Here's what's been happening in season four of Arrow.
Arrow Episode 11: "A.W.O.L."
Air date: 1.27.16
Felicity returns home, confined to her wheelchair, and tries to maneuver through her new life. But it's not so simple. The moment she's left alone, she begins to hallucinate herself. Well, the college-age, hacker version of herself. And this version has nothing sunny or optimistic to say.
While Felicity keeps her internal struggle of self-doubt to herself, Diggle and Lyla deal with an external struggle: ARGUS. A former associate of Lyla's interrupts their date in order to get a message to Amanda Waller. But before he can relay the message, an armed van attacks and kidnaps him. Later, his body is found--dead, dumped, and missing an eye. After meeting with Waller, Lyla learns of a shady group called Shadowspire. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Diggle's brother Andy used to be part of Shadowspire. Thus, Diggle gets information about the group from Andy.
Team Arrow heads out using Andy's Intel to find the group. But Felicity, still hallucinating, accidentally sets off an alarm that almost messes up the entire mission and puts the team in harm's way. They find two more dead ARGUS agents, and Diggle learns his military commander is in town with the Shadowspire group. Andy gives more tips on what Shadowspire is up to, but Diggle hardly listens. Thus, when Team Arrow goes to interrupt what they think is a weapons shipment, they find nothing.
Instead, Shadowspire infiltrates ARGUS. Diggle and Andy are in a back room cell at ARGUS, watching from a video feed. Shadowspire threatens Lyla and Waller to give up codes or they'll start shooting people. But Waller won't crack, no matter what. So they kill her. (Bye, Amanda Waller. You were great. Thanks, Suicide Squad for stealing all the character rights*.) Diggle goes to intervene, leaving Andy in the cell (despite his pleas that he can help). But Shadowspire finds Andy before Diggle makes his move. He, unfortunately (or fortunately), alerts Shadowspire of Diggle's plan. With Diggle captured, Lyla has no choice but to hand over the codes. Except... she can't: someone is blocking her. Someone from outside. Felicity.
Felicity manages to push past her doubts and self-pity to block Lyla from accessing the ARGUS computers. Then the rest of Team Arrow arrives to kick butt and take names. (Hurray!) In addition, it becomes obvious Andy and Diggle staged the betrayal to get them both in the room with Lyla. Thus, Diggle forgives his brother. Lyla and Diggle invite Andy to stay with them, allowing Andy to meet his niece for the first time. (Aww, this is so sweet.)
*Most of the characters related to the Suicide Squad have been eliminated from the show in the past year (Deadshot, Waller, even a Harley Quinn cameo ended up on the cutting room floor). While it's not confirmed, it most likely has to do with the Suicide Squad movie and the rights to characters from the comic books associated. It's a shame DC can't do something crazy like connect their TV show to their movies... huh.
**Oracle is the code name for Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) after she's injured and confined to a wheelchair. Does this confirm Oracle exists in this Universe? Hmmm...
Arrow Episode 12: "Unchained"
Air date: 2.3.16
The team is chasing down a thief when Thea collapses. It's a side effect of the Pit, of course. She hasn't needed to sate her blood lust in a while (Thanks, Damien Darhk), and now it's affecting her. Malcolm Merlyn conveniently arrives to convince Oliver to let her kill so she's not the one killed. Oliver, whose super power is guilt and blaming himself, doesn't know what to do. So he goes out on the streets to catch their thief... only to find out it's Roy. Yes, that Roy.
Roy escapes because of Oliver's shock. Team Arrow tries to figure out what Roy is doing in Star City and why he's stealing stuff. Felicity figures out all the items he's stealing could be put together to create a web bomb. Aka.. it would destroy the Internet! The only issue is it would need a pretty sustainable power source... which happens to be the current project of Palmer Tech. (Uh-oh.) Thus, Team Arrow is able to ambush Roy when he breaks into Curtis' lab. Roy grabs the powerful power cell and tosses it out the window toward a drone. Then, Oliver shoots him in the chest... with a tranq arrow. They make it look like Roy is dead... again. He had a fancy piece of tech in his eye, which would tell whoever he's working for that Roy was captured.
So while Roy recovers and explains why he's back, Felicity examines the tech. Roy is being blackmailed. If he doesn't help steal pieces and parts, someone will expose who he is... that he's not dead, that he's not the Arrow, etc. This man goes by... the Calculator. (duh-duh-DUN!) He has what he needs to destroy the Internet, so Felicity tracks him down to chat. Then, they battle.
The Calculator, however, has planted a real bomb to explode in Star City. Team Arrow swoops in to stop it. Oliver swoops in to save them. And Roy offers to stay behind in order to manually shoot the bomb to stop it from activating. However, the entire Team Arrow gets out safely to save the day.
