From the get go of this episode we’re set up for a ride. We start six months ago, the night of the siege and we see where Cupid, aka Carrie Cutter (Mary Winchester cough) got fixated on Arrow. Oliver saved her, she decided that he was the only man for her and off we go. I have to say, with only six months of archery training she’s not half bad of a shot.
Amy Gumenick plays psychologically disturbed quite well, she’s the ideal mix of creepy, scary and sad at the same time. The scene on the railroad tracks where she makes the decision to die to be with Oliver instead of live on and her expression when he rescues her again really encapsulate everything a person with those kinds of thoughts would be feeling. I hope to see her in future episodes either with or without the Suicide Squad.
Ray Palmer – He is what Oliver Queen would have been if he hadn’t become Arrow. I think that is what is hurting Oliver the most in the episode as he watches Felicity move further away from the Arrow cave. Oliver had all of that, he had the company, the money, the idea to save the city but the path he chose was diametrically opposed to Ray’s. He is seeing just what that choice cost him, his family’s company renamed, the woman he loves is moving on and he’s stuck in a dark place both physically and emotionally. This episode was the first one where Oliver’s world has truly become just Arrow. There is nothing left of his life before the shipwreck now and I think it will be interesting to watch just how that impacts his choices during the rest of the season. Oliver’s pain filled reaction as he vented his rage after seeing Ray and Felicity’s kiss was filled with so much and Stephen really bared his soul in that scene. It’s not often we see Oliver truly lose control.
The sneak of the ATOM design was a great easter egg that we all knew was coming but it was still fun to see. Ray’s balancing act between platonic and interested in Felicity was top notch and his reaction after the kiss left us as bewildered as Felicity. When we see him in his office looking at the ATOM design we start to realize that he, like Oliver, is struggling with mixing business with pleasure. As his plans unveil throughout the season it looks like Felicity will be back in the same spot she is with Oliver. Being interested in a man who’s being driven by something much deeper than love.
Felicity – Can we just take a moment and laugh hysterically at her reaction to Ray doing the salmon ladder? First off, I absolutely adored how the set design in that scene was. It was the Arrow Cave in the light of day in case you missed the similarities. I prefer Oliver’s industrial strength version though, much more impressive. Felicity’s face was priceless and there was this moment where you saw the memory of Oliver come flooding back, then the irony of the situation hit her and then, well the fact that Ray Palmer is no slouch himself when it comes to physique sunk in. I am enjoying watching the two of them interact. Ray’s such a fun character and it’s fun to see Felicity’s quirks, her babbles and awkwardness being mirrored by a male in her life. They really are a great match.
Diggle – I had a hunch when they introduced baby Sara into this season and then had Felicity choose to move on with her life he would end up in front of the computers while Arrow and Arsenal are in the field so when I saw that dynamic I wasn’t surprised and it made sense to me. It works well as it gives a chance for all the characters to have their unique role within the world of Arrow and make sure we get enough time with them. It was nice to see Dig back to being the wise sage figure and when he spoke to both Oliver and Felicity about their relationship it gave a further hint into just where his place is. He’s the true grounding force of the whole group, not just Oliver and those scenes along with his look at the end when Oliver and Roy show up at he and Lyla’s house for dinner gave you the sense that Dig’s house is really a refuge for our troubled heroes. It was great to see them relax as Lyla greeted them and show a sense of relief and gratitude that they have a shelter from all the storms they have been forced to weather.
Roy and flashbacks- Roy’s time was limited but at least he can start processing what happened with the mirukuru since he knows the truth. The fact that Cupid took him out and we didn’t get to see the fight was a bit annoying but I’ll let it go. I am falling in love with the Hong Kong scenes. The chemistry between the Toshi and Akiko is wonderful and watching Oliver be slowly accepted by them and their love for each other helping him heal his own wounds is truly touching. The fact that he smiles a lot in those scenes is great as well, even though he is learning to become an assassin and work for Argus there is a sense of peace about the Hong Kong scenes. The fact that they take place primarily in Toshi and Akiko’s house with their son there makes for some very domestic moments, like the laundry in this episode. The scene with Akiko/Katana fighting to find her husband and Oliver realizing that she is not what she seems added another layer of future development that I am excited for.
All in all this episode was one of the best of the season so far and we even got a tease of a new big bad, Boomerang. Season 3, in my opinion, has been slow to start but I knew they were in the midst of changing character relationships in a massive way and I had faith that it would pay off. This episode shows that I was right. I am excited to see where everything is going and for CROSSOVER TIME!