The former Team Arrow keeps trying to find their way in the new world they are stuck with, as Oliver completes part of his goal and finally gets to “Level Two.” The episode starts with Oliver locked in a cell with weird flickering lights (the episode should have come with a migraine/seizure warning). He spends much of the episode talking with a Dr. Jarrett Parker, psychiatrist for this section of the Slab. In the comics, Parker is an obscure character who appeared briefly in the late 80’s run of Flash, back when Wally West wore the costume. Oddly, Oliver says he’s been held in the cell for days without food or water, which is illegal no matter what level of incarceration the prisoner is in. Also oddly, Dr. Parker insists on having Oliver state his name, which, of course, leads into the title screen.
Oliver insists he doesn’t belong in the prison, and Parker accuses him of not accepting responsibility for his actions. The two of them verbally spar a great deal throughout the episode. Parker asks Oliver if he has violent tendencies, and Oliver responds that he’s trying to protect his family. Currently, that’s true, but that hasn’t exactly been his motivation for his career as a vigilante under several different names. Parker shows he isn’t a total dick by giving Oliver the picture of William and Felicity we’ve seen him staring at every episode this season.
Speaking of Felicity, she and Rene are still trying to break Silencer, who they’ve apparently been holding without food or water, I guess to mirror Oliver’s plight. Silencer is a hard case and won’t cooperate, and Felicity is bound and determined to get the information she needs. When she starts talking about torture, Rene finally reveals why he was discharged from the Navy, which I’m fairly certain is the first time this has been covered. He also cautions her strongly against doing this. Rene takes off to meet Dinah for a community meeting between her and the people of the Glades.
Zoe leaves the meeting to go study on her own while Rene and Dinah set up to handle questions. Elsewhere, we see generic mad bomber working on his devices. The irate residents of the Glades pepper Dinah with problems, like them getting 1 patrol car for every 5 the other parts of the city get, and why it takes two hours to respond to a robbery call. Every one here seems to miss the vigilantes, and Dinah is getting noticeably and understandably frustrated. The bomber’s target proves to be the community center, of course, and Dinah calmly handles things by literally yelling “FIRE” in a crowded room. Brilliant. Things are going badly, and Rene takes off to get Zoe. He gets there to find the room in wreckage and flames, and the mysterious new Green Arrow zips in to rescue Zoe and get out via the same kind of retracting line Oliver used in his time in the hood. Outside, Zoe is fine, Rene praises the new Arrow, and Dinah’s day just keeps getting worse.
At a press conference later, the Star City officials blame the new Green Arrow for the fire, since he was seen there. I guess, by that logic, they should be investigating the fire department and the medics, as well? The brass directs Captain Drake to apprehend the vigilante, annoying Rene, Curtis, and Diggle as they see the news while visiting Zoe in the hospital. Curtis brings Zoe a stuffed Beebo toy, defending his choice when Rene says she’s too old for that. Beebo is really getting around in the Arrow-verse, which I’m finding more and more amusing.
When Curtis and Diggle go back to ARGUS, Rene tries to get Dinah to see reason on the issue of the new archer in town. He makes a good case, and she refuses to listen. For her part, Dinah asks Rene to have faith, if not in the corrupt city police force, in her. In Oliver’s cell, Dr. Parker comes back for another session, and Oliver isn’t feeling cooperative. Parker seems very interested in getting Oliver to renounce his father’s quest, and we see a flashback to the lifeboat with a detail that has never been mentioned before and I find to be an unlikely retcon. Parker continues to rail against Robert Queen enlisting his son in the redemption of his name and Star (does no one else remember it used to be Starling, for whatever reason?) City.
Felicity, growing more desperate, pays a call at the DA’s office. Laurel is surprised to see her, and they banter in their mildly hostile way. Laurel sounds put upon, although she only has herself to blame for that. I also find it unlikely at best that someone with no training is essentially bluffing their way through the job of city DA, but that’s another issue. Eventually, Felicity gets around to why she’s there, and Laurel is intrigued despite herself.
At the hospital, Zoe urges her father to go find the arsonist/bomber, and he declines, citing Dinah’s not wanting him to go. There’s another alert about a new fire, and Zoe shoos him out, using some of his own words against him. Rene gets there and once again encounters Green Arrow. Dinah shows up to arrest him, Rene makes a stand, and Dinah turns on Rene instead.
