The good news is STAR Labs' cure for Mirakuru works, as a fully-recovered Roy Harper proves. The bad news is that Amanda Waller is calling in an airstrike to destroy Starling City. And the only back-up Oliver Queen has to save his hometown are kill-happy members of the League of Assassins. As John Diggle and Lyla Michaels race to ARGUS HQ to try and buy the rest of Team Arrow more time, Oliver Queen will have to make several unthinkable choices. For Slade Wilson has promised to kill the woman he loves... whoever she might be.
In the flashbacks, Oliver Queen confronts Slade Wilson for the first time. Will Oliver choose to save his former friend? Or will circumstances force his hand to take another path?
Green Arrow Year One (The flashback sequences), Green Arrow: Quiver (The trailer for The Flash), Green Arrow: Heading Into The Light (Green Arrow and his allies fighting a running battle as supervillains destroy his city), Green Arrow: Road To Jericho (Deathstroke takes the woman Oliver Queen loves as a hostage) and David Goyer's SuperMax (a high-security super-villain prison, contained on an island like Alcatraz).
Both of the battles between Slade and Oliver - the one five years ago and the one in the present - are inter-cut beautifully. The fight choreography is amazing and well-shot by the cameramen - a welcome change from other action shows where the cameras are right in the actors' faces and the action is too poorly lit to see anything.
As in 221 and 222, this episode does not begin with the standard "My name is Oliver Queen" introduction.
The group of soldiers Amanda Waller sent to take control of The Giordano tunnel out of Starling City is referred to as Easy Company. This was also the name of a fictional WWII US Army infantry unit, headed by Sgt. Rock in the comic Our Army At War. The commander of this Easy Company is Sgt. Gomez.
The Giordano Tunnel is named after Dick Giordano - an artist and inker at DC Comics, who later became Vice President and Executive Editor. He won the 1970 Shazam award for Best Inker for his work with Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams on the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series that majorly redefined the character of Oliver Queen. Among his many creative works, he also drew a Black Canary mini-series, two issues of Birds of Prey and one Green Arrow annual.
When Diggle and Lyla break into ARGUS HQ, it is 52 minutes until the time of impact for Waller's drone - another New 52 reference!
Deadshot makes use of Amanda Waller's nickname from the comics - "The Wall".
The trailer for The Flash TV series contains a callback to Green Arrow: Quiver by Kevin Smith. That story revealed that Oliver Queen and Barry Allen used to amuse themselves by "racing" Ollie's arrows against Barry's super-speed, with Barry having to catch Ollie's arrow before it hit its target.
The "Super-Max" prison that Ollie leaves Slade locked in is a reference to a movie script by Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer. Originally titled SuperMax, the title was changed to Green Arrow: Escape From SuperMax and would have detailed Green Arrow being framed for murder, locked in an inescapable prison for super-villains and having to escape to clear his name. The design for the prison was inspired by Alcatraz - an island prison - which seems similar to the jail that ARGUS seems to have created to house Slade Wilson and - presumably - other super-criminals that cannot be kept in a normal jail.
Unlike previous episodes, Roy Harper seems to be competent with a bow in this episode.
Oliver has a number of "Injection Arrows" which can be custom-fitted with any liquid - in this case, the Mirakuru cure.
Thea: If you're going to kill me, just.... get it over with.
Merlyn: Kill you? Why? Because you shot me? I'm glad you did!
Thea: ... you're sick!
Sara: To fight the unthinkable, you have to be willing to do the unthinkable.
Ollie: How are you feeling?
Roy: Ready to serve up some payback.
Ollie: Then remember your training. Remember everything you've learned.
*Ollie hands Roy a box. It contains a mask, like Ollie's but red instead of green*
Roy: Are.. are you for real?
Ollie: Someone... a friend... once told me that if you survive a crucible, you grow the stronger for it. This is to remind you of that.
Quentin: Look, I know you said you're trying another way and I respect that. But Slade Wilson and his men - they're monsters! And monsters, they need to be destroyed! You've killed before. Tonight, I suggest you get back in the habit.
*Quentin leaves the room*
Felicity: He's wrong.
Ollie: He's right. I've lost everything because I'm fighting Slade Wilson with one hand tied behind my back. The man murdered my mother. I have to kill him.
Felicity: You told me you had a choice. That years ago you could have cured Slade but you chose to kill him instead. This isn't happening because you're not willing to be a killer. It's happening because you were one.
Ollie: You're right. That's how this started. That's how it has to end. The only move he's left for me is to kill him. I can't cure him! I can't capture him! I can't even out-think him!
Felicity: Then don't! Make him out-think you.
Ollie: Slade took Laurel because he wants to kill the woman I love.
Felicity: I know! So -
Ollie: - so he took the wrong woman.
Felicity: ... oh.
Ollie: ... I love you. (pauses) Do you understand?
Deadshot: What the hell is this? Early parole?
Diggle: Waller's looking to bomb Starling City. We need your help to stop her.
Deadshot: As much as I'd love to show The Wall what we think of her, there's still the little matter of "tick tick BOOM!" Okay? We've all got minature bombs on our spines!
Lyla: You'll have to trust us.
Diggle: And Lawton? No dropping bodies.
Deadshot: Yeah, sure... take the fun out of it.
Ollie: It's over, Slade! Your army is broken!
Slade: And I pity them. But once again, you miss the point. I have the one you love. You're going to meet me where I say. Otherwise I am going to kill her.
