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– by Mark Cook

Following a good episode last week, where will Team Arrow be this week coming off the aftermath of their civil war with Team 2?  Tonight’s episode brings Roy Harper back to the city which leads to the return of Speedy.  Could this lead to permanent roles in the team, or will it be a one-and-done?  Read on to find out.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

“Laurel’s” Return — The good news, Oliver dodges a bullet as it seems that the case against him appears to be on the verge of being dropped due to tainted evidence. Now the bad news; “Laurel” goes straight to the press claiming that Damien Darhk faked her death.  Black Siren does a good job playing the part of a distraught Laurel all while Oliver and Lance are clearly trying to bite their tongues.  This is a fun twist to the show.  Black Siren is a lose-cannon who is difficult to predict.  I haven’t previously enjoyed her character, but am interested to see where this goes.  The new Laurel uses her leverage against the team as she tells them to go along with her story for her protection or she will go to the press.  She also knows who is behind Cayden James’ murder, but is holding that information as well.  Meanwhile, Dinah is still acting like a third grader when she sees Oliver and says, “Don’t talk to me.”  Alright, we get it, you are mad. Lance goes on to tell Dinah that he understands her wanting to seek revenge on Black Siren, but now that she is parading as Laurel, a loved public figure due to her martyrdom, he would advise against it.  Dinah talks about him covering for a known criminal and how wrong that is, which is exactly what she did with Vince.  As I have said before, the complete lack of recognition for her hypocrisy continues to be a bit exaggerated.  Oliver does have a blunt answer for her later as she contemplates going into the field with them as he says, “I don’t trust you and you don’t trust me.  I’d rather go into the field short-handed.”  I loved the response.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

Roy’s Connection — Roy returns as a possible witness against Oliver.  He appears to be in great trouble and is possible being blackmailed.  They believe Anatoly or Diaz to be behind his return and decide to find him.  Oliver and Diggle find Roy being held captive while Diaz’s corrupt cops beat him.  Prior to going to save him, Speedy dons her former costume in order to help. We find out that he was taken by people who knew everything about him all while the Diaz’s police were coming back to his room.  Oliver had to pull speedy away in order for her to not get caught.  I think this part was well done.  It seemed realistic.  Speedy hasn’t been in the field for a while and there is obviously still emotional attachment to Roy that would come in to play and possibly compromise the mission as well as her safety.  She was thinking with her emotions rather than Oliver’s much more objective view, which is similar to how Lance has been viewing Black Siren.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW.)

Diaz Is The Man In Charge — Ever since he murdered Cayden James, viewers felt that Diaz was probably the man in charge.  Now we find out that he has completely infiltrated the police department which has made Oliver confide in Dinah and Lance in order for them to work together.  This is a good move.  I was always curious why out of Cayden James’ group of five, Diaz always seemed to be the odd-man out.  There wasn’t much of a story behind him and now I see why.  Now they can focus on his development with a sense of mystery behind his character.  Well done, writers.  This is where The Flash has struggled this year as they have had the same primary villain dragging out throughout the entire season. Diaz wants Black Siren because of the money she stole from James was supposed to be his.  I like Diaz as the primary villain.  Yes, it is the typical “I want control of the city” motive, but the control of a city through the underground has always been in interesting concept to me.  It’s a reason why I still watch Gotham.  Diaz is fairly different from the other villains of past seasons.  Different enough to feel somewhat fresh.  As Speedy and Green Arrow go to save Roy from a transfer, they find that the van was a decoy and he is in fact with Diaz!  He is the eyes and ears of the city.  Diaz initially asks Roy to join him, but then threatens him with hurting Oliver and Thea.  Diaz knows all of Team Arrow’s identities, but doesn’t care to share them, yet he would rather use the information to his advantage.  Laurel shows up to tell the team about Diaz, but they clearly don’t trust her.  What are her motives?  Does she want to help the team in order to get Dinah off her back, or is she truly working with Diaz for protection? As the team go after Roy, they confront Diaz and Anatoly in a casino.  Also a nice change from the usual warehouses.  One of the more interesting parts was when Diaz tells his men not to kill Green Arrow because he needs him alive.  Does he need the Green Arrow alive, Mayor Queen, or both? Even though Speedy drives away with Roy, Oliver confronts Diaz and is forced to let him go as the police show up.  It is too difficult to tell who is, or is not, on his payroll, and Oliver knows it is best if he leaves.

The Aftermath — Oliver ends up going to thank Laurel for her help with tipping them off about Diaz, but Diaz was clearly prepared and we find out that it was all a part of his plan. Also, as Thea and Roy start to get it on, a member of the League is watching (creepy) and responds that Thea is the heiress to Ra’s al Ghul (which role was previously taken by her father, Malcolm Merlyn).

What did you think of this week’s episode?  Was it more of the same or did the incorporation of Roy and Speedy help provide a nice change-up?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

Arrow returns Thursday, March 29 at 9 p.m. on The CW.