The saga of Oliver is in prison and everyone else fails to capture Diaz continues with “The Demon.” There will be a few spoilers in this review, so be warned if you haven’t seen the episode yet. The episode starts off with Oliver, still looking very battered and bruised from the cumulative events this season, on his bunk with the ever-present picture of Felicity and William. A new but also abusive guard comes in and demands Oliver get to his feet. Dr. Parker has apparently ruled that Oliver is fit for the next phase, and Oliver gets brought out to the main dayroom of Level Two. As they come in, two guards are dragging a prisoner off. In another cell, Oliver sees the leader of the group that attacked him in the shower. Oliver learns about the disturbing visitation policies down on Level Two, and gets placed in his cell. The cells are horribly designed, with horizontal bars that have gaps between them big enough that I think I could fit between them.
Curtis and Diggle give their report on the recent field mission to Switzerland. As the ranking officer, I’d think Lyla would be doing that, but she’s conveniently somewhere else. The assistant director doesn’t care about Switzerland, but has a new case for them involving a rogue chemist and dangerous materials on the loose. They have a special assignment for Curtis, and he’s not at all interested. Diggle tries to understand, while the director just makes it an order on the way out.
Oliver tries to get information from his buddy from the showers, and the man clearly doesn’t want to talk. Things go badly, quickly, and Oliver gets beaten uncharacteristically easily. That’s ok, though, because this scene is about making the big guy serve as a Star Trek red shirt. He gets dragged off to the infamous room with the blue door after showing how the wrist band works. The huge man is clearly terrified.
At City Hall, Felicity drops in on Laurel, and they talk through Felicity’s plan to track the “escaped” Silencer. They’re still not getting along great, and Felicity’s opinion of Laurel’s technical skills seems to about as low as Laurel’s own opinion of them. After some amusing banter, they get some new readings on the tracker. Oliver wakes up with someone in his cell (not surprising, given what I said about the bars earlier). After an impressive fight, the intruder is revealed to be Talia, not seen since Lian Yu blew up and thought to be one of the fatalities. They argue about choices both of them have made, and Talia darkly hints that there’s a lot more going on behind the closed doors of Level Two than Oliver knows. She asks for his help to escape, and he tells her to get out of his cell. He says that his name isn’t Oliver Queen, he’s Inmate 4587. Dr. Parker did a number on him. Apparently, Talia owes her current captured status to “an old friend in Gotham.” It’d be easy to assume that’s Batman, but, with what they’ve revealed about the upcoming crossover, I think it’s much more likely to be Batwoman.
Felicity shows up for her visit with Oliver, and gets stonewalled by the guards about why he isn’t showing up. By great coincidence, Oliver’s buddy Stanley is there, and he gets Felicity to pick up the phone in the booth. She gives Stanley a message for Oliver, and Stanley returns the favor with some bad news. Stanley offers a few more dire warnings about the prison then scurries off, leaving a worried and confused Felicity behind. Diggle coaches Curtis through his initial undercover meeting with the bad guys, who spring a few surprises. Another meeting is going to be necessary, and Diggle is floored when Curtis vehemently refuses and storms off, saying his days in the field ended when Oliver went to prison.
Laurel makes a threatening call to the prison, and an admiringly Felicity says Laurel is scarier as a lawyer than she was as a supervillain. Felicity tries to hack a few answers about the prison, and can’t find what she wants to know. She and Laurel agree there’s something very wrong about the place. Back on Level Two, Oliver watches as the big guy demonstrates how badly this place can go wrong. Oliver goes to Talia for some answers, and the two argue some more. A frustrated Oliver demands to see Dr. Parker, and gets told he’s essentially out of luck.
Dinah gets unexpected company when Felicity and Laurel show up and tell her what their concerns are about Oliver’s newest problem. After they refuse to go away, Felicity tells Dinah why they need her help. It’s actually a decent idea, and even Dinah agrees to do it. Diggle talks to Curtis, who is more than willing to work for ARGUS, just not in the field. Diggle is surprised to hear Curtis say he’s afraid, and the scientist goes over all the things his vigilante life cost him. Diggle gives Curtis a peptalk and leaves the younger man to make his own decision.
Oliver, after lying about a few things, gets his meeting with Dr. Parker. Parker is still obsessed with his “cycle of violence” idea, and Oliver is a lot more interested in the secrets he’s uncovering. Parker darkly hints that this sounds like the “old” Oliver, righting the wrongs of strangers. I still don’t think that’s a bad thing, myself. To me, it sounds like Oliver cares about people and Parker is poised to become a mad scientist/supervillain type.
Felicity and Laurel both complain about the state of the SCPD file room, and Dinah makes some excuses. Felicity uses some really twisted logic to blame herself for Oliver’s predicament, and the others reassure her Oliver would understand her focus on Diaz. Felicity has a mini breakdown, worrying the others. Oliver and Talia strike up an uneasy alliance and agree on their escape attempt, with a few conditions.
Diggle briefs the ARGUS strike team, and a reluctant Curtis agrees to help again after all. The evil villain monologues about his plan, and Curtis gets some help from Diggle and a really cool ARGUS toy. Oliver and Talia mount their escape attempt, and it’s ugly and violent, as you’d expect and Parker would be so disappointed by. Felicity finds some information on the less-than-good doctor, and gets a lot more worried.
Oliver and Talia get themselves captured and then lectured by Parker. Oliver does something that is utterly unclear to free himself and drops the guards as Talia slips her own restraints. They manage to fight their way through the chaos of a riot, and show some moves unlikely to work against people in full riot gear like the ones they fight. After a hurried discussion, Talia agrees to do what Oliver wants while he covers her escape. It’s great he doesn’t want to be a fugitive for the rest of his life, I get that. But between the prison being corrupt as hell and the new charges he’s picking up (how many times did he assault Law Enforcement this episode?), I’m not sure he’s better off staying. It sure doesn’t look like it when the guards manage to use superior numbers against him finally.
In the aftermath of the chaos, Level Two is shut down, and Oliver returns to his old cell, having made zero progress in his hunt for Diaz, but then, neither has anyone else. Parker’s hurried departure is interrupted by someone intent on giving him some payback. Curtis and Diggle examine a new lead in trying to find out what’s lurking inside ARGUS. Silencer rejoins Diaz in an unexpected place, as Diaz gets some of his own payback. Laurel actually makes a friendly offer to one of the cast, leaving everyone surprised.
What I liked: It’s good to know Talia survived. I’m hoping this means some of the others killed on that island silliness will be back. Oliver and Talia make a good team, as do Felicity and Laurel, surprisingly. I don’t blame Curtis for having his doubts about going back out in the field. The way they showed it, he was always the weakest of the Team Arrow operatives that way.
What I didn’t: Dinah just seems more wishy washy as the season goes on. “I don’t support vigilantes, I’m a by the book cop now. Except now. And maybe now.” I’m really beyond sick of Diaz as the untouchable boogeyman. I’m not sure Oliver’s choice to stay made any sense at all. The thing I’m most interested in this season is the new Green Arrow, who is once again not even around. I’m in a similar place with future Roy.
It was a decent episode, but they’ve done better. Then again, anything is better than last season’s mess. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.