Nothing really happens in last night's episode of Arrow. And yet the episode is filled with Things Happening. Let's look at the episode-long highlight reel.
What actually happened in last night's episode? I guess they got rid of Solomon Grundy, but there wasn't really anything tight enough to call a plot. The title, "Three Ghosts," indicates the episode's disjointed nature. Even one of those ghosts — which Ollie is hallucinating — turns out not to be a ghost, further fragmenting the theme. That's how messy it was. And yet it had a lot of great moments.
This wasn't what you'd call a funny episode, but I had some private hilarity. If you recall, last episode they drugged Barry, and hauled him to the Arrowcave. Why they did this, I don't know. Supposedly they did it because he needs to cure Ollie of whatever drug got stuck in Ollie's thigh last week. Realistically, Barry is not a doctor. He can't help. So when he says things like, "I can think of four different diagnoses," I laugh and laugh and also think of four diagnoses. (I came up with flu, syphilis, fluphilis, and syphloo. Be fair. My guess is as good as Barry's.) Barry finds out that Ollie's blood is coagulating inside him. Felicity says, "But you can save him, right," and I want, so much, for Barry to say, "No, Felicity. I can't. I'm not a doctor." Instead, it's even better. He gives Ollie a dose of anticoagulant in the form of rat poison. This leads Ollie to say the line that makes me laugh until I snort nutella up my nose, "The rat poison you gave me — are there any side effects?"
There's even more hilarity when Roy takes his pierced leg to Thea and Sin, who also totally fail to go to a doctor. Instead they put him in bed and let Thea's drunken, PTSD-suffering, CEO brother yank out the arrow. Nary a protest between them. Having created a massive bleeding wound, that brother then calls his driver so that driver can make his way to the house and, when he arrives, perhaps stitch up the hole. Who are these people? Did someone in scrubs bite them when they were children?
Ollie is hallucinating three dead people. First there's Shado, who tells him to live. I don't know why she would bother, because during island flashback, Ivo makes Ollie chose whether Shado or Sarah will be killed. Given the choice between the woman who is currently his girlfriend, is a valuable and trusted ally, and has saved Ollie's life while teaching him martial arts, and the woman who has betrayed him multiple times, Ollie falls on his knees in front of Sarah. That is some blond solidarity, right there.
Shado, in what is a genuinely shocking moment, is killed. Of course, then Slade pops to life again. (When Ollie hallucinates him as a ghost he says that Ollie is a coward and deserves to die more than the conventional thousand deaths for it.) Slade uses his superstrength to massacre most of Ivo's group. Sarah displays her value by lying her head off, saying, "Ivo killed her. He didn't say why."
I'm torn about this. On the one hand, it fits into the developing plot of the episode and really works dramatically. On the other, it seems like a fridging. If anything, Shado is more of a Green Arrow villain then Deathstroke. He was a Teen Titans villain, originally. Something better could have been done with her. Then again, it's not like you can rely on anyone to stay dead on this show.
Speaking of dead people, the last ghost is Tommy. He is, I suppose, the Ghost of Self-Esteem. It's lucky he comes when he does because Ollie really needed him. Roy regained just enough leg strength to get himself kidnapped and injected with the serum. Laurel had tipped him off that Sin's dead friend had been psychologically evaluated at a suspicious clinic. (Laurel is also in a romance with Alderman Blood. I swear, Katie Cassidy must have walked into the writers' room holding a hunting knife in one hand and someone's severed head in the other because they're finally making her character relevant again.) When Roy checked out the clinic and found the guy's file stamped "Mirikuru" (oy), he got nabbed.
Ollie attempts to save him, gets beat down, and that's when Tommy's ghost steps him and calls Ollie a hero. He apparently also gives Ollie punch and murder power, because suddenly Ollie can take out Grundy with punches and acid. Roy survives the injection, is healed, and inexplicably lies to Thea about the whole thing. I'm sure that won't cause any problems.
Now let's get to the good stuff. Blood goes to his boss, saying that he'll have to re-start making the serum. We don't need more than the boss saying a few words in a familiar accent to know who he is, but I love the reveal of Slade Wilson, now Deathstroke, with the goatee and the eye patch. We've been waiting for this for a season and a half. I think this franchise found a way to get lasting success. Throw in all the Big Bad villains you can in every season. Ra's al Ghul, whoever Isabel turns out to be, Brother Blood, Barrowman, and Deathstroke — it's a delicious broth of villainy and I want to stick my face in it.
And now, the continuity question: Which did you like better, Ollie finally, finally, after all this time, getting a mask? Or Barry's big transformation into the Flash?