Written By: Brian Ford Sullivan & Oscar Balderrama
Directed By: John Badham
Series Episode: 74
Airdate: November 4, 2015
Guests: Curtis Holt ( Echo Kellum ), Alex Davis ( Parker Young )
Flashback Guests: Baron Reiter ( Jimmy Akingbola ), Conklin ( Ryan Robbins )
Special Appearance: Damien Darhk ( Neal McDonough )
Special Guests: John Constantine ( Matt Ryan ), Sara Lance ( Caity Lotz )
That the Big Belly Burger should’ve sprung for the stretchy Glad trash bags is the least of a worker’s worries when it spills all over the ground out in the alley. She’s attacked by two rando guys with both nothing better to do and no respect for women. Their cowardly attempt to exert power over someone is thankfully interrupted by the feral Sara, who has no issue with using one’s knife to turn him into a pincushion. Yet, before anyone can cheer, the bloodraged Sara turns on the young woman, attempting to choke the life out of her before a cop car scares her off.
Thea introduces Oliver to Alex Davis, a political strategist that Walter Steele recommended. Oliver’s baffled as to why he would need a political strategist, naively assuming voters will brush off his wild youth just as he has. Davis beats around the bush, using Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal — which Thea cutely mistakes for Harry Potter’s Quidditch — to illustrate the potential negative impact of the Queen’s Gambit accident and the supposed death of Sara Lance. (The public still believes Sara died in 2007.) This is all a bit strange if Oliver is running unopposed, suggesting he might not be. Even still, he does have to be elected, and if they still see him as a boozy party boy who kills the sister of his then-girlfriend whom he was cheating on, then the write-ins for Daffy Duck could potentially come out ahead. Davis suggests Oliver distance himself from the thing completely, including cutting of contact with Laurel.
The Big Belly worker is recounting her story to the cops, saying the woman was mumbling something that sounded Middle Eastern. Lance gets squirrelly recognizing the description. Laurel shows up and Lance asks about her sister; Laurel can’t find her. He asks why she didn’t tell him about the escape and if she told Oliver. She didn’t because she didn’t want him to just look at Sara as a thing he has to hunt down, the same way Lance looked holding a gun at his daughter. Lance taps the mic: Testing 1, 2 … Hello, she’s killing people, Laurel! Laurel wants none of his or Oliver’s judgment and says she’ll find Sara first.
At Palmer Tech, Felicity gym-blocks Curtis, assuming as tech guy that his physical fitness is the march down the hall to the Mountain Dew machine. Oh no, Ms. Smoak, he was a medalist in the decathlon at the Beijing Olympics. While she marvels, she hands him a task he can’t resist: some odd digital artifacts in the message Ray left for her. A quick listen and he thinks it sounds like something else embedded on top of the message. He’s on it.
As Damien Darhk caresses and then replaces another artifact at yet another shrine in his office, he has a task of his own to present to Lance. He hands Lance a portable drive that he wants him to plug into a server at a federal installation just outside the city. Lance asks him what for as if Darhk’s going to share, but he’s sent on his way. Meanwhile, Thea and Oliver spar at the bunker and Oliver notes how she’s seems much clearer and focused since her spa getaway with Laurel. He thanks her for bringing on the political strategist and thinks his points about Sara and Laurel are valid. Thea calls BS and lists many the ways that the Queens and the Lances have been connected and helped each other over the years. Don’t deny your friends, Oliver. They’re the family you get to pick, is her point. Felicity chimes in over the PA system about a report of a crazy blonde woman in Pennytown attacking a nightclub.
At the club, Sara runs rampant over a young woman with short dark hair. Black Canary intervenes, allowing the woman to run for her life. Sara is about the club her sister with Laurel’s own nightstick when Green Arrow and Speedy arrive on the scene. Sara beats feet and Oliver is left stunned at who he’s just seen.
