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"Moira Queen! You've failed this city."
To quote our most recent Bond villain, "mommy was very bad." After the evidence became too much to ignore, and then a lot more convincing, Arrow finally turned his sights on the Queen matriarch, saying his famous last words, you know, "you've failed this city," to his own flesh and blood for the first time at the end of the aptly named "Betrayal." Something tells me it won't be the last time Oliver is forced to growl that phrase at someone he cares about, there are still a lot of hometown names on that list and even more secrets to uncover now that the series has been granted a second season by The CW. And all these aforementioned secrets are certainly not limited to the action set in Starling City as Ollie's flashbacks from cast-away island also seem to be coming to a head with him once again having trouble deciding who he can and cannot trust. Not that he has much of a choice at the moment with Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, recruiting the strong-wiled and stranded playboy for this week's "The Odyssey."
"Oliver? Wow. Everything about you just became so unbelievably clear."
For a while now I have been expecting an island-centric episode of Arrow and now after seeing one, "The Odyssey" is probably the first of many. It opens exactly where "Betrayal" left off, with Arrow bursting into Moira Queen's office mid-meeting in order to inform her about her city related failures. After some pleas for mercy that involved her hiding being her children (a literal picture of them), Moira pulls out a pistol and pops a cap in her son's hooded ass. Good thing Felicity Smoak is also burning the midnight oil at Queen Consolidated and leaves in time to find the bleeding vigilante still alive in her backseat. And, just like that, Smoak pretty much signs up to be part of the team as well as provide a bit of comic relief. The pretty 'IT Girl' played by Emily Bett Rickards knows how to banter like a slapstick star and the scenes between her and Dig with Ollie on the slab work on charm alone. I can't say anything happening in the present was all that exciting, you know, after Moira shot her hero son, but the sidekicks were enjoyable to watch as they bonded in the Arrow Cave.
"Everybody is in this life for themselves."
The action on the island also starts pretty much where "Betrayal" stopped, with Slade Wilson (the real Deathstroke) putting Oliver through some rigorous training in order too prepare for the planned air strip takeover. The episode also installs a nice ticking-clock, with the one and only drop plane set to arrive the following day and being their only way off the island for another three months. Of course, don't expect everything to go as planned since we are not so subtly informed that Ollie's only been marooned for six months, meaning there's another four and a half years left on the island (or at least until rescue), not to mention a sweet beard to grow. As slow and repetitive as I found some of the installment, and don't even get me started on the beyond unnecessary Laurel dream sequence, the idea of Oliver have a series of mentors is pretty rad, starting with Yao Fei (and I'm sure there is more archery training on the horizon thanks to Fyers big bow and arrow order) before moving on to Wilson. WILSON! Sorry. They brought it up.
"Nothing is bred that is weaker than man."
The whole business with the mine also felt like a scene we've seen before, even though the use of the balaclava to disguise himself and draw in the bad guys was kind of clever. I still would have liked to see Oliver figure a way out of that mess because for all his go it alone talk (he almost killed our hero last week), Slade seems to hang around to rescue others too often. Perhaps he sees a little of his former relationship with his now traitor partner in the new protege. Speaking of the Deathstroke wannabe, it turns out that the man in the mask who works for Fyers and didn't mind sticking it to Ollie is none other than Billy Wintergreen, not just Slade Wilson's partner but, if they stick to the canon at all, very much his mentor. Well, he was his mentor. Friends became enemies once Wintergreen went to the dark side and the sight of his former partner quickly became an eyesore. Oof. But before getting to the bloody showdown between the highly skilled warriors, there are still a few other plot developments and matching tattoos to talk about.
"He's on this island under someone's employ."
When we finally get to the air strip takeover, Oliver manages to blow the one job he had to do (even though he is getting progressively better at the disarm a handgun, flip the opponent trick) but does buy just enough time to allow Slade to finish things off. So, I guess, in a way he did do his job. Only poorly. And then he has the gaul to pull an E.T., getting Laurel at the office but not actually saying anything. I probably would have. You know, "I'M ALIVE AND STRANDED ON AN ISLAND CALLED PURGATORY!" That's just me. However, his knowledge of Homer does come in handy and in three hours the plane will make it's drop as scheduled, hopefully allowing the cast-aways a way home. The growing hero inside Ollie can't leave without rescuing his former mentor and, after a whiny speech about the person he was and won't be anymore, he decides to find Yao Fei. It's like we're watching a hero grow before our very eyes. I'm so proud. Too bad that there is much more to the Fei situation than Oliver is aware of and the gesture is all for naught. He's taken prisoner, again, and dragged out for a more public execution.
"I guess I didn't die. Again. Cool."
Right when things look bleak for our hero, Slade sticks his neck out and comes to the rescue, bringing us back to that bloody showdown between him and Wintergreen. It's a pretty great fight sequence with Manu Bennett (Wilson) and Jeffrey C. Robinson (Wintergreen) going toe to toe before the fatal blow with the former's weapon of choice. Returning the favor, Oliver drags a shot Slade to safety but they still miss their ride off the island. Oh well, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship and I want to see the two of them try and figure out who hired Fyers. Once he regains consciousness, he thanks Smoak for her help and upgrading his old computer system, going so far as to offer her a permanent position as part of the crime fighter group. She's fine being an honorable member for the moment, especially if it will help find Walter. As for Moira's involvement in Walter's disappearance, well, that is still off-limits as Oliver continues to let his feelings skew Arrow's otherwise infallible aim. As for the final scene, I thought for sure that Detective Lance would slap Ollie on the back on the way out forcing him to fight back a grimace. Missed opportunity.
Arrow returns with "Dodger" next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.