Just hours after the season three premiere concluded, the second episode of the third season of “Arrow” begins with Team Arrow entering the now defunct Verdant to find some unexpected guests: Laurel, and with her, Sara’s body. The team all reacts differently, Roy is in shock, Felicity cries, Laurel shouts that it isn’t fair, and Oliver apologizes while closing Sara’s eyes.
It doesn’t take long for the first flashback of the episode to pop up and this time we see Oliver and Maseo on a rooftop in Hong Kong. Maseo pulls a sniper rifle from a briefcase and sets it up for Oliver, saying he has an assignment from Amanda Waller and a target across the way. When Oliver looks in the scope, he realizes that his target is none other than his best friend form back home, Tommy Merlyn. Cue the awesome title card for season three.
As Laurel tries to cope with Sara’s death, Oliver does what he does best and makes a promise to find the person responsible. He also convinces Laurel not to tell her father about Sara’s death until they’ve caught the killer. Down in the Arrow Cave, Felicity was combing surveillance footage but came up empty so Oliver heads to the scene of the crime. On the roof where Sara was shot, Oliver discovers an arrow head and reenacts the crime scene as Diggle joins him. John tries to comfort Oliver but he’s in Barry-Allen-CSI mode and is too caught up to grieve. He gets a call from Felicity telling him that Captain Lance called about something important, a new killer is in town and, of course, he’s also using a bow and arrow. Naturally this person becomes Oliver’s first suspect.
In another part of town, a man is running through a construction site and is quickly taken out by this new archer in town, who shoots an arrow through four different plates of glass, killing him. The new archer only gets a few seconds on screen in his debut, but that mask makes him look like The Winter Soldier in a hood, sort of.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity starts to get sentimental about Sara, going on to call her an “amazonian warrior” (no doubt a nod to Wonder Woman, who almost had her own CW TV series). When Oliver returns he’s convinced that only a few archers in the world could kill like this suspect, and most of them are in the Far East with the League of Assassins, who don’t kill their own apparently. They track the most recent murder from the killer to the construction site mentioned above (located at “Third and Lemire,” an homage to Green Arrow writer Jeff Lemire who co-created tonight’s bad guy). Back in Hong Kong, Oliver naturally doesn’t want to kill his friend, but Maseo says it’s a test from Waller and that if he doesn’t pull the trigger, someone else will.
While Oliver is off hunting the archer, Roy is looking for Thea using Felicity’s fancy computers. She catches him and he confesses that she may not be where Oliver thinks she is. He shows her the note that Thea left him at the end of season two, Felicity tells him Oliver needs to see the note and he needs to be the one to show it to him. Felicity then gets a phone call, which she clearly doesn’t want to be a part of. After leaving the Arrow Cave and arriving at Queen Consolidated, we learn it was none other than Ray Palmer, who apparently won’t take no for an answer, on the phone. Felicity is projecting her anger over Sara’s death onto her frustrations with Ray and he sees right through it, giving her an “It gets better” before she exits the building for what she thinks will be the last time.
Oliver goes out looking for the new archer and gets some information from a junkie hanging out in the construction site, where he learns about his Winter Soldier mask. Using the ARGUS database John narrows down the killer to one Simon Lacroix, aka Komodo. They track him down going after a target on a motorcycle and Oliver gives chase. Just before Komodo can deliver the killing blow Oliver intervenes, saving a life and drawing Komodo’s attention to him. The pair do a sort of arrow joust on their motorcycles, from which Komodo emerges the victor while also managing to get away. Back at the Arrow Cave, the team comes up with the plan to catch Komodo by tracking his victims, they just need to figure out their connection.
Flashback time again, Oliver pleads with Maseo about killing Tommy, suggesting they steal a body from the morgue that looks like him to trick Waller, which Maseo doesn’t have to explain about how dumb an idea that is. Oliver is certain there’s another way. Jumpcut to Tommy in his hotel talking to his father on the phone, they didn’t have the best relationship back then, remember? As Tommy frowns, unsure what to do, someone sneaks in behind him and pops him in the neck with a tranquilizer Dexter style.
Laurel goes to the hospital to visit Komodo’s victim that made it out alive, she wants to question him but not for the District Attorney’s office like she said, but for her own personal revenge. In the meantime the cross referencing continues to find the connection between Komodo’s victims and Felicity and Oliver have a heart to heart. The pair, who had googoo eyes for each other just two days ago, are now on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum with Felicity finally realizing she can’t carry on like this and Oliver set in his superhero ways. At the hospital, Laurel starts to get physical with the man to get the information she wants, going as far as to smash his already broken arm against the bed railing. She’s clearly already in her Black Canary training. He eventually reveals he and the others were working on an oil pipeline project but before he can say anymore one of Komodo’s arrows shoots through the window, killing him.
