Last night's Arrow was a connector episode. There was some downtime to absorb last week's shocker, and a lot of set up for the final two episodes. But we didn't need big changes, because there were seven truly great little moments.
7. Bad Decisions Finally Catch Up to Thea Queen
We open with the funeral of Moira Queen, but we'll get to that in a minute. The first thing that filled me with joy was a scene with Isabel Rochev, back from the dead and clearly loving life, walks into Thea's club and repossesses it. (Considering she died, she should be especially good at possession.) Verdant is part of Queen Consolidated's assets! And Isabel owns those, now. It's beautiful. Thea's dismissive to her, and Isabel steps on her like a rhinoceros stepping on a gummi bear. Thea is left sadly hunched over in her club, thinking, "It's almost like it was a bad idea to throw all my family's assets away by not signing a paper that would have saved them. Maybe if I explain to people that I was really mad at my mom and brother at the time, they'll reconsider!"
6. Walter's Starched-In Manners
I began this series sure that Walter was a villain. It stood to reason. He was a villain in the comics. The name "Walter Steele" would look good carved into the side of a cliff-face on a private island with a missile silo on it. And of course there was the accent. (Don't blame me, English people. If you wanted to sound like good human beings, you'd imitate the Scots.) It turns out not only is he good, he is correct - ostentatiously correct. Ollie is missing during much of the first part of the episode, including the funeral. The rose sitting on his vacant chair is kind of an awkward reminder, until Walter reaches over and quietly picks it up. It's not fooling anyone, but that doesn't matter. Walter isn't having an awkward rose at his ex-wife's funeral.
Ollie, who has been brooding, is rousted by the Arrow team and goes to talk to Thea. Walter is there. Thea has just come to him with her troubles, wailing that she's homeless and jobless as if she didn't make herself (and all the other people in her family) that way on purpose. She wants to leave Starling City. Walter invites her to stay with him instead, which if you ask me is the most heroic act of the episode. When Ollie comes in, Walter turns, looks at him, and says, "Oliver, we missed you at the funeral." That line, making it seem as if they'd just failed to see him, like his own mother's funeral was a crowded train station and they couldn't possibly have expected to find him there, is so perfect I want to marry it. I hope Walter's around more next season.
5. Darts to the Neck Solve Everything
Ollie encourages Thea to leave, because he's going to give himself up to Slade in the hopes of stopping Slade's whole plan. Of course that won't do it. It's been demonstrated that if Slade wanted to kill Ollie, he could have. Plus there's that superpowered army running around. But, let's face it, Ollie was never particularly bright. I wonder what the (clearly very clever) Queen parents thought, looking at their children. "Well, they won't get along on their brains. But at least they're rich. I don't see how anyone could go through all our assets in just one lifetime. That would take real idiots!"
This bad plan turns glorious when Ollie, who is giving himself up on the pier where the Queen's Gambit set sail six years ago, gives a long, despairing speech to the unseen Slade behind him, only to find out it's not Slade. It's Dig (presumably) with a dart to Ollie's neck.
4. Dig's Little Smile
Felicity and Dig get information on Sebastian's plans from one of his helpers. They do this by threatening the man with financial ruin, but that's not the great moment. The great moment is when Dig abducts the guy. The man is on the elevator, someone tells him to hold the door. He does. It's Dig. They exchange quiet pleasantries, and then, just as the doors are closing, Dig turns to him and gives him a little smile. It's the kind of smile you would give someone if you were offering them some apple cobbler. It's just so wholesome! Oh, that little smile. That little smile!
3. Oh for God's Sake, Laurel!
The order behind the dart turns out to come from Laurel Lance, who in this episode finally enters into the main narrative. She takes a while to become useful, as first we get emotional arguments about how Ollie "can't do this to Thea," and all his friends, but then Laurel realizes that she has actual information. Remember that friendly guy, Sebastian Blood? She found out that he was in on the conspiracy to kill Ollie's mom! (This leads to Ollie showing up at Sebastian's victory dinner like Judas at the last supper, but was not quite in the top seven moments because Ollie didn't kill Sebastian in the restaurant, pay the check, and leave.)
The Arrow team finally makes a plan. Slade's soldiers, along with Blood, are in the sewers, so they are going to blow up the block above them and crush them all. As they are heading out, Laurel says, "I'm coming, too!" You can only see the back of the Arrow team, but their unspoken exasperation is so perfect. I want to have them, in that moment, cast as figurines that I can put on display in a china hutch. It's so darling! No, Laurel. No, you can't come into a disaster zone. Remember what happened when you did the last time? Someone got impaled. Not again, Laurel. Not again.
2. Again? Of course.
Except yes, again, of course. Laurel comes along. To be fair, she does smack a supersoldier who is choking Ollie. To be less fair, Ollie and she get cornered, and he has to blow up the ceiling. And that's the ceiling of the sewer. That can't end well.
And, again, of course, Quentin Lance is again the cop on duty when a supersoldier starts killing cops in the police station.
And Dig is again waylaid by a henchmen, who in this case is Isabel as The Ravager, so he can't help Ollie, of course.
And Thea, waiting at the train station to board the next train out of town, is threatened, of course, by another supersoldier who happens to terrorize the crowded building where she happens to be. Again.
And, oh yes, once again, in the flashback, Ollie sends Sara off to "be safe" while he commandeers and ancient sub to attack Slade, and when he contacts her, something's clearly wrong. Of course.
I'm not complaining! This is how drama should work, with the main characters in the main theaters of action. I'm saying that at this point even the characters seem to be befuddled by the fact that they are once again, against all odds, in the line of fire. This is the second murderous mad man to burst into a building where Thea was sitting this week. It's the second time a murderous mad man disrupted her transportation plans this week. I'm not bored, certainly not when I see the supersoldier army marching on Starling City, but I'm surprised the characters aren't. "Ugh. Another psycho with martial arts training trying to murder me and take over the city? How banal."
1. Barrowman's in the Preview for Next Week!
And that's all I have to say about that.