Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
I think you can guess from the title of the episode what this is going to be about. That’s right, Oliver and company are heading back to Russia.
So how did this wacky adventure come about? We have General Walker to thank. He escaped Department of Defense’s attempt to bring him in. It resulted in the loss of many lives. He hightails it out of the country with a group of men, supposedly heading to Russia to sell the nuke.
Since it’s personal, Diggle wants to go, and Felicity too. It’s a little unexpected, but she wants to make sure another Havenrock doesn’t happen. Rene stays behind to help out a freshly released from rehab Quentin (more on that later), and the rest of Team Arrow gets in Star City’s private jet and heads to Russia, where they are greeted by Anatoly. And when I say greeted, I mean Anatoly punches Oliver in the face. He deserved it.
No, really, he did. The punch was for Alexi Leonov. You might remember him as the guy Oliver used to track Slade and ended up getting him killed. Oliver reminds Anatoly he’s not Bratva anymore, and Anatoly tells him there’s nothing for him here and to go home. But we know he’s not going to do that.
Team Arrow makes camp in an old A.R.G.U.S safe house, and Oliver makes another attempt with Anatoly for help finding Walker. He’s willing, but it’s gotta be quid pro quo. Oliver doesn’t want to deal with the Bratva again, so Anatoly leaves.
So now it’s up to Felicity to save the day. And how she does it is, well, we’re seeing a new type of “Dark” Felicity. Dinah, using her cop knowledge, points out crooks have habits that are hard to break, and suggests Walker might be using the same type of burner phone he used in the States. Felicity figures out who the carrier is and discovers the Pandora cache she was given contains blackmail material on one of the carrier’s execs.
Felicity puts on her fur coat and slinky dress, has Curtis and Rory pose as Bratva, and infiltrates a party to call in a favor. But it’s more of a threat than “favor.” She blackmails him. It’s as simple as that. He gives her the intel on Walker’s whereabouts.
They go to the location, but it’s a trap, and Walker gets away. But Team Arrow doesn’t leave empty handed. They take a hostage. Diggle, still feeling a bit slighted for being framed, wants to torture the info out of the guy, but Oliver makes him stop, so he’ll have to be satisfied with threats of torture. For now.
Oliver overhears a conversation between Rory and Felicity about the Pandora cache, the amount of information it contains, Uncle Ben’s words of wisdom (you know what I’m talking about), whether the people on file deserve payback, and whether or not it’ll hurt Felicity in anyway, but before Oliver can say anything, screams are heard. Diggle couldn’t wait any longer. Oliver has to pull him off the hostage. Then he decides he’s waited long enough. He needs Walker’s location and that means helping Anatoly and the Bratva.
Dinah accompanies Oliver on this mission. It involves finger breaking, ordering a man to shut down his business, and machine guns. No big deal. Dinah recognizes this isn’t his first rodeo. It’s not, and Oliver struggles with being pushed back into his old ways. But Dinah, bless her, she tells him to snap out of it. Stop letting Prometheus mess with your head. He’s not infecting the people around him with a disease or anything. He’s infecting them the way we all infect the people in our lives. It’s called “living.” She also tells him the brooding gets on her nerves. I like her so much.
Later, Diggle and Felicity realize how Oliver acquired Walker’s whereabouts and are troubled by this news. However, Oliver states he would rather HE cross the line (considering how many times he’s already done it) rather than either of them do it. Felicity counters he taught them that sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty. But Oliver disagrees. He needs them to be better than him. Because they are better than him. Why do you think we work together? It’s pretty lovely and heartbreaking at the same time.
Curtis interrupts them to announce Anatoly and crew have arrived. They all head to Walker’s location and the fighting begins. Except one small problem. Walker is there, but the nuke isn’t. Walker was going to double-cross the buyer. Such a greedy jerk. Rory and Felicity deal with the nuke, while Diggle confronts Walker. Walker tries to get Diggle to kill him. He even tries to threaten him and his family, but c’mon! That’s classic giving your intentions away. It’s clear that Walker would rather die than be arrested, so guess what? Diggle doesn’t shoot him! It’s into custody Walker goes!
