As Oliver is transferred to Level 2 (the worst part of The Slab) and Felicity considers how to handle her prisoner - the Longbow Hunter she's dubbed The Silencer - both will find themselves tested as never before.
Meanwhile, an arsonist targets Rene's community center, injuring Zoe. The new Green Arrow saves her, but the new mayor is more concerned about him than the arsonist, ordering Dinah to focus on bringing the vigilante to justice.
The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick (One Year Later and The Glades being sealed off from the rest of Star City), the Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (the idea of a rich elite creating their own city within a city is taken from his Rise of Star City arc), The Silencer comics of Dan Abnett (character of The Silencer), Supermax (David Goyer's unproduced "Green Arrow in prison" movie) and the film and novel The Princess Bride (hero is strapped down and tortured by a device called The Machine).
Felicity says that the assassin she captured calls herself The Silencer. In the last episode, it was said that was the name Felicity gave her.
Black Siren's talk about going bad because she lost her father and her Ollie doesn't quite work. She should have still had a mother when her Quentin died and we have no idea if there was a Sara on Earth 2 or not. Point being - Black Siren should have had at least one other loved one to stop her from going over the edge, as far as we know.
This episode may be Rick Gonzalez's finest turn yet as Rene Ramirez. Who would have thought that Wild Dog would somehow wind up simultaneously being the voice of reason regarding not using torture because it makes you as evil as the villains you are trying to fight while still arguing in favor of vigilantism and breaking the law for the right reasons and having both nuanced arguments work? Not me, and Gonzalez nails Rene in his low key intensity as he tries to balance multiple hats in this episode.
Juliana Harkavy likewise pulls off a similar balancing act. Her frustration over the new Mayor's clear indifference to the string of arson crimes outside of it being a means to boosting her profile by going after the city's sole remaining vigilante is clear, but she's still throwing everything into trying to restore people's faith in the law and, in a way, trying to restore her own faith after so many years as a vigilante working outside the system. This adds a whole other level to her fight with Rene, which is also born of her own desires to avoid seeing her friends and herself thrown in jail. It's subtle yet complex and well played.
Oliver reveals that the man his father killed on the life-raft to save Oliver's life was Robert Queen's bodyguard, Hackett. In Green Arrow: Year One, Hackett was the name of Oliver Queen's treacherous survival skills teacher and guide, who shared several adventures with Oliver before trying to leave him for dead in the South Seas. He was later revealed to be an employee of the drug lord China White, who had been using Oliver's bank accounts to launder drug money on the sly. Ironically, it was Hackett's teachings that enabled Oliver Queen to survive on the jungle island China White used as a base/poppy farm, giving him his first taste of heroism as he began to become The Green Arrow.
The Rubik's cube inside of Felicity's vault is also a holographic projector. In the original comics, technology based around Rubik's cubes were a favorite toy of The Calculator, whose Arrowverse equivalent is Felicity Smoak's father.
The movie showing at the Starling Palladium when Rene and Dinah show up looking for Jon Cortez and his crew is The Invincible Armor - a 1977 kung fu film famous for a line that seems an appropriate sentiment for Oliver Queen and most of Arrow's heroes - "I've made a vow not to kill, but it seems I must."
The canary emblem on the pin that Dinah gives Zoe is the Black Canary symbol used during the Gail Simone run of Birds of Prey.
The revelation that The Glades were sealed off from the rest of Star City and are now some kind of gated community for rich elites seems to borrow from two different storylines from the Green Arrow comics. The first was One Year Later, in which a corrupt mayor of Star City had a wall built to separate The Glades from the rest of Star City following a super-villain attack that devastated the city, hoping to find private investors to gentrify the neighborhood. The second was The Rise of Star City, which was based around a fiendish banking group called The Ninth Circle turning Seattle into the first of their Star Cities - a municipality totally run by Randian capitalism, with no social services or public works save what privately-owned business were willing to invest in. The end result was a gated community in the middle of the city, with the working class forced out of the city and into the ghettos that sprung up on the outskirts of town.
Dinah determines Diaz isn't involved in the arson in The Glades because the attack on the community center used an accelerate that was used in a number of other suspected arson cases including one that occurred on the same day Diaz broke into the CDC.
The acceptance rate to MIT is 6.7%.
The children of the incarcerated are three times more likely to wind up in the justice system as the children of non-offenders.
The vault in Felicity's office in 2038 is based on a system Felicity was working on when he was a kid. All it takes to fix it is a simple recursive algorithm followed by "a Felicity special."
