By Rich Epstein
One thing about Arrow, it doesn't waste much time. The second episode of the season opens with a pretty goodlooking battle between the Arrow-team facing off against the Hive. Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is at the lair, looking for a bomb at the city's water treatment plant. She finds it, tells Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), the newly crowned Green Arrow, where to go, complains she doesn't have a codename (they wouldn't do Oracle, would they?), and he disables the bomb.
Oliver is still worried about Thea Queen (Willa Holland), who assures him that she knows where the line is. Felicity is off to work, and Oliver has a welcome to the office plant and a home-packed lunch for her. Awww.
Flashback: A soldier has Oliver at gun-point on the Island, or at least he thinks he does. Oliver quickly disarms and kills the man. He hides the body, takes some supplies, including a communicator. Waller tells him to infiltrate. What he needs to infiltrate, we will find out later I'm sure.
Oliver and Thea are having lunch with a friend of their mother, Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan) who tells them she wants to run for mayor. Apparently, Oliver's little speech last week inspired people to do stupid things. She asks the Wonder Twins for their support.
Felicity is at her first board meeting, where she finds out that the company is in trouble. Luckily, a young man, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) has a way to save it, fire a whole lot of people. Welcome to the business world, Felicity.
Danforth's campaign announcement doesn't go well. Bullets fly, and Danforth is ambushed only to be saved by Oliver, sans costume. Unfortunately, the bad guy gets away. Of course, there are no police to be found. Was this planning on the part of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne)? Or was this whole thing an inside setup by Danforth to get sympathy? Nope, just garden variety bad guy. Oh well.
Oliver goes to see Quentin about Danforth's security. He tells Oliver the city doesn't need someone who hides behind a mask, it needs someone who will stand up in the light of day.
Flashback Oliver finds out what he's supposed to infiltrate. It's a forced labor camp on the Island.
Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and John Diggle (David Ramsey) are on stakeout duty. He tells her his secret…the Hive and his brother. She tells him not to carry the burden alone.
Turns out the would-be assassin was trying to ingratiate himself with Darhk, and failed. Luckily, Darhk is being charitable, and gives him a second chance.
Felicity manages to track the bad guy, and the Wonder Twins are off. Thea breaks some guys arm trying to get information, and Oliver tells her to leave. At the Arrow-cave, they start to argue, and Thea goes all feral dog on him. Oliver tells Thea about Malcolm's warning about the Lazarus Pit. She storms off, while the rest of the team try to figure out what to do.
Turns out that Holt's name was on the list that his algorithm kicked out. He didn't know it because apparently he never bothered to look at the results.
So, for some reason, Danforth was in a secure location, but her daughter wasn't. Hey, guess what happened to the daughter? If you guessed a cop was killed and she was taken, good job. Oliver tells Quentin who the baddie is, and says he wants to work together.
Flashback Oliver gets himself captured and meets the boss, Reitner, who recognizes him. He offers Oliver a job. Guess he completed his infiltration pretty quickly.
Darhk meets with the kidnapper, and he is not happy. There are lines that Darhk does not cross. He tells the baddie that he is sloppy, and their relationship is through. Darhk then tells him to clean up the mess.
Laurel asks Thea what happened on Nanda Parbat. Thea tells Laurel all of it. Laurel understands why Oliver didn't listen to Malcolm; he would do anything to save his sister. Gee, I wonder what she's thinking now. Hey, have you heard about Legends of Tomorrow? Who was it that was going to be in that again? Some female assassin?
Quentin tells Darhk that he is pissed about the kidnapping of the girl, and that he is out. Darhk reminds him that the Danforth girl is not the only vulnerable daughter. He then tells Quentin where to find the girl, and not to talk to him like that again.
Quentin tells Oliver where to find the girl. Is this sincere, or is he setting Oliver up, to try and frame him for the kidnapping?
The Danforth girl is tied up and begging for her life. It does not go well. He is planning on torturing her, but the Arrow team shows up in force. The bad run, and Oliver tells Laurel and Diggle to get the girl out while he and Thea chase the bad guy.
Ok, hold up. You send Laurel and Diggle out and keep Thea? She is your sister. She has less experience than even Laurel. And she may be crazy. But hey, lets keep her around and send the others off. Ok, rant over.
The bad guy takes out Thea, before fighting, and finally besting Oliver. Only, by the time he does, Thea has recovered. She takes out the bad guy, and then lights him on fire. Oliver shoots the sprinkler to put out the fire, but Thea is shocked by what she did.
The Danforth's have a reunion, and of course Quentin blames Oliver for the burnt up guy in the hospital.
Felicity hires everyone back, and tells the Board that she and Holt are working on some revolutionary technology. They are given six months to present it.
We move on to Quentin Lance arriving at the hospital where our bad guy is being taken. Only he isn't there. It appears that Thea didn't hurt the guy, she changed him. Into Anarky.
Oliver and Thea have a heart to heart. They both admit their wrongs. He promises be different. Laurel comes in, and tells Oliver that she wants to take Thea away for a spa weekend. Maybe one with a particular hot spring? Yup. Laurel wants to take Thea to Nanda Parbat to see if the league can fix her. And for another reason …
Oliver takes Quentin's words, later echoed by Danforth, to heart. He needs to be someone who can inspire the city. He is going to run for mayor.
Another pretty good episode. I like what's going on with Thea. The fight with Oliver really worked, and she sold the crazy pretty well.
I also like that they are giving Felicity more to do than sit on a computer and date a superhero. We'll see how this goes though. Not sure that the whole fish out of water thing will work for very long.
I really liked Damien Darhk in this episode. He wasn't just a crazy villain, killing people who look at him wrong. He was menacing, but also in control. He didn't kill the bad guy, or kill Quentin for talking back to him. But when he threatened, I believed him.
Looks like next week we get to see what is going on with Malcolm Merlyn and the League. Can't wait.
Rich Epstein writes for Bleeding Cool. He can be found on Twitter at @kaspe_r11.