The other CW-DC Comics shows all had a 6 month gap between their seasons. Arrow, always having to be a bit different, went for 5 instead. “Fallout” is an appropriate name, as they very slowly tease us with who survived the blast on Lian Yu and who didn’t. I was hoping that, since they blew the place up spectacularly at the end of last season, we’d finally be done with Flashback Island. Sadly, this episode zips back and forth between present day Star City and the immediate aftermath of the explosions across Lian Yu.
The opening scene starts with Green Arrow attacking a large ship full of gun thugs. Well, that’s a safe enough start. Green Arrow wasn’t in danger from the blast, so we all knew he made it out. Of course, there’s also the detail of the show being named after him. Madman Alex Faust (no relation to DC’s various mystical characters of the same last name as far as I can tell) is threatening the city, ready to launch a fairly powerful missile if his ransom isn’t paid. As the scene goes on, we see Spartan, Wild Dog, and then Mr. Terrific, so we can add a few more to the safe list. The bad guy is caught and the missile sent away from the city. Shortest episode ever… just kidding.
After a quick flashback to the island starting to blow up that really tells us next to nothing, we cut back to the Bunker. In what might be a hint, Rene, when he’s not Wild Dog, is doing Thea’s old job, and has notes for Oliver to use in his address to the Police Academy. There’s a brief bit of suspense about whether Felicity made it or not, but then she comes in with Big Belly Burger for everyone, including William, Oliver’s son who was such a big part of those last few episodes in season five. There’s some awkwardness about Felicity finally meeting William, and she convinces Oliver not to try it tonight.
After another mini-flashback of Oliver and William, Oliver goes home (nice to see he finally has a place again, since I’m really not sure where he was living after he and Felicity broke up), where his nanny Raisa is now caring for William. She gently mocks him for bringing his son junk food. I’ll just say that things are not well between Oliver and his son.
At the police department, Dinah has somehow meteorically risen to Lieutenant after being with the department for less than a year (next to impossible with police unions being what they are). She interrogates Faust, who seems utterly unimpressed and keeps demanding a soda. Dinah gets called away to check in on Quentin Lance, and instructs a uniformed officer to get the guy his drink. Here’s a tip: when a mad scientist type asks for a specific item, bring him just about anything but that particular thing. Dinah finds Quentin, who is deep in a self-pity/guilt party, which generally speaking is Oliver’s act.
Well, Faust does a MacGyver routine which involves the soda and a fake tooth and stages an escape, aided by several mercenaries and Black Siren, so apparently she survived as well. Pity, but I guess they wanted to keep actress Katie Cassidy around, since she’s been part of the cast since the show started. In the aftermath, I guess a lot later-math since it’s now daytime, Oliver reviews the wreckage along with Rene, Quentin, and Dinah, who has managed to steal some crucial evidence- video of Black Siren, who everyone thought was dead. We get hints that the team is keeping more secrets from each other, just to add more drama flakes to the situation. Diggle goes off to see if he can get any leads from Lyla, while Oliver goes home for more William-drama. Have I mentioned I’m not real fond of sullen kids?
After yet another flashback that doesn’t tell us anything (are they getting paid by the dissolve?), Quentin comes to Oliver’s office to talk. We get hints that Quentin and Dinah are hiding something about Black Siren back on Lian Yu, but Oliver gets called away by a lead in mid-conversation. Lance insists on coming along, and Oliver agrees. I guess Lance’s heart condition is under control/forgotten about again.
We get another action sequence, as Black Canary blasts a van out on one of Star City’s frequently deserted highways. Canary and Siren square off, and Siren gets in a joke about Canry’s new costume, but she would have gone with fishnets. Fishnets are a signature piece of Black Canary’s comic book costume, and have been avoided by all the various Canaries so far on Arrow (Dinah is the fourth). The bad guys manage to get away after we see Spartan freeze up during the fight and Green Arrow make a spectacular save when one of the team gets knocked off the overpass. Maybe staging a fight way up high wasn’t a great idea?
Back at the bunker, some of the rest of the team regroups and they manage to bring a tech-clue for Felicity to play with. Sure enough, it leads to… an abandoned warehouse. They’ve used this so often that even Felicity makes a comment about it. Maybe let the bad guys have a base somewhere else occasionally?
There’s yet another flashback, although this one actually tells us something, and then the team goes to Ye Olde Warehouse-ee. Black Canary and Spartan are the search team, and they get tangled up in a dramatic conversation about her hiding things concerning Black Siren, and his freezing up in the fight. To be dramatic, Spartan falls victim to the ongoing stupidity of almost every masked hero on tv or in the movies lately of taking his helmet off in public. Their discussion/argument ends when they find a clue.
This time, the flashback centers on Black Canary, Black Siren, and Quentin. Siren is definitely playing on Quentin’s problem with her being a doppleganger for his dead daughter Laurel. As Oliver prepares to go the Police Academy graduation, which has been moved to City Hall after the big attack (the graduation was going to be at the police station?), he and William have more issues, in a scene pretty much designed to club Oliver over the head with guilt and regret.
Felicity, not being blind despite the big glasses, notices Oliver is upset, and he says they just don’t have time to talk about it right now. The team is there, using some of Mr. Terrific’s gadgets to search for explosives. Since those gadgets are apparently complex, Felicity is in the field while Spartan stays at the Bunker, running communications. Quentin finally reveals that back on Lian Yu, he shot Black Siren when she was trying to kill Black Canary. Guess he didn’t shoot her enough.
Oliver gives his speech, which is actually not bad, and everyone tensely patrols the room. Felicity and Curtis bicker about no costume/no codename as they search. The expected attack comes… back at the Bunker (really, who HASN’T found Green Arrow’s top secret headquarters at this point? He should just give tours and charge admission as a fundraiser for the team). Spartan is way outnumbered, even without whatever is making him freeze up and/or miss every shot he takes. He still fights hand to hand just fine, though. Green Arrow, of course, gets back in amazing time to help with the fight, and the rest of the team filters in. Interestingly, Mr. Terrific hasn’t really fought at all this episode, relying solely on his T-spheres in each situation. I get Curtis kept losing fights, but really, that’s not at all what the character is supposed to be about. There’s a lot of chaos and yet more bombs before Siren and company retreat. Quentin draws on Black Siren, who mocks him and just walks away as he stands there, guilt-ridden. Ok, NOW Quentin has something to feel guilty about.
The team starts cleaning up the Bunker, realizing the Academy graduation was just a distraction. Oliver and Quentin talk about Quentin hiding what happened with Black Siren on Lian Yu. Oliver, of course, forgives him and says he’s sorry his friend had to go through that. Oliver then goes to the hospital to check on wounded friends and meet up with a few people. We see the fate of one of the last few we weren’t sure of from the blasts on the island, one of Team Arrow gets some good news about something Prometheus had screwed up, and Oliver talks with a sometime friend/sometime foe. After another mini-flashback to the island, Spartan and Black Canary talk about what’s going on with him. I really hope this doesn’t drag out all season. We finally learn what was stolen from the Bunker and, on the face of it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Oliver has a talk with William that seems to make some progress with their abysmal relationship. In yet another flashback, we see a bit about how Black Siren survived, but not who helped her. The episode ends with a special report from Channel 52 News that could have dire ramification for Team Arrow, and goes to illustrate something I’ve been railing against for some time now. This, too, may be a major plot issue for the season.
What I liked: They didn’t keep us in major suspense about most of the people on Lian Yu. I think almost everyone is accounted for now. I’m glad Oliver is at least trying with William. The opening fight was really well done, as was most of the one on the highway.
What I didn’t: The big dramatic surprise at the end is something we’ve seen before. Do we really need this story again? I’m not really enjoying the William guilt-trip scenes. Spartan’s new issue doesn’t really make sense so far and I’m really hoping gets resolved quickly. Is this, now, finally the end of Lian Yu? Has Mr. Terrific given up hand to hand fighting? Hopefully, whoever is helping Black Siren isn’t a mystery that lingers for most of the season. There’s no way Dinah should be a Lieutenant. She shouldn’t even be eligible by most rules.
I’m glad Team Arrow is back, but I’m not sure about some of the execution here. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 and we’ll see how it goes as the season progresses.