[Arrow] Recap • 519 Dangerous Liaisons

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By Sara Netzley for Entertainment Weekly

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Arrow’s back, guys! And people are crossing lines tonight. So many lines are crossed, you have no idea. These lines are beautiful, just the best lines, and they get crossed left and right. So let’s recap.

Since we last saw them, a coalition of the willing made up of Team Arrow, A.R.G.U.S., SCPD, Homeland Security, and the FBI have had no luck in tracking down Adrian Chase, who’s still in the wind. Their latest attempt is at an arcade, where Curtis frets about the safety of a Maximum Force cabinet and Chase seems to have programmed one of the games to show a throwing star and Prometheus’ face along with the words “GAME OVER.” So Chase is a code monkey, too? Seems legit. Anyway, Chase escapes, leaving behind a shattered Maximum Force screen. (“It was vintage,” Curtis laments.)

In his Mayor How-Is-He-Not-Impeached-Yet guise, Oliver faces a hostile press corps who want to know why he didn’t realize he was working alongside a serial killer and whether he’s going to move beyond offering them canned platitudes. Still, that’s better than poor Quentin and Rene, who have a day of meetings with the families of Prometheus’ victims, who remain furious and heartbroken.

At Helix, Kojo Sledgehammer (whose name, apparently, is Alena — how did I miss that?) suggests that the group could help find Chase if Felicity could get them access to A.R.G.U.S.’ network, which she does. Ah, but it was a setup! Unbeknownst to Felicity, Helix hacked A.R.G.U.S.’ elevator, hoping to steal a super fancy key card. Unfortunately, knocking a human out via elevator has a steep learning curve, and Alena ends up letting the elevator free-fall for 40 stories, which kills the unfortunate A.R.G.U.S. employee inside.

Alena’s not losing sleep over the dead man, though, because she’s going to use the key to free Cayden James, the world’s greatest hacker. He founded Helix, and A.R.G.U.S. has been holding him without charges. Alena tells Felicity that if she’ll help Helix break him out, he’ll finish up his biometric tracker that will allow them to finally locate Chase. Long story short, it looks like Felicity’s going on a retrieval mission.

Before Helix can do that, though, they need a second super fancy key, which they plan to take off an A.R.G.U.S. agent that Lyla’s asked Team Arrow to escort to safety in order to avoid this very thing. Rejecting Felicity’s offer to negotiate with A.R.G.U.S. for Cayden’s release, the Helix mercs attack the agent and her Team Arrow escort.

A fight ensues until Felicity contacts John and asks them to let the mercs escape with the security key. John immediately relays the request to Oliver (who’s in a plain black mask, with no green or arrows in sight), and he orders the team to stand down. The no-questions-asked nature of this scene is a powerful reminder of just how much these three trust each other.

And now the secrets bubble to the surface. Felicity fills Oliver, John, and Lyla in on her actions with Helix, concluding that this plan is the only way to catch Chase, whose al Ghul training has made him essentially unstoppable. Lyla chides Felicity for not considering the collateral damage.

When Felicity looks to Oliver and John for support, Oliver tells her she might be crossing a line. She… doesn’t take this very well. “You’re the last person on Earth who gets to give that lecture, Oliver. Or second to last,” she amends, looking pointedly at Lyla. When Felicity says she’s sticking with the Helix plan, John questions whether they’re on the same side anymore. Apparently not; Felicity’s on Team Let’s Locate Chase Now, while everyone else seems to be on Team Let’s Chase Our Tails Some More.

Oh, did you think we were done with secrets? It turns out, A.R.G.U.S. has been holding Cayden, a “person of interest,” without a trial in an illegal black site. Lyla isn’t willing to release him, so instead, A.R.G.U.S. and Arrow set a trap to catch Helix during their rescue attempt.

Oliver, naturally, blames himself for letting Felicity get in too deep with this group, and John suggests that as her former fiancé, Oliver might be the only one she’ll listen to. “I’m not sure how much credibility I have with her,” Oliver admits. (Also, let’s ignore the idea that Oliver and John “let” Felicity, a grown woman, do anything.)

Cut to Felicity leaving her loft in all black and her “infiltrating a secret government facility” smoky eye makeup. Oliver arrives to ask her not to go. They agree that it’s ironic that Felicity’s willing to do whatever it takes to stop Chase, who was created because Oliver was willing to do whatever it took to keep the city safe.

Oliver promises they’ll find a better way. “This is me asking you, don’t do this.” But Felicity says she fell in love with him in part because he did the right thing, even in the face of unbearable costs. “How can I be any different?” she asks. “You don’t have to carry that burden any longer. Let me do it.” When he doesn’t agree, she tells him he’ll have to stop her.

So that’s what he sets out to do, with A.R.G.U.S.’ help. Also, things are tense between John and Lyla, and I DO NOT LIKE IT. He asks why Felicity indicated that Lyla’s an even bigger line-crosser than Oliver, and although Lyla tries to argue that Cayden’s worse than 20 Edward Snowdens, John’s not having it. “Felicity Smoak is one of the best people I’ve ever known, and she’s gone over to the dark side. I don’t want that to happen to my wife,” he says. Lyla walks away without a word.

