It’s not easy loving a vigilante — late nights, secret identities, crazy, one-eyed Australians hell-bent on revenge. The same could be said for a vigilante’s sidekick or a secret government operative, whose love lives face similar obstacles. But this week, John Diggle, the Arrow’s steadfast partner in crime-fighting, and Lyla Michaels, A.R.G.U.S. agent extraordinaire, prove that a hero’s life doesn’t have to be so lonely. (Cough, cough … Oliver.)
At last, there’s some good news to celebrate in Starling City: Diggle and Lyla’s wedding! (If there’s anyone who needs to let off some steam, it’s Team Arrow. Actually, forget parties — these guys just need some sunlight. I’m seriously worried about Oliver’s vitamin D intake.) For reasons that are unclear, Ray Palmer is a minister and, due to a last-minute snafu, is needed to officiate the ceremony. I’m not following how this very sitcom-y device serves the story at large, but I’m so happy to see Diggle and Lyla take the plunge (again), I’ll give Ray a pass on this one. However, before the wedding DJ even has a chance to play “Y.M.C.A.,” Team Arrow learns that the Starling City Police Department believes the Arrow has started killing again. Party’s over, guys.
Back at the foundry, Team Arrow looks grim as they watch a press conference that makes clear that the Arrow is a wanted man. For some reason, Ray, as a “community leader,” is helping give this press conference: he’s gunning for the Arrow, too. While Diggle and Lyla offer to stick around to help find whoever has been impersonating the Arrow, Oliver insists they go on their honeymoon: “Fiji can’t wait.”
Turns out Fuji is going to have to wait, though: U.S. Senator Joseph Cray has been taken hostage in the Republic of Kaznia, and A.R.G.U.S. wants Lyla to bring Cray home. Also helping with the mission? Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot, and Carrie Cutter a.k.a. Cupid, both of the Suicide Squad. Diggle, not wanting to abandon Lyla on their honeymoon, volunteers to join the operation.
While Diggle and Lyla head to Kaznia, Ray is flying around in his A.T.O.M. suit and spots the Arrow. Using facial-recognition software, Ray learns that Oliver is the Arrow. Ray quickly puts together that Felicity not only knows Oliver’s identity but works with him. When confronted, Felicity owns up to it, and Ray is hurt at her deception. He’s also not convinced that the Arrow is innocent of the recent killings. When Felicity insists that she knows Oliver better than anyone, Ray catches on to what’s really going on: Felicity has feelings for Oliver. “Yes,” she says. “I mean, no, no … I did.” (Bet she wishes she got her lips sewn shut now.) Ray’s heard enough, and he’s off to the police precinct to turn Oliver in.
Meanwhile, Felicity heads straight to the foundry to tell Oliver the bad news. In typical Felicity fashion, she lets it all out at once in a long, panicky babble. Stephen Amell’s reaction as Oliver processes Felicity’s news is bested only by his head snap to Roy, who thinks the fact that Ray has a supersuit is awesome. Seriously, if the Emmys had an award for Best GIF-able Reaction Face, Amell would take it each year, hands down. He can move emotional mountains with a single eye twitch.
To stop Ray from revealing Oliver’s identity, Team Arrow tips off Laurel, who meets with Ray under the guise of a D.A. investigation. I really enjoyed this scene, as Ray and Laurel were both in their element — Ray smugly presenting the evidence as scientific fact, and Laurel using her lawyer skills to poke holes in Ray’s theory. Ray is on an “A-ha!” roll and deduces almost instantly that Laurel is working with Oliver as the Black Canary. I’m not buying that he would know that Laurel used to train with Ted Grant, but I liked this scene enough to give Ray another pass.
Ray, like every other person on this show, decides to take justice into his own hands. He places a fake 911 call to lure the Arrow to a fight. When Oliver and Roy show up, Ray appears in his A.T.O.M. suit. He shoots blue lightning — not super-clear on what his suit does, but admittedly, the special effects are pretty great — and zaps Roy. (DON’T YOU TOUCH MY SWEET ARSENAL. NO PASS FOR YOU THIS TIME, RAY.). Thankfully, Oliver manages to take out Ray’s power source, rendering the suit useless. When Ray tries to bait Oliver by invoking Felicity’s name, Oliver says, “I have nothing to prove to her … She chose you, so trust her.”
