Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Arrow Season Four Recaps: Episodes 2-5

After the season four premiere of Arrow, I wasn't sure if I would be able to survive this season. But since then, we've gotten no new hints of that flash-forward ending. However, that doesn't mean there hasn't been fun and excitement happening in Star City. Oliver and the gang have suddenly found their hands full...

This is Arrow.

Episode 2: The Candidate
Air date: 10.14.15, The CW

Jessica Danforth, a friend of the late Moira Queen, decides to run for mayor (even though the last few mayors have ended up in cold coffins). She tells Oliver and Thea this, probably to get their support? Oliver doesn't think it's the greatest idea, of course, but when she won't relent in her pursuit, the Green Arrow and Speedy vow to protect her.

Of course, the moment she holds a press conference to announce her candidacy, chaos ensues. Thea goes to stop the gunman but find it's only a self-fire gun, a diversion. Oliver catches up with Danforth just in time to save her from a mysterious foe. The foe, of course, gets away. Detective Lance (Is he still a detective?) puts a 24/7 detail on Danforth and her daughter, but he's reluctant to let Green Arrow and Co. help. He doesn't trust them.

The mysterious foe, known as Lonnie Machin (aka Anarky), is in league with Damien Darhk (surprise, surprise). Darhk isn't thrilled the man failed at his job, but he does give him a second chance to try again. Machin does good on his promise to fulfill the task by kidnapping Danforth's daughter. (Again, who is surprised?) Darhk is once more not thrilled by Machin's actions and severs their ties, but Machin doesn't seem to care. He still takes the daughter to his lair to torture her.

Felicity manages to uncover the mysterious foe's identity by the prints they found at the press conference. The gang finds his location and breaks in. However, Machin isn't easily defeated. When he shocks Oliver (because apparently he likes to shock people), Thea starts whipping him. She even goes as far to electrocute Machin with his own weapons. And the look on her face isn't pretty. (People, what's wrong with Thea?)

Of course, this comes back to bite Oliver in the butt when Lance hears of it and reprimands him for it. Mrs. Danforth and her daughter are safe, but she has decided to drop out of the race. (Again, I'm not surprised. I'm in fact very not surprised.) However, Oliver now has decided he will run for mayor. Why? To provide hope in the spotlight instead of just the shadows. To be something the Green Arrow can never be. Also because if anyone tries to attack (which let's just say will happen), Oliver can defend himself.

Meanwhile. Felicity is the new CEO of Palmer Tech, and her first task for the job is to downsize. One employee, Curtis Holt, has developed an algorithm, which helps the Palmer Tech board decide who should be fired. Of course, Holt's name appears on the list as well. However, Felicity talks to him about it and learns the algorithm wasn't meant to fire people. She decides to make her own decisions and hires back every person she fired. She promises the board Holt and herself are working on a massive piece of technology that will help stabilize the company once more. This piece of technology, however, is still a figment of Felicity's imagination. (AKA, she's bluffing and hoping Holt has ideas. He does. Sort of.)

Oh, and the bad guy, Machin, escapes from captivity and leaves a graffiti "A" (for anarchy) on the vehicle transport. Of course.

Thea, on the other hand, find herself in worse shape. Every fight in the episode leaves her out for blood. The effects of the Lazarus Pit are starting to take their toll on her. Apparently, Laurel was never told Oliver took Thea to Nanda Parbat to bring her back to life. Once she learns from Thea the truth, the cogs in her mind start wheeling. She can bring her sister to life. (You know, the one who's been dead for like a year.)

In the flashback, Oliver is back on the island. He takes out the guard and learns he must infiltrate the group there. He comes up with a plan to help cover the "dead guard" using the mines on the island. Then he waits for the other guards to come running. They bring him back to their camp, the leader recognizes him as Oliver Queen, and he offers Oliver a job. Oliver accepts.

Episode 3: Restoration
Air date: 10.21.15, The CW

While Laurel and Thea head to Nanda Parbat with dead corpse in tow, Oliver and Diggle take to the field together. Felicity is overjoyed at the return of the original team Arrow, but the boys: not so much. Diggle still doesn't trust Oliver, no matter how many times Oliver apologizes or respects Diggle as the new leader of the gang. When Diggle returns home in a huff from their "night on the town," he is met with an ARGUS agent, whom Lyla hired to help investigate the death of Diggle's brother. The agent has uncovered the woman who hired Deadshot; she's in Star City.

She, of course, is visiting Darhk along with her new friend: a meta-human who can turn his playing card tattoos into weapons. (Yikes.) Darhk hires the man, Jeremy Tell (aka Double Down), to kill the Green Arrow and his friends. While Oliver investigates a crime scene, the meta-human attacks him. Meanwhile, Diggle is tracking down the HIVE woman. Both fights almost get them each killed. Felicity reprimands them for not trusting each other, which could have led to their deaths. Diggle finally tells Oliver about HIVE. Together, they track down the HIVE woman, but she's dead (killed by Darhk, of course).