Back at base, Oliver confronts Laurel, putting together that she and Thea went to Nanda Parbat and took Sara with them to bring her back to life. He can see the bloodlust is worse in her because she was dead, and Laurel offers that she’s not herself. Oliver says Laurel should’ve come to him, but she’s not having his lack of expertise or his judgment. He meant to help find her, but he owns up to his judgment because Laurel had no clue what kind of mess she was getting into.
Lance drives on into the bunker because as adjunct Team Arrow, he’s got run of the place now too. Oliver tells him he knows about Sara and asks if Lance is okay. He doesn’t have the time and shows Oliver the portable drive from Darhk. Felicity identifies it as a RAT – a Remote Access Trojan, a virus that can target specific pieces of information to delete. It’s heavily encrypted and she doesn’t have the time to crack it without alerting Darhk that Lance isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Oliver doesn’t want Lance to go to the facility alone: he suggests Diggle.
Diggle is mortified that Lance is working with Darhk and H.I.V.E. He explains that H.I.V.E. had his brother killed and wants to know why he should help Lance. The captain offers the same backstory we got last week: crumbling city, good guy, resources, turns out not so good guy, using his daughter’s life as leverage. Lance asks if Diggle can trust working with him on this. Diggle gets it immediately. Use Lance to help take down Darhk and H.I.V.E. from the inside. Hell yeah, he’s in.
At home, Oliver asks if Felicity’s made any connections about Sara’s victims. No dice. Most are just street thugs. She’s incredulous that Sara is actually back, even though she’s fully aware of the Pit. Oliver lays down a slick line about complicated things in the world most people just don’t want to know about. That segues into her telling him about Ray’s message and how much easier it would be to just cheat death and never have to feel that sorrow. Oliver wishes every day he could have another moment with his mother or his father or Tommy, but what’s the cost? Having Sara back is hurting people emotionally and literally hurting others via murder.death.kill. He ponders what would cause Sara to attack those two girls. Felicity brings up their profiles on the TV and they realize both look like dunh, dunh, duuuunhh, Thea.
Thea’s at home at Laurel’s on a date with some wine when Sara comes in like a wrecking ball. They engage in a vicious game of grab-neck, brutally redecorating Laurel’s place. Thea uses a shard of glass along Sara’s cheek to get herself free and stumble-runs to the stairwell. Hobbling down the stairs with rampaging Sara in pursuit, she only half-electively throws herself down a flight, buying enough time to kick open a door to fool Sara into thinking she ran outside while she hides in another hallway.
Oliver and Felicity have taken Thea to the hospital. Thea recognizes that its the Pit’s effects that are controlling Sara just like her. She explains to a confused Oliver that she’s not better, per se, but that Malcolm set up some League guys for her to kill to stave off the bloodlust for a short time. Laurel shows up to check on Thea and Oliver is livid. They talk outside, Oliver relaying that Thea’s and her Nanda Parbat excursion also put Thea under Malcolm’s sick control. Laurel explains she didn’t want to tell him about Nanda Parbat because he would try to stop her, which she finds hypocritical given that Oliver did it to save Thea. Thea was still alive, he argues. She asks why he didn’t tell her about Thea months ago, then, and believes he doesn’t see her as an equal. Oliver attempts to say that’s not true, but he can’t putt from the guilt rough that Laurel’s laying down. She’s always loved and cared for his family, he should give a damn about hers once in a while.
Diggle and Lance break into the server facility and Lance hooks up the RAT. He notes that it appears to be erases files on specific people. Diggle’s curious as to who. At the hospital, Thea wakes up to Laurel sitting bedside. Laurel tries to apologize for setting Sara free without knowing what she was doing, but Thea explains that Sara is coming after her because she killed Sara. She’s describes what Malcolm told her about the bloodlust wanting revenge and how hers can’t find justice because the previous Ra’s al Ghul is already dead. She’s willing to offer herself up to Sara to cure her bloodlust, but Laurel gives her metaphorical side-eye: that’s not a tradeoff she wants made.
