That's it. No more time off until what should be an epic finale four weeks from now. Arrow's schedule during the second-half of the season has been spotty at best but last night's "The Man Under the Hood" marked the first of the final, uninterrupted stretch until reaching the "Unthinkable." And the installment was injected full of DCU references. The previous episode, aptly titled "Deathstroke," saw the season's big bad reveal a part of how he plans to build an unstoppable army of super-soldiers in order to exact his revenge on his former protege and that led to a violent visit with a couple of interesting new characters...

”Arrow
4. Friends Of Flash
It's jumping ahead but we might as well get right to the most exciting part of "The Man Under the Hood" and that's the introduction of two people who will be key players in the upcoming series based on DC's Flash. Desperate for a bio-transfuser, Deathstroke ends up infiltrating the Starling City storage facility for S.T.A.R. Labs which brings him into contact with a few of Barry Allen's friends from Central City.

Apparently, Barry's been moved to their facility for treatment as his coma worsens and that's where Felicity met Caitlin Snow, eventually also known as Killer Frost (played by Danielle Panabaker), and Cisco Ramon, a.k.a. Vibe (played by Carlos Valdes). The writers included a couple nods to the latter's super-future, having him question the security guard's 'vibe' before using a pulsating gun on the one-eyed intruder. Their scenes also included the first mention of Iris West, Barry's 'something' (played by Candice Patton), and Dr. Harrison Wells. Oh, and I'm pretty sure Ms. Snow said that the vibrating gun was developed by Arthur Light. I guess we should expect to see him on the spin-off?
”Arrow
3. Army Of Darkness
Alright, now that the flashy (sorry) new arrivals have been discussed, it's time to get back to the big bad's ever expanding army. In the episode that bears his name, Deathstroke freed a bus load of inmates from Iron Heights Penitentiary to inject them with mirakuru and have his very own super-soldiers. Like I said, in order to pull this off, the mercenary needs to break into the S.T.A.R. Labs storage facility in Starling City and he can only accomplish that feat with WIlliam Tockman's skeleton key. Team Arrow acquired the device when battling the Clock King during "Time of Death" and they use it in the cold open to bust in to Queen Consolidated's Applied Sciences building.

It seems every corporation in the DCU has a substantial research and development budget and it's one of the main reasons that the 'evil plan' involved Isabel Rochev seizing the multinational. I wonder if learning the truth about her backstory this week will put to rest the rumors that she's Talia al Ghul? I like how she took to Channel 52 to call out the 'terrorist' attack, too bad Bethany Snow wasn't there to help her raise a stink. It would have been nice to include Sebastian 'Brother' Blood while the soldiers are assembling at the end. Even just a shot of the other 'man in the mask.'
”Arrow "The Man Under the Hood" opened with a great sequence for Team (Green) Arrow as they decided to take the fight to Deathstroke. Well, they didn't go after the supervillain directly but they did go on the offensive, breaking into the 'Robert Queen Applied Sciences' building to destroy any equipment that might help their enemy amass his army. Of course, that made the mercenary come to the Arrow Cave to acquire the skeleton key and beat the crap out of everyone inside. Except for Felicity. And it was her plan! That hardly seems fair. Only kidding.

That set piece was probably one of my favorite action sequences on the show so far and Deathstroke catching Canary by the throat was too rad. Dig also got his hands dirty this week, putting two in Isabel's chest to save Oliver from her attack. Our hooded hero didn't see her coming because he was busy pulling his once and future sidekick off the mirakuru cross. And he also pulled a few trick arrows as well. Not all the members of Team Arrow were able to help battle the big bad, with Detective Lance behind bars for helping the vigilante. But even if it means beatings, he's happy to put in the time to allow Oliver to keep doing his thing. He needn't worry, Laurel is able to swing a deal with D.A. Kate Spencer to spring him from Iron Heights and return his badge. Way. Too. Easy.
”Arrow
1. History Of Violence
There isn't much of a reason to combine these two threads except that both happen to involve the past and how it always comes back to haunt. The events unfolding in flashback on Lian Yu have Oliver and Sara paired with Anatoli Knyazev (the KGBeast) as they continue to quarrel with Slade over Shado's death and a way home. The merc is the now captain of the Amazo and must be well on his way towards fixing the freighter after obtaining the engineer in last week's trade. It turns out that being saddled with the one-armed Dr. Ivo actually was beneficial since he was able to synthesize a cure to the mirakuru. Hm. Things thats could have been brought to my attention yesterday. But Ollie was embarrassed because he was a killer not a curer back then. Well, not technically since Slade isn't dead.

Anyway, while that little secret should make the rest of the team angry will Oliver, another continues to erode Thea's relationship with the rest of the Queens. It turns out that Robert Queen is just as big a liar as Moira (and Ollie) since he knew about the baby-making affair all along. Yeah, yeah, he chose to be her father even though she's Malcolm Merlyn's biologically. How sweet. (He was also soulmates with a twenty-something.) Tough go for Thea though. Roy left to be a loser in Blüdhaven and then bombshell after bombshell. I like her better when she's Speedy.

Arrow returns with Episode 20, “Seeing Red,” on next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Created by Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, the DC Comics inspired series stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett, Paul Blackthorne and Susanna Thompson.

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