Felicity and Curtis Holt fiddle with their non-existent, mind-blowing new tech. She asks him to look at one of the playing cards that had been lodged into Oliver's arm after their fight (talk about a paper cut). However, they don't need to analyze it further because Double Down shows up in the lab. He wants to know the location of the Green Arrow. To escape, Felicity takes Holt down to the Arrow lair, spilling the secret that she works with the Green Arrow (though she doesn't give away his identity). Unfortunately, Double Down follows them. Felicity grabs a gun and begins to fire it (Yeaaaah). This scares Double Down away.

Diggle and Oliver, who have healed the rift in their bromance, track down Double Down and take him out together. Double Down is returned to Central City to be locked up. Felicity's phone begins to malfunction with her name appearing against the geometric background hiccup.

Meanwhile, Laurel and Thea beg Malcolm Merlyn to bring Sara back with the Pit. Nyssa, of course, does NOT WANT them to revive her, warning it will not be Sara who comes out of the Pit. After Malcolm denies their request, Thea tells him about her sudden bloodlust. Malcolm tells her she needs to kill in order to temporarily satisfy it, but she refuses. Until Malcolm sacrifices a few of his men to attack her, and she kills them. Only then does Malcolm agree to bringing Sara back.

Upon her restoration (See what I did there?), Sara attacks, lunging for Thea. They chain her up and warn Laurel this might not be her sister. In reaction, Nyssa destroys the Pit.

In the flashback, Oliver joins the platoon of soldiers as a guard for the workers there. He's forced to torture one of the workers until someone confesses who stole something. When a woman steps up, Oliver is commanded to take her to the woods and shoot her. But he doesn't. Instead, he hides her away and tells her to trust him.

Episode 4: Beyond Redemption
Air date: 10.28.15, The CW

Laurel and Thea bring a feral Sara back from Nanda Parbat, and they chain her up in Laurel's basement. (It's what sisters do best, apparently.) Meanwhile, Oliver purchases Sebastian Blood's old office to set up his mayor campaign. He brings the gang there to announce he's running for mayor. They aren't thrilled with the idea. (Who is actually surprised?) He also shows them a secret level where they've set up a new Arrow cave. Cisco and STAR Labs have helped bring the best of the best to revamp the bunker.

They begin their first mission in their new space: two cops were shot down at a drug bust. Surprisingly, Detective Lance allows Oliver to help him track down the shooters. Lance is also not too thrilled to hear about Oliver's campaign ideas. When the gang investigates the shooters, they learn they were SCPD officers. (Duh-duh-DUN!) Together the team and Lance set up a trap. They learn the team is a group of officers from the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. They are led by Liza Warner, who escapes and begins to form plans to use Lance to their advantage.

However, Lance has other problems to deal with. One being his daughter locking up his other daughter, who is supposed to be dead, in chains. He knows the person chained in the basement is not Sara, which is something Laurel refuses to acknowledge. So he goes to Darhk to find out how to help his "daughter." Darhk tells him there is no solution (Liar!) and that Lance's only option is to return Sara to her grave. (Duh-duh-DUN!)

This meeting heaps more problems on to Lance: Oliver saw surveillance footage of Lance meeting Darhk. Oliver goes to Lance's apartment to wait for him (and almost gives him another heart attack). Lance admits to his dealings with Darhk, telling Oliver the entire story. (Basically, Darhk came to him under a disguise and offered his help. By the time Lance realized the truth of the agreement, it was too late. Darhk threatened Laurel's life if Lance backs out or betrays Darhk.)

Eventually, Lance goes to visit Sara in order to take her life. But he can't do it. And Laurel stops him. As he leaves the basement, Liza Warner and her team attack and take him hostage. (This is just not Lance's night.) They blackmail him into giving them access to the police's contraband warehouse; they want to take what they can and leave Star City. Team Arrow tracks them down (with Felicity's help) and they take out the agents. Warner stabs Oliver, but Lance convinces her to let him go--that there's still good in her. She gives up and is taken into custody. Oliver then convinces Lance to act as a double agent for them with Darhk. Oliver officially announce his plan to run for mayor.

Meanwhile, Curtis Holt is looking over the odd code in Felicity's phone. He learns it's a old code Ray Palmer used to use. And when he traces it back to Ray, he finds a password-protected message from Ray--his last message recorded before he "blew up." (Or you know, got really tiny as we ALL know.) He tells Felicity, but she's hesitant to open that old wound. But eventually, she does give in and reveals the password.

Laurel goes to check on Sara to give her food (so she's not totally inhumane). But when she gets to the basement, Sara is gone. (Duh-duh-DUN!)

In the flashbacks, one of the other soldiers doesn't trust Oliver. (Of course, he doesn't.) Oliver tries to convince him by showing the solider the dead body of the woman. (No fear, it's only a ruse.) The same soldier however uncovers Oliver's backpack of communication gear. There's nothing pinning Oliver to the backpack, but the soldier is still convinced Oliver is a mole.

Episode 5: Haunted
Air date: 11.4.15, The CW

The escaped Sara is on a rampage in Star City. She's killed a few women, and she's on the hunt for more. Oliver and Co. investigate these murders by a "mysterious blond woman." Laurel still hasn't told Oliver about her sister's resurrection nor offers up information on the possibility of who this "mysterious murdering blond woman" could be. But he soon finds out when he sees Sara alive and in action. Let's just say, Oliver Queen might start believing in ghosts after all.

He's, of course, not happy with Laurel's decisions to go to Nanda Parbat or to lie to him about it.
However, he has to deal with other things, like his new political strategist, Alex Davis, who wants Oliver to cut all ties with Laurel since everybody knows Oliver once dated and cheated on Laurel with Sara. (That's one doozy to explain to your potential supporters.) Thea, who hired the strategist, disagrees with his opinions and tells Oliver so while they spar. She doesn't think he should just ignore his friends.

As they continue to investigate Sara's murder streak, Oliver and Felicity discover something similar between all the women she's attacked: they look like Thea. Just then, Sara attacks Thea who is at home (well, Laurel's home) lounging. They fight. Sara flees, but Thea is left injured. She's taken to the hospital where she reveals what else happened on Nanda Parbat (aka she killed some dudes). Oliver and Laurel continue to quarrel until Sara somehow magically gets pass them to attack Thea in the hospital. (Can she walk through walls? Turn invisible?) However, they manage to stop her and she flees again. They then use Thea as bait to capture her. It works, and they bring Sara to the Arrow cave/bunker.

Oliver calls an old friend (more on that later) named John Constantine. (If you remember, Constantine was a show on NBC that got canceled last spring after one season; the same actor plays Constantine in this episode, courtesy of Stephen Amell.) He arrives to help save Sara's soul. Using his ultra-cool magic, he with Oliver and Laurel enter the spirit realm (which looks like Nanda Parbat). They run in circles, literally because of a loop until Constantine uses a magical device to steer them in the correct direction. They come to a Pit-like room where Sara is stuck inside the Pit, being dragged down by... hands. Constantine fights off the guard while Oliver and Laurel work together to pull Sara out. (It all felt a little too easy). They return to their world to find Sara is healed and intact. It's a touching moment between the three Lance family members. Before Constantine leaves, he warns Oliver of Darhk.

Meanwhile during the rest of the show, Lance has been given a task to infiltrate a government facility and plug in some time of encrypted device. Felicity tells him if she cracks it, Darhk will know and become suspicious of Lance. He enlists Diggle to help him go through with the task, if anything but to keep appearances with Darhk. They do so; it doesn't go as planned, but they get the device into the server. And it begins to delete files on people, including Diggle's brother. Because of this, Lance asks Darhk about Andrew Diggle's death. Surprisingly, Darhk tells him. Lance then hands the information to Diggle. His brother was killed because he was in a drug cartel. (Poor Diggle.)

Oliver decides not to listen to his strategist's advice, and he keeps his friendship with Laurel public. Curtis Holt finally uncovers Ray's message to Felicity. Ray is alive--not dead (who's surprised?)--and he needs their help.

In the flashbacks, we encounter Oliver's first encounter with John Constantine. He is found on the island, snooping around. (He's pulling an Indiana Jones in a trench coat and looking for some mysterious artifact.) However, John Constantine isn't so easily captured. He escapes from the soldiers and brings Oliver along, gun pointed to his head. Oliver knows the island better than anyone else and Constantine wants him to help him find something on his nifty map. They do. It's a secret, underground chamber, which holds an interesting artifact in its center. As Constantine grabs for it, Oliver sees the trap and save Constantine from certain death.

Because of this, Constantine promises to owe him a favor (which we see played out in the episode with Sara's soul). He helps Oliver come up with a cover story and leaves half of the artifact (the supposed unimportant half) behind for Oliver to use. He also gives Oliver some magic tattoos, which will probably be beneficial later.

The latest season has had loads of action, magic, and mayhem. While there haven't been hints of the premiere's ending scene, it sure is building up to something fun. Plus, we're starting to see the first threads of Legends of Tomorrow come together with Sara's resurrection and Ray's message of "Not Dead" coming to light. Between this and The Flash, our team of legends will be here soon enough. Also, let's bring Constantine back more often.

What do you think so far of this season of Arrow?


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