Back at the servers, things are taking a bit of time. Diggle sees his brother’s name amongst the files being erased and tries desperately to find out why. An alarm goes off, bringing the rent-a-cops. Lance thinks quick and conks Diggle over the head. He flashes his badge and says he tracked a hacker into the building. He yells at the guards to go contact the police. It buys them time to bug out. At the hospital, Sara creeps into Thea’s room while Oliver runs into Laurel again outside. Laurel starts to apologize, but Oliver understands. Before they can really get into it, they hear Sara attacking Thea in her room. They barge in and when Sara turns to Oliver, he can see something’s off. Sara tosses Thea at them and then Metroid ball’s through the window.
Oliver and Laurel take Thea to the bunker where they meet up with Diggle and Felicity. Oliver explains that the Pit brought Sara’s body back but he can see that it didn’t return her soul. They need to find her and wonder how she was able to track down Thea. Thea thinks it’s a connection brought on by the Pit and wants to be used as bait to lure Sara out. Oliver’s not so high on the plan, but as Diggle is technically in charge of Team Arrow, he makes the call.
Lance returns the RAT to Darhk with the job done. He says he saw some of the names he had him erase and asks about Andy Diggle. Darhk’s curious why it matters to him. Lance insists and Darhk explains that while on duty in Afghanistan, Andy took advantage of opportunities to become a drug and gun runner. His operation ran afoul of H.I.V.E.’s work in the region, so they hired an assassin to take him out. Over at the defunct Verdant, Thea lies in wait for Sara. Just when she thinks Death Canary won’t show, Sara puts herself through yet another window to announce her arrival. She attacks Thea and the team bounds in. Black Canary tries to take her down first, but Sara is too much for her. Laurel pulls a gun on her sister, ready to just call the whole thing good and done, but Oliver hits her with a tranq arrow. He talks Laurel out of putting two in the head, one in the heart, offering they can get Sara’s soul back. Oliver calls in a favor with John Constantine, a self-declared paranormal investigator.
At the bunker, Constantine has somehow made it to Star City within no time of Oliver calling. Either he was in town, close to town, or he mystically teleported himself there. (Maybe he called on Manny the angel to whisk him away there.) Whatever the case, he’s here with little fanfare on the same night they captured Sara and he’s got a plan for a restitutionum – a soul innie rather than a demon outtie. They ask if he’s done one before and he says it’s been about a year since his last, which could be a reference to the Constantine episode “The Rage of Caliban,” in which John had to exorcise an evil spirit possessing a little boy and return it to its own body, a catatonic man in a mental hospital.
They get everything prepped and Constantine says the he can send himself and two others to the other realm to rescue Sara’s soul. Oliver asks Laurel to trust him and the two choose to go while Lance joins the others standing around wondering how its possible that things in their lives could’ve gotten even more weird and/or creepy. Constantine works his whammy and the three appear in a spirit realm reminiscent of Nanda Parbat. Using magic, they find their way to the Pit room, and John tells them to pull Sara from the Pit while he takes care of the big guard entering the room. He clashes swords with the guy, and while he manages not to get himself killed, the guard is too strong with the sword. John tries working a spell on him, and after a couple of tries, finally gets the guard frozen in mid-air, where he’s able to run him through. At that moment, Oliver and Laurel are able to pull Sara from the Pit … and suddenly they back on the earthly plane. Sara wakes, back in her skin.
Oliver walks Constantine out, thanking for his help and offering to be there anytime he needs a hand. It’s Constantine, so you better believe he’s going to cash in that chip at some point. He says he’s been getting the magical willies ever since he set foot in Star City and Oliver mentions that might be their other problem, Damien Darhk. The grim look on Constantine’s face says all; he warns Oliver to watch out with him. Pressing him for advice, John says they’d be better off thumbing a ride out of town. Oliver and Thea make up over her deception and his creating an environment where she needed the deception.
