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– by Mark Cook

Arrow has been on a bit of an upswing during the second half of the season.  This week, Oliver’s trial takes place with the return of a former frienemy.  How did the return happen?  Read on to find out!

Rescue Mission — The episode opens with Diggle in Kasnia looking like a scene from Call of Duty.  This mission was to retrieve a captive individual who clearly has a connection to Diggle.

Support From Team Two — A subtle change of heart begins to occur.  Team Two still don’t care for Oliver, but they don’t want him going to prison, especially with Rene reminding viewers that it was his fault.  Now this seems logical.  Yes, they don’t care for him, but they are being realistic.  They don’t wish this upon Oliver.

The Trial — Oliver’s lawyer works to show the court the severe corruption that the city is under.  Diggle was the first to be called as a witness, yet was not there. As he shows up, right on time before being held in contempt, Diggle and Dinah get drilled with questions from the prosecuting attorney.  Dinah pleads the 5th in order to not self-incriminate.  I do have to say this is interesting.  I found myself honestly curious as to how they could all cover this scenario. It didn’t stop there.  When Rene was on stand, Diaz walks in with his daughter!  The suspense was truly captivating!  At this sight, Rene reveals Oliver’s secret and his involvement.

Oliver’s attorney wants to go the route that he is in fact the Green Arrow and highlight all he has done for the city.  Oliver quickly rejects this approach. Felicity tries her part on the stand, but without much success.  Next, Oliver takes the stand.  As he is being questioned about his five year hiatus…

“Green Arrow” — …a figure comes crashing through the ceiling!  Who’s behind the mask for those who didn’t know?…Tommy Merlyn!!  But how you ask? He states that he faked his death in order distance his identity as “The Hood”.  He even had a good story about feeling guilty for Roy Harper taking the fall for him, and letting the attorney know that he didn’t want Oliver to do the same.  This was awesome!  They took Tommy under arrest as Oliver looked completely lost while Tommy gave him a look as he passed by.

Of course it was a part of Diggle’s plan as he and Rene free Tommy who actually turns out to be Christopher Chance, The Human Target!  What a good pull.  I had forgotten all about him.  Also makes sense why the promo’s seemed to “spoil” Tommy’s return.  Good move, writers. I have been extremely impressed with the second half of this season.  The writers have really done a good job making things new, fun, and exciting.

Trouble In Paradise — Laurel is quite the bia when she takes a shot at Lance about Laurel’s death.  Also, she passes up the chance to reveal Oliver’s identity on TV, but she doesn’t, which leads to a meeting with Diaz.  He pins her against the wall to establish his dominance and expectations.  Diaz clearly feels no remorse.  I enjoy his calm, collected attitude.  It exudes this idea of pure confidence.  I initially wasn’t a fan of Diaz and questioned his involvement.  Now it’s obvious and he has been one of my favorite villains.

Diaz’s Ace — Diaz sends Laurel to the stand in order to be the final nail in the coffin.  Laurel confesses that…Tommy was The Green Arrow!  I thought this may be coming, but was still unsure of which way Laurel would go.  She said Lance was the one who showed her what she needed to do.

The Verdict — …Guilty!  Diaz’s hold is so strong, but the judge overrules.  Even little twists like this are well thought out by the writers.  The Flash should take note.  An even better twist is that after the jury deliberated, Chance took over for the judge who eventually set Oliver free.  And whose idea was it?  Rene’s.  This leads to a heartfelt apology from Oliver.  The episode shows that even the largest arguments, and disagreements, can be overcome.  Sometimes it takes a large event for us to realize it.

Diaz kills the judge he thought betrayed him as Laurel shows up.  Ballsy.  She does her Canary Cry, and as she goes to finish Diaz, he uses a device silencing her powers.  What’s Diaz’s plan B?  Killing Oliver and everyone he cares for.  Even though we have seen this idea before, it is a bit different.  Diaz has a whole city on his side.  Will Oliver and the team have to come back together in order to take him down?

I was really hoping Prometheus from last season was going to be Tommy, but I was excited to see his return, even if it was in this way!  What did you think of the episode?  Where does the team go from here?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

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