Dr. Parker continues to commit numerous ethics violations in his “treatment” of Oliver. Parker keeps harping on the family cycle of violence, and what’s going to be visited on William down the road. Personally, I think the doc comes across as a sanctimonious jerk, even without him being in opposition to the star of the show. When Oliver won’t agree to Parker’s weird attacks on Robert, Parker ominously orders his orderlies to “prepare the machine.” So far, I’m starting to think Slabside Prison breaks more laws on a regular basis than Oliver did in his entire vigilante career.
Felicity brings Laurel to Silencer, and things take an ever darker turn as Laurel reverts to type. Diggle goes to see Dinah to see if she really thinks locking up Rene was the best choice here. And who’s taking care of Zoe in all this? Is she still in the hospital? Diggle offers some advice that Dinah literally can’t follow, and then passes on some intel that Rene got from Green Arrow about the identity of the arsonist, that ARGUS can’t follow up on because no one knows they actually do. Dinah finally goes to see Rene and they make a temporary alliance to see who is behind the fires, which seems to be yet another land grab. Man, real estate must be the best investment in Star City, since everyone keeps trying to get more of it. Considering the string of disasters in the city, that makes no sense, but ok, whatever.
Felicity and Laurel compare notes on their lack of results with Silencer. Laurel goes a bit out of character to give Felicity moral advice. Parker has Oliver hooked up to the Gizmo-tron, which supposedly takes a person to their darkest fears. Despite Oliver’s near-obsessive worrying about his family all season, this brings him back to the lifeboat with Robert again. I suspect the machine is going where Parker is concerned with, not Oliver. Then, something shifts, and it’s Oliver in the boat with William, in a similar scenario. Whatever is going on, it seems to be surprising Parker. Dinah and Rene spot a pattern in payments from a shell company to the mad burner, and they figure out there’s going to be an attack tonight. Rene’s ties to the community help narrow down where it will be. By-the-book Dinah brings Rene with her and seems to forget entirely about the concept of backup. Because it’s more dramatic that way, I guess.
There’s a lot of fighting and bombs going off, when Green Arrow suddenly shows up to save the day. When the sprinkler system proves to be broken, GA pulls off some early-Oliver style parkour and gets the water flowing, getting a bit banged up in the process. Rene helps the archer back up, and Dinah agrees to look the other way as the costumed hero flees. At Rene’s place, Dinah comes to visit, they talk over the events of the day, and Dinah gives Zoe an odd present.
Oliver and Parker have an odd session, with Oliver giving a different answer to a recurring question. Felicity pulls off a sneaky plan that seems to fool Silencer, and even confuses Laurel, briefly. Laurel points out what they will need to do if they manage to actually find Diaz, which seems to be impossible for anyone to do.
In Flash-Forward Theater, Roy and William return to Star City, which looks terrible. William is guided via hidden GPS to Smoak Technologies, where they find a puzzling clue. They get attacked by corrupt cops and saved by Dinah, who hasn’t aged well in however long it’s been. Part of her change in appearance probably explains why she’s using a staff and not her powers. They meet a new and surprising addition to the group, hear about the situation in the Glades, and Dinah tells them some bad news about one of the things they were sure was going on.
What I liked: I’m intrigued by the future storyline. It’s good to see Roy again. In the present, the Felicity/Laurel team up was unexpected. I’m really curious to know who the new Green Arrow is. I’ve heard several different theories, and only one of them is totally out of the question. I’m glad Dinah got her head on straight enough to finally realize Green Arrow isn’t the bad guy.
What I didn’t: I don’t care about the prison story. It’s not going anywhere, and it’s annoying. Parker is a new piece of the puzzle no one asked for. I didn’t like and don’t believe the sudden change about the infamous lifeboat scene. Seriously, what does ARGUS do? They don’t do investigations, they dropped their Suicide Squad when the movie was coming out despite DC’s claims the movies and tv shows are separate, and there’s not that many supervillains around. They sure don’t catch Diaz. Then again, everyone else spends a lot of time not catching Diaz, too.
I’m really not enjoying this. I’m giving this a low 3 out of 5 and I hope they pull something off here soon. Then again, it’s still better than last season’s incredibly childish hero vs hero.