In the final episode before the big Season 4 crossover event with “The Flash,” the CW’s “Arrow” got very personal. After months of searching, the team gets closer to their main villain than ever before, but the hunt almost costs them one of their key players. 

The episode opens with Team Arrow taking on Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) commando unit known as the Ghosts. It looked as though they were trying to steal an armored truck full of cash, but when they destroyed it instead, it’s revealed that the money was meant to buy out Star City Bank. For some reason, Darhk and his backers, H.I.V.E., want the city poor. 

Fortunately, Star City mayoral candidate and secret vigilante, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), won’t let that happen. As he gears up for a big banquet to honor the police department, and lobby for their endorsement, he also unveils plans to propose a massive cleanup of the bay area to create much needed jobs in the city. Meanwhile, John Diggle (David Ramsey) managed to extract a tooth from one of the Ghosts they took down and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) enlists the help of the recently rescued Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) to help them track the DNA. The billionaire is reluctant to announce that he’s not actually dead to the public, so he jumps at the chance to help and leads the team to a medical facility to look for leads. While they’re there, Diggle takes down another Ghost and unmasks him. When he does, he is beyond shocked to discover that the soldier was his brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd), who he thought to be dead. 

When Diggle was first introduced in Season 1, he revealed that his brother was assassinated and he’s since learned that it was by H.I.V.E. The mysterious organization wanted to take out the competition profiting off the war in Afghanistan. Diggle has come to terms with the fact that his brother wasn’t the man he thought he was, but finding out that he allowed his family to think he was dead for all these years makes him beyond redemption. However, Oliver and the rest of the team disagree and begin to hatch a plan to rescue him. 

Meanwhile, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) has been working hard to keep the blood lust she feels from the Lazarus Pit under control, but her father, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), shows up in Star City offering her a morally acceptable murder - a pedophile. She refuses, because she believes that killing anyone is an unacceptable price to pay for her own existence. Besides, she’s not doing a terrible job of controlling herself. She’s managed to just barely avoid it while fighting with Team Arrow, and she only slipped once while on a date as herself. 

At the banquet, Oliver talks with Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) who reveals Darhk no longer trusts him after tricking him last week. However, before he was thrown out of the villain’s office, he managed to catch a glimpse of mission plans on his desk. He gives the Green Arrow the lead to check out the docks for Diggle’s brother. Before Queen leaves the party, he’s approached by the man himself -- Damien Darhk. 

The villain doesn’t know Queen’s secret identity, and casually threatens his campaign. He says that if he doesn’t abandon the cleanup project, he’ll no longer be running for mayor unopposed. For a brief time, Oliver considers the offer thinking that it will be their only non-costumed connection to Darhk. Hoever,Felicity reminds him that he ran for mayor to make it so the city doesn’t have to bend to the will of people like him. 

At that moment, Diggle shows up and agrees to look for his brother at the docks with Oliver. While they’re there, they find that Darhk is drugging all of the Ghosts with some kind of pill that makes them compliant. This could possibly excuse some of Andy’s behavior over the last few years, but Diggle isn’t sold. Before they can have a proper chat about it, the Ghosts spot them and almost kill Oliver in the ensuing fight. The two debate the merit of risking their lives for a person who is, in all likelihood, a villain and Oliver makes it clear that he believes no one is beyond redemption and that he’ll try and rescue Andy no matter what.

Meanwhile, Palmer tells Felicity that he’s used the tooth to track the Ghosts down to a defunct mental hospital that Darhk is clearly using to manufacture more ultra-compliant soldiers. No doubt Andy will be there so Team Arrow suits up for a rescue mission. Diggle, at first, refuses to go. Fortunately, he can’t resist joining the fray once Thea, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Oliver get caught. A huge fight breaks out that requires even the assistance of Palmer and his Atom power suit. They battle and they scrap in some of the most fantastically directed fight choreography in the show’s history until Thea finally comes across their man. 

She manages to control her bloodlust after a really violent throw down with Andy. When the fight is over, she’s approached by Damien Darhk who tells her that he recognizes her fighting style as that of her trainer’s trainer, Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). Just when it looks like the end for the hero, the episode cuts away to the group celebrating a job well done with Diggle’s brother in custody at the Green Arrow lair. 

It isn’t until later in the episode that Thea reveals to her father that Darhk attempted to use his magic on her but it backfired, when it did, her bloodlust was gone. The episode ends on a sad note as Diggle finally has his bitter-sweet (mostly bitter) reunion with his little brother. Andy spends most of the conversation with his back to Diggle, not speaking. The only time he turns around is to look him in the eye and confirm that the war crimes mentioned in his file were true.

Odds and Ends:

  • What did Darhk mean when he told Lance that there’s worse things he can do than kill his daughters? 
  • Oliver finally got rid of the solider that was trying to kill him during this week’s island flashbacks. It’s revealed that the man he killed last week was actually the brother of the woman he rescued -- that plotline is getting complicated. 
  • Anyone else feel like the fight scenes were about a millions times better than they usually are in this episode? 
  • Do we believe Thea about what what happened with Darhk? 
  • Make sure to watch “The Flash” on Tuesday Dec. 2 to know what the heck is going on in episode 8.