Public Enemy Plot Summary:
The manhunt for The Arrow intensifies when Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) tells Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) that Oliver (Stephen Amell) is the man under the hood. Elsewhere, Ray (Brandon Routh) is in the hospital after taking an arrow meant for Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). She’s then forced to decide whether to inject him with experimental tech that could kill him. In the flashbacks, Oliver struggles to hide the truth about Shado (Celina Jade) from her twin sister Mei.
Arrow is back! After last week’s waste of an hour, this week’s episode was an exciting return to form. “Public Enemy” was a big episode for characters not named “Oliver” and some of them fared better than others.
I’m on record already about how much I love Felicity’s mom, but her second appearance only deepened my love. Usually, everyone’s favorite IT girl gets to be the comic relief, but considering this was probably the worst day of her life (one boyfriend with a life-threatening blood clot that she can neutralize with an equally deadly remedy, the other boyfriend outed as a murderous vigilante), the task fell to Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross). From the moment she bounced into the hospital room in that preposterous dress, she was just the touch of silly this emotionally fraught episode needed. The moment when Felicity, on the edge of tears, tells Donna what the doctor said about Ray’s condition and Donna’s responds by feigning worry before suddenly beaming “At least you finally have a boyfriend!” was absolute perfection.
Speaking of Ray, he followed up his brief time as a mildly interesting humanoid last week by becoming a creepy stalker again. He has been dating Felicity for a month and he already dropped an “I love you.” Admittedly, even I’d probably declare my undying love to Felicity after about two dates, but chill out, bro. Felicity continued her streak of mashing his affection under her heel by basically saying, “That’s nice” and then running out of the room. Felicity’s mom was waiting outside to do that think in TV love triangles where a third party tells someone they they can’t say they’re in love with one person because they’re already in love with the other. So, basically, Felicity and Oliver are still on track to hook up by the end of the season.
Anyway, I joked (not really) last week that I hope we never see Amy Gumenick’s Cupid again. Well, I’d rather she become a series regular if it means I never have to deal with Shado’s twin Mei again. Celina Jade is a perfectly adequate actress and I loved Shado back in the day, but Mei is just a terrible plot device stolen from a soap opera. Surely, there was a better way for Oliver to learn the importance of telling the truth than for her to feed him a line after he finally admitted her father and sister are dead. He could literally look at anything that’s happened to Tommy (Colin Donnell), Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Thea (Willa Holland) or, hell, even Quentin to learn that lesson.
Speaking of Papa Lance, Blackthorne killed it this episode. Quentin doesn’t usually get to do much except use his powers of denial to keep him from seeing Oliver is the Arrow when they’re standing face to face and I’m glad that phase is finally over. After Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) and Quentin argued over whose daughter was the worse influence, Ra’s destroyed Oliver’s cover by forcing Quentin to admit what he already intuitively knows. It was sort of shocking to see him get that point across by pointing out that Sara (Caity Lotz) was on Lian Yu because I’d forgotten he didn’t know that information. The web of secrets in Oliver’s life is exhausting.
While that scene was great, Blackthorne’s best moment came after Oliver turned himself in and they were in the back of a prisoner transport truck. It was three seasons in the making and both actors gave it the right emotional heft. Oliver deserved the slap Quentin gave him after he spitefully asked, “When did you decide that you knew what was best for my family?” and Oliver responded that he loved the Lance family (terrible word choice). Oliver will probably get the wrong lesson from that scene–that he’s a burden to people rather than that he can’t make decisions for hem–but it was a nice reminder that despite everything he says this is really personal for Quentin. The only thing that made that scene better was that it ended with Roy (Colton Haynes) attacking the truck and claiming he was the real Arrow.
I never saw that coming. I thought for sure Team Arrow was going to throw the plea bargain Oliver brokered for them out the window and make a daring rescue. Given what Roy said about wanting to atone for killing that cop last year while Mirakuru’d up, it should have been an obvious move. However, that’s the kind of messy, show-changing storyline many series would avoid (or do and then use time travel to erase like The Flash). The storytelling on this show is absolutely incredible right now. There’s a fearlessness to it that makes it so unpredictable and it’s maybe never been more enjoyable. I’m not even going to try to guess what’s going to happen next.