Synopsis: Diggle and Felicity fish Oliver off his island so he can come back to Starling City and make things right after the earthquake and death of his best friend.
Details: In last season’s finale, an earthquake destroyed much of Starling City and Moira Queen got the blame for it even though Malcolm Merlyn was really behind the earthquake machine that caused it – but both Malcolm Merlyn and his son, Tommy were killed in the quake so Moira is the scapegoat. Because of this and the fact that being Arrow means he has to kill people – sometimes innocent people – Oliver has decided to shed his Arrow persona and flee back to the island where he trained and survived in his pre-Arrow days.
But there is no government shutdown in Starling City after the quake – it just goes straight to pot – so Diggle and Felicity embark on a mission to Oliver’s island to retrieve him and bring him back for some good old-fashioned vigilante-ing. But after parachuting in, Felicity promptly steps on a land mine and forces Oliver to rescue her – but still refuses to return to Starling City.
Flashback #1 [yes, they did not get rid of this distracting device] shows Oliver, Slade and Shado discovering that they “are not alone” on the island. Really? Shocking.
Apparently, Oliver gets talked into returning to Starling City – though we never see or hear the convincing final argument that wins him over – where he sees that the city has fallen into disrepair and in danger of being taken over by soulless sorts – politicians, corporate bigwigs and probably some Kardashians for all we know. Now that he’s back in his ‘hood – so to speak – Oliver drops in on his old nightclub, which is now being run by his sister, Thea, even though, as Oliver rightly points out, she is not old enough to drink.
Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend, Laurel, is attending a fancy shindig where the new Starling City mayor is doing some speechifying when, suddenly, they are rudely interrupted by four hooded thugs who assassinate the mayor and shoot up the joint. Oliver comes to check on Laurel and after sharing betrayal stories with each other, kiss and mostly make up. Oliver thinks the horde of hoods is a ploy to get him to return from the island and he ain’t falling for it, he tells Diggle. But the head of the four-man Hood Horde has different ideas and decides he wants his Hood Horde to go after the Queen family – who he figures is directly responsible for the deaths of their loved ones in the earthquake.
Thea has a few scenes with Roy Harper in the nightclub but really – who cares? – so after that brief time-waster, Oliver meets up with corporate takeover queen, Isabel Rochev [Summer Glau] to discuss Miss Rochev’s hostile takeover of the Queen family’s corporation. They are rudely interrupted [again] by the Hood Horde in their clumsy, frenetic attempts to get at Oliver. Oliver yanks Felicity out of the office and saves her, leaving Diggle behind to deal with the Hood Horde and protecting Miss Rochev. About this time, Diggle and Felicity start bugging Oliver again about his decision not to return to his Arrow persona as a vigilante and he explains that it has to do with his despair over his former best friend Tommy’s death.
Flashback #2 gives you all of 37 seconds or so to see that Shadow has been abducted before we move on to see Oliver visiting his mother, Moira, in the hoosegow, where she suggests bringing in another non-Thea family member into the business dealings with Miss Rochev.
But before we can return to the scintillating world of corporate neener-neenering, the Hood Horde has decided it would be a good idea to kidnap Thea as a way to get Oliver’s attention but failed to recognize the gigantic flaw in their plan – they would be stuck with Thea. Possibly for a real long time. But before that flaw can be brutally exposed for all it’s worth, Thea’s superbly-coiffed boyfriend Roy Harper takes a run at them – but they take off with Thea anyway [too bad for them!]. Thea’s abduction forces Oliver to become Arrow again and he finds that Felicity has upgraded his lair.
Flashback #3 shows Oliver and Slade locating Shado’s abductors, ambush them and Oliver goes a little nutzo while killing one of them. With Felicity’s help, Oliver locates where the Hood Horde is holed up – in a church – with Thea, frees Thea while maiming – but not killing – the Hood Horde.
After all that, Oliver calms down by coming to Tommy’s grave marker where – surprise, surprise – Laurel shows up. After comparing similar sob stories, Laurel announces that she’s going to get that archer dude who messed up Tommy [not quite in those words but that was her sentiment]. Thea then visits Moira in jail where Mom convinces her not to be a “hata” any more. Meanwhile, Walter comes out of the woodwork – sorta, it was Moira’s idea, remember? – to help Oliver fend off Isabel’s hostile takeover attempt of the Queen family business.
Final flashback #4 shows us a mystery ship off the shore of the island which is apparently the source of the mystery men who attempted to abduct Shado and for no really good reason other than to introduce Black Canary – Roy is shown attempting to fend off three thugs attacking a defenseless girl before Miss White intervenes and kicks all their butts halfway to Tuesday.
Finally, the end all the suspense, Oliver announces that he would like it if people did not refer to him as “The Hood” any more – which is good, because we never did – and then prepares to ponder what his next move will be in Starling City. [Hint: it probably has something to do with Black Canary].
The Poop and Skinny: Do you have a short attention span? Well, the CW thinks that you do as their Season Two premiere rarely spends more than 90 seconds on a single scenario.
Oliver’s island has a name – Lian Yu.
Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance has been demoted to beat cop.
Tommy “Eddie Haskell” Merlyn, we find out from his grave marker, was 28 years old – making him just the right age for a sense of entitlement.
Burning question for the next episode of “Arrow” – Will everybody be sick of Thea yet – or just most of Starling City and the viewing audience?
As always – 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 continue to be welcome.