It’s all over the news: Roy Harper has been brought in by the Starling City Police Department after he turned himself in as the Arrow. The camera pulls back from the television screen, and we see two security guards making their rounds at the bank. The power strangely fluctuates, and a mysterious figure blasts the two men into bloody oblivion with blazing beams shot from his eyes.
Roy and Ollie are both in SCPD custody for being the Arrow, although Ollie is insistent on paying for his vigilantism. He offers to sign a confession and get Roy off, but Laurel enters at the last minute, declaring habeas writ, stating that he needs to be released if charges are being pressed against Roy. Learn about criminal law every week on Arrow!
Roy’s been fit for his prison orange and Ollie’s none too happy about it. He protests Roy’s sacrifice, buy Roy explains that he finally gets to save Ollie after the Arrow saved him in the Glades all those years ago. He also feels that being in prison will help him relieve the guilt he feels for killing the cop while he was under the influence of Mirakuru. Jeez, Roy, you’ve got more guilt than a Catholic!
We then go back in time to Hong Kong, with Ollie and the Yamashiros planning their next move after ARGUS attempted to kill them. Ollie decides to be proactive and take the fight to Waller before she can eliminate him and his friends.
Back in the present, Malcolm Merlyn reminds Oliver that he has no choice in whether or not he becomes the next Ra’s al Ghul (y’know, in case we haven’t figured that out 78 times so far this season) and that by denying the mantle he puts his loved ones in harm’s way. Ollie brushes him off, as he’s formulating a plan for breaking Roy out of prison. Unfortunately, he can’t get too deep into the planning stages before Captain Lance (I kept calling him “Detective” all season long. Oops!) stomps into Verdant with a SWAT team in tow and a warrant in hand. He rams his way into the basement and finds Team Arrow’s HQ. “I’ve got you now, you son of a bitch,” he declares, leaving the perfect mini-cliffhanger for a commercial break.
The cops search for prints all around HQ, but only find Roy’s, as Felicity managed to wipe everyone else’s prior to Lance’s goon squad entering. We don’t have time to discuss the nearly impossible logistics of that act before the team decides that they need to hunt down the metahuman that killed the security guards at the bank, and they enlist Ray for help.
“We need to catch this plasma death thing guy,” Felicity quips before groaning “now I see why Cisco gives them all names.”
Flashing back to Hong Kong, and Ollie has managed to sneak into the ARGUS field office…or is it? He’s almost taken out by an armed soldier, but he’s saved by a beaten and bloody Amanda Waller. She claims that General Shrieve had detained her for weeks and that he had commandeered the Alpha/Omega weapon to use it on Hong Kong. Why? Because he thinks China is a military and economic threat, so an act of unprovoked aggression against a world superpower and basically declaring war is a great idea.
Roy gets escorted to his cell, where the various inmates who the Arrow imprisoned are looking for revenge (well, at least they keep up on current events in the clink), hurling vague threats against him. Thankfully, the writers didn’t use the actual threats that would be used on a small, handsome man just entering prison.
Meanwhile, Ray took scans of the bank’s security cameras and used technical buzzwords to clean up the image to reveal…Doug Jones! Yup, the man who’s normally in about 150 pounds of makeup as Hellboy’s Abe Sapien or the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth is playing in plainclothes as a man named Jake Simmons from Central City. Ray has tracked him down and offers to bring him in, as Ollie shouldn’t exactly be seen as the Arrow while Roy’s in prison taking the fall for him. Ray suits up and shows up at a conveniently abandoned factory (a fact that Ray questions along with the rest of the viewers at home) when the power flickers out. Simmons attacks and almost takes the Atom out, but he manages to rally and escape. Ray returns to HQ, where Ollie chews him out for being dependent on his armor. “If you rely on that suit more than you rely on yourself, it’s going to get you killed,” he warns.
Another Hong Kong flashback reveals that Ollie needs to steal the vaccine for Alpha/Omega. There’s a vaccine? Against chemical warfare? Huh.
Roy gets attacked in prison, but quickly dispatches the attacking convicts. Guess he won’t be traded for a carton of Newports this day!