As Oliver preps to give a campaign interview, Alex Davis is surprised to see Laurel arrive. Oliver declares that he’s not going to give up his friends just to win an election, and Davis backs down about it. Laurel thanks Oliver for helping with Sara and apologizes for what she said in the hospital. He shoos that away, saying that he hasn’t always been the best friend to her but would like the chance to be better at it. Aww shucks, Ollie. For the first time in a long time, Oliver and Laurel connect on friendly terms.
Diggle watches Oliver’s interview at home. A knock on the door reveals Lance, who comes with heavy news. He tells Diggle he asked Darhk about Diggle’s brother. Apparently, after their discussion, Lance asked Darhk for proof on Diggle and was given a file. He hands the file to Diggle with a warning that it’ll change the way he thinks of his brother. Diggle peruses it and learns the truth about his criminal activities. Now he knows why H.I.V.E. ordered Andy’s death.
Hyped on a half-rack of energy drinks, Curtis tells Felicity he thinks he’s cracked the artifacts on top of Ray’s message and found another message. They play it and hear another voice message from Ray. He says he’s alive and in trouble.
Rather than confront Oliver back at the cave, Conklin waits for Oliver to get back to camp. He a-ha’s Oliver with the camo bag and comms device, accusing him of alterior motives for being in their midst. Oliver denies the bag is his, so Conklin carts him over to Reiter’s tent to tattle. Reiter is otherwise engaged with beating up another infiltrator who has found his way on to the island: John Constantine. Reiter holds up a marked map Constantine was using and asks if Oliver recognizes the locations. He does. With no use for him, Reiter plans to kill Constantine, but the rascally Brit frees himself from his binds and knocks Conklin out, taking his gun. He marches Oliver out of the tent at gunpoint, figuring he can use the man as his map. They take off for a location up the mountain.
At the spot, Constantine asks Oliver if he knows what Reiter is up to on the island. Oliver says making and running drugs, but Constantine offers that it’s far more than that. That there are things on the island that people with bad intentions should never get ahold of. He picks some of the shrubbery, crumbles it in his hand, chants and incantation, and blows the plants into the air. They mystically swirl into a quick dust devil that whirls away dirt on the ground to reveal a wooden hatch. Oliver is stunned that magic exists.
Down the hatch into a hidden passageway, Constantine meets Oliver’s questions by offering that magic can’t be explained. He says that there are ages old places like the island that are a nexus that calls to bad people and things, points out that it’s no accident that Oliver is on that island. A mystical warning bars an entrance to a temple that only the pure of heart can enter. Constantine locks Oliver up, believing him to be a bad guy for being in Reiter’s ranks. Inside, he finds a scepter in a stone and is slightly surprised when Oliver enters having gotten out of his handcuffs. Constantine pulls the scepter and a deathtrap start to fall towards him. Oliver saves the git and assures him he’s not a bad guy.
Back outside, Oliver asks what the hell is going on. John details how the scepter is actually the Orb of Horus, an ancient grimoire, which really has no meaning to Oliver whatsoever. Constantine says he’s going to store it away so the bad folks can’t play, but Oliver says he needs to take something back to Reiter or blow his cover. John breaks the orb off the top and hands it over, saying that the real power is in the spell encased in the hilt. He uses it to erase the mystical protection runes off of his forearm, then proceeds to give Oliver the world’s easiest tattoo, transferring the runes to his torso. A break this in case of emergency kind of deal. John offers to take Oliver off the island with him, but Oliver can’t leave the captive workers behind. Before they part, Oliver asks for one more thing: a convincing punch across the face, which Constantine is happy to oblige.
Three Quick Thoughts
• Thoroughly did not expect Constantine to be appearing in the flashbacks and that the majority of his time in the episode would be spent during them.
• While it plays better on a second viewing, there is some disjointed editing that makes it feel like they had a lot more episode they had to cut down from. Given the story, they might have been better served to have made this two episodes, especially with how quick their time in the spirit realm is to rescue Sara.
• It’s not that Laurel doesn’t have a point about Oliver; he does care about the Lances but his bullheadedness often pushes the care and concern for them to the side. