Arrow’s farewell tour continues, with the current and future teams still working to fit in together. You can’t do a spin through Arrow’s past without including Russia, and that’s where they’re heading this time. We visit an old friend/occasional ally, get another familiar face back, and see loyalties tested in the conflict with the Monitor. “Prochnost,” depending on how you translate it, means either strength or endurance, and has also been used as a toast between Oliver and one of his allies.
The show opens with several old favorites at once: a training montage, tennis ball shooting, an inventory of trick arrows, and stick fighting. Why they do so much stick fighting when none of the characters carry them in costume/in the field, I’m not sure, but Mia learns a lot. We also get a great exchange about her cooking skills. There’s some banter from William before they start dealing with the issues at hand. Oliver needs an experimental weapon which might be able to defeat the Monitor, and plutonium to power it. Oliver, Mia, and William will go to Russia after the plans, while Diggle plans to recruit someone to go to Bialya (another made up DC country) to get plutonium. Two asides: why don’t they give William some fight training, since he rarely manages to stay in the bunker (and considering how often the bunker gets attacked), and, on IMDB, David Ramsey is credited this week as “John Diggle/Guardian.” Either he changed names off-screen or they’re mixing him up with Supergirl’s James Olsen. Neither one is good. Diggle pulls Oliver aside to express concern about bringing the kids to Russia, where Oliver did so many questionable things, but Oliver thinks he’ll be able to handle it.
In a dark alley, Laurel meets up with Lyla, and the pair conspire against the heroes on behalf of the Monitor. Laurel is surprised that Lyla would do this, and there’s a lot of discussion about the Monitor’s motives and goals. Since Connor is off “checking in with his mother” (and how did that go? “Hi, Mom, I’m your son from twenty years in the future, how’s it going?”), Diggle needs someone else to come along. Rather than Dinah or Rene, both absent this episode, he manages to track down Roy Harper, in hiding again after his bloodlust incident. Roy wants nothing to do with this at first, but Diggle is persuasive.
The Queen Family get to Russia and meet up with Anatoly, who has returned to his native land and opened up a bar that, as far as we see, no one ever goes to. Anatoly is bemused by the now adult versions of the kids, but rolls with it. There are some vague hints about the Bratva, but Oliver wants to avoid them. Spartan and Arsenal plan their caper as Spartan explains some of what’s going on to the archer. There’s a non-explanation about why Dinah and/or Rene couldn’t come, and Spartan expresses some concern for Roy, which Roy isn’t ready to hear.
To no surprise at all, finding the man they need is going to involve going to a fighting club. Oliver hears some things he didn’t know about Mia’s past, and benches the kids for this part of the mission anyway, seriously pissing off Mia. The cage match is brutal, featuring a Russian, low-rent version of Danny Trejo, and Oliver, Laurel, and Anatoli find their man. The general they are meeting with recognizes Oliver, prompting a jibe from Anatoli about secret identities and bringing back a name that has a lot of weight for Oliver: Kapiushon. As an excuse for more action, the general wants to win a bet, so wants Oliver to fight in the pit. As that’s arranged, Anatoli expresses some doubt about Laurel’s reformation. Oliver brutally downs his foe, prompting Mia to comment, “Wow,” because of course she and William didn’t do as they were told.
Because nothing ever goes smoothly for Oliver in Russia, his deal gets screwed up when the Bratva show up and tase Oliver and Mia, capturing them. After waking up, Oliver and Mia argue over his keeping secrets, treating her like a kid, and what’s going to happen next. With some cliché threats, the Russians find out what Oliver is after. Back at the Bar of No Customers, William worries, Anatoli explains some of how the Bratva operate, and Laurel makes a comment about the family that’s both mean and helpful. Energized by a new idea, William starts teaching Laurel something new.
While waiting for their target to show up, Diggle gives Roy some serious spoilers about the future. It sounds like by the time this is done, the future we’ve seen in the flash-forwards will be changed. Oleg, the head bad guy, puts Mia through a test we’ve seen before, and she doesn’t quite make it. William, Anatoli, and Laurel figure out where the captives are, while Oliver demonstrates his thumb trick, which Mia immediately wants to learn. There are various arguments about what to do next, and Oliver, brilliantly, wants to send Mia and William home. At least he admits to the source of his blinders on this issue.
Arsenal and Spartan (or Guardian, I guess) get their objective and Diggle talks Roy down from the start of a problem. Oliver broods, because that’s what he does, and Anatoli talks some sense into him. Mia throws knives during her similar talk from Laurel. They all regroup and agree on a new plan, with William getting to “suit up” for once. It’s actually the second time this week that “suit up” means getting dressed fancy. I guess with the nature of the Crisis, there are echoes in time between the Flash and Arrow groups. They get in the club again, William accepts some very long odds for his father and sister, and they make a dramatic entrance. There’s a lot more fighting, heroes having each others’ backs, and it’s mission accomplished. Somehow, Oliver and Mia ninja smokebomb out of the big locked cage, which makes no sense at all unless they somehow borrowed the gadgets from Nash over on Flash. Like I said, echoes.
There’s a happy gathering/end of mission, with some banter about Anatoli sharing some things from Oliver’s past with the kids. Oliver makes some admissions to the kids and agrees to stop keeping things from them. Anyone else want to bet that doesn’t last? Roy and Diggle get back to the bunker and Roy makes a decision. Anatoli muses on change, the team takes their leave of him, and that’s probably the last we see of the man. Another good send off for a character that played a big part in the series. The episode ends with a clandestine rooftop meeting that’s going to change a lot of things and ends with a series of surprises.
What I liked: I always enjoyed Anatoli (well, except when he was working for Diaz), and it was good to see him again. It was another farewell to a piece of Oliver’s past, and I thought it worked pretty well. The fight scenes were well done, and William is getting better at bluffing his way through bad guy strongholds. I’m very glad Roy is back. I applaud Laurel’s decision near the end.
What I didn’t: The smoke bomb bit made no sense at all. I don’t get what’s going on with Connor, who also got a line in the plot summary for this episode that didn’t happen. I wanted a better explanation about what Dinah and Rene were up to. Teach William to fight already!
All in all, another good episode in a powerful final season. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5.