Oh Ollie. I get that you desperately need redemption after failing to save Slade from the Mirakuru, and you probably want to save the love of your sister’s life, but that’s going to some strange lengths to get the job done.

So, the cat’s out of the bag and now Roy joins “Team Arrow.” Or least that’s what Felicity calls it, sometimes. I’ve called them that all the time because I’ve had nothing else to use. Well, maybe The Green Team. Nah, sounds like an environmental group. Anyway, I wasn’t at all surprised that The Arrow couldn’t connect with Roy or get him to control his power. It was a rather half baked idea.  The Arrow is a hard assed killer/enforcer behind a mask.  He’s not exactly the best role model. He’s dangerous and he’s not the one that’s built relationships with those close to him.  Oliver Queen is the real heart behind it all, representing the human element of the operation.  Of course Oliver was the only one that could get through.

The flashbacks, when used properly, are meant to bridge Oliver’s lessons of the past when the situations of the present.  He learned a valuable lesson from Sara on that island that in the end managed to save Roy.  He was able to stop Slade from destroying the freighter with the missile by appealing to his love for Shado. When Roy was raging, only one thing worked to gain control. Thea. But using Thea couldn’t come from The Arrow. No, it had to come from Thea’s brother, a being that knows and loves her too.  It’s interesting too that Roy suddenly had respect for The Arrow when he found out who was behind the mask. He suddenly wanted to shake the guy’s hand and thank him for saving his life. Yes, personal connections matter. It’s that kind of connection that spurns loyalty. That’s something Digg and Felicity learned a long time ago.

Sure, Oliver put his whole operation at risk by revealing the truth to Roy and bringing him into the fold. After all, something happens eventually that turns Slade unstable and evil, so what’s to say that it won’t happen to Roy as well. He didn’t exactly take the training exercises very well.  Digg and Felicity were certainly concerned, but considering the stakes, Oliver had no choice. It was either tell Roy to get him play his vital role in destroying the earthquake machine, or not tell him and let the city suffer another major calamity. Speaking of which, why did the bad guy want to set off the spare earthquake machine that was in Malcolm’s mansion? I know he was trying to sell it, but why destroy the city again if he couldn’t have it? I guess that’s the comic book thing to do.

The real bad guy story though belonged to The Bronze Tiger. This time, this dude was given a chance to rock and he did. Sure, he was ultimately setup to fail going against Roy, but the fight scenes with him and Oliver were pretty sweet. Plus the dude is quite badass. Even his capture was cool, turning out to be a way for him to get a visit from a very special person. Amanda Waller! Ooh, the suicide squad is happening. That’s a plot thread I relish in watching develop.

As much as I don’t feel any sympathy for Laurel Lance, I’ll give the writers credit for carrying on with her downward spiral in consistent fashion and not suddenly giving her a good night’s sleep and everything is fine.  She’s discredited, jobless, unemployable, drunk, ignored by her Father (who got way more sympathy from me in his short scene than Laurel has all season), and…Sara?  Is her sister going to teach her to fight as wicked as her?  That’s about the only thing that will give her enough spark to make her interesting.  That’s next week’s story though, so moving on.

The Sebastian Blood story took an interesting turn, if you want to call Blood not being in this episode at all “interesting.”  Walter and Alex Krycek from the X-Files (great seeing you on my TV again Nick Lea!) convinced Moira to run for mayor against him.  Moira?  Gee, even Laurel doesn’t have that bad an image problem.  Idi Amin has a better image.  What’s the reasoning behind that?  While I was happy to see Walter again, what’s up with wanting to “take care of” the OB that knows Thea is not her daughter?  Huh?  If that person has kept that secret all these years, my guess is it’s safe.  The least of Moira’s concerns is political scandal.  Something about this whole proposal stinks, and she’s too self-centered to see it.

This show has always been pretty busy, and with the revolving door of DC characters coming through Starling City it can only get worse, but I’m hoping that this show doesn’t forget it’s core cast of characters.  I know that Roy is being positioned as the sidekick (Robin), and Alfred the Butler is now two people in Felicity and Digg, but I hope that all three end up playing key roles in the unfolding events, not just small side players that show up for the pretty (and trust me, there’s a lot of pretty there).  It’s hard to do so much action, flashbacks, and character development in just 42 minutes, but it kills me when strong personalities like John Diggle are relegated to cheerleaders and shaking hands of those that come through the cave for a visit.  Team Arrow needs to be a fully functional action squad, not just people who show up for the daily meetings in hopes that Oliver sprung for the good donuts.  Oh, and get Roy a red leather hoodie, please?  His boss is a freaking billionaire.  Even fast food workers get good uniforms.

As for next week, yay, Alex Kingston is back!  I’m crossing fingers for a full Lance family reunion, complete with hugging.  Laurel really needs a hug right now.

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