I can’t quite make sense of where Oliver’s head is at with respect to Felicity; maybe that’s the point. In an earlier scene, Oliver tells Felicity he’s worried that Ray, as the A.T.O.M., is “untrained” and “unstable,” and that she deserves someone better (i.e. “normal”). Felicity states that she deserves “to be with someone who isn’t afraid of being happy” (amen), and that Ray can be “both a hero and a human being” (ouch). Oliver disagrees and reminds her, “I told you I couldn’t be with you and save the city.” So Ray should trust that Felicity chose him, but that same logic doesn’t apply to Oliver? Confusing matters more, Oliver later gets the goofiest little grin after Felicity gives him a sweet peck on the cheek. I am trying to read the Stephen Amell Reaction Face tea leaves and failing miserably.
Meanwhile, Lyla and Diggle are not enjoying their honeymoon in Kaznia. They learn that Senator Cray staged the hostage crisis in a local hospital as a way to become a “hero,” thereby advancing his political career. When the Suicide Squad arrives and Cray’s plan goes awry, he decides to blow up the hospital. This plot was kind of dumb. The saving grace of these scenes was that they allowed for some fun Suicide Squad interactions, like Deadshot trying to avoid Cupid’s romantic advances, and a chance to see Dig in the field.
Deadshot’s origin story replaced the usual Hong Kong flashbacks this week. Turns out Lawton’s killer-for-hire trajectory started as a result of untreated postwar PTSD. Arrow always does a great job at humanizing its villains, and Lawton is no exception. When the Suicide Squad realizes the hospital is going to blow up with them inside, Lawton comes up with a plan that allows Dig, Lyla, and Cupid to escape before the bomb goes off. Lawton is not so lucky: He dies in the explosion.
When A.R.G.U.S. allows Cray to spin the story by blaming the hostage crisis on Lawton, Lyla decides to resign, leading to a sweet Dyla scene, where Dig reassures Lyla that he’ll always be proud of her. It’s nice to know that despite the high stress and mess that come with crime-fighting, heroes need the same thing we all do — a hug after a really shitty work day. Diggle tells Lyla he is also thinking about quitting Team Arrow, but, in the next scene, he tells Oliver he’ll help him take down the Fake Arrows, so maybe not?
Finally, in the last sequence, Ray and Felicity are in the mayor’s office, trying to convince her that the Arrow is not responsible for the killings. The mayor starts to respond, and then — bam — an arrow shoots through the window and into her heart, striking her dead. (Seriously, mayor of Starling City is clearly the worst job ever. RIP, Moira Queen and Sebastian Blood.) The Fake Arrow culprit? Maseo! The episode ends with him pointing his next arrow right at Felicity. He wouldn’t do that, though, right? Right?!?
• “Ohhh” —the Arrow realizing that his arrows won’t pierce the A.T.O.M. suit.
• “You hurt her, and they’ll never find your body.” —Dig to Ray, when he shows up as Felicity’s plus one
• “I think I do want to die.” —Deadshot, realizing that Cupid has transferred her affections to him.
• Of course all Cupid would want to do on the mission was talk about weddings.
• “That really is not your best argument.” —Ray to Felicity, who tells him that Oliver hasn’t killed anyone in nearly two years. (Also: Is Felicity forgetting the Count’s death in season two? I’m STILL thinking about those three arrows.)
MISSING THE MARK
• Worst line of the episode: “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” —Felicity to Oliver, suggesting that Oliver would prefer that Ray die. It was too out-of-left-,field. I mean Oliver loves her, yes, but would he want Ray to die because of it?
• Too little Thea.
• It seems unlikely that the A.T.O.M. is going to fly around Starling City very long before people start to notice.
NUMBER OF SHIRTLESS STEPHEN AMELL SCENES: 1 (with bonus pectoral twitch!)
If you can read the Amell Face Reactions tea leaves, share your theories with me on Twitter.