Meanwhile, Thea worsens. Roy visits her, she thinks she's hallucinating (Nope, you're the only one on this show who isn't), and they share a tender, heartbreaking moment. Oliver almost goes to meet Darhk for a deal to help Thea, but he decides against it. (And it's announced Darhk's wife is running against Oliver for mayor now. Great.) However, as Thea's condition becomes worse, she slips into a coma. Oliver takes her to the hospital, which won't be of much help for this disease. Instead, Nyssa arrives (freshly out of confinement due to badassery and a meeting with Katana*) to offer Oliver a deal. If he kills Malcolm Merlyn, she can give Thea a cure. Felicity also has her own decision to make when the man revealed to be the Calculator approaches her after her Palmer Tech presentation. Felicity recognizes him--not for his villainous plans but because he is her dad. (Dad? DAD? Freaking Dad? WhaaaaAAAAT?????)
On the Island, Oliver is being tortured and hallucinates Shado. (People in this show love to have visions because of their injuries, don't they?) She tells him to admit his feeling to Taiana, then she hands him an engraved rock. When Oliver wakes up, he tells Taiana the truth about her brother. Let's just say, she's not happy with him.
*Okay, but didn't she die? I thought Katana died. I could be wrong. Another member of the Suicide Squad. If she's not dead now, she probably will be soon...
Arrow Episode 13: "Sins of the Father"
Air date: 2.10.16
Oliver tells the team about Nyssa's offer to kill Merlyn in exchange for Thea's cure. They think he should do it; Merlyn is a terrible person and has done terrible things to them over the past three years. Yet, Oliver hesitates, thinking of Thea. He doesn't want her to lose her father, no matter the man he is. The loss of his own father propels him to think of another solution, one in which Merlyn doesn't die. He tries to get Merlyn to give the ring of Ra's Al Guld to Nyssa in exchange for a cure. But neither trusts each other. And when two powerful assassins don't trust each other, this spells trouble for the heroes trying to keep Star City safe.
However, Nyssa offers to prove her cure is real by giving Oliver a sample of a Lotus potion. He gives it to Thea, which wakes her up for a short period. But despite Merlyn's agreement, he still tries to do things his own way, which causes blood to be shed and Nyssa to run. (Why would you ever think Malcolm Merlyn would give up the ring?) Team Arrow assists Nyssa in her escape, but they do so with other motives. Laurel tries to talk to Nyssa, to show her she doesn't have to be like her father. (Laurel gives the best pep talks ever. 10 points to Canary.) Merlyn visits Thea with Oliver, knowing she will die by sunrise if he doesn't do anything. But he's convinced the League of Assassins is much bigger than Thea's life. (This is the scene where John Barrowman showed his fantastic acting skills. I'm shaking.) Then, he asks Oliver what he would do if it were his son, William. (Oh, look, Merlyn knows your secret. Wonderful. This is just going to be wonderful.)
Oliver says he would find a third option. (Ollie, sometimes you can be optimistic.) So he does: trial by combat. If Nyssa fights Merlyn, whoever wins gets to be the new Ra's and possessor of the Lotus potion. However, when they meet to fight, Oliver steps in. According to the League, he is Nyssa's husband. (So how does this work if he marries Felicity?) Thus, he has the right to step in and take her place in the trial. So he does. (Oh, snap! Ollie, what're you doing???)
It doesn't take long for Oliver to get the upper hand over Merlyn. (Finally.) He pins Merlyn down at sword point and demands he give up the ring. But Merlyn won't. He won't give in until he's dead. Everybody knows Oliver has to do it. But Oliver doesn't do it. Instead, he just chops off Merlyn's hand and gives the ring to Nyssa, who becomes the new Ra's Al Guld. (Whoa, whoa, whoa... whaaat? I knew it. I knew Ollie wouldn't kill him, but slicing off his hand was still shocking.)
Nyssa hands over the Lotus potion, too pleased with these turn of events. Then, she takes the ring and tosses into the fire. This disbands the League of Assassins, leaving no one as a prisoner of her father. Bitter, Merlyn does the unthinkable. He meets with Damien Darhk and reveals to him who Oliver Queen loves more than any one: his son, William*. (You filthy little dirtbag.)
Meanwhile, Felicity deals with her own daddy issues. Felicity meets with her father, learns he's the Calculator, and rushes off in a huff. He claims they're the same, but Felicity refuses to see it. However, she does give him a second chance by letting him see Palmer Tech. But it's all just a trick to see if he's trustworthy. He's not. Instead, he tries to steal some of Palmer Tech's work. Felicity finds out, and she informs the police of his whereabouts. (Apparently, he's a wanted man and his excuse for ditching Felicity and her mom was to protect them from the authorities. Sure.)
On the Island, the fancy carved rock happens to be the last item the soldiers need to find whatever they're looking for. In Taiana's rage toward Oliver, she hands it over to the soldiers. But they tie her fate to Oliver's, telling her she must take care of Oliver or else she'll die too.
*So what if the "he" in the end scene of doom isn't Damien Darhk? What if Oliver is referring to Merlyn? Could he do something so terrible to make Oliver go after him once and for all? I mean, this is what the show is building toward, right? Oliver has to kill Merlyn in the end. There's no other option.
What do you think of the most recent episodes of Arrow?