This Arrow episode, "Damaged," has it all -- torture, death, parties, arrest and even kissing! Yes, Oliver is guilty of all of this in a single episode. And yet he gets off on the charges of vigilantism. How? Check out this recap of "Damaged" to find out.
Lance Gets His Man
At the end of the last Arrow episode, we saw Detective Lance arrest Oliver for being the vigilante the police are calling the Hood. Oliver, of course, protests his innocence throughout, even taking a lie-detector test to prove things.
None of this sways Detective Lance from his conviction that Oliver is guilty. Lance is correct about this -- Oliver is totally the vigilante, as we all know -- even if subsequent events throughout "Damages" try to prove the Detective wrong.
Adding Insult to Injury
Oliver -- being the cocky, kind-of-a-jerk Oliver that he is -- insists that only Laurel can be his attorney. Naturally, Laurel isn't so thrilled about defending the self-centered jerk who dumped her before taking her sister on a doomed yachting expedition. But she believes Oliver is innocent.
She takes the case.
This does not sit well with Daddy Lance. He and Laurel fight in a very expository fashion, letting us know that the Lance family issues also include a mother/wife who abandoned the family after Sarah's death.
Fortunately for Oliver, Laurel is both idealistic and stubborn. She shows up just in time to represent Oliver at his arraignment, arranging for the young man to be released with an ankle monitor and a promise to stay on the Queen estate.
This is going to seriously disrupt Oliver's extracurricular activities.
Two Hoods Are Better Than One
Or maybe not.
You see, all of this -- the video footage showing Oliver with the hood, the arrest, the ankle monitor -- is part of Oliver's master plan. Oliver isn't stupid enough to think that no one will notice that his return coincided with the arrival of the vigilante. So this arrest is meant to throw everyone off the trail.
The plan to do this is both elaborate and simple, as befits a vigilante hero. First of all, Oliver sends Diggle, dressed in Oliver's green hood and armed with arrows, to interrupt an arms deal between a German named Leo Muller and some gang-bangers. Second, Oliver decides to throw an "I'm going to jail!" party at the house. No one -- even Tommy! -- thinks this is a good idea, but when has that ever stopped Oliver from doing anything?
So he has the party. With hundreds of semi-inebriated revelers, Oliver has a great alibi while Diggle kicks some arms-dealing butt.
Yes, Oliver Totally Has PTSD
Even Detective Lance shows up to the party, but we can guess he wasn't on the guest list. Instead, the good detective is simply following his absolute conviction that Oliver is a murderer.
Nothing can shake this belief. Not the plea deal that the prosecutor offers -- an admission of guilt due to insanity caused by Oliver's Island-induced PTSD. Not the lie-detector test passed by Oliver. Not Oliver's apology for the death of Sarah. Not even Oliver's revelation that he hadn't been alone on the island and that the people there had tortured him.
None of that matters. As Lance himself says, "There is nothing you can say to me that I would believe."
But it turns out that Oliver was totally telling the truth about that torture stuff...
Meanwhile, on the Island of Mysterious DC Comics Characters...
At least I think they're characters from the comics. If I'm wrong about this (or if I get any of their names wrong), I am eternally sorry.
Anyway, our flashbacks of the week begin with whiny Oliver complaining about how Yao Fei won't let him hunt. Not that Oliver can shoot a bow and arrow, of course. Not yet.
Unfortunately, the boy isn't so great at picking up dead animals either -- the second Oliver is out of his mentor's sight, men in black hoods grab him and throw him in a pit.
Oliver is confused by this too.
He is only slightly less confused when the ninja men take him to a tent camp, where Oliver meets a guy named Edward Fires. Edward drinks some form of carbonated beverage and wants to know the whereabouts of Yao Fei. Also he's evil.
We don't get much more than this though, because Edward immediately calls in Deathstroke (who is definitely a comic-book character) for a little torture.
Surprisingly, whiny little Oliver can withstand torture without giving up Yao Fei's location. So Edward tells Deathstroke to kill the boy. Just in the nick of time, Yao Fei swoops in, fights off Deathstroke and rushes Oliver to the safety of his cave. Where he leaves the kid, covering the exit with a giant boulder. Unless that fell there on its own. I'm honestly not too sure about that part.
How did Oliver survive all of this yucky island stuff? Why, with the memory of Laurel Lance, of course. And it turns out that she might have some fond memories of Oliver as well.
Laurel appears unexpectedly during Oliver's party, mostly to apologize for her father and for her hatred. It seems that tales of torture are enough to soften even this girl's heart. Well, they're enough if she gets to see -- and feel -- the scars on Oliver's oh-so-lovely chest.
Such fond caresses lead, naturally, to kissing. Serious kissing.
Too bad that can't go anywhere -- Laurel has standards and Oliver has a mission. Oh well. Tommy's waiting for you, Laurel!
Waiter, I Didn't Order This Murder Attempt!
And that's pretty much it for Oliver's party fun. He gets to mope in his room for a short time before a "waiter" arrives to offer drinks and deliver an assassination attempt. A lot of powerful, bad people aren't so happy with the vigilante, and this is their response.
Oliver being the super-strong, well-trained fellow that he is does manage to fend off the attack, but the gun might have won... If not for the sudden and timely appearance of Detective Lance. The "waiter" had broken the ankle monitor, triggering the alarm.
Sadly for Detective Lance, his Oliver-saving isn't done for the night. Diggle's attack on the arms deal has cleared Oliver altogether, and the police are dropping the charges. All Lance gets to do is drink the night away in I-hate-Oliver sadness.
Betrayal and Barrowman
Who wanted Oliver killed?
That would be the still-unnamed character played by John Barrowman. He is a very bad guy, obviously the head dude on the mysterious "List." In just this one episode, Johnny-boy sends minions to kill both Walter's head of security -- the fellow was charged with moving the Queen's Gambit but died in a car accident -- and Oliver.
Moira doesn't like this. Even though John is obviously the head guy, Moira does have enough clout to make sure the "List" conspiracy leaves her family alone.
Of course, Moira is doing a great job of destroying that family on her own. Walter can't accept his wife's betrayal and leaves for Hong Kong (supposedly on business) indefinitely.
That's probably safer for him.
Violence Solves Everything... Except Love...
Oliver returns to his abnormal life.
Alas, his closeness with Laurel isn't likely to endure, even with proof on innocence. Laurel noticed an anomaly in Oliver's polygraph, meaning he could have lied about anything. Oliver protests that he is just so damaged that no one can see his true self. Although Laurel accepts this explanation, she is so out of there.
At least Oliver still has his work. With neither love nor ankle monitor to stop him, the Arrow does what he does best -- arms-dealer Muller and his gang-banger friends pay dearly for their crimes against Starling City.
Looks like Detective Lance was right all along.
Do you think Oliver is crazy? Did you suspect that the arrest was part of a plan? Who is John Barrowman? Leave your comments below!
(Images courtesy of The CW)