When we last left off, there was a huge plot twist in the form of Oliver finally putting on the hood and going after his own mother. Too bad for Oliver, his mom is a scraper and chooses to get into a fire fight with him. He finds out nothing useful, takes a bullet and then has to flee.
In order to make it back to his hideout, Oliver enlists the help of Felicity, the cute computer girl that’s been helping him along for most of the show. The majority of the episode has Oliver laid out and recovering, while the action all takes place in the past, finally giving us a glimpse of what the hell went on for at least some of those five missing years.
Oliver is buddied-up with Yao Fei’s former partner, Slade, learning at least a little bit about how to fight. Their goal is to take a local airfield and get the heck off the island. But Slade wants to flee without Yao Fei and then order an air strike of the island to boot. Oliver’s not so hot with his idea and so sets out to rescue his former buddy on his own. Of course, he gets captured yet again and Slade has to come to his rescue, going head-to-head with his half-and-half mask buddy and, courtesy of a dagger to the eye, removing him from the future of the series.
This week’s offering was definitely more action-oriented, but in such a way as to break the cliché arrow-shooting bad-guy-of-the-week routine that they’ve been relying on so far. It was also nice to finally get a decent-sized block of the Oliver’s past storyline so as to renew my interest. With most episodes presenting less than 2 minutes at a glance, I was beginning to not care at all what happened on that island.
And perhaps my favorite part of this episode, Felicity jumping on board with Oliver and Diggle, if only for a limited time. She’s too smart of a character and fills the holes that Oliver has in his skill set to let her linger in the background the whole time. Hopefully the writers decide to keep her around and not head back to the same mediocre two-man dynamic.
A definite improvement in the series, this week’s episode is one of the best so far. I’m hoping that they can keep up with both the action and the character development so that this first season of Arrow comes to a satisfying climax in the coming weeks.