After the last episode’s bananas cliffhanger with Slade telling Laurel that Oliver is the Arrow, we waited nearly all episode of Arrow for her to confront him about it. She would be quite angry about it the show kept teasing us all episode long.

That confrontation comes close many times, but it never happens. Instead, Laurel winds up realizing that it’s not important who the Hood is. It’s important that there IS one.

That kind of character growth for arguably one of the worst characters on the show? It’s pretty amazing. This show continues churning out great episodes and “The Man Under the Hood” was no exception.

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Slade Gets His Army

The other main plot of tonight’s episode involved Oliver, Sara, Felicity and Diggle struggling to take down Slade’s plan to create an army of mirakuru-enhanced soldiers.

They start by blowing up a Queen Consolidated Applied Sciences building. “Just a building, Oliver,” Diggle tells the former CEO. But it was an important one to Slade’s plan to manufacture more mirakuru.

To hit back at Oliver, Slade breaks into the Arrow Cave and attacks the team. (Except for Felicity, who smartly hides.) Slade makes easy work of everyone and Sara even has to go to the hospital to have her wrist fixed.

Later on, they realize Slade actually broke in to steal the skeleton key. Slade next heads to Star Labs and meets future Flash spin-off characters Cisco and Caitlin. Cisco is able to fight Slade off, but not before he makes off with an important machine.

Team Arrow realizes the device will allow Slade to transfer his blood to other people–namely the people he wants in his army. Oliver wants to let him use the machine because that amount of blood transfered will make him weak, meaning Oliver can defeat him.

Once the machine is fired up, the Arrow goes to confront Slade but finds Roy is the one hooked up to the machine. (Guess he didn’t get too far out of town last week).

Isabel and Slade show up and fight Oliver. Arrow is able to knock out Slade with some explosive arrows, but Diggle has to kill Isabel just before she’s about to kill Oliver. The Arrow and Roy then escape through the ceiling.

Back at the Arrow Cave, the team is trying to figure out how to help Roy. Oliver suggests using some mirakuru to concoct a cure, which we learn in the flashbacks tonight, DOES exist. Ivo figured out how to make it. (And he told them how to do it before Oliver kills him so that Sara doesn’t have to.)

We also learn something that’s been bugging me for awhile. Was Slade REALLY that upset about the death of Shado to do all of this?

Apparently, there was more. Oliver had a chance to give the antidote to Slade, but instead chose to kill him. Or at least tried to kill him.

I seriously can’t wait for the flashback – likely in the season finale – that shows how that scene played out.

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Oliver Tries to Save His Family

When he’s not dealing with Slade, Oliver spends the episode trying to save his family–both monetarily and personally.

Putting aside his anger with his mother, Oliver works with Moira to try and save their money from Isabel’s grasp. The issue is that they also need Thea’s signature to move the money to a place where Isabel can’t get it and Thea isn’t in a mood to cooperate. She tells Oliver she’s the daughter of two mass murderers and just wants to be left alone.

A number of additional Queen family secrets are dropped during the course of the episode as well. For starters, Robert, Oliver’s father, was sleeping with Isabel back when she was a student. (I hope we get flashbacks of this in the last three episodes of the season.)

Oliver confronts Isabel about it during the course of the episode and she claims she was Robert’s soul mate and that he had planned to leave his entire family for her. WHAT?! I really, really wish we had a flashback to back up that claim. Robert apparently changed his mind after Thea broke her arm – perhaps on purpose – during a riding accident.

By the end of the episode, Thea is still angry, despite Oliver’s insistence that Robert chose their family even though – and this is the second shocker – he knew Thea wasn’t hers.


Laurel Decides Not to Confront Oliver

Laurel’s first scene in the episode is of her examining newspaper clippings of the Vigilante–later named Arrow of course. She’s probably looking for some answer for how she didn’t realize it was Oliver sooner.

She then goes to visit her dad in prison to see if he’ll admit to knowing whom the Arrow is–which would get him out of prison. He says he doesn’t and he denies (lies) knowing who Black Canary is, just as Sara enters the cell.

Laurel quickly realizes whom her sister moonlights as when Sara is in the hospital and the doctor tells Laurel that her sister has sustained many injuries over the years. To confirm it, she follows them and sees them in costume driving off from a mission.

Before Laurel can confront Oliver or her sister, her father is beaten in his prison cell by a prisoner looking for revenge. She’s about to confront the Arrow about who he really is when Sara calls with news of their father.

At the prison, she and her father talk about the Arrow and Quentin says he doesn’t want to know whom he is. He used to, but now he realizes that if he knows who is under the hood, that means he’ll have to wonder who his friends are, if he has family, etc. “The man under the hood isn’t important,” he says, as Laurel begins to realize what the symbol of the Arrow is to the city.

So, as she leaves, Laurel threatens to sue the District Attorney if they don’t release her father. He’ll be out that night.

And she pays Oliver a visit at the end of the episode. She gives him a big hug. Tells him it’s because he is important to her.

Oliver will, of course, learn that Laurel knows who he is. And I can’t wait for that. But just as they did with Tommy learning Oliver’s secret last season, producers wisely went in a different direction with regards to how the character reacts than I expected.

Other Odds and Ends

– Cisco and Caitlin seem jammed into the episode awkwardly after plans were changed so that Barry wouldn’t appear. But I do like the continuity of Felicity always asking for him and learning he has a girl named Iris who is his “something.”

– So Isabel being dead didn’t last too long. She’s brought back from the dead with some mirakuru at the end of the episode. Kind of wish they had let us think she had died for at least an episode or two. 

Arrow airs 8pm Wednesdays on the CW.

(image courtesy of CW)

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Alan Danzis

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV