[Arrow] Recap • 515 Fighting Fire w/ Fire

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By Sara Netzley for Entertainment Weekly

Episode Pics

A trio of familiar faces return to menace the good people of Star City tonight in what turns out to be an underwhelming team-up, while Oliver struggles to keep his personal and professional lives from capsizing.

First, let’s flash back to a Russian hospital, where Anatoly’s recovering from a Gregor beatdown and plotting with Oliver to take back control of the Bratva. As is so frequently the case this season, he explicitly states tonight’s theme: Oliver is a sin eater, someone who takes the evils of others as his own.

When Anatoly, Oliver, and Oliver’s wig try to slip out of the hospital, they get trapped in the basement, surrounded by Gregor and his men. Gregor announces that he’ll let Anatoly go as soon as Oliver’s dead, so the sin eater volunteers to surrender himself. Oliver takes out all of Gregor’s goons, but tonight’s flashback ends with Gregor holding a gun to Anatoly’s head. Since we know Anatoly is alive in the present, the only question for next week is: How good will Oliver look when he saves the day?

Now, to the present, where a trio of inmates on a prison transfer bus kill the guards, kick off the other ladies, and head toward Star City for some revenge. The threesome are Liza Warner, last seen being a corrupt cop who refused to kill other cops; Chien Na Wei, a.k.a. China White, last seen stealing medicine from a Star City hospital; and Carrie Cutter, a.k.a. Cupid, last seen killing happy couples and forcing Oliver and Felicity into a sham wedding that broke the hearts of shippers (why can’t it be real?) and non-shippers (why must we watch this?) alike.

If you’re curious, Carrie’s still talking in the singsong baby voice, and Liza actually kills one of the guards, which is notable since she stood by her morals and refused to kill Quentin when she had the chance in season 4. Prison hasn’t been kind, apparently.

Meanwhile, Oliver and John have traveled to Opal City to talk to Amanda Westfield, Justin Claybourne’s mistress and the mother of Prometheus. She’s pretty chill about the mayor of Star City showing up on her doorstop to tell her that her son’s likely the serial murderer terrorizing Star City. But she refuses to tell Oliver her son’s name or help him in any way: “What you want is to cage him up like an animal, like the animal who killed his father.” She tosses him out.

In the mayor’s office the next day, Susan swings by and bluntly asks Oliver if he’s the Green Arrow. “Yeah,” he says immediately, then plays it off as a joke and tells her that for the record, he is not.

Then he attends the SCPD ceremony where he swears in Dinah, who’s looking spiffy in her uniform. Afterward, Thea asks Oliver what’s up with him and Susan. (She’s got Oliver’s assistant spying for her, the smart cookie.) He spills about Susan’s questions, and Thea (rightly) freaks out.

She then fills in Felicity and suggests a little light hacking to fix this problem, which Felicity accomplishes in about five seconds. “Her password is 1-2-3-4, and she has a file here named ‘Oliver Queen info’ because she’s super original.” This is my favorite Felicity. But the women are horrified when they realize that Susan has everything on Oliver: pictures, documents, the whole nine. And since it’s from an outside source, she can get it again if they delete it. No worries, though; Thea’s got a plan.

Team Arrow learns that the trio are after a depository of cash from the Tobias Church Amertek deal earlier this season, and when Oliver, accompanied by Quentin, locates the three escapees, he busts out his “failed this city!” mantra. But the women don’t even flinch.

Carrie seems to be over her Ollie crush, and she and China attack him with gusto, while Liza takes off after Quentin, calling him a liar. He convinced her that turning herself in was the right thing to do, and then while she was in prison, she saw a news report that he was working with Damien Darhk. Quentin argues that Darhk was threatening his daughter, but it taught Liza a lesson: Everyone does what it takes to survive, including breaking laws and betraying friends.

This is when half a dozen ACU troops burst in with flash-bangs. But they’re not there to apprehend the women; they’re after the Green Arrow for Billy’s murder. Oh noes! Thankfully, good ol’ GA has a sparking trick arrow that lets him escape.

The next day, SCPD Captain Pike is called to meet with Mayor Queen, District Attorney Chase, and former police chief Lance. They demand to see Pike’s evidence against the Green Arrow, and he hands over an anonymously delivered medical examiner’s report showing Billy died from an arrow consistent with the Green Arrow’s weapons. The original ME’s report mentioned no such thing, which smells like a cover-up to Pike.

Quentin argues that everybody has arrows these days, and Oliver says he has it on “good authority” that it wasn’t the Green Arrow. This isn’t enough for Pike, who vows to continue the investigation. And honestly, good for him. Look at it from the other perspective: There actually is a cover-up at the highest city levels going on here, even if it is for “good” reasons. Only in the bizarro-land that is Star City is Pike the bad guy.

Just as Oliver mutters to Quentin that the letter was postmarked from Oval City, where Prometheus’ mom lives, he gets a text from Susan. Bad news: She got fired — not for sleeping with the mayor while covering City Hall, as I initially suspected, but because her producer got an anonymous tip that she’d been plagiarizing her stories for years and found that her laptop was full of evidence.

