After last week's "Arrow" did the heavy lifting to bring Oliver (Stephen Amell) and his new girlfriend, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), back to crime fighting in Star City for good, episode 2 puts them right back in the action. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of crazy villains dying to terrorize the city and bring about anarchy.
The episode opens with Team Arrow stopping more of Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) men from taking over and corrupting the city’s water supply. It’s a solid victory for the team, but they’re still facing an uphill battle against the Ghosts. Unfortunately, Oliver and Thea (Willa Holland) don’t have time to contemplate a strategy, as they’ve agreed to host an old family friend for breakfast. Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan) comes over and informs the Queen kids that she’s hoping to pick up saving the city where their mother left off (before she was murdered by a supervillain, that is). Star City has been without a mayor for several months since no one wants to take the job, given the low life expectancy it comes with. So despite the mayor’s office being essentially the same as the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts, Danforth makes her campaign announcement. Predictably, the Ghosts attack. A single operative has set up a remote sniper rifle to distract the crowd while he whisks Danforth away. Although he’s armed with a pretty cool stun gun, he’s no match for Oliver.
It turns out the would-be assassin is a freelancer named Ronnie Machin, who contacted Darhk in the hopes of proving himself to his organization. With his first attempt failed, he vows to stop Jessica Danforth from running for mayor. Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) are on patrol together and have time for a little heart-to-heart. She gives him the perfunctory “you should forgive Oliver for kidnapping your wife last season” speech, but he’s not interested. Instead, he confides in her that he was lying during last week’s episode when he told Oliver that Darhk's mentioning “The Hive” meant nothing to him. As it turns out, it’s one of the last things that Deadshot (Michael Rowe) told him about the assassination of his brother. It’s unclear what this means for the case, but now Laurel is involved.
Meanwhile, Oliver visits Danforth, who is in seclusion in police headquarters. Continuing her trend of bad decisions, she reveals to Oliver that she allowed her daughter, Madison (Tiera Skovbye) to go to the library. In the second-most-predictable thing to happen in the episode, her daughter is kidnapped by Machin. He presents the kidnapped girl to Darhk, who is incredibly displeased to learn that he broke what he would consider to be his code of honor. He calls the kidnapping inappropriate and lectures Machin for being an agent of anarchy (wink, wink). In any case, Darhk isn’t on board with Machin’s plan anymore, so he sells the location of the girl out to his unlikely ally, Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), who alerts Oliver to the intel.
Team Arrow shows up to rescue Madison, but not before Machin breaks her finger after tricking her to escape. Diggle and Laurel run the girl to safety, and Thea and Oliver stay behind. It’s a tumultuous moment for the brother-and-sister pair as Oliver finally reveals to Thea that the reason she’s been having trouble controlling her urge to kill lately is a side effect of the Lazarus Pit that brought her back to life last season. She assures Oliver that she can handle taking down Machin. Unfortunately, she is very, very wrong. When Machin gets the drop on them with his stun gun, Thea gets up first and uses the weapon to light him on fire. He burns up pretty good, but Oliver is able to put out the flames before they kill him, allowing him the opportunity to kill some ambulance workers at the end of the episode and escape.
The city is saved once more. However, Danforth finally learns her lesson and agrees to withdraw her candidacy for mayor. Oliver realizes that although the Green Arrow can unite people to fight for the city, he has to inspire them with something to rally for. He tells Felicity that he’s decided to run for mayor himself.
The episode ends on an extremely graphic and downright disturbing note. With Thea still reeling from her encounter with Machin, Laurel decides to make it her responsibility to help. She tells Thea that she’ll take her back to the League of Assassins to figure out exactly what the Lazarus pit did to her. However, she admits that she’s also got unresolved issues about her sister’s murder to deal with. Before the credits roll, Laurel is seen digging up Sara’s dead body and -- to be blunt, it looks like the body of a beloved character that’s been decomposing for two years.
Odds and Ends:
- Diggle needs to get over his grudge.
- Thea versus Oliver was one of the coolest fights the show has had in several episodes.
- Oliver continues his story back on Lian Yu, infiltrating a military organization that’s using slave labor to cultivate a farm of some sort -- it still makes no sense yet.
- Lance is working with Damien, but to what end?
- We are finally introduced to a new good guy in the form of Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum).
- Seriously, the sight of Sara’s dead body is going to haunt us all forever.