Did you go out and sniff the air last night? That special tang wasn't the nog n' pine scent of the holiday season, that was people across America falling in love with Barry Allen. "The Scientist," last night's episode, makes that doe-eyed dork absolutely irresistible.
We start with something battering down a giant set of doors. Officially, it's Cyrus Gold, a.k.a. Solomon Grundy, a.k.a. that guy with the bleeding eyeballs that Brother Blood shot up with superserum last episode. I actually think it's Barry Allen's personal appeal, which is so quick and powerful that it precedes him into the story.
The break-in turns out to be at a Queen Consolidated warehouse, and so Felicity, Ollie and Dig all head to the break-in site and puzzle over the stolen centrifuge and the snapped necks of the security guards. In comes the man we've been waiting for — Barry Allen, who is part of Central City CSI. He tells the Arrow crew that he worked a similar case in Central City, and gives them various clues, but I don't listen because my god, it's like someone personified Bambi. It's like someone gave an eagle scout the soulful gaze of John Keats. It's unreal. With his cute little white-soled shoes and his big wet eyes, he's like a young David Tennant as the Doctor and Felicity takes to him exactly like the Whovian we know she is.
Queen Enterprises gets another shake-up that day. Moira is back, and Isabel doesn't like Moira, and Moira doesn't like Isabel, and Ollie, oblivious to all of this, decides that the best way to get Moira back in people's good graces is to "throw a party." Sure, Ollie. I can't see that as a set up for an epic snubbing.
Barry sets up his work-table in Queen Consolidated. It seems that Felicity invited him over, and Ollie agrees to the arrangement with a "Mm-HM" so strained it's like someone is, at that moment, tightening a vice on his testicles. Barry gets close to Felicity — as anyone would, because she's wearing a dress with a boob window for most of this episode — and asks her... about the vigilante. He heard that she was rescued by him. What was he like? She says he was green, and Barry goes on about how it's obvious he trained in a forest or a jungle, or else he'd use black as camouflage. Also, he mentions a material composition that would help the arrows get better "penetration." Arrow fans know that Felicity does not pass up an entendre, but Barry doesn't even notice. (Well. Maybe he notices a little.)
He also notices that, in the centrifuge-stealer's footprints there are traces of sugar. Felicity finds a sugar refinery in town and sees that one of their vans was stolen. And that van was just used to rob a blood bank! To work, vigilante!
Ollie flags down the van and gets the first of two ass-kickings that episode. Solomon Bane-dy doesn't even seem to notice that Ollie is punching him, and doesn't flinch when an arrow is driven into his thigh. Instead, the arrow bends.
While Felicity patches up his wounds, Ollie recounts that, during his time on the island, he fought people like this. The flashback shows Ollie, Shado, and Sarah hauling a dying Slade through the forest to the worst-hidden submarine ever. Seriously, it's just sitting there on the surface of the water, in a little bay. How did anyone not find that? At least the Island Crew was distracted by Ollie learning that Shado and Slade now like each other, and Shado learning that Ollie was a cheating bag of shit in his former life. It's interesting. If you concentrate on her face you can actually see her love for him die.
They go down into the sub to find the "miracle" drug, assuring Slade he'll be okay. I would love to have heard that assurance. "Don't worry! You'll be fine! We're just going to shoot you up with an experimental drug from 1945!" They find it, but not the sedative that Slade needs to survive the process of being dosed. He chooses to get shot up with the drug anyway, has a touching moment with Shado, then screams and ""dies"" (I'm using two sets of quotes because one set just isn't enough for that fake-out death) as Ivo and his men storm the ship. (Ivo: "How did I not find this for a whole year? I could have found this in five minutes on Google Earth!")
Meanwhile, back in Starling City, Barrowmaaaaaaaaaaaaan has found Moira, and wants her to tell Thea that she is his daughter. He gets soppy, saying, "I think we both needed someone that night," but to the intense disappointment of many fanficcers doesn't describe it more. He just says "betraying" his wife's memory made him feel guilty enough to go to Nanda Parbat, where he was trained. He demands Moira tell Thea, and Moira does not look happy about that.
