*** The following articles contains spoilers from this weeks episode of Arrow. ***
You've got to hand it to Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim and the writing staff of Arrow and The Flash. Each week they seem to up the ante and make episodes that other series would only do as season finales. The latest episode of Arrow, Public Enemies, would easily be a place they could pat themselves on the back, call it job done and go relax in Maui until the new season. Instead it was episode 18 of 23… So let's hit upon the important moments.
1) We pick up right where we left off last week with the Mayor being shot dead by Maseo Yamashiro and his second shot is aimed for Felicity Smoak. Being the hero he is, Ray Palmer pulls Felicity aside and takes the arrow himself. This puts Ray in the hospital but it also gives Quentin Lance enough to launch a massive manhunt for The Arrow.
2) Oliver Queen tackles the problem as he always does, head on which in this case is the last thing he should have done. He, along with Black Canary, Arsenal and John Diggle go after Maseo only to find Ra's al Ghul waiting for them with a police ambush. Ra's is playing chess here while Oliver is playing checkers. This leads to a chase through the city and when the three costumed heroes get separated, Roy Harper wounds a few cops to get away and Laurel Lance gets rescued by Nyssa al Ghul.
3) At this point, its obvious that Captain Lance is not thinking as a cop, but as an angry father who puts all of the blame for one daughter's death and the other daughter's betrayal on The Arrow. If he was thinking like a cop, he would bring in Felicity or Roy for questioning or put tails on them. But as long as he does know 100% for sure that Oliver is the Arrow, he is still holding back. That gets taken away as Ra's makes his best move. He not only tells Lance that Oliver is the Arrow, he lays all the blame for Sara Lance's death on Oliver as well but telling Lance about Lian Yu and how Sara made it to the island. This pushes the Captain over the top and where in the past he might of gone to Oliver and given him a chance to turn himself in, he gives the police shoot to kill orders if necessary… even knowing his own daughter is running with the Arrow.
4) Meanwhile in the hospital bed that every main actor has spent time in… Ray is told that he has a blood clot that could kill him and the surgery to remove it could kill him. Of course Ray has already created nanobots that could be injected into his bloodstream that could remove the clot, but the hospital refuses to do it because it is experimental surgery. This leaves it up to Felicity, with some coaxing by her mother Donna Smoak, to do it herself. The surgery is a success, Ray tells Felicity he lover her and she runs off to get jello saying it back. Donna tells Felicity that she didn't say it back because she is still in love with Oliver. So love triangle in full swing and Ray has made shrunk down robots… a step closer to the Atom shrinking?
5) With Lance telling everyone that Oliver Queen is the Arrow, it leaves Oliver only two choices: accept Ra's offer or turn himself in. He takes the second one. And this leads to one of the strongest scenes in the series. Lance confronting Oliver about what he has been doing and all the death that has surrounded him since he put on the hood. This is the other end of the spectrum from last season scene in the prison between Lance and Laurel when he says he doesn't want to know who the Arrow was… now that he knows and he can trace all the misery in his life to Oliver taking Sara on the boat he lets it all out calling Oliver a villain.
6) And just when it looks like Ra's has won, it seems the Demon's Head is not the only one with a loyal follower willing to risk his life for who he believes in. The transport vehicle carrying Oliver and Lance is landed on by the Arrow… or rather Roy dressed as the Arrow. He gives himself up and there we have the end of the episode. Now in the trailer we see Roy going to prison which won't be good for him since a lot of folks were sent there by the Arrow. And how that will work legally will be interesting… did Oliver confess? If not, then Lance has no proof that Oliver is the Arrow accept Ra's word. But why would Oliver let Roy go to prison for him?
This might also explain the images we've seen of Oliver dressed in a League of Assassins uniform… his green suit is now in police evidence and Roy's would be a little small. Five episodes to go and next week there is supposed to be a death… as opposed to the Mayor's this week.
Update – CW has just released this clip for the rest of the season with a lot of possible spoilers: