Recap: Arrow Episode 3.01, The Calm

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Author’s note: Apologies for this recap being late, I was away on a work trip. It’ll never happen again. (It will totally happen again.)

The third season of “Arrow” kicks off with one of the best action sequences ever attempted for the series. Oliver and company (not the Disney movie) are trying to stop a shipment of RPGs and they’re all working very much so as a team and they manage to get the truck stopped and the bad guys apprehended. Also, is it just me or does Roy Harper’s Arsenal look infinitely more cooler and have more visually interesting stunts than Oliver’s Arrow?

Anyway, everything’s coming up Oliver! The people on the news really like The Arrow, and Roy and Diggle seem to be settling into the roles fine, plus Felicity and Oliver’s romance is starting to blossom even more so. There’s a throwaway line in the beginning where they mention Thea is off on the coast, which is no doubt a lie, but other than that everything is going swimmingly. That’s about to change though.

We see our first flashback to Hong Kong of the new season as Oliver is trying to escape for the umpteenth time. He makes it into an internet cafe, I guess they still had those in Hong Kong in 2009, and tries to send an email to his mother that he’s still alive (Get it? ‘Cause she isn’t anymore). His pursuer shoots the computer and they scrap very briefly inside the internet cafe leading Oliver to get a bump on the noggin.


Back in the present day Oliver meets up with Laurel and we’re given a cute exposition scene showing off the pair are working together these days. “You catch ’em, I cook ’em,” she imparts. Oliver is also there as Laurel’s father, the newly minted CAPTAIN Lance, is giving a press conference where he announces the Starling City Police Department will no longer be hunting down The Arrow. What a relief! Meanwhile, in the seedy part of town in a seedy looking tattoo parlor, the remaining members of the crew from the opening scene are at a loss of what to do. This is when Peter Stormare’s Werner Zytle announces he’s the new boss, also he is proclaiming himself the new Count Vertigo.

Later Oliver asks Felicity on a date, and you’d think a dude that took down Slade Wilson would be smooth, but nope. That night, before the date, Oliver and Diggle are in hot pursuit of another nameless criminal, meanwhile Felicity is working at “Not Radio Shack” which is where she’s resorted to working following her dismissal from Queen Consolidated. After Captain Lance and Oliver capture the man they were chasing, Oliver is off to his hot date (cue audience laughter after Lance’s line).

Another Hong Kong sequence pops up and Oliver talks to Amanda Waller, who really doesn’t want Oliver to try and escape anymore, but Oliver likes trying to escape. For some reason Waller really needs Oliver Queen, perhaps she’s going to recruit him for the first version of the Suicide Squad? Anyway, he’s offcially done with her so she has her man give him another noodle bruise.

Flashing forward again we see Felicity at “Not Radio Shack” where she meets a good looking guy trying to buy some computer hacking products (totally normal). She doesn’t know it, and technically neither would a clueless audience member, but this nice boy is Ray Palmer. Meanwhile John and Lyla go to the doctor because she’s pretty sure their baby is coming, which Diggle says doesn’t scare him, but come on, that won’t last.


The date sequence is kind of adorable, because both characters are acting like 16-year-olds on their first date, it’s charming. Oliver has a weird way of flirting with Felicity when he says she was the first person that he saw as a person when he got back from the island, which I don’t think is entirely true, but I’m sure it made a lot of people go “aww.” It wouldn’t be Oliver Queen’s life without some major booboo though and the Count’s crew has tracked him to the restaurant which they have decided to blow up.

Oliver wakes up from the explosion and carries Felicity away back to the Arrow cave where the team starts to regroup. Luckily Captain Lance is on call and can provide Oliver with the information he needs, and also wants to lend a hand in bringing down the new baddie in town. Oliver and Zytle meet in that seedy tattoo parlor where he introduces himself as Vertigo, a name Oliver is very familiar with. Zytle goes on about the changes he’s made to the serum just before sticking Oliver with his fancy little dart, which leads to a cool sequences where Oliver sees the Count as himself and we get to see Oliver fight the Arrow. Lance collapses to the ground when he faces the Count due to his heart condition, which was teased in the season two finale, and Oliver puts an arrow in Wytle’s shoulder, but he escapes anyway.

