Synopsis: Oliver discovers Moira is in cahoots with the sabotage of the Queen’s Gambit [the yacht he was on with his father in the premiere episode] and therefore possibly responsible for Dad’s death while Laurel gets in a big ole mess [without Hardy even being around!] trying to pin down the Criminal of the Week, Cyrus Vanch [played by David Anders].
Details: After the obligatory “Previously on Arrow…” opening montage of scenes, we are greeted with the introduction of the Criminal of the Week named Cyrus Vanch [Really? – who thought Cyrus was a good criminal name designed to inspire fear and not clowns?] played by David Anders [who you may know as Julian Sark from “Alias”]. Despite the clown name, Cyrus is released from prison – now that we think about it PROBABLY because of the clown name – and immediately sets about to re-establishing his place atop the Starling City criminal heap by righting a few wrongs, beginning with killing poor lawyer George – who was enjoying the post-Cyrus good life until Vanch gave him the always fearsome Death Hug [a close relative of the Kiss of Death] making George red and dead – and the equivalent of those red uniform “Star Trek” crew members.
After a brief discussion between Diggle and Oliver regarding Oliver’s mom, Moira’s, possession of the book of names, we are met with Flashback #1 as Oliver is on the prison island and has followed the map given to him by Benedict Arnold Caveman [Yao Fei, technically] straight to the lair of a dude who he has been told has a plane to get off the island.
Meanwhile, back at the police station, Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance gets re-assigned by Lieutenant Frank – and he is none too happy about that let us tell you! But then, when is Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance ever happy? Maybe he needs some Nutella and a few more hours of sleep per night.
Moving on, Oliver confronts Moira about book of names and Moira responds by hemming, hawing, making up a story about weasels named Larry, Curly and Moe – or something – and insists they should just forget about the stupid book and the best way to do that is by tossing it into the fire – whoops! Good thing there are multiple copies of the book and they seem to show up everywhere.
Oliver’s new buddy in the police department – McKenna Hall – seems to have disappeared completely off the face of the planet this episode and she is replaced – briefly, thankfully – by a Thea scene at the police station where Laurel is informed that Vanch has been released from prison – prompting her to call Arrow to meet him and ask for help in bringing Vanch back to justice. Laurel’s call is relayed to her Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance Dad, who gets the brilliant idea of using the meeting as a way to trap his daughter. Would this happen in real life – of course not – but we are sure people viewing this episode will think it can.
Arrow pays Cyrus a pseudo-visit with one of his “special” arrows that doubles as a recording device, which Vanch discovers and then decides to use the opportunity of his knowledge of Arrow’s surveillance to kidnap Laurel as a way to trap Arrow when he inevitably comes to rescue her.
Going back to the Moira escapades, Diggle “volunteers” to act as Moira’s driver and tail her around to see what she is up to – and discovers that she first has to attend an important birthday party before meeting up with Eddie Haskell, Sr./Malcolm Merlyn.
Meanwhile – all this jumping around from scene to scene got you tired and annoyed yet? – Arrow meets Laurel, Dad busts in with the gangster squad, Arrow at first uses Laurel as a shield, then ditches Laurel and sends Dad to Sleepyland when he tries to clumsily follow him. Laurel gets mad at Dad, yells mean things at him and then gives him his trick phone back. Laurel then has an argument with Eddie Haskell Jr./Tommy Merlyn and Eddie/Tommy talks it out guy-to-guy with Oliver in classic bromance Gangnam style [i.e. – quick words, no emotions, some huffery and puffery].
Flashback #2 careens into view and – speaking of bromance – secret lair dude claims to be Yao Fei’s partner [not in that way…well, for all we know, anyway] and proceeds to slap Oliver around a bit to see what kind of Jell-O he is made of – vanilla or chocolate.
Cyrus and his thugs of ill repute ambush Laurel at her pad but the pair of thugs are unable – really? – to subdue Laurel who must have been doing extra bench presses and crunches at the gym as she has no problem dispatching the two thugs until Vanch tases her into submission and carts her back to his pad to await Arrow’s arrival to rescue her.
Back at the Diggle-mobile, Moira is driven to meet with Eddie Haskell, Sr./Malcolm Merlyn and Diggle follows her and eavesdrops until he is caught by building security while recording their conversation that included Moira fessing up to at least knowledge of the yacht’s sabotage. Diggle plays back recording to Oliver who begrudgingly accepts that his mom is in on the sabotage in some way.
Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance decides to buck up and call Arrow in for assistance [again, is this realistic?] on going after Vanch to free up Laurel and Arrow and him strike a deal to coordinate their attack to save Laurel.
In flashback #3, secret lair dude is revealed to be Slade Wilson – supposedly a member of the Australian Secret Kangaroo Service oh, and maybe Deathstroke – and threatens to kill Oliver until Oliver fights back.
Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance stops frothing at the mouth long enough to team up with Arrow to subdue Vanch and his henchmen and rescue Laurel – but not before Arrow reminds everybody that “I’m the vigilante, you’re the cop” as he was about to blast Vanch into New Jersey with his peashooter. Fortunately, Vanch’s survival means he will undoubtedly be released/escape from prison again in a future episode – duh.
Arrow meets Laurel as she leaves the police station unescorted – yeah, okay, whatever – and tells her he is calling it quits on their crime-fighting partnership and this is the part where Eddie/Tommy comes running in for sloppy seconds.
Diggle and Oliver have yet another Moira discussion and it is finally agreed that Moira needs to have a message sent to clean up her act and Arrow busts in to inform her that she has failed the city as the episode ends… – cue dramatic music here – da da duh!
The Poop and Skinny: Apparently, the writers and/or director – presumably – have directed the characters in the show to begin occasionally referring to Arrow by the silly in-show nickname of “The Hood” [which can now be the source of all manner of jokes…]. Question: Is it good practice for a television show to create self-importance by manufacturing its own character’s nickname out of thin air – especially an extremely silly one?” Answer: An emphatic no.
An episode bonus – only one Thea scene appearance!
Arrow keeps 24 arrows in his quiver – this is the type of crucial plot information that will surely come up at a Comic-Con panel this summer.
Burning question for the next episode of “Arrow” – will the police department ever pay their electricity bill in full or have they worked out a deal with the Superdome to share the bill?
It is important to remember that – at any juncture where the situation appears to be dire for Arrow/Oliver and his very life may be in danger – there would be no more show [and therefore no more money to be made] if he were to die. You are welcome.