In season one, Oliver as the Arrow was a loner
. He was starting to build his team, but he saw them as "employees." Tonight, he admits to Felicity what he's known for a while--they're his partners.
And Oliver learning to trust people again after what happened on the island is a big deal. Too bad, he also begins trusting a very, very wrong person in this episode: Sebastian Blood.
Since the events of the mid-season finale
, Arrow has spent weeks looking for the "man in the skull mask." Oliver, unfortunately, has no idea that it's Blood. He quickly has to set aside his search, however, when Shrapnel - another DC comic villain - starts blowing up buildings all around the city.
After the first bombing, Oliver and Diggle tap into the police frequency so the Arrow can show up and save some of the victims caught inside.
Diggle tracks down the bomber's manifesto and learns that he hates the government. Arrow and Detective Lance meet later to discuss the bomber. After Lance asks Arrow for cell phone records to help find a leak in the police department, another bomb goes off.
Felicity is able to track the bomber's location and Arrow is in hot pursuit, but he loses him and Felicity is unable to track his trail again.
When Blood gives a press conference later to announce a unity rally for the city the next day, Oliver realizes the bomber is going to have another new target. He appeals to Blood as the Arrow and tries to get him to call off the rally, but he fails.
Felicity does more research and learns the bomber is nicknamed Shrapnel and he belongs to a group called The Movement. She sends Arrow to Shrapnel's storefront, where he walks into a trap. Move one inch and he blows up.
Felicity, over headset, advises Oliver to shoot the fuse box to blow up the bombs in the store without killing himself. When he does and she loses brief contact with him, there's definitely a moment of concern - more on Felicity and Oliver below - until she hears his voice again.
She then heads with Diggle to confront Shrapnel at the rally. Shrapnel shoots Diggle in the shoulder and almost gets away until the Arrow chases him down. He claims to have bombs all over the city and wired up to a dead man's switch. Instead of shooting his hand as I expected, Oliver shoots his wire in half. It was a hysterical, easy end to Shrapnel.
Then again, he's still alive. Here's hoping he makes a return visit to foil the Arrow again.
Laurel's Investigation Into Blood
Since Oliver truly believes Sebastian is a good person, it's up to Laurel to investigate him. (Which is good, because it finally gives the actress a good plotline!)
Laurel meets with Blood and asks about his relationship with Cyrus Gold. Blood praises Gold and then tells Laurel about how he wound up an orphan. He claims his father was a drunk that beat his mother and that one day, he witnessed his mother kill him before escaping. He tells her that was the last time he saw his parents.
Later on, Lance tells his daughter that Blood's aunt, Maya, was in a mental institution. Laurel insists there's something wrong with Blood and decides to visit the aunt.
Turns out though, that Maya isn't Blood's aunt. She's his mother. And she tells Laurel that Blood killed his father, just as Arrow and Blood are shaking hands as partners to help fight crime in the city.
The Side Effects of Miraku
The other main part of the episode concerns the side effects of the Miraku drug.
During the island flashbacks, after burying Shado's body, Slade wants to confront Ivo immediately. Oliver also wants to tell him what happened--namely that he let Ivo kill Shado to save Sara's life.
When Sara tries to talk Slade out of attacking Ivo outright, he screams at her and then grabs Oliver by the throat when he interjects. He eventually comes to his senses, but storms off, and disappears at night with the Miraku after Sara receives an offer from Ivo over the walkie to hand it over in exchange for safe passage off the island.
Roy, in present day, appears to be doing much better after the Miraku injections. He's developed a healing ability, as well as super strength when he saves Moira from a collapsing light tower. Thea witnesses him using his strength and confronts him about it, but refuses to talk about it with her.
Instead of displaying the anger that was in Slade, Roy is using avoidance. We'll have to see how long he can keep his anger at bay.
Oliver and Felicity Weekly Update
(Since I desperately want Oliver and Felicity to get together like so many other shippers, I'm going to update progress on that front every week now that I'm the regular weekly recapper.)
We find out at the beginning of the episode that it's been five weeks since the explosion at Star Labs. Oliver is not very happy that Felicity has been spending so much time there, looking after Barry, who's in a coma.
When she returns after Shrapnel's first bomb goes off, Oliver gives her a long lingering look before he asks how Barry is.
But later, when Felicity fails to help Oliver pick up Shrapnel's trail after he loses it, he rips into her, saying that she's been too busy caring for Barry and that she's lost sight of the mission.
She leaves before Oliver can say something even more hurtful and Diggle calls Oliver out for being jealous--without actually saying it.
After Felicity helps track down Shrapnel towards the end of the episode, Oliver does apologize to her. He tells her how much he relies on her and Diggle and how much he sees them as his partners.
Tampering down the idea of feeling something more for her, he tells her she's gonna be there when Barry wakes up. He even puts his hand on Felicity's shoulder, which might be one of the few instances of human contact between the two of them.
It's electrically charged that entire scene and just proves why the producers are so, so smart to continue to poke at the possibility of these two becoming an item.
Overall, a great start to the second half of the season.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 pm ET on the CW.
(Image courtesy of the CW.)