".... all part of the plan."
Despite some stiff acting and the occasional bad bout of on the nose, cringe-worthy dialogue, The CW's Arrow is a really good show. That makes it sound like a surprise but perhaps it shouldn't come as one since the network did such a solid job handling a DC property the last time around with Smallville. Arrow is very different than the angst-ridden, episodic teen drama that grew into adult tights because of the former's dedication to a Christopher Nolan inspired 'gritty reality' but the quality, like the characters, is definitely in the same universe. And speaking of universe, the comic book series also share the DCU and, even though last week's installment was pretty good without a guest spot from the rogues gallery, "Damaged" features another famous villain in Deathstroke. This is the third comic book baddie worked into the show but this time, things are a little different...
"5 Years Ago."
For the first time the episode not only opens in flashback but the backstory on the island also contains the week's DCU villain while the present for the most part finds Ollie holed up in Queen Mansion. "Damaged" begins with the marooned hero playing dog to his mentor's hunter before we see, not only his initial weak-assed attempt to shoot an arrow but also the balaclavas (what I'm going to call the mysterious militia) come and take him captive. In a nice parallel, the action moves back to Starling City to pick up on the end of "An Innocent Man" where Ollie was arrested for vigilantism only, as I guessed in the recap, it's all part of his plan. That's right, this week Arrow decided to tackle the common comic book logistical issue of why nobody can connect the dots between the return of the person and the arrival of the hero. It's not really an important problem for fans of the medium (we've kind of been letting it slide for a while now) but it does offer up an interesting story to counter the action on the island and allow for Dig to step into the suit! Pretty rad. But first Ollie has to find himself in a situation that benefits from the alibi, beginning with an interrupted interrogation by Detective Lance.
"Because he's actually trying to make a difference. We both know that's not really your style."
Daddy might not be the most objective cop on the case and it doesn't take much to start poking a few holes in the evidence because really, what does the footage actually show? Before getting all of his excuses out, Walter and Moira arrive to put an end to the questioning and also procure their son a lawyer. Can you guess who he wants to represent him? Moira can't initially convince Laurel to take on the case but of course she shows right in time to finish someone else's sentence (a common courtroom practice I'm sure), get him put on house arrest (a GPS might gum up the works), and restate how little she thinks of Ollie. Predictably, Detective Daddy is not too enthused with his daughter defending the guy who killed his other daughter but Laurel does her best to ensure him that it was his fault, not Ollie's, that his wife/her mom left. How nice! Meanwhile, Oliver is playing the playboy during the GPS fitting and arranges an alibi, sorry, jail themed party at Queen Mansion. Too bad the alibi is the only part that doesn't really make sense.
"Well, you know us billionaire vigilantes, we do love our toys."
Sure, Dig donning the suit to disrupt the arms deal will definitely do the trick but Ollie didn't know that the former soldier would be part of the team when he was caught on video. He was very much the lone ranger at that point and couldn't have known how close he and his bodyguard would become. Remember, his mom arranged all that, not Ollie. Either way, it was still pretty awesome to see Dig out doing the dirty work and it starts with him just following the bad foreigners (ze Germans!) with the help of the billionaire vigilante's toys. And Dig really digs those toys. The other main thread running though "Damaged" has to do with Walter's discovery of the Queen's Gambit last week. What the hell is the lost vessel doing in a warehouse in Starling City? Pretty good question and Walter wants to secretly move the boat to a more secure location before confronting his wife so he enlists the help of his head of security. That can't end well.