It’s been several weeks since Oliver Queen stood on that mountain and had a sword fight with Ra’s al Ghul, at least in our world. In the TV show world it’s only been a couple of days. But, since we know that Oliver got himself run right through and his carcass kicked off of that selfsame mountain and his friends don’t, they’ve been doing their best to keep Starling City safe in his absence. They are not doing the best job it turns out, as the episode “Left Behind” has told us. This is an episode all about consequence, and how much a group’s dynamic can rest on one single person. Oliver Queen, as we’ve known for a while, might well be the only thing keeping that city and all those people from falling into unimaginable chaos.
We begin with the Starling City police, along with 3 of the 5 minutes of screen time for Officer/Detective/Lieutenant Lance, chasing a truck containing bad guys. Luckily, they’re being chased by the Arrow on a motorcycle. Wait, but are they? Doesn’t that guy usually wear green? Yep, ol Red Arrow/Arsenal/Speedy Roy is riding the bike, and Diggle is on a bridge wearing the Green Arrow suit, though it’s clearly not meant for a man of his muscularity. Seriously, Diggle might be the only man on Arrow who can out-muscle Oliver Queen. Anyway, they manage to capture one of the baddies but the other’n gets away.
Back at the Foundry, Felicity is not doing great with Oliver having been gone for three days with no word. Everyone’s worried, but she remains optimistic, Roy remains cautious, and Diggle prepares himself for the worst. He claims Ms. Smoak is in denial, which she clearly kind of is. Felicity is also splitting her time a lot between the Arrow Cave and Palmer Technologies with her new boss/love interest/superhero Ray Palmer, who is still trying to work the bugs out of his Atom suit. It’s not going great. Felicity also thinks he should be careful, because fighting crime can’t be as easy as all the movies where guys wear suits make it seem (great dig at Iron Man there). Ray tells her it has to be baby steps, starting small.
Laurel is doing her prosecutor thing and getting the criminal Roy and Diggle caught arraigned. She doesn’t take any of the guff at all. This guy, along with the fella who got away, worked for a notorious mobster named Danny “Brick” Brickwell, played by guest star Vinnie Jones. He was incarcerated in Iron Heights until very recently. The escaped man is later at a hideout used by Brick and, despite their friendship, Brick is convinced that the man had stolen from him. He gives the man the deal he always gives: if the guy can take Brick down with his own cherished pistol, then he can walk out of there. If not… well, the guy only just grazes Brick’s shoulder with the pistol so Brick beats him to death. Charming.
At Thea’s apartment, she’s training with Malcolm Merlyn and he continues to be impressed by her skills. The training suddenly stops when she gets a text and rushes to it. But it’s not Ollie and she’s worried again. Merlyn says that he could use his contacts to check on Oliver, which makes Thea very grateful. Merlyn certainly isn’t doing it out of any real concern for Ollie; he knows that if Oliver challenged Ra’s al Ghul and lost, then Merlyn himself will still be on the hit-list. He goes to the Foundry and voices his concern to the three leaderless heroes. He then, because apparently Nepal is just a quick drive away, goes to the mountain where Oliver died, finds the scimitar still sticking out of the ground, and brings it back for Felicity to analyze. It’s very likely Oliver’s blood, and his body couldn’t be recovered from the ravine, he says. Though Dig and Roy have lost hope, Felicity has one last gasp, bolstered by Laurel’s sureness that Oliver is still alive.
While this is happening, Diggle and Roy have tracked Brick’s activity to the now-empty warehouse, where they find only a smoking husk of a human (the guy) and a burning pile of paperwork. They manage to save some of it, and on it are strings upon strings of numbers. Later at the Foundry, whilst they’re in much turmoil, Diggle figures out that the string of numbers are actually individual case files, each pertaining to evidence on bad guys the Arrow crew have helped put in jail for the past 9 months. They figure out that Brick is going to steal all this evidence so the baddies sitting in jail awaiting trial will have to be released.
Felicity is having a breakdown at Palmer Technologies because of Oliver. She again beseeches Ray not to go forward with his plan, making the cheap-shot remark that his dead fiance wouldn’t have wanted that. How the hell would she know? Ray is none too pleased that she said that, being super out of line and all, so Felicity excused herself just in time to help Dig and Roy try to stop the heist.
Turns out, these guys, as good as they are, and even though they have police back-up, really need Oliver to properly take down baddies. While Roy and Dig do manage to take out some of Brick’s guys, Dig gets into a fistfight with Brick himself after shooting the mob boss in the head and it does absolutely nothing but graze him. A-what?! (In the comics, Brick is actually made of stone.) He’s about to crush Diggle’s windpipe but Roy shoots him with an arrow. While making chase for the truck carrying the evidence, the heroes are trapped in the warehouse by an electronic closing door.
Later, they learn that Felicity is the one who remotely shut them in, and out of the chase. Diggle isn’t pleased, but Felicity maintains she did it to save them. She didn’t want to lose any more friends. She decides that, with Oliver dead, she’s done and walks out of the Foundry, turning the lights out behind her, even though Dig and Roy were still standing down there, which is a dick move. She then goes to Ray to apologize, explaining that she’s lost too many friends recently and can’t lose another (being Ray). She says she can’t stop him from fighting crime, but she won’t help.
Thea has asked Roy to get work to Arrow about finding Oliver. Oh, the irony. Roy later tells Diggle about this and wonders why they don’t just tell Thea Oliver’s secret now that he’s dead. Laurel comes down to the Foundry and Diggle tells her the sad news and says he’s not even sure what to do now without Oliver. He was the man’s bodyguard and couldn’t save him. He’s lost. Laurel, on the other hand, has found her purpose. She’s going to take up the mantle of her slain sister by becoming Black Canary, which she does for a moment of beating up a couple of Brick’s guys.
Merlyn goes to Thea and tells them they have to leave Starling City. Forever. “You know, because I got your brother killed in order to try to square my debt with The Demon’s Head, but it didn’t work and now we’re super hosed if we stick around”… he seemed to say.
In very brief wraparound moments, we see that someone in black (it’s Maseo) has found Oliver’s body (it’s Maseo) and is dragging him somewhere (it’s clearly Maseo). Oh, and hey, that person ends up being Maseo, who has brought Oliver to his now apparently-ex-wife Tatsu who uses her witchery to bring Oliver back to life. This is due to what happened in this week’s Flashback with Oliver and Maseo on a mission to retrieve a vial of something for Amanda Waller. Oliver was meant to kill someone but didn’t and let them get away, but he did so to put a tracker on him because he believes it will lead them to where Tatsu is being held captive. Maseo thanks Oliver and says he’ll be forever in his debt, hence the life-saving.
This week was something I didn’t think would happen: an Oliver-lite episode. But, largely, I think it worked. Diggle becomes the de facto main character and leader of the group, but he doesn’t have faith in himself, and Felicity really loses faith in everything she held true. Oliver meant that much to her. Brick seems like an interesting new villain, and it’s about time we saw Laurel do something heroic and not lawyer-ish. Next week, stuff happens more and a war begins to brew for the fate of the Glades. Enjoy the teaser for “Midnight City” and we’ll reconvene next week.