This week’s “Arrow” found Oliver in hot water. Detective Lance (correctly) believes that he’s the vigilante in the hood and he has arrested Oliver for murder. Oliver’s family and friends are outraged and he professes his (false) innocence, but people are starting to look at him differently. “Damaged” brought some secrets to light, added some new ones and changed the dynamics of several of the show’s key relationships.
The episode begins five years earlier on the island as the mystery archer continues to show Oliver how to kill little animals. Oliver isn’t really enjoying it and wants to try and shoot the bow and arrow on his own. Archery is apparently a skill Oliver acquired over time because after he shoots his first arrow, the archer looks and him and tells him, “You will die badly.” He sends Oliver to pick up the dead animal and then Oliver gets jumped by guys with machine guns and tossed in a hole.
Back in the present, Oliver is being booked for murder and his voiceover states that they think he’s the vigilante and they have him trapped, but they’re only half right. Detective Lance is questioning him and calls Oliver a dangerous menace that doesn’t care who he hurts and Oliver insists everything is a coincidence and that he found that bag with the hood. Moira and Walter arrive and out an end to the questions. Oliver tells them he wants Laurel to represent him because she knows him better than anyone and knows he can’t be the guy in the hood. Moira goes to ask Laurel, but she doesn’t think it’s a good idea to represent someone she used to be involved with.
Oliver is brought into court and announces he’s representing himself. The DA wants bail denied and Laurel shows up and takes over. She suggests an ankle monitor and Oliver is not happy with that, but the judge agrees. Oliver tells Laurel that he knew she would help him and Laurel explains that she knows he’s not the guy in the hood because at least he’s trying to make a difference and that’s not Oliver’s style (Um, inconsistency alert, what happened to Laurel thinking the hood guy was a coldblooded killer?). Back at the mansion, Oliver wants to have a huge jail-themed party. Even Tommy thinks it’s a bad idea, but Oliver has made up his mind. Meanwhile, Laurel fights with her dad (while wearing the same striped shirt that Oliver was wearing earlier. Really, wardrobe people, who thought that was a good idea?). She tells her dad that he hates Oliver and he hates the hood guy and that’s why he wants them to be the same person. She also says that she misses her sister and mother too (Aw, poor Laurel).
Dig questions Oliver and he explains that this was all part of his plan. He knew the security camera was there and he knew the police would see it and arrest him. He figured sooner or later people would make the connection that Oliver Queen came back from the island and then the vigilante in the hood appeared (I have to give the show props for this twist. I did not see this coming). Dig is still confused as Oliver reminds him that the mission comes first and there’s a German arms’ dealer in town and he wants Dig to shadow his movements. He sends him to the Arrow Cave to get some equipment. Meanwhile, at Queen Consolidated, Walter tells the head of security about finding the Queen’s Gambit and asks him for his help with something.
The DA offers Oliver an insanity plea, but he’s not interested. Laurel thinks he should at least hear her out, Oliver offers to take a polygraph instead to prove to Detective Lance that he’s telling the truth. Laurel isn’t happy and reminds him that his family needs him and he’s not the only one with something to lose if he goes to prison for murder. Oliver has an island flashback and the men take him out of the hole and he meets a man named Edward. Oliver offers up his family’s money if Edward will help him get off the island, but Edward shows him a picture of the archer, except he’s in a military uniform. Oliver lies and says that he’s never seen the guy. Edward tells him that the name of the island is Mandarin for Purgatory and he doesn’t understand why Oliver is protecting him, he tells him to think about that when he’s begging for death and then he calls in Deathstroke.
As the mansion staff sets things up for the party, Oliver finds an upset Thea by the pool. He promises everything will be fine, but she’s not convinced and reminds him that he gave her an arrowhead. Oliver looks remorseful and then lies and says he bought that at an airport gift shop. Thea doesn’t want to lose him again (She’s growing on me even if her personality transplant is still too sudden). Moira goes to see the well-dressed man and he is super pissed about her son being the vigilante. Moira says Oliver is innocent, but he remains unconvinced and makes a few threats.
Detective Lance begins the polygraph test with the basic calibration questions and then holds up a picture of Arrow and asks Oliver if he’s the man in the picture. He says no and the detective asks about the island and his scars as a horrified Laurel looks upset. Oliver admits that he wasn’t alone there and he was tortured. Lance asks if he’s ever been to the prison and Oliver says no as Laurel gets a strange look on her face. Then he asks if he’s ever killed anyone and Oliver is quiet for a long time and then he says yes, he killed his daughter (Not the best way to go, Oliver). Oliver leaves and the polygraph technician says he’s telling the truth. An upset Laurel asks him to drop the charges. He says no because Oliver is guilty.
