Arrow almost lets Oliver and Slade go toe-to-toe in the buildup to the finale battle. But mostly Slade just plays a round of Xanatos Speed Chess around Oliver, and I loved watching every second of it.
There's the Arrow I know and love, moving the plot full steam ahead, keeping us guessing at every turn. The episode was awesome, but the same time it's a set up for what's to come so it's hard to pin down my reaction to it.
So, when we last left off Thea was kidnapped by Slade. Turns out that was just a distraction for Oliver so that he can have Isabel steal QC with Oliver's willing participation. And apparently an opportunity for Slade to spill Oliver's secrets to Thea for bonus hurt.
I'd have preferred it if Isabel was her own villain. I'm not a fan of making female characters the mook for male characters for the sake of it. Still, nice manipulation there Ms. Rochev. And using QC to make more Mirakuru? Talk about twisting that knife in the back. Also, does this make Felicity Isabel's assistant now? Because ouch. That just can't be good.
In way I'm glad that the Oliver as CEO storyline is done, because it was never very believable, and this episode is a nice reminder that he's dropped out of four colleges. This what happens when he doesn't let Felicity watch his back. This ep also confirms my theory that Felicity has been doing a lot of the work Oliver was supposed to be doing herself.
The island stuff isn't nearly as interesting or as thrilling as the present events, but Anatoli is amazing and hilarious and I look forward to seeing more of him well into next season (hopefully).
There's not a lot to be said about Roy's storyline either - he continues onto his teeanger-and-mirakuru induced streak of bad decisions made in anger (though given Oliver's track record, I think he can be forgiven) and at the end of the episodes just goes after Slade all by himself. Spoiler: It won't end well.
This being a set-up episode, it end with Slade tells Laurel that Oliver is The Arrow. Since Laurel's just got her DA job back, it will be interesting to see what she does with this information. If she even believes him, because let's face it - she doesn't have any reason to trust that he says is true seeing that she was literally just watching a news report detailing how he lied to the police. Of course, she's also not a complete idiot (I hope) and she's probably suspected something for long time now. (Given that the writer's won't conveniently forget several things from season 1. because Plot, which they tend to do). I hope this season doesn't end with The Arrow's identity being public knowledge though, because there's no way that would be a good thing. And something that will have to be addressed every episode, so meh.
One of the best things about this episode as Moira and Oliver finally getting over their differences over Thea's kidnapping - each blaming themselves (and Moira suspecting Merlyn is the culprit). The reconciliations was a pretty touching moment. And Moira delivers the best line of the episode. (For which there is no gif yet. You have failed me, fandom!)
"How is Miss Rochev these days? Still angry that Dorothy dropped a house on her sister?"
Thea also find out that Malcolm Merlyn is her father, and seems to be mostly angry at Oliver about that, which is confusing. I wonder if this will force Oliver into revealing his other secret to her and his mom, and I can't say I'd mind if it does. Or if Slade's told Thea that part too.
And speaking of Oliver's secrets, keeping this one just got Det. Lance arrested for refusing to reveal The Arrow's whereabouts and working with him. I'm curious where this will go.
And in a moment of self-awareness Oliver repeats Moira's "I am my own worst enemy." to Felicity and Dig. Oliver keeps expecting that he'll be alone and he's yet again surprised when Felicity and Dig stand by him, no questions asked. But it was a great moment between the core Team Arrow. So much on this show works because of that dynamic.
I'm still anxious about who's going to die this season. The top of the list is still made up of Thea, Sara, Moira and Laurel, but I suppose it could be Blood or Isabel as well. But let's just say I won't be disappointed if I'm completely wrong about the list. I expect Slade will dies too, because that's the only way to stop him. (Or course that hasn't stopped him him before, either.)
Next week is yet another break (booo!) and after an uninterrupted run of episodes 'till the finale. And the promo for "The Man Under the Hood" looks AWESOME.