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It was nice to see Arrow rebound after last week's less than stellar episode. "Sara" contained some of the worst action of the series' run so far, not to mention more than its fair share of stilted-sentimentality. The CW superhero show has never really nailed the emotional moments but stunning action set-pieces almost always outweigh the heavy-handed drama. Case in point, “Corto Maltese.” The action packed third episode featured a few solid storylines as well as a ton of fun references to the DCU.

Bringing Up Speedy
Fans got their first glimpse of the ‘new Thea’ at the end of last week's episode but Corto Maltese opens with a flashback to the girl we knew climbing into the limo six months ago. Fed up with all the secrets and lies, Speedy decided to take a little time away from Starling City and, well, she looks great. The time spent with her father/teacher on the island has been good to her although certainly not easy. What's with the Queen kids and getting trained by harsh mentors on islands? Malcolm stops taking it easy on his daughter right after burning her hand with boiling water, a ritual I initially thought would include a hallucinogen. She is getting the full League of Assassins treatment after all. That's who Malcolm was spending his days with during his time in Nanda Parbat. He at least Good Will Hunting’s her before punching her in the face. Did you notice that while staying in Corto Maltese the young Queen/Merlyn has been going by the name Mia? I can't wait to see where her character is headed. Not literally. She’s at the airport. Headed to Starling.
”Arrow” Retrieving Thea wasn't the only thing on the agenda during Team Arrow's vacation to Corto Maltese, Diggle was also doing some fieldwork for his wife Lyla. Well, more like doing some fieldwork for A.R.G.U.S.. I have a feeling that the series is positioning Amanda Waller's Mockingbird as one of the season's main antagonists. We've seen her do some nasty things before, like order a drone strike on an entire city, so it's no suprise that Agent Mark Shaw (aka Manhunter) wants out. And to get out, he's willing to steal and sell the A.R.G.U.S. transcoder (think Mission Impossible's NOC List or a million other macguffins) to a Mr. Armitage. Armitage showed up last season and sprung Bronze Tiger from Iron Heights in an attempt to obtain another macguffin. Fortunately, Diggle had Oliver and Roy there to help bring down the rogue agent who made reference to a capuchin. And yes, Ollie has used guns in the past.
Thank You For Smoaking
Back in Star City, Felicity is starting her new job at Queen Consolidated working under Ray Palmer (aka The Atom). And it's not a bad gig. The former executive assistant to Mr. Queen now has her own executive assistant. His name is Gerry Conway . The Smoak's first assignment for her inscrutable new boss is recovering the data lost when the company's applied sciences division was blown up. They did have a good reason. Palmer also makes mention of it as a digital lazarus project, which may or may not be laying the groundwork for characters to return from the grave. Nah, it's likely just an easter egg. I think it's also worth noting that Felicity goes into full Oracle mode in this episode, helping a couple crime-fighters track down their respective criminals from her command centre at Queen Consolidated. Finally, there was Felicity's nod to The Flash near the end of "Corto Maltese," perfectly placed since she will be visiting Barry in Central City in the sister-show's next installment. That's four before the big crossover event.
Full Mental Jacket
Felicity wasn't the only hero coming into their own this week, Laurel also spent a large part of "Corto Maltese" trying to fill her sister's shoes. Too bad the Black Canary had huge feet. The Arrow is doing his best to track down her killer as well, even bringing out a lasso/leash trick arrow but the trail has run cold. Of course, that's not good enough to put out the fire raging inside Laurel and she ends up showing a little too much of it when looking for a punk kid named Tom Bronson down at a local gym. Remember the boxing match in the premiere? Well, the Wildcat wasn't just a one-off visual nod, Ted Grant himself showed up in "Corto Maltese" to offer Laurel some advice. It looks like he'll be back to train her even though she promised Captain Lance to cut it out. She might have taken a beating but she still got that scumbag from Coast City locked up. And it turns out there's someone else intent on finding Sara's killer with Nyssa showing up at Verdant at the end of the episode. I think she she be asking her own friends and family.

Arrow continues with Episode 4, “The Magician,” next Wednesday at 8:00 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, Paul Blackthorne and John Barrowman.

Head to the next page for a look at “The Magician”...