Arrow’s “Return” Delivers Twists, Familiar Faces And Too Many Emotions

Photo: The CW
Photo: The CW

Welcome to another Arrow-Wednesday! And executive producer Marc Guggenheim calls episode fourteen a “love letter to the show.”

Let’s see what “The Return” had to offer. Be warned: there were feels. And some crying.

Survival Training A La Queen
Oliver and Thea find themselves on Lian Yu for what constitutes brother-sister bonding time in the Queen household. As expected, a big bad villain is ready to destroy their plans. It is someone we are more than familiar with: Slade Wilson, who has broken out of the ARGUS prison that was supposed to keep him locked up. He is still hung up on his promise to take everything Oliver cares about away from him. Talk about holding a grudge. While trying to escape Slade, Oliver and Thea are forced to share more secrets than either is comfortable with. They work together to eventually survive the dangers of Lian Yu and defeat Slade. When Thea is confronted with the choice of killing the mad man, she instead chooses to lock him up again. My guess is we will see him again sooner rather than later.

Returning To The Past
While the present takes place on the island, the Oliver from five years ago is back in Starling City, where a lot is happening. He comes back for a mission with Waller and Maseo to take on Chien Na Wei, who is auctioning off the Omega virus. While in Starling City, he is spying on his sister and his friends, including not-yet-dead best friend Tommy. What he sees shocks him, as they are dealing with Oliver’s presumed death in very different ways. Thea turned to drugs, while Tommy is playing substitute-brother (ISN’T THAT HILARIOUS). Oliver also unexpectedly meets Miss Smoak along the way, while he is breaking into Queen Consolidated. He doesn’t know who she is just yet, but her rambling makes him smile that special smile. Some things never change. We furthermore get a glimpse at Diggle, who was already done with rich billionaires five years ago, as he was working for private security back then. Even though Oliver is tempted to return to his family, he eventually decides to save Maseo’s life and completes the mission.

MVP
Willa freaking Holland! Thea could have single-handedly carried this episode, both in the present day and the flashbacks. (Even though I was not a fan of the wig, but I never am.) A close second would have been the man himself, Stephen Amell as he did a great job at balancing current Oliver and flashback Oliver. Willa Holland’s performance this season has been increasingly fantastic, but tonight’s episode was outstanding. Fighting Slade alongside Oliver was one of my favorite parts of the episode. I’d like to see more of the Queen siblings working together.

Highlights
TOMMY MERLYN. I will never be able to even type that name without making whale noises in the background, that’s how much I miss Colin Donnell.

The Olicity scene that might have broken the internet. We all suspected it was coming, but having the confirmation that Oliver did meet Felicity before he made his way into her office 3 years later was great.

Truths are being told. Oliver finally tells his sister that she killed Sara. It’s heartbreaking, but one of Willa’s greatest performances to date.

Oliver is back at the mansion. The message from his dad had me in tears. Not only because it’s Daddy Queen but also because of how much pressure he had put on his son. Poor Ollie.

Hard times ahead for Daddy Lance. Both in the past and the present Quentin is dealing with the death of his daughter. It’s a gut-wrenching parallel, but a well-done one.

One more Tommy/Laurel scene. Oh the things that we will never have. Too many feelings. Don’t touch me.

Favorite Quote
“I will work with you to stop Ras because that’s what my brother says we need to do. So I will be your student. I’ll be your partner. Even, if I have to, I will be your soldier. But never again will I be your daughter.” – Thea Queen

Catch Arrow Wedensdays at 8/7 ct on The CW.

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