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– by Mark Cook

This week Oliver looks to be setting out on his own.  Ah, just like the good ol’ days!  Will he be able to handle any threats that come his way, or will his former dependency on the group come in to play?  Read on to find out!

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

Oliver’s Mission — The show has a pretty outstanding start which shows Oliver going back to his roots and donning the “hood” from Season 1.  He begins to infiltrate the police department when a cop tells him that Diaz is behind a closed door.  Pan forward and we see Diaz behind the door surrounded by a group of cops.  It really showed just how much of a hand Diaz has on the city.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW.)

Things Fall Apart — Flashback 10 hours earlier and the team is down to two: Oliver and Felicity.  Even Felicity tries to reunite Diggle and Oliver, but it doesn’t work.  If they are going to use this storyline I am glad they didn’t try to fix everything in one episode and actually carry it across numerous episodes.  Maybe I should be used to this, but that hasn’t been the case with The Flash this season, so maybe that’s why I am surprised. Oliver does still have an ally in Lance. Just when it looked things may be looking up, Felicity kicks Oliver out of the house as he snaps at William and Felicity for her lack of focus.  This leads to Felicity telling Oliver that they need time apart.  Her reasoning?  That he snapped at William and broke his science project on accident.   I do find this episode interesting when comparing this to Season 1.  Felicity and Diggle were Oliver’s support system, while Lance hated him.  Now the roles are reversed. This episode does get to some of the deeper, emotional issues of the series.  Oliver wants to know why everyone is leaving him.  He felt like a bad person in the first couple seasons, and feels he has changed for the better, yet his current circumstances are making him think otherwise.  This lead to a major bomb drop that I didn’t see coming at all…

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

The Return of Adrian Chase…Kind Of — Whoa. I didn’t see that coming. Oliver is alone at the headquarters when he hears a banging on the door.  As he opens it Chase is revealed. The two fight and Oliver looks to break his neck, but viewers come to find out Chase actually is dead and Oliver is hallucinating.  Whoa, what in the world is going on?  I figured he would still be dead, but you never know with Lazarus Pits out there.  I do think this is interesting because even though  Oliver finds out that he has been drugged with Vertigo, the tone has turned to a mental/emotional battle.  This is the first time in a long time that Oliver has been on his own and he is beginning to second guess himself.  Can he truly coexist as Oliver Queen and The Green Arrow, or does one have to be the priority.  Chase says that Oliver is his own enemy, and one he can’t beat.  I really enjoyed this part of the episode.  This also lead to a hallucination of the original Laurel prior to leaving on The Queen’s Gambit, then Laurel on her death bed.  Chase is taking Oliver through all of his major regrets, including seeing Rene. Oliver tries to justify his actions to all the people he encounters while these hallucinations are occurring, or is he trying to justify his actions to himself?  This lead to a final vision from his former self, “The Hood”.  He was reminded that there was never supposed to be a Team Arrow or even a Green Arrow, but a mission.  The vision even said there wasn’t even supposed to be Diggle or Felicity, and Oliver lost sight of that.  The only way back?  To refocus on his original plan.  I am really enjoying this episode.  Its structure is different than the others, but I am enjoying the psychological action. It’s also interesting because now that we know Oliver was on Vertigo, we find out that Felicity didn’t actually kick him out, but it was the drugs talking.  So Felicity runs to the PD…yes runs…which brings us back to the beginning of the episode in which Oliver and Felicity escape.

After the Vertigo wears off, Oliver confides in Felicity and Lance and tells them that he needs to focus on the mission again…alone.  He then finds out on TV that he has been impeached as mayor.  This is a good movie.  The issues I had with Arrow are being taken care of, and the writers look like they are truly bringing the show back to the basics.  Oliver also lets Lance know that he will now take his place as mayor.  Although now with Oliver out of office, Diaz opens the city for business.

What did you think of this week’s episode?  Do you like Oliver being on his own again?  Do you hope this trend continues, or do you think he needs more support?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

Arrow returns Thursday at 9 p.m. on The CW.