The Machine is a new form of electrical therapy that targets the areas of the brain that store memories tied to a person's greatest fears.
Rene: Felicity, you don't know what you're saying. Torturing someone is a line you do not want to cross.When The Navy discharged me for what I did to a prisoner, I learned a lesson about the cost of my humanity. Because I still have nightmares of what I did. Even though it saved lives. So when Tobias Church tortured me for over 20 hours, itwas the universe paying me back. That's evil for evil!
Rene: I'm became a vigilante for her. Because I wanted her to be able to walk the streets and not get attacked, not have her purse stolen and not be offered drugs, because her mother died on these streets already. I just want a better life for her.
Dinah: I care about Zoe too. And I promise I will find out who set that fire. But you saw what happened at that town hall, Rene. These people have completely lost faith in law enforcement, because Diaz corrupted it! My job is to catch whoever did this and restore that faith. All I'm asking is that you have faith in me.
(Felicity walks into the DA's office.)
Felicity: Wow. So you are actually practicing law?
Black Siren: Why does everybody find that so hard to believe?
Felicity: Well, probably because you're not the real Laurel. Or a real lawyer. (beat) Trying saying that three times fast. What a tongue twister.
Black Siren: (testily) Okay. Listen. I am doing this for Quentin. So if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to work now.
Felicity: Yeah, I get it. I mean, prosecuting criminals must be a lot harder than being one.
(Zoe is trying to get Rene to leave her in her hospital room to save people at an apartment fire.)
Zoe: You taught me only punks forget about their community.
Rene: (smiling) Why you always got to listen to everything I say?
Oliver: Everything that I've done, I've- I've done for my son.
Dr. Parker: I don't doubt that. But it is my duty to point out uncomfortable truths, so that you can reform yourself so that you can become the man you want to be for your son. You created your vigilante persona so that you could avenge your father's wrongs. Isn't any part of you concerned that William will take your lead and become a murderer just like you?
Dr. Parker: Then listen to me.That promise to your father was made when you were vulnerable and desperate. It tainted your mission from the start, affecting you and your son. It wasn't fair of your father to ask what he did of you. You must let go of the past! Only then can you spare your family from paying for your sins.
Oliver: (breathing heavily, speaking quietly and grinning) Go to Hell.
Dr. Parker: He's not responding. Prepare the machine.
Diggle: Dinah, you're under pressure. A lot of pressure. I get.that. Are you sure it's not something more?
(Dinah just looks at him evenly)
Diggle: You know what helps me? Spending time with JJ. Family, Dinah. That helps us through.
Dinah: John - Living in the shadows is when all the worst things happen. Oliver going to prison. Vince - first undercover, and then... (pauses) That's the real reason. Because as much as I believed in Team Arrow, I had to move on. I had to be a different kind of hero for this city.
Diggle: Yeah. You know, sometimes I wonder if there's any form of justice that's 100% on the level, even at ARGUS. I think sometimes you need vigilantes and law enforcement working together to get results. Quentin Lance - he did things by the book. But Dinah? Lance was willing to work with anyone who could hep him.
Dinah: This Green Arrow isn't Oliver. I can't risk everything for a stranger.
Diggle: A stranger with good intel.
Dinah: Look, right now the SCPD is on its own. We just - we can't get justice for The Glades. So I am willing to give working together a shot - if - you do it my way.
Rene: If? I've been trying to make this happen for weeks!
(Black Siren tries to talk Felicity out of torturing The Silencer with a rusty screwdriver.)
Black Siren: This isn't you.
Felicity: (cooly) This is the new me. This is the me who doesn't wait around to get murdered. And this is the me - this is the me who fights back!
Oliver is kept in a cell, chained sitting-up, without food and water, in a cell with erratic lights and a continual high-pitched droning.
Dr. Jarrett Parker is the chief psychiatrist on Level 2 of The Slab.
The Silencer is kept in a hot boiler room with no food or water.
Rene advises against torturing The Silencer, citing his own experiences in the Navy, which got him dishonorably discharged.
Rene and Dinah attend a town hall meeting at Rene's community center.
The public in The Glades seem to be of the opinion the city was better off with the vigilantes, as the police are overwhelmed.
Police response time in The Glades is two hours.
Zoe is saved from the fire by the new Green Arrow.
The new mayor of Star City is a woman named Pollard. She immediately blames Green Arrow for the fire and orders the police to focus their inquiries in that direction.
Curtis buys Zoe a Beebo doll as a get-well present.
Oliver is able to keep track of the passage of time despite any frame of reference in his cell.
Oliver is injected with something to make him more agreeable to talking.
Oliver tells Dr. Parker about how his father killed his bodyguard, Hackett, and himself to save Oliver's life and how he asked Oliver to fix his mistakes, inspiring Oliver to become The Star City Vigilante.
Felicity approaches Black Siren about torturing The Silencer.
Zoe likes strawberries and cantaloupes.
The next fire is started at The Lofts - an low-income housing complex in The Glades.
The new Green Arrow tells Rene that the arsonist is a man named Jon Cortez.
The new Green Arrow does a flip as he escapes.
Rene blocks Dinah from being able to shoot the new Green Arrow.
Dinah arrests Rene for interfering in a police investigation.
Oliver is meditating while locked in his cell to avoid suffering as much from the efforts to break him.
Oliver tells Dr. Parker that a woman named Tatsu Yamashiro taught him how to meditate.
Rene uses his one phone call to contact Digg and ask him to look up Jon Cortez.
Diggle looks up Jon Cortez and finds that he's a merc arsonist with his own crew. He leaves Dinah a copy of ARGUS' file on him.
Cortez has been getting payments from Patbane Holdings - a shell company that has been buying up the burnt-up properties in The Glades.
Dinah agrees to work with Rene to catch Cortez.
Like, Rene, Black Siren also warns Felicity against trying to torture The Silencer.
Oliver hallucinates being on the life raft with William while locked in The Machine. He asks William to forget about him before killing himself.
Oliver says that William is the most important thing in the world to him.
The man behind Patbane Holdings is a real-estate investor named Marcus Fish.
Rene and Dinah figure out that Cortez's next target is The Starling Palladium - an old movie house on 8th Street.
Rene is recognized by Cortez's men, suggesting that his identity as Wild Dog is public knowledge even outside of his students and the people of The Glades.
The new Green Arrow helps Rene and Dinah catch Cortez and his men. Neither show any sign of recognizing who he is under the hood.
Dinah gives Zoe a pin shaped like the Black Canary emblem.
After going through The Machine, Oliver says that his name is Inmate 4587 instead of Oliver Queen.
Felicity plants an RFID chip in The Silencer's belt, enabling them to track her when she makes her escape.
Black Siren says that the Felicity Smoak of Earth 2 runs a criminal empire and is known for being ruthless.
Both Roy and William swore they'd never return to Star City.
Graffiti of an X-ed out Deathstroke mask is visible in the background at one point as Roy and William are walking through Star City. The graffiti also reads "The Glades Forgot Us."
The coordinates on the Queen Family hozen change, leading William and Roy to the ruins of Smoak Technologies and Felicity's office.
William asks outright why Felicity would be playing games with him instead of just contacting him outright.
William says Felicity was the one who influenced him to go into the tech field.
Roy says William is more forgiving than he is.
William finds a vault that can only be opened by completing a code that Felicity showed him once.
William and Roy meet with Dinah - who is a vigilante once again.
Dinah tells Roy he never should have come back to Star City, implying that he does return to Star City at some point between 2018 and 2038.
Dinah explains that Star City fell when The Glades rose. They built a wall around The Glades and sealed it off from the rest of Star City, not allowing anyone else to enter.
The SCPD are essentially a private army protecting The Glades from everything outside its borders.
The bag inside the vault contains a Rubik's Cube.
Dinah says Roy used to be much more patient in the past. This suggests that Roy got to know Dinah pretty well, as the two never interacted that we know of.
William says that making a pattern on a Rubik's cube is like running an algorithm. His favorite was "cube within a cube."
When William makes the pattern, the cube projects a holographic map of The Glades, showing secret passages in and out.
Zoe has become Dinah's protege and apparently the new Black Canary. She says she's part of a Vigilante Resistance - one of the few left fighting to save Star City.
Zoe says her dad wouldn't be caught dead in Star City, when asked about what happened to Wild Dog.
Dinah says that Felicity is dead.
Slabside Maximum Security Prison.
Star City - 2038
The Bottom Line
A solid episode, despite Stephen Amell being largely wasted giving a "drunk" performance that doesn't hold the interest of his conflicted storyline from earlier episodes and Emily Bett Rickards barely being involved in things. The Dinah/Rene stuff is golden however and the future storyline is kicked into overdrive with some major reveals. Good stuff, all around.