Oliver’s prison themed party is in full swing and he gets up and gives a speech as Detective Lance watches, unimpressed. Dig pulls Oliver aside and explains the weapons deal is going down. Oliver says the man in the hood needs to stop them, but Dig points out that he can’t leave the party. Oliver says it doesn’t have to be him (Okay, it’s time for a mini-rant. My mom called this plot twist a few days ago and I was so annoyed because “Smallville” already did this when Ollie asked Clark to pretend to be Green Arrow when Lois was on to him. I know I’m breaking my self-imposed rule not to compare the two, but it really irritates me that the show went with something so simplistic. Come on, “Arrow” writers, I expected more from you than something so obvious). Anyway, Dig is pissed too, but for different reasons. He doesn’t like that Oliver lied to him (Oh, something else someone pointed out to me that puts a hole in the twist I enjoyed. How did Oliver know that Dig would be involved and he’d have someone to masquerade as Arrow when he needed someone? Just because the writers knew Dig would know by this point didn’t mean Oliver did). But Dig agrees to do it and heads out.
Laurel arrives and wants to talk to Oliver so he takes her to his room. She makes a comment that it’s been awhile since she’s been in there and he says it was Halloween 2005 and she makes a quip about the “horrible fishnets” she wore (Get it, guys? It’s because she’s Black Canary and Canary wears fishnets). Laurel came to apologize for her father and she tells Oliver that after Sarah died, her mother left her dad (Aw). Oliver asks why she doesn’t hate him and she tells him that she did for a long time, but then the polygraph questions made her realize that she was so focused on what she went through that she didn’t ask what happened to him on the island. She wants to know and see his scars. Oliver asks if she’s sure and then he unbuttons his shirt and Laurel gets teary-eyed. She asks how he survived and he looks at her and says there were times he wanted to die, but in the end, there was something he wanted more (Excuse me while I swoon). Laurel kisses him (and it’s super hot), but then she freaks out and runs away.
There’s another flashback to the island and Oliver is being tortured. Deathstroke is about to kill him when the archer shows up and has a total BAMF moment as he fights Deathstroke and then gets Oliver out of there. In the present, Dig, dressed as Arrow, busts up the weapons’ deal as Moira is summoned to Walter’s office. He tells her about finding the Queen’s Gambit and sending the head of security to move it, only for him to die in a car accident. Walter is mad and hurt and Moira tells him that it’s not safe for him to get involved and he needs to stay out of this. Back at the mansion, Oliver is attacked by one of the waiters with a gun. Oliver fights him, but the guy goes for the gun again, just as Detective Lance bursts into the room and shoots him, saving Oliver.
Detective Lance explains that Oliver’s ankle monitor got broken during the fight and that was why he had come to check on him. The guy in the hood was spotted by several witnesses so the detective drops all charges against Oliver and Moira coldly asks him to get out of her house. Oliver thanks him for saving his life (Okay, I am warming up to Detective Lance now). Moira goes to see the well-dressed man, furious that he tried to have Oliver killed. It turns out that he did not know that she’d salvaged the boat from the ocean (how does one do that unnoticed?) so it’s really hard to tell who is playing who. The well-dressed guy apologizes, but Moira isn’t about to let him off the hook that easily. She reminds him that she’s been a good soldier and that no harm better come to anyone in her family. It was a nice little BAMF moment for her and proves she really does love her family, even if she is up to her neck in shady business.
Back on the island, the archer tells Oliver that he’s stronger than he thought and gives him a little mystery pouch. He says he’s going to hold off the bad guys and leaves Oliver trapped in a cave. Laurel arrives to see Oliver and she’s suspicious because the polygraph proved that he hesitated a little on the prison question, which means he could have lied about other things. He tells her that he didn’t want her or anyone else to see him as damaged, but he can’t sleep, he can barely eat and there’s no way he can hold a bow and arrow. She tells him that even though they’re attracted to each other, nothing can ever happen between them again. He agrees (Aw, just love each other, please).
The end of the episode was an interesting combination of Dig and Oliver talking while the scene flashed to different characters. Thea was examining her arrowhead, Walter was packing his bags to go on an indefinite business trip, something Moira was clearly sad about and Laurel was picking up her drunk father from a bar and taking him home (again, aw). Dig told Oliver that he obviously didn’t count on so many people having questions and he didn’t think about what happens when he lies, especially to the ones he loves the most. Oliver disagreed and told Dig that he thinks about it all the time and it doesn’t hurt anyone as much as it hurts him. Charged up, Oliver went after the arms’ dealer and took out his men and then he aimed his arrow at the Mueller, gave his little spiel about him being a bad guy and presumably killed him as the screen went to black.
Honestly, I’m having a hard time with this whole ‘Oliver killing people’ thing. I get that the show is dark and edgy, but I’m assuming at some point we’re going to get the character who is more of a hero than an anti-hero and that might be a little hard to swallow when Arrow is killing unarmed men just because he can. Is it the PTSD? If it is, Oliver needs to deal with that as Oliver. Don’t get me wrong; I’m enjoying the show, but I feel like it’s walking a very thin line.
Next week, the Royal Flush Gang comes to Starling City and Dig tells Oliver it’s time to deviate from the list and start helping people. See you then…