Barry, meanwhile, is back at the Queen lab, trying to analyze what was in the blood on the arrow that Ollie drove into Grundy's thigh. He's looking over the various chemicals in the lab and yelling, "Nitric acid next to hydrazine? Permanganese on top of acetone! This is the definition of dangerous!" Lightning lights up the sky behind him. Oh, well-played Arrow. Well-played indeed. Felicity, unaware of Flash continuity, happily invites him to Moira's party. But it seems it is not to be! Ollie storms in and says that Barry is just an assistant at the Central City CSI, and he has no right to be on this case.
Barry spills that his mother was murdered. Ollie counters this plea for sympathy by angrily saying, "By his father." Ah, Ollie? You're really not one to talk about parents with body counts. Anyway, Barry says that his father didn't do it. When Barry was 11 something came into his house "like a cyclone," and "inside the blur was person." His father fought it, and Barry tried to help, but the next thing he knew he was 12 blocks away. His father is innocent, but serving a life sentence. Barry leaves and Felicity gives Ollie the stink-eye of righteousness, pointing out that it's not like the Arrows are ever honest about their motivations.
Ollie seems to realize the error of his ways, as he invites Barry to the party. When Felicity thanks him he says, "FYI? They will card him at the bar." Ha! Also, no kidding. Those giant eyes? That spiky hair? The ridiculously delicate chin? He's either 14 or drawn directly onto the screen by anime artists. Ollie's act of charity pays off, as Barry seems to be the only one who comes. There are a handful of people, but otherwise there is a big empty dance floor. Fortunately Moira, who is absolutely poised and in an act of amazing chutzpah is wearing a scarlet dress, can act gracious. And Felicity can light up a room as she and Barry — and I'm sorry but I really can't resist and neither could you in my position — flashdance.
There is one other hiccup, as Isabel is one of the few attendees. She tries to be nice, saying that Ollie is a good son. Moira agrees, and adds, "if not the best judge of character." How do I put this? Imagine to people deciding to duel, and then turning on the first pace and firing at each other at point-blank range, and when neither of them die, just trying to tear out each other's throats with their teeth. That was the look these two women gave each other.
At the end of the night, Ollie and Thea console Moira (who has just been talking to a strange man), but Moira in no way needs consoling. Instead she pours herself a drink and waits for Barrowman to walk his chin cleft through the door. She then points out the League of Assasssins frowns on earthquake machines and Ra's Al Ghul was grateful for the information that Barrowman was still alive. Give Barrowman credit. He smirked his way into that house and he damn well smirks his way out, saying to Moira that it "isn't finished." I hope not, you marvelous, siberian-husky-eyed psycho. I hope not.
Ollie, who is peeved about the party, and who has just found out that the ketamine in Grundy's system came from a certain place, has to make a quick stop by Roy's special alley. Roy, Thea, and Sin have been tracking down a missing artist friend of Sin's. They find him dead, supposedly overdosed, and bleeding from the eyes — like all of Brother Blood's victims. Roy wants Ollie to look into it, and wants to help. Ollie is not looking for help. Roy says that he "has friends," and that Ollie "can't stop" him. Ollie mutters, "I can slow you down," and shoots Roy through the leg, and leaves him, bleeding and hobbled, in a filthy alley in a bad part of town. Okay. I am now going to pause so I can get down on my knees and thank god that I was here see this moment. That's how fun that was.
It also removes any guilt I might feel when Ollie gets bounced off three walls by Solomon, and ends up near death with a bunch of drug needles in his thigh. The Arrow crew is lost as to what to do in this medical crisis, and decide that the only rational way to respond is, no kidding, to tranq dart poor Barry and drag him to the Arrowcave, and then wake him and ask him to save Ollie. Oh, this episode was everything I was hoping for.
(Incidentally: Thea is the only brunette in a whole family full of towheads. Did the idea that there was some other genetic input involved really never occur to her before?)