So Arrow is FINALLY back from the last break of the season (hoorah!) and enters the home stretch. We're getting some traction on several plotlines and more set-up for the finale!

The episode starts out rather explosively with our team going terrorist their own research lab in order to prevent Slade from getting at the technology inside. Which is their first smart move in a while, so of course Felicity came up with it. And she still gets all the best lines.

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Back in the real world, signing Queen Consolidate over to the villain must be dealt with. Unfortunately not in a way that makes very much sense, because I'm pretty sure even Isabel can't make just half the stock in the company worthless. She'd lose millions and that's not her style. Or maybe it is, because the next reveal basically gives her a new personality.

I am not thrilled with Isabel's backstory and motivation for joining Slade. I don't know if soul mate is any better than jilted lover. Also, oliver slept with too, ewww! Dude, you need to think about your manwhory ways.) If only she'd mentioned something like "terminating my internship almost cost me my career." The more I think about it, the less it makes sense. If there's one personality trait they've given Isabel it has been ambition. So quitting school/internship to run off with her lover is, frankly, out of character. And hella tropey.

Back at the Arrow Cave Slade shows and fucks shit up in style, but doesn't kill anyone (yet). He just wants Felicity's magic door opener, that lets him acquire that fancy machine he needs to make more mirakuru soldiers. The fight scenes are always very well done on this show: great choreography and fantastic stunts (courtesy of James Bam Bam Bamford, who also worked on the Stargate shows). And the Deathstroke costume looks absolutely fantastic, especially up close: hella imposing , and more importantly scary. I don't know why Slade needs to carry around comically large bullets since he doesn't have a projectile weapon, but damn if it doesn't look cool and it's so bulletproof that bullets glance right off it.

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After actually going to a hospital to get checked out for once, their first reaction isn't "We need to move out." Because the Big Bad Guy has your address. And if he wanted to cause a lot of trouble he could just give said address to every other thug in SC. Seriously, move! And get Laurel a new place while you're at it.

Speaking of going to the hospital, that was probably in there just so Laurel could be in a position to get a clue (finally!). I like her reaction to finding out Oliver is the Arrow - no big drama, no self righteousness. I really enjoy new bad-ass Laurel, and I hope she sticks around. Det. Lance was great this episode as well, especially his "it doesn't matter who the man under the hood is" speech.

Meanwhile Roy, who's been MIA since last episode has been kidnapped by Slade and used as source for Mirakuru for his soldiers. Oliver (barely) manages to rescue him (with Dig as backup, nice shooting there, Dig!). The confrontation leaves Isobel wounded and in order to save her Slade gives her his blood and basically makes her a super soldier too. I think that's interesting - Slade didn't have to save Isabel, her part of the plan has been accomplished - so does he care about her? Is there more for her to do?

One of the tropes too frequently used on the show is Oliver getting interrupted when he has to be somewhere important in his personal life. It happened like... 3 times just this episode? It's a bit ridiculous. Cut it out, writers. I'm also not enjoying Thea reverting to her more petulant teenage self from last season. I get that the news is big, and she has every right to be mad. But can't she be all like "Fine, I'll sign your damn papers now go away and never talk to me again?" I'm also pretty sure that losing the company does not automatically make the Queens poor and in a position to lose their mansion. At the very least they'd have some savings for next few months, unless they've been complete idiots. And Moira Queen is not an idiot. I'm sure she has a lot of money stashed somewhere.

I've had a lot of problems with just how much the writing has been passing around the idiot ball this past half season, mostly to Oliver. I thought the "hand over the company to Isabel" was stupid, but you're telling us about a possible cure for mirakuru just now? One developed by Ivo without actually having the serum in the first place?! Deus ex, guys, deus ex. And it's not fun.

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Overall I liked this episode, because Arrow is always fun to watch, but I'm not liking the story they're telling very much. Because the plotline is great, but it completely falls apart when you look just a little closer. I expect better from this show. I'm still excited to see what they bring for the finale, hopefully with less idiot ball.

(gif sources here and here)