TV – Arrow Season 4, Episode 3

Arrow

Steve Taylor-Bryant finds all sorts going on as he checks out this week’s episode of Arrow which involves many spoilers and some fanboying as he recaps Restoration...

"They were meta-human tattoo playing cards."

Diggle is chasing some ghosts through a lumber yard at the same time as being shot at, with Felicity watching in from the ArrowCave. He gets knocked down but the Ghost doesn’t kill him instead just runs away. Green Arrow arrives on his motorbike and starts a twisted motocross scenario across the logs before an explosion brings that to an end. Felicity hacks into some of the industrial machinery and uses it to slow down one of the Ghosts so Diggle can catch up. Diggle takes the Ghost’s tooth so he can’t bite down on his cyanide capsule but, before he can question him, the Ghost uses an electric shock to throw him off and escape. Diggle bemoans Thea and Laurel taking a holiday and leaving the team without enough boots on the ground. On Nanda Parbat, Nyssa and Malcolm “Ra’s Al Ghul” Merlyn are sparring, although Nyssa is genuinely trying to kill him. Thea and Laurel arrive just as Nyssa has been defeated, to ask if Merlyn will put Sara’s corpse in the Lazarus Pit but neither Nyssa or Merlyn think it’s a good idea and Malcolm says no, as it’s never been done before and they don’t know what will happen, much to Laurel’s disgust.

Flashback – Soldier Oliver chases down a farmer that has tried to run away before another soldier beats him with his rifle.

Diggle arrives home after a cold exchange with Oliver to find his front door open. Weapon drawn, he enters his apartment to find an A.R.G.U.S agent who says he is there to return a favour for Lyla, although it has been months since he was asked for it. He gives Diggle a photograph of a woman called Mina Fayad and explains it was she who ordered Deadshot to kill Diggle’s brother. Fayad has meanwhile arrived in Star City to meet with Damien Darhk and has brought along a friend, a metahuman who can use his tattoos of playing cards to make card weapons and kill people, which he demonstrates for Darhk by killing the Ghost who let Diggle live earlier. Back on Nanda Parbat, Laurel is unhappy with Nyssa for not supporting her request but Nyssa explains she knows the darkness that the Lazarus Pit can bring and didn’t want to put her beloved Sara through it and make her a monster. Back in the ArrowCave, Felicity can’t work out why the tooth’s DNA sample isn’t a complete workup and wonders how the man was even alive in the first place. A call comes in about a break in so Green Arrow rushes off to attend but Diggle doesn’t answer his phone as he’s busy tracking Fayad.

Flashback – One of the soldiers is warning Oliver about his restraint and stating that death is all that the prisoners understand. When Oliver asks what they are harvesting the soldier explains it’s a genetically modified drug crop made up of heroin and cocaine and one of the farmers has fled with a stolen slab of the drug.

Green Arrow arrives at a warehouse to find two dead people and a tattooed man waiting for him. The metahuman, Jeremy Tell/Double Down, starts firing the weapon cards he peels from his own tattoos at Oliver. Diggle is watching Mina Fayad but gets sneaked up on by a guard and fighting ensues, which notifies Mina’s other guards that there is trouble and allows them to shoot at Diggle but get Fayad to safety. Back in the warehouse Green Arrow is hit by one of Tell’s cards and has to run away hurt. Back on Nanda Parbat, Malcolm is explaining the effects that the pit has had on Thea and insists that the blood lust won’t go away and she needs to embrace it, which is not the news she wants, and she angrily asks for her father to think of something else. He reluctantly tells of a sage that lives in the mountains and experiments with mystical healing and says that he will take her the next day. Green Arrow is getting his wounds healed and Diggle is apologetic for not being there but Felicity has had enough and starts shouting at both the men about the state of their friendship and the lack of teamwork and states they are both staying in the ArrowCave until they sort their differences whilst she goes to Palmer Technologies to get the card looked at that was stuck in Oliver’s arm. Oliver and Diggle argue that it’s not about forgiveness but that Diggle doesn’t trust Oliver and doesn’t know if he could take a bullet for him any more. Oliver counters that he can’t rebuild the trust if Diggle doesn’t give him the opportunity. The stalemate moves to a conversation about Darhk bringing in a woman called Mina Fayad and Diggle says they must go so he can explain something to Oliver and maybe give him the chance to be trusted again.

Flashback – Conklin, the main soldier, shoots one of the farmers for not disclosing who stole the drugs. Oliver wants to try pain instead of death to get answers.

