The CW’s “Arrow” turned the emotional stakes up to 11 in episode 4 as almost every character’s biggest secrets came out in the open. With the fate of an ailing Star City hanging in the balance, the police force fails to protect and serve in a major way. 

With everything that’s going on, it’s important to remember that at the center of all this conflict is the original desire to make Star City a better place. That’s why the episode opens with a reminder that this mission is a constant uphill battle. A group of drug dealers are getting some work done in an abandoned building when the Star City Police Department (SCPD) SWAT team bursts in and clears the room. Two detectives burst through a different door saying they got a tip from an informant about the location but weren’t aware the SWAT team was on it. Before the detective can finish his explanation, a woman from the SWAT team kills them both, which means there’s dirty cops in the city. 

Luckily, there’s a ray of hope in Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who gathers the members of Team Arrow together to announce that he’s decided to run for mayor. Thanks to the job’s unusually high death rate, he believes that his ability to defend himself will afford him the opportunity to be the type of mayor the city needs to fix its many problems. The group is less-than-thrilled, believing that he’s in way over his head this time. After all, he’s got enough on his plate just being the Green Arrow. 

In order to get his campaign started, Oliver’s first stop is the police station to see Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to ask for his endorsement and the support of the SCPD. Unfortunately, after everything Oliver has put the city and Lance’s family through, the Captain is reluctant to do him any favors. However, with his grossly understaffed investigative team too busy to do anything about the murders, he gives Oliver a SIM card found at the crime scene hoping that Team Arrow can figure out who killed his detectives. Oliver agrees hoping it will be a step in the right direction for his mayoral campaign. 

Later that night, Lance is led to the basement of an apartment building by his daughter Laurel (Katie Cassidy) so that she can show him that his other daughter, Sara (Caity Lotz), has returned… Kind of. In last week’s episode, Laurel brought Sara’s body back to the Lazarus Pit in the hopes it could bring her back. Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) reluctantly agreed, and what came out of the pit was Sara’s resurrected body without its soul. Lance sees his daughter is back, but her condition is hard to accept. She’s chained up, doesn’t remember who he is and even tries to kill Laurel. 

Meanwhile, Team Arrow uses the SIM card to track the killers to an abandoned warehouse where they find an armory filled with SCPD gear. Oliver returns to Lance to inform him that members of his department are responsible for the murders. Apparently they’ve been hitting drug busts and selling the product instead of confiscating it. Oliver sends Thea (Willa Holland) to hit up her old dealer and buy a massive amount of drugs for a fake party. He meets with Lance to tell him that he’s baited the bad cops. Upset over the news about Sara, Lance insists on being there for the bust. Unfortunately, when the SWAT team springs the trap, they prove more than a match for Team Arrow and manage to escape. 

Thanks to Captain Lance being at the scene, the SWAT team, who it turns out are led by a woman named Liza Warner, realizes they’ve been made. It becomes clear that, now that Lance has seen them with his own eyes, they have to eliminate him as a threat. Warner, despite killing two detectives in cold blood at the beginning of the episode, refuses to murder her captain in cold blood.

Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is tracking the police’s activities in the hopes of finding a lead. In doing so, she and Oliver inadvertently notice Captain Lance meeting with the leader of the most notorious gang terrorizing the city, Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Lance visited Darhk to ask him about the Lazarus Pit and Sara’s condition. This provokes Oliver to pay Lance a visit at his house to confront him on what he’s doing. In one of the more dramatically acted scenes on the series, Lance refuses to let Oliver question his judgment and says that he was only trying to protect his daughter from Darhk’s threats. However, for the first time Oliver doesn’t bow to Lance’s authority and tells him that his actions were inexcusable and to stop hiding behind his children. The scene ends with Oliver confessing that one of the biggest reasons he ran for mayor was to show Lance, once and for all, the type of man he really is. 

Heartbroken and feeling a desperate need to do something drastic, Lance returns to Sara’s basement and tries to muster the courage to shoot her. His conversation with Darhk made him understand that his daughter is nothing without her soul. However, Laurel comes in at the last minute and convinces him not to fire. When they go upstairs, they’re attacked by the SWAT team. Warner, rather than kill Lance, has decided to use him to gain access to the SCPD’s drug disposal facility. The hope is that she and her team can steal enough to blow town and be set financially for life. Fortunately, Team Arrow is able to track them down and stop them from getting away a second time. 

During the fight, Oliver turns his back on Warner at the wrong time and she holds a knife to his spine. Lance moves forward and implores her to give up. He reminds her that the reason she took a job as a police officer in the first place was because she believed in justice. He convinces her that the only way to move forward, despite what the city has turned them all into, is to remember what it is they’re fighting for in the first place. Just like that, Warner allows herself to be taken in. 

Oliver, inspired by Lance’s speech, decides to start forgiving him. The first step on this journey is to announce his campaign for mayor. Luckily, Thea has been hard at work in the background of the episode hiring a slew of interns to kickstart things. The following day, Oliver makes an impassioned speech of his own and tells all of Star City that, despite his utter lack of qualifications, he’s here for them. 

In danger of letting an episode of “Arrow” end on a high note, Laurel returns in the final moments of “Beyond Redemption” to bring some food to her chained up sister. When she goes downstairs, she discovers that she’s managed to escape and is now on the loose in a city that thinks she’s dead. 

Odds and Ends:

  • What is Felicity discovering about Ray Palmer’s (Brandon Routh) technology? 
  • Laurel brought her father, a man with a known heart condition, to a dark warehouse to reveal that his previously deceased daughter is alive and trying to kill anyone within reach. 
  • Thea jump started a mayoral campaign in about one night. It’s starting to become clear that being a vigilante is beneath her. 
  • What was in that box that Damien Darhk opened at the end of the episode? 
  • Does anyone else have no clue what’s really going on in the island flashbacks this season?