helps everyone find everyone. Felicity spends her first day at her new job working for her friends. (Well, she spends her first few minutes of the day re-enacting the last scene from Working Girl. You know the one where Melanie Griffith walks in expecting to be an assistant to an executive in an office, and finds out that she's actually the executive and the person in the office is her assistant. Love that scene. Sadly, there's no Harrison Ford in this, but Brandon Routh is still really working for me as Ray Palmer.)
Throughout the day, Felicity puts off Ray as she finds people for the Arrow team: Thea, the abusive boyfriend, and this guy, Shaw, that Digg is looking up for Lyla. More on Shaw later. For now, we just enjoy Felicity dubiously asking Laurel, "Are we 'favor' friends? Are we even friends?" We also enjoy Ray Palmer taking all of this like a champ, although he gets his money's worth. Felicity manages to extract data from a destroyed Tech Something at the applied weapons lab that the Arrow Team bombed last season. As Felicity leaves for a few days, because it's only right for Arrow's best character to go give her blessing to the cast of The Flash, Ray sees the weapons information that Felicity has unearthed. I expect something will come of that.
Finally! Finally, Arrow!
And now to Shaw. Shaw is an agent of ARGUS. He's gone off the grid in Corto Maltese and Digg is tracking him down for Lyla. Turns out Shaw is tracking down a lost list of ARGUS agents that is going to be sold to a mysterious Mr. Armitage. Oh wait, Shaw is actually the one doing the selling. When Digg finds out, he gets tasered in the chest, and it takes the whole Arrow team, including Roy, to stop the sale of the list.
When Digg, angry that his child's life was in danger, corners Shaw, Shaw laughs at the idea that he was doing it for the money. He was doing it to get away from ARGUS. He tells Digg that Digg "doesn't know" Amanda Waller, and doesn't know "the person she turns you into." He then begs Digg to kill him, or say he died, rather than turn him over to ARGUS.
Yes! Finally! I've been complaining about Amanda Waller since she debuted, and for good reason. From blowing up a guy's head as he's driving through a crowded city to trying to murder 500,000 people in an ineffective plan to kill 50 supersoldiers, she has been nothing but evil from the moment we've seen her. And now that Arrow seems to be acknowledging that evil, I am fine with that. Amanda Waller as a savvy anti-hero, doing what needs to be done? Ridiculous. Amanda Waller as the big boss, the psychotic murderer entrenched in a system of power and corruption? Amazing! Perfect! Get everyone together and take her down! I can't wait!
Oh, and at the end of the episode Nyssa shows up to set up the episode for next week. That's gonna be interesting.