For all her faults, Susan’s no dummy, and she wonders if this is a coincidence, coming immediately after she asked Oliver if he’s the Green Arrow. That, combined with Oliver’s Bratva captain tattoo and the pictures she has of him in Russia when the Hood was active (and when he should’ve been on the island), makes her suspicious. But of course, she can’t go public with it because nobody will believe her now.

Oliver knows exactly who to blame, and he storms to the Arrow Cave to yell at his hacker ex-fiancée, who says she and Thea did it to protect him. Oliver doesn’t see it this way, though, and summons Thea to his office to yell at her about Susan getting fired. They argue: Thea didn’t know it would go that far; Oliver thinks she should’ve come to him about Susan’s file; Thea wanted him to keep his hands clean when she did what needed to be done.

“You just blew up her life!” Oliver yells. “Who does that to a person?” Um, I don’t know, someone who loves you and did what’s necessary to protect her brother’s superhero secret identity from the journalist who lied and manipulated her for a hatchet piece on said mayor brother? I’m not sure I’ve ever disliked Oliver more than in this episode, honestly.

And now we come to the roundelay of blame. Quentin blames himself for Liza embracing her bad side again. Oliver blames himself for killing Billy. Quentin argues that Billy’s death is Prometheus’ fault, not Oliver’s, and Thea tells Quentin, “You’ve got to stop taking responsibility for other people’s sins.” OMG, we get it, Arrow! Everybody’s a sin eater on this show!

Then Oliver continues his questionable decision making and confesses to Pike how Prometheus manipulated the Green Arrow into killing Billy, then Adrian covered it up to avoid a citywide panic. He asks Pike to let Green Arrow be the hero that the city needs, and it seems like any halfway decent cop should be like, “Wait a second, how do you know all this? Are you the Green Arrow, Mayor Queen, given your similar age, build, height, and stubbled jaw?” Alas, this doesn’t happen.

In the Arrow Cave, the team’s leaving for the final showdown, and Felicity stops Dinah to offer her the Black Canary mask. Dinah demurs that she’s not quite ready yet to fill Laurel’s shows. “It’s not shoes. It’s a mask,” Felicity cajoles.

At the station, Pike tells his team that they’re tracking the Green Arrow and will catch up as he’s engaging with the escapees at the money depository, which happens to be in a cemetery. (Rene doesn’t care for this: “Disturbing souls at rest? This is how you get haunted.”)

This doesn’t stop the criminal trio, who crack open a stone coffin and pull out the cold, hard cash. As they’re escaping, they get canary-cried off their feet by Dinah, standing on the mausoleum roof in the Black Canary mask.

“We’re taking over. We’re taking back this city,” Liza yells as carloads of what I assume are Bertinelli goons show up, loyal to the ladies thanks to the promise of money. The goons with guns seem far less effective than Liza, Carrie, and China, who waste no time in beating the crap out of Team Arrow.

Then the SCPD arrive with troops and helicopters, and China says smugly that she’s going to enjoy watching them take the Green Arrow down. That’s when Pike strolls up and appears to shoot her in the back. Whoa.

They arrest all the thugs but leave Team Arrow alone. Green Arrow thanks Pike and repeats Oliver’s earlier words about regretting his role in Billy’s death for the rest of his life. OMG, Pike can see your perfect stubble in your tiny mask, dude. Seriously, you’re basically a serial killer who’s at the taunting-police-with-letters-and-begging-to-be-caught stage. Oliver, baby, do you want to be unmasked? Is this what’s happening here? Do you need a Snickers?

At SCPD, Liza tries the “we’re not so different, you and I” speech on Quentin, but he’s decided not to eat any sins today. So filling, don’t you know. Then he sizes up Dinah, who tells him, “I’m not ready to take your daughter’s place.” But Quentin corrects her: Laurel wanted someone to carry on in her place. He gives his paternal blessing, which is sweet and sad and lovely.

Next, Oliver finds Thea, who apologizes again. He tells her she made a choice — likely the same choice their mother would’ve made. (This is not a compliment.) Then he says he’s less worried about Susan and more worried about his little sister. OLIVER. She protected your identity. Dial back the judgey face, son.

Finally, Adrian storms into Oliver’s office to say there’s a problem. They flips on the TV to see breaking news: The mayor’s office ordered the falsification of autopsy reports to cover up Billy’s death, which could lead to Mayor Queen’s impeachment. “This isn’t a problem. This might be the end of my administration,” Oliver murmurs. Aaaand credits.

Overall, this was a frustrating Arrow episode. Not only was Oliver yelling at and sympathizing with the wrong people here, but this team-up of three great female villains from seasons past was completely under baked. China White had like three lines, and Cupid didn’t get to spin out any of her usual Oliver obsessions. I would have loved to see more of that trio, scheming and bickering and fighting, and less of the Susan/Oliver/Bratva/Billy/Thea blame-game-a-palooza. It just feels a bit like a wasted opportunity, alas.

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