As Oliver tries to reach Thea again, Roy comes forward and shows him the note, confessing that she knows their secrets and ran away. About that time Laurel calls with information on the victims and their connection: Amertek (the employer of one John Henry Irons aka “Steel” in the DCU!). After some of Felicity’s fancy Googling they figure out the next target is a high profile Amertek executive who will be present, where else, at Ray Palmer’s event at Queen Consolidated. Oliver begins to get ready and Laurel takes a gun from the rack, demanding to help, Oliver tries to get her to back down but her rage is beginning to get the better of her.
As Ray Palmer gives a speech trying to convince the rich people of “Star City” to get involved in rebuilding the city, something Oliver tried to do a hundred times, Komodo strikes. Jumping through a window, which appears to be a ways up in the air, he grabs his target with a rope arrow but not before both Oliver and Roy jump onto the scene to throw down. After a flurry of punching and kicking, Komodo retreats, out the very window he entered, and Oliver follows. The pair “land” a few floors down in an empty wing of the building and play a quick game of cat and mouse.
When Komodo and Oliver confront each other they have a really tremendous fight wherein Komodo fires one arrow and Oliver appears to catch it, spin around, and pull it back in his own bow all in one swift move. He fires and pins Komodo to a beam, trying to interrogate him. Before Komodo can answer a question though Laurel shows up, gun pointed and ready to fire. Oliver tries to talk her down, but she wants him to confess to killing Sara. He tells her he was drunk in Bludhaven (the homebase of Nightwing!) and couldn’t have killed her. Laurel doesn’t believe him and pulls the trigger on the gun, which doesn’t fire because Oliver removed the bullets. As the police sirens blare, Oliver takes Laurel by the hand and they leave.
Back at Verdant, Oliver tells Laurel they know Komodo didn’t kill Sara, filling her with even more guilt, because she almost killed him. He promises to find Sara’s killer and tells her she should tell her father. Laurel enters the police station and almost tells Captain Lance about the whole thing, but instead opts to tell him she lied at the hospital the other night. Team Arrow buries Sara in the grave that was originally given to her when she was presumed dead following the sinking of the Queen’s Gambit, which prompts Laurel to break down fearing no one will ever know what she really did and who she really was. John reveals to her that no one will forget her, especially not him, since he and Lyla named their baby Sara.
Back in Hong Kong,Tommy wakes up in a Saw movie and Oliver puts on a show not only convincing Tommy that he’s been kidnapped but that Oliver Queen is dead and his email was hacked to draw out one of his rich friends. Maseo enters, taking on the role of a Hong Kong police officer, and “frees” Tommy, just another notch on the bedpost of Oliver’s lies.
As the episode draws to a close, Oliver begins to ponder his life as the Arrow, confiding in Diggle that he doesn’t “want to die down here.” “So don’t” Diggle replies. Back at her place Laurel cuddles with Sara’s stuff shark from her childhood and holds up her Black Canary jacket. Roy looks at his phone clearly missing Thea, and Felicity goes back to Queen Consolidated to accept Ray’s job offer, seemingly quitting her life of crime fighting.
That’s not all though, as things quickly transition to the other side of the world to Corto Maltese (a location that first appeared in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns) where we see someone in practicing their sword training against two opponents, who they handily defeat. An onlooker begins to clap in praise and it’s revealed to be Malcolm Merlyn, and the trainee none other than Thea.
You can check out the preview for episode 3.03 in the player below. Titled “Corto Maltese,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“Oliver decides it’s time for Thea to come back to Starling City, so he packs for Corto Maltese, where Felicity has traced Thea’s whereabouts. Lyla asks Diggle to go with Oliver because one of her field operatives, Mark Shaw (guest star David Cubitt), has gone dark in Corto Maltese and she’d like him to look into it. Feeling responsible for Thea’s departure, Roy joins Oliver and Diggle on their journey. Shaw double-crosses Diggle, putting numerous A.R.G.U.S. agents, including Lyla, at risk. Meanwhile, Laurel meets Ted Grant, and Felicity adjusts to her new job.”
Directed by Stephen Surjik and written by Erik Oleson & Beth Schwartz, the episode is set to air Wednesday October 22.