Felicity’s phone is playing up every time she enters Palmer Technologies but Curtis shows off his new inventions after Felicity says the phone isn’t a problem. None of the items Curtis is working on though are the answer to Palmer Technologies financial woes. Felicity gives an elaborate and bad story about a poker game to Curtis to cover for the fact she needs the card examined by him. Diggle shows Oliver the book he has been keeping on his brother’s murder with the photo of Mina Fayad in it and explains about HIVE which ties in with what Oliver knows about Damien Darhk. Mina meets with Darhk who is angry that Tell hadn’t dispatched the Green Arrow and, during their argument, ‘Phase 3 – Genesis’ gets brought up. Darhk challenges Tell to kill him and, when Tell fires a card at Darhk, Damien stops it mid-flight showing Mina he truly does have mystical powers before firing the card at Mina and killing her, although he keeps Tell alive warning him not to disappoint again. Thea is attacked by two men in her bed and fights them, killing them in the process under the watchful gaze of Malcolm. Thea is furious that her father is trying to get her to like the blood lust and not happy he was lying about the sage. She wants to leave and, to try keep his daughter's love, Malcolm says they will restore Sara with the Lazarus Pit.

Flashback – Oliver is torturing, but not fatally, a farmer when finally a woman states she stole the drugs. She feels they are being worked too hard and are in lots of pain so she took the drugs for medicinal purposes. Oliver stops Conklin from killing her and instead offers to hide the woman’s body where it will never be found so Conklin sends Oliver and another soldier deep in Lian Yu.

Green Arrow and Diggle, with Felicity’s help, track Mina Fayad but find her dead with a playing card in her mouth. Diggle is gutted as that was his only lead about why his brother was targeted for death. Oliver says he will help Diggle find the answers he needs. Back at Palmer Technologies Felicity and Curtis are talking…

Curtis Holt: You want me to take a look at your phone for you, Miss Smoak?

Felicity Smoak: I think we've reached the point in our working relationship where you can call me Felicity.

Curtis Holt: Have you ever considered how ironic your name is? "Felicity" refers to the ability to find appropriate expression for one's thoughts, which is not exactly something you're particularly good at.

Felicity Smoak: Yeah, you're right. Let's stick with Miss Smoak.


Curtis explains the pigment in the tattoo ink can be traceable but that also means that Tell can trace them, which he has done and starts attacking them. Felicity manages to get her and Curtis into an invisible elevator which takes them to the basement ArrowCave. Tell finds them in the lair and starts to fire cards at them. Felicity manages to hold him off with a machine gun, eventually injuring him but not until he had managed to knock out Curtis. Green Arrow and Diggle arrive back to find Curtis has been dispatched to hospital for a precaution and that Felicity has managed to track Jeremy Tell. Back on Nanda Parbat the ceremony begins to restore Sara with the Lazarus Pit. Nyssa is furious but it works, kind of, as a rage filled Sara emerges from the water.

Sara

Green Arrow and Diggle confront the fleeing Tell who gets tied up by Diggle after Green Arrow had distracted him. He won’t tell them anything though as Darhk scares him more than they do. He manages to fire off a card at Diggle which Green Arrow jumps in front of, an act that wins back Diggle’s trust in Oliver and he finally joins Oliver and Felicity for drinks where having a new ArrowCave is discussed. Oliver says he knows of a place but it will be a surprise.

Flashback – Oliver hurries the female prisoner so that the other soldier gets caught by a landmine. Oliver says she must trust him and he will make sure she is okay.

Curtis is rebuilding his lab when Felicity comes in to thank him for not telling anyone about her involvement with the Green Arrow. He tells her that he just wants to make the city a better place and thinks it’s awesome the way his boss is doing her bit. Felicity’s dodgy phone starts to give her a message, and manages to spell out her name amongst the code. Laurel is still on Nanda Parbat and goes to see Sara who is chained up and still violently growling at people. Nyssa destroys the Lazarus Pit and, whilst she is being escorted to prison, she says she can’t wait to kill Malcolm and is furious with Laurel for putting Sara through it all.

A lot went on in this episode and very often in episodic shows when you try and continue many existing stories and mix them with new ones it can go horribly wrong but the writers got the balance just about right which led to a great watch. The HIVE/Damien Darhk story continued and, whilst Darhk was his evil best, he wasn’t in the episode enough to overpower the other sections of the story and the Mina Fayad introduction linked in well to Diggle’s story which has run since the beginning. Add in a ‘villain of the week’ that also enhanced an ongoing storyline, which can be a tough sale sometimes, and that also made the episode kick up a notch. JR Bourne was superb as the tattooed assassin and the chemistry that is developing between Curtis and Felicity is brilliant light relief to the darker goings on elsewhere, like Nanda Parbat. John Barrowman is so good as Malcolm and the Ra’s mantle has just made him perform an even more twisted version of Merlyn, and you can tell he is having an absolute blast doing it. Highlight of a busy, packed but brilliant episode? SARA IS BACK! I’m managing to hide my love for Caity Lotz well, aren’t I?

Images - CW