Ollie: Yeah, you do what you have to. I'm done playing your games!
Slade: You are done when I say you are done! I was surprised I thought you had a thing for stronger women. But now that I've met her I can see the appeal. She is quite lovely... your Felicity.
Slade: When her body lies at your feet... her blood wet against your skin...THEN you will know how I feel!
Ollie: I already know how you feel. I know what it's like to hate. To want revenge. And now I know how it feels to see my enemy so distracted that he doesn't see the real danger is right in front of him.
*Felicity stabs Slade with a syringe full of the Mirakuru cure*
Nyssa: I know the power of a father's love and I would die before I let anything happen to your daughter.
Quentin: Well, here's hoping.
Thea: Roy - I'm sorry. I made a mistake. I thought I could still be with you. I thought I could still be Thea Queen. But Thea Queen was trusting. And I don't trust you. Or anyone. Not anymore. Thea Queen was also weak and no matter what it takes I will be strong. Don't try to find me. You won't. Even I don't know where I'm going. I only know one thing. I am never coming back.
Slade: Where am I?
Ollie: As far away from the world as I could get you. Where you can't hurt anyone ever again.
Slade: That's your weakness, kid. You don't have the guts to kill me.
Ollie: No. But I have the strength to let you live.
Slade: Oh, you're a killer. I know. I created you. You've killed plenty.
Ollie: Yes, I have. You helped turn me into a killer when I needed to be one. And I'm alive today because of you. I made it home, because of you. And I got to see my family again. But over the past year I've needed to be more. And I faltered. But then I stopped you. Without killing. You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you.
Slade: *pounding on the bars* You think I won't get out of here?! You think I won't kill those you care for?!
Ollie: No, I don't. Because you're in Purgatory.
Slade: *pouning on the bars* I keep my promises, kid! I keep my promises!
We see Lyla Michaels for the first time since 216. She flies to Starling City to save Diggle in an ARGUS helicopter, armed with a bazooka.
It is revealed that Thea did shoot Malcolm Merlyn at the end of 222. It is further revealed that Merlyn was wearing a Kevlar vest.
Merlyn refers to the events of 123 where Tommy pulled a gun on him but did not fire it.
Felicity lies about Roy having been out-cold since his kidnapping in 219, avoiding talking about the events of 220.
Nyssa al Ghul - last seen in 213- shows up with six members of the League of Assassins. They agree to help protect Starling City in exchange for Sara rejoining them.
Felicity graduated from MIT in 2009. No word on what her precise degree was in or what level it was at.
Ollie refers to what Sebastian Blood told him about crucibles in 204. After some hesitation, he refers to Blood as a friend.
Nyssa seems to kill Isabel Rochev. It is unclear, however, if Rochev was given the Mirakuru cure before Nyssa delivered what was seemingly a death blow.
Despite Ollie's instructions to sink the Amazo after waiting one hour, Anatoly waits two hours before launching his last torpedo.
Thea tells Roy about how Sin told her about how he was injected with "some drug" as Roy begins to tell her the truth. This happened back in 220.
Sara is washed out to sea again as the Amazo sinks, in the exact same way she was washed overboard as The Queen's Gambit sank in The Pilot.
Waller reveals that Lyla Michaels is pregnant with John Diggle's child. The gender of the child is not revealed and Diggle doesn't choose to reveal this information to Ollie and Felicity later.
Flashbacks during Ollie's confrontation of Slade reveal that Ollie found the hidden cameras Slade placed in Queen Manor during 215 and that he passed Felicity a syringe full of the Mirakuru cure while confessing his love in front of one of these cameras earlier in this episode, hoping that Slade would miss the slight-of-hand due to his fixation on killing Ollie's true love.
We find out that Ollie defeated Slade five years earlier after Slade became trapped under a piece of the Amazo as it was sinking. He taunted Ollie, who had the Mirakuru cure in one hand and an arrow in the over, and told Ollie that even if he was cured he would still kill Ollie's loved ones. Ollie drove the arrow into Slade's eye by hand.
Sara leaves with Nyssa and the other assassins on the ship The Nordic Pearl. She gives Laurel the leather jacket from her Canary costume, saying that she thinks it will look good on her.
Quentin collapses shortly after Sara leaves. A flashback suggests he suffered some kind of internal injury during his fight with Slade's men earlier in the episode when Laurel was kidnapped. He complains about a pain in his stomach before he collapses and that he can't breathe afterward. His lower abdomen also shows signs of bruising.
Thea discovered a bow and quiver that Roy had hidden in his room while packing. This spurs her to leave Roy and leave Starling City with Merlyn. She leaves Roy a Dear John letter saying she is leaving town and never coming back, saying nothing about Merlyn's return.
Slade is imprisoned in a new facility built by ARGUS on Purgatory island. Diggle calls it Super-Max.
Ollie knows how to fly a plane.
In the flashbacks, it is revealed that Ollie was taken to Hong Kong after being rescued from the sinking Amazo.
The Fridge Factor
Rochev goes down far too easily and her death - if she truly is dead - is rather anti-climactic.
Laurel doesn't do anything apart from be a hostage for the entire episode. This only serves to make the scene at the end where Sara gives Laurel her leather jacket and says she thinks she can fill it even more painful to watch.
The Bottom Line
A great conclusion to a great season. With the possible exception of Detective Lance, there are no fridgings and no unnecessary melodrama heading into Season Three. October cannot come soon enough.