It’s a big thing in Arrow. The basis for Oliver’s quest is the betrayal of Starling City by its most prominent citizens. Betrayals of trust happen on a daily basis. No one can really trust anyone.

Betrayal is a fitting name for this episode.

Before I get too much further into the recap, I need to admit something important: My true reaction to most guest stars on Arrow is to squeal their names. As in “David Anders!” or “Manu Bennett!” or “Felicity!!!” Yes, I know that one is not her real name. But still. Felicity. Yay!

Anyway, back to the recap.

Need more Arrow? Check out this critics’ roundtable discussion on the episode!

A Bad Boy Is Back in Town

Cyrus Vanch (David Anders) has somehow gotten himself out of prison, despite a laundry list of charges, including 52 murders (one a week for a year!). He is met at the gate by a Bad Blonde Lady and the two immediately go kill Vanch’s lawyer for the house.

It seems that Vanch wants to take over Starling City’s criminal organizations, now that Oliver has successfully wiped out their leadership.

How can he do it? Why, by taking out the hooded vigilante, of course!

Bad Mother

If you recall the end of the last Arrow episode, Felicity (yay!) gave Oliver the copy of the journal that got Walter all kidnapped. Oliver, naturally, doesn’t want to believe that his dear mother is involved in the conspiracy.

This is going to suck for Oliver.

But when Oliver confronts Moira, she has an explanation for everything. The journal belonged to Robert Queen and listed those who owed him a favor. She doesn’t know anymore. To prove this, Moira tosses the journal into the fire.

Oliver is convinced. Diggle is not. In order to pursue the case without making his deadly archer boss mad, Diggle takes over as Moira’s chauffeur (Side note: What did Diggle do to the regular chauffeur so that the position is available???). At first, Diggle’s spy attempts yield little more than partying society women.

Then Moira goes to meet Malcolm Merlyn. Diggle, hiding in a broom closet and pretending to be a clandestine smoker, records enough of the conversation to prove that Moira is a) hiding Robert’s yacht, b) doing bad things with whoever else is in the room, and c) probably involved in the conspiracy.

Poor Oliver doesn’t take the news well.

Detective Quentin Lance: Good Cop, Bad Dad

Detective Lance has bound up every scrap of his self-worth into the quest to catch the hooded vigilante. Too bad no one else cares that much. At least Lance gets one more chance when Laurel contacts the Hood for help in catching Cyrus Vanch.

While Laurel and the vigilante meet on a roof, Lance uses the tap on his daughter’s phone to mobilize the troops and take down the hooded menace once and for all.

It doesn’t quite go that way. Oliver escapes into the night and Laurel realizes the extent of her father’s betrayal. Let’s just say the next holiday dinner is going to be super awkward.

Everyone Lies to Tommy All the Time

It’s not great being Tommy Merlyn. Sure, he’s got the girl, but she obviously has a crush on the Hood. Meanwhile, Tommy has lost all his money and every single person he cares about is constantly lying. Tommy complains about all of this to Oliver. Who is also, of course, lying to Tommy on a regular basis.

On top of this, Tommy can’t even get a date night with Laurel. She bails on a tasting dinner to meet the Hood and then gets herself kidnapped by Vanch when the two were ready to make up.

It sucks to be Tommy.

Another Criminal Underestimates the Hood

Vanch wants to take out the vigilante. This is a tough challenge, but fortunately Bad Blonde Lady has a guy on the police force. Through that contact, she knows that Laurel is the key to drawing out the Hood.

So they kidnap her. It’s a tough job — Laurel takes out a bunch of goons before getting zapped by Vanch. But it does work.

Lance gets the ransom message first, but there isn’t much he can do alone. After all, it’s suddenly obvious that someone in the precinct is feeding info to the bad guys. The only remaining help is the hated vigilante.

But Lance loves his little girl, so he goes for it.

At the mansion, Vanch spends his time in a monologue to Laurel about how many goons are protecting the property and how Oliver won’t get past them. (NOTE: Exactly how many henchmen does Cyrus Vanch hire in this episode? You’d think these guys would be harder to find, especially considering how many of them end up pierced by arrows…)

Oliver does make it into the house, only to arrive out of arrows and flechettes. This was Vanch’s plan. It was not part of the plan for Lance to come in right afterwards, guns blazing. The cop would have killed Cyrus Vanch right there if Oliver hadn’t reminded Lance who was the cop and who was the vigilante.

Lance arrests the dirtbag instead.

Meanwhile, On the Always-Raining Island o’ Doom…

Oliver reaches the spot marked on Yao Fei’s map and finds… a downed airplane? Is it Oceanic 815?!?

Probably not. Instead of smoke monsters and people with daddy issues, Oliver finds a man, Slade Wilson (guest star Manu Bennett), hiding out with a whole bunch of weapons. Through a series of fights (in which we see how much Oliver used to suck), interrogations and tough guy conversations, we learn that Slade and his partner are Australian Intelligence officers on the island to liberate Yao Fei.

That didn’t work out so well. Now, Slade wants to take over the island’s airstrip to escape. He needs Oliver to back him up. Before Oliver can even begin to become a badass, however, he finds a dual-colored mask — just like the one worn by Deathstroke.

Apparently, Deathstroke is Slade’s partner.

Oliver Deals with His Mommy Issues

Back in Starling City, Oliver is finally convinced that Moira might be in on the vast conspiracy. Brooding suddenly changes into action: Oliver crashes through his mother’s office window, sending lackeys scurrying for cover.

Glass settles on the floor as Oliver faces Moira.

“Moira Queen — you have failed this city!”

And the episode ends. What will happen next? Share your theories in the comments section below!

(Images courtesy of The CW)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.