Now THAT’S what you call an episode! With the season finale just two weeks away, the writers of Arrow may not have pulled out all the stops this week but they certainly pulled out a lot of them, with major revelations about several of the show’s key plotlines. After taking down the accountant for an illegal syndicate, Oliver takes his laptop, turning it over to Felicity. Felicity discovers payments made to an illegal casino operator and—to Walter Steele, Oliver’s stepfather who was abducted months ago by Malcolm Merlin’s henchmen. Nice to hear from old Walter again since his name has barely been mentioned since his disappearance.
We don’t have any island flashbacks this week but we don’t need any. Instead, we get flashbacks to five years earlier, to just before Oliver and his father Robert took their fateful cruise that left Robert dead and Oliver stranded on the island. The revelations come fast at this point…We find out why the wealthy group of businessmen including Robert and Malcolm are trying to make changes in the rundown area of Starling City known as The Glades. With little progress being made, Merlin suggests more drastic measures. He wants to completely level the Glades using a manmade disaster.
Up until now our view of Robert hasn’t been one that was overly positive as it seemed as he may have been as dishonest as all of the other men in the infamous journal list. But here we get a different look at Robert. Robert knows that Merlin has gone off the deep edge with his plans but also knows he doesn’t want to butt heads directly with him. His reluctance to go along with Malcom’s plans is what leads to his yacht being sabotaged. And what’s more, Oliver now knows who was behind the plot.
Felicity goes undercover in the casino to get information which initially indicates that Walter is dead. But his Moira’s dramatic reaction to the news causes Oliver to follow her to where she confronts Merlin over the allegation of Walter’s murder. This leads not only to Oliver discovering where Walter is being held and also confirms what he didn’t want to know…that his own mother was involved. We also get to see just how Oliver ended up on the yacht with Laurel’s sister which demonstrates what a jerk he was before his time on the island changed him.
I know I said that I preferred Felicity in her business attire as opposed to her evening attire the last time she got to dress up and go undercover but I have to change my mind this time. She looked smoking hot in her red dress and each week she becomes a more and more important member of the cast. She’s provides a wonderful balance to Oliver’s more impulsive character.
I haven’t talked much about Steven Amell’s performance as Oliver since the debut episode but he was fantastic in this episode. The tension between he and Merlin in the hospital after he rescued Walter was one of the best scenes of the season. You could feel how much he wanted to tear Merlin up on the spot. An incredible beginning buildup to the final two episodes of the season.