Meanwhile, the nuke is armed. Felicity is trying to stop it, but as it constantly happens in these situations, she actually causes the timer to speed up. While brainstorming ideas, Felicity considers putting it on a plane and basically causing another Havenrock, but thankfully, Rory says no. He figures his rags saved him from a nuclear blast once before, they’ll probably do it again. He sends Felicity away and wraps the rags around it. Oliver finds Felicity outside just as the nuke goes off. They run inside and find Rory alive and well.
You can’t go to Russia without having vodka shots, so they celebrate. Dinah, being the awesome woman she is, is the only one able to down the shots without gagging, so she becomes Anatoly’s new favorite American. I like Anatoly so much.
Diggle pulls Oliver to the side and tells him he and Felicity are not better than Oliver. They all make each other better. So sweet. Before they leave Russia, Anatoly reminds Oliver he is Bratva for life. I can’t wait for when that comes back again.
Team Arrow heads back to Star City, where Oliver decides he needs to sleep with Susan Williams. He admits to her he doesn’t want his past stopping him from moving forward, and declines to tell her about his various scars and the tattoo. Maybe one day he’ll tell her.
Rory has discovered an unfortunate side effect to using the rags on the nuke. They no longer seem to work, so since he’s now a liability to the team, he leaves, but he promises Felicity he’ll be back. As Felicity says goodbye, she gets a text from her hacker fangirl, who encourages her to keep digging through the Pandora cache. Oh, she will.
But what about Rene? What’s he been up to? He’s been helping Quentin prep for an interview with Oliver’s snuggle buddy, Susan Williams. Because Susan can be vicious, Rene throws hard practice questions at Quentin, including asking him if he blames himself for Laurel’s death. Quentin does not handle that well. He kicks Rene out. But they later make up. Rene was trying to help, and Quentin is still dealing. Laurel’s a raw wound.
Luckily, the interview goes well. Quentin credits Rene with it, because Rene had told Susan a story about how when Rene was a kid, Quentin caught him tagging a building, and instead of arresting Rene, Quentin told him he do better and be more than a petty thug. Quentin doesn’t remember this, but Rene swears it set him on a better path.
Bratva ends with Susan meeting a source, who has photos of Oliver surrounded by the Bratva five years ago. They also have photos of “The Archer,” who was hanging around Russia at the same time. What a coincidence! Or, as Susan points out, it’s not a coincidence if Oliver is the Green Arrow.
Oliver is instructed to take out a drug dealer, by Talia, as a form of practice. He does so, and Talia is pleased with his performance. But she still wants him to get back to Starling City to get started on his father’s list. She points out one name in particular – Hideo Yamane. You might remember him as the guy who supplied Thea with her drugs back in the day.
Anyway, he’s in town. What a coinkidink! And he’s right there for Oliver, in his early Hood outfit, to cross him off the list. What’s even better is Oliver tells Hideo he’s failed Starling City right before shooting him full of arrows. One name off the list. Good times.
Oliver is unsure what to do. He doesn’t know how to leave the Bratva, but he goes to talk to Anatoly, only to find him badly beaten. It seems Anatoly had confronted Gregor about his ties to Kovar. Anatoly laments that since Gregor is the boss, there’s nothing they can do. Except maybe kill him? Oliver’s just throwing out a suggestion. Anatoly considers this, and naturally, Oliver doesn’t discuss his plans to return home.
Other points of interest
~ Curtis says Dinah’s Canary Cry is the sound of a thousand Beyonces.
~ Where’s Thea? What’s going on with her?
~ Susan is also trying to talk to DA Chase about Billy’s death.
Rory’s gone. This makes me so sad. I really hope he comes back, preferably with his powers restored. I’m going to miss the small ways his faith was woven into everything. Judaism is important to him and he applies it to everything, but it’s not all that he’s about. We need more multi-faceted representation like this.
I still don’t like Susan. I swear if she turns out to really be a good guy, I’m going to be so pissed. I just can’t get behind her. She’s such a pale imitation of Lois Lane.
And seriously, how cool is Dinah? The way she shuts down Oliver’s super-brooding is a gift.
This is turning out to be a strong season for the women. Dinah is already better developed than Laurel ever was. Felicity is finally getting to explore her dark side, and even Susan, as obnoxious as she is, is still a solid character. The writers are still dropping the ball with Thea, but if they could apply some of whatever they’re doing with the other ladies to her, she could be a thousand times better. What do you think?