Original air date: Nov. 13, 2013
Group field trip to Russia this week. Layla Michaels, an agent for A.R.G.U.S. was captured as she was sneaking into a Russian prison. She was there investigating Deadshot, who if you remember is the assassin who killed Diggle’s brother. They need the Arrow to orchestrate a rescue plan. This is when we learn that Layla isn't just an old friend of Diggle’s but actually his ex-wife.
The group decides to use business as a cover story, but with that means that Isabel Rochev has to tag along. Her job means everything to her and she’s not going to be left at home when she believes Oliver is meeting with their overseas holdings without her. Or maybe she thinks that Oliver is having a weekend of fun with his assistant and wants to make sure he gets some work completed.
With the help of Oliver’s Russian mob contacts, Diggle pulls a Prison Break and gets himself locked up in the same prison as Layla. While inside he’s supposed to make contact with a guard, find Layla, and then the gang picks them both up outside the prison. Easy peasy right? Of course, it’s not. If Diggle wants to escape, he has to trust the man he wants to kill the most, Deadshot. In the end Diggle, being the honorable man he is, lets Deadshot go. That’s when he learns that his brother wasn't who he always thought he was. We learn the name H.I.V.E. and that’s going to be another story that will definitely unfold later.
On the freighter during the lost-island years, Sara tricks Oliver into giving up Shado and Slade on the island. The people on the freighter are searching for a Japanese submarine which had carried research on stem cell and genetics. The Japanese during WWII were developing a serum to create super soldiers.
Oliver bonds with his new business partner over vodka. Isabel knows that Oliver’s lazy rich playboy shtick is an act. She doesn't know why he does it, but she sees his drive and recognizes it like her own. A tryst is had. Felicity discovers Isabel in Oliver’s room and feelings are felt.
Sidenote: I love Isabel, but damn that bit with her leaving Oliver's room was way harsh on Felicity.
To be completely honest, I may ship Oliver and Felicity, but I never thought we we’re going to get a scene like we did in this episode. We've always known that Felicity is at least attracted to Oliver, but we've never really seen how Oliver feels about her. We know he cares about her, but to what extent? That's never been clear. Then his face when he realized he’d messed up and hurt her. Then when he told her:
“Hey, because of the life I lead, I just think it’s better to not be with someone I could really care about.”
I never ever thought we’d hear that. That’s basically a declaration of feelings. That's almost canon, y'all. So either way, there’s still hope for this shipper that in the future something could be there.
Favorite bits of the episode?
- Felicity’s interruption of Isabel and Oliver’s… “eugh”. “Mr. Queen?… Mr. Queen… OLIVER!”
- Oliver telling Felicity to work on her excuses. Oliver are we forgetting your winning excuses from last season? Yes, this energy drink is in a syringe because I ran out of bottles. The bullet holes on my laptop? My coffee shop is in a bad neighborhood. At least her's made a little bit of sense.
- Can we talk about the fact that when Diggle said Lyla Michaels, Felicity explain who she was to Oliver before he even asked? Besides the fact that no one blamed him for not knowing the name because they know that even though he forgets the details he still cares about them. The fact, that Felicity basically acts like Oliver's external hardrive. She remembers the stuff that he doesn't and is quick to dispense the information when she knows he needs it.
- The fact that all of Queen Consolidated ships Olicity.
- Moria forbidding Thea from breaking up with Roy.
- The final scene between Oliver and Felicity. I know I already mentioned it above, but I felt like it needed to be mentioned a second time.
In conclusion: What happens in Russia, stays in Russia. Of course, that only applies once you actually leave Russia. Oliver should really speak foreign languages more often. Isabel doesn't ask questions that don’t concern her. Not even when Diggle and a new unnamed female passenger are suddenly bruised and bloodied.