As Helix prepares their invasion, Felicity assures Alena, “I’ve found the transition from hacker to vigilante to be surprisingly straightforward.” Helix is armed with guns and magic tablets that will shut down A.R.G.U.S.’ computer-controlled gun turrets. And then, twist! It turns out the A.R.G.U.S. facility Team Arrow is protecting isn’t where Helix is headed; Cayden’s being held at an off-book site 12 miles away. Lyla’s surprised they know this, but hello. It’s Helix. Of course they know where he’s being held.

At the black site, Helix powers down the elaborate razor gates protecting the storage container where Cayden’s being held. Felicity and Alena use their purloined keys to open the door and find a man in a black hood strapped to a chair. Before they can free him, Team Arrow arrives, and they all commence to fightin’. Dinah drops one merc, telling him, “Don’t grab a woman unless you have permission, dumbass.” This is good advice, and Dinah continues to be both awesome and underused.

John gets the drop on Alena, who programs the gun turret to open fire on him (NOT COOL) while Curtis T-spheres everybody. In the end, Oliver finds the Helix gang loading Cayden onto a van, and when he draws his gun, Felicity steps in between them. He bellows at her to get out of the way, but she regretfully activates the razor fence. You know, literally putting an uncrossable barrier between them isn’t subtle, but dang, it’s effective. She pleads with Oliver to understand why she went to these lengths. “Don’t count on it,” Oliver replies.

In the end, the Helix mercs used rubber bullets, so there were no A.R.G.U.S. injuries, and Curtis is glad their identities were masked because otherwise, Cayden’s revenge would be swift and tech-heavy. Meanwhile, Oliver doesn’t know what to say to Felicity now that she sided with a different team, so Curtis and Dinah leave him to do some solo drinking.

The House of Diggle is a tense place that night. John’s bitterly disappointed that Lyla’s embraced her inner Amanda Waller, while Lyla argues that she’s made the world safer. “But it’s not better,” John replies. Lyla’s unapologetic, saying she’ll keep doing what she has to do. John, clearly exhausted, tells her he doesn’t want to revisit this particular fight. Lyla suggests they just move forward, but John says he doesn’t know if he can. This seems… well, it seems bad, guys.

Felicity’s in an unsettled place, too, having arrived at Helix HQ to find it abandoned. Alena pops up via video chat to thank Felicity for all of her help, then to fire her because of her connections to the Green Arrow team; now that A.R.G.U.S. is after Cayden, Felicity’s a liability. But Alena says she doesn’t regret having met her hero the Ghost Fox Goddess, and also, she left Felicity a gift of some on-the-fly coding from Cayden.

This sends Felicity back to the Arrow Cave, where she plugs in the biometric tracker. Oliver’s there, presumably still drinking and brooding. When she tells him Helix froze her out, he’s sincere when he says he’s sorry. But Felicity hasn’t forgiven him for not backing her play. He says he was worried, and she replies that he didn’t trust her despite the many, many times she trusted and supported him over the years.

Their argument is put on hold when the tracker reveals that Chase is right there, in the Arrow Cave, and before you can say, “The call is coming from inside the house,” everything explodes.

Well, how’s that for a character-driven episode that benefits from years of relationship-building between these characters? Sure, Oliver’s a wee bit sanctimonious for not wanting Felicity to do the very same thing he’s done over and over — that is, the right thing via questionable methods — but he’s acting out of love. And Felicity’s end game — catching Prometheus — was solid, but she did let loose the most fearsome hacker the world has ever known, which probably ain’t good. Still, watching those two stare sadly at each other from opposite sides of a 30-kilowatt spectral beam laser was legitimately affecting. Sounds like we need to buckle up for next week’s episode …

Arrows for your quiver:

After that A.R.G.U.S. elevator incident, are you going to be taking the stairs for a while?

A quick update on Quentin and Rene: Quentin, having lost his daughters, is baffled about why Rene hasn’t followed up with his family law attorney to win back custody of Zoe. Rene finally admits that after her mother died, Zoe burned herself on soup while he was passed out drunk. Ergo, he doesn’t think he’s worthy to be her father. But Quentin arranges a surprise supervised visitation, and Rene’s so delighted to see his daughter (who made goalie on the school hockey team, just like her old man) that he vows to take his case to court after all. Quentin stresses that Rene deserves to be with his daughter, and the camera pans to a photo of him and Laurel. So stay tuned for riveting upcoming scenes of depositions and notarized petition responses, I guess.

Okay, Curtis chirping, “Roger, Roger. We have clearance, Clarence. What’s your vector, Victor?” might be in bad taste while Oliver and Company are investigating a murder scene. But at the same time, are Airplane quotes ever not welcome? I’ll allow it.

“You really can buy anything on the internet.” Ah, farewell, Alena, you savvy online shopper of guns for hire.

No flashbacks this week. Did you miss them?

Tonight’s Arrow was a world of darkness and despair and lines being crossed. Now, more than ever, we need the salmon ladder.

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