Ray figures out that Simmon has to absorb energy in order to generate his plasma beams. Unfortunately, he can’t discuss much more before Thea enters, despondent over Roy being stuck in prison. Ollie falls back on his original plan of breaking Roy out, despite the protests of the rest of the team. Felicity talks him out of it before leaving to plug a transponder into the main power grid so that they can track Simmons and his energy consumption.
Back in the past, Ollie and the Yamashiros break into Shrieve’s base, where they manage to swipe the Alpha/Omega vaccine, as well as a cell phone, and escape into an air vent. Y’know, I’m starting to worry about national security when 1-3 people are consistently breaking into secured facilities pretty much unscathed. Although this was around 2008, so maybe the weak economy hit paramilitary villains, too!
Felicity plugs the transponder in at a main power plant when a barely-disguised Simmons corners her, wearing his sunglasses at night (so he can, so he can keep track of the visions in his eyes?) Felicity doesn’t recognize him (even though he’s got that Doug Jones face…come on!) and he reveals his glowing eyes to her. Uh oh!
Palmer sees that the transponder is offline due to a massive power draw and he calls Felicity’s phone. Simmons answers and taunts Ray before smashing Felicity’s phone underfoot, which goads Ray into action as the Atom. However, it will be different this time, as Ollie is controlling Ray and the suit inside via neural link (like a tiny Pacific Rim Jaeger!) in order to compensate for Ray’s lack of fighting prowess. All seems to be going well, but the link gets severed in the scuffle with Simmons. Ray rallies, however (the power was inside him all along!) and delivers a punishing beatdown to Simmons. Cue “Eye of the Tiger.”
Roy is getting moved from his cell, nervously eyeing the other inmates and waiting for another attack. However, the attack comes from a guard, who pins Harper to the wall and shanks him. Lance shows up at Thea’s apartment to tell Thea and tell Ollie that it was all his fault, because he’s just running with this “angry prick” thing.
Ollie goes back to HQ, where he bemoans the loss of Roy, before Roy himself enters. We were worried for what, 3 minutes? Jeez!
Turns out the guard was an ARGUS agent planted by Diggle to stab Roy and inject him with a neurotoxin that…eh, it’s a lame soft-science deus ex machina. They thought Roy was dead, he’s not, and he leaves town to…I dunno, start a new life? They kind of handled Roy’s send off with not a hell of a lot of gravitas.
Back in Hong Kong for the last time this episode, and we find out that the phone Ollie lifted from Shrieve’s base has the plans for Alpha/Omega, which they need to stop. Elsewhere, Shrieve’s IT guy has to put together a fun but informative Powerpoint about data security.
Simmons is brought to the S.T.A.R. Labs prison by Palmer, who names him “Deathbolt.” Yecch. I’d make a joke about lame 90’s comic’s names like Bloodaxe or Foolkiller, but Deathbolt is from the 70’s. Still, yecch. Strangely, Cisco finds out that Simmons was nowhere near the accelerator the night of the explosion, which asks a serious question: how is he a metahuman?
We close the episode in Thea’s apartment, where Ra’s al Ghul is waiting for her. The two scuffle, but it ends with Ra’s impaling Thea and leaving her bleeding out on the floor. He really wants Ollie to take the job, I guess.
This episode was fast-paced…a little too fast. Arrow’s first metahuman encounter (a pretty big deal, if you think about it) was surprisingly anticlimactic, and poor Doug Jones seemed underutilized. Also, the Roy situation was introduced, ran its course, and concluded in one episode. The idea of a vigilante in prison seems way more intriguing than the show was willing to explore (fun side note: WB was working on a script from David S. Goyer called Super Max which featured Green Arrow in prison), which is a damn shame.
But the slow development of Ray keeps that breadcrumb trail going, as well as the League of Assassins storyline. While it’s not as intense as last season’s Mirakuru/Deathstroke story (which had me in a perpetual state of anxiety for the second half of the season), it keeps interest going, even as characters like Felicity are starting to slowly lose face.