Another Hong Kong flashback pops up as Oliver wakes up to Tatsu Yamashiro (who we know as Katana). Once again, Oliver tries to leave and that’s when he realizes he’s in the home of Maseo Yamashiro, the man that bumped him on the noggin a the start of the episode.

Captain Lance is in the hospital after his little adventure with The Count and The Arrow and Laurel is none to happy that he’s out chasing bad guys. The sequences is vitally important though as it cements what will be the theme of the third season of the show completely: identity. Captain Lance says, “If I’m not a cop, then who am I?” which draws a sweet line from Laurel.


As Oliver goes to buy back his company, he learns that someone else wants to buy it instead of him, Ray Palmer, the nice boy who was trying to buy tech from “Not Radio Shack.” Oliver gives an impassioned speech about why he should be in charge, which boils down to “My name is on the building,” but Palmer wows the group in a way not unlike Tony Stark. He’s charming, funny, personable, smart, and he’s got a PR campaign to save Starling by rebranding it as Star City (comic readers rejoice!). Afterward, Oliver is pretty sure the company would do better under Palmer anyway.

Team Arrow learns that the new Count is trying to take out the other crime bosses in Starling, weird how they still have those, and they realize he’s going to make an attempt on all of them (and many innocents) at a boxing match. Diggle wants to get boots on the ground, but Oliver tells him to sit it out, John’s not ready to hang it up though. Oliver talks him down though and takes Roy out to stop the attack.

Inside the stadium, which gives us our first tease as J.R. Ramirez as Wildcat as well as Ferris Air and John Ostrander Easter eggs, The Count has planted a bomb which is going to blow up in just five minutes. Oliver heads after The Count and Roy goes after the bomb, which is apparently not a type of bomb that can be Googled so Felicity has to come up with a solution on the fly: Freeze the bomb, which surprisingly works.

As Oliver battles The Count, Sara shows up unexpectedly and takes out the other goon. Once defeated The Count presents an interesting point to Oliver: someone will always be there to pick up the mantle, you’ve given them that power. This is a good way for the show’s producers to “bring back” characters they’ve killed off, as well as set up what happens at the end of tonight’s episode. Sara and Oliver share a nice moment on the roof, presumably while The Count is tied to the nearby wall listening to them, where she presents a different side of the theme of the season: you can be a hero but make sure you have non-heroic friends to keep you sane.


It’s a good thing Oliver told John to sit this one out though as his and Lyla’s baby popped up during the middle of it all. Ray Palmer shows up to ask Felicity to come work for him while also bringing up what I think might be the first fart joke of the entire series. After seeing the baby Felicity and Oliver start to talking, he tries to explain to her that he thought he could try being both Oliver and the Arrow (something he’s been doing for two seasons now), but that it might not work out. She leaves despite Oliver planting a prolonged smooch on her. Oliver then gets a phone call from Barry Allen bringing everything full circle to “The Flash” (read our recap of the first episode by clicking here!), but this scene does make Oliver’s cameo in “The Flash” peculiar: why would Oliver wear his Arrow costume to meet with Barry when he was wearing normal clothes when he called?

As Oliver is meeting with Barry on one rooftop, the Lance sisters are meeting on another. Sara is in town for some reason that she won’t disclose, but she doesn’t want Laurel to tell their father she’s around. Laurel has to leave to do lawyer work and Sara makes a cute comment about her “always trying to save the world.” As Laurel leaves and Sara walks to the other side of the roof, a voice, disguised so as to sound like Oliver’s “Arrow voice,” calls out to her. She responds by saying, “What are you doing here?” and is promptly shot in the stomach with three arrows. Her body topples over and lands in front of her sister. Remember when Captain Lance canceled the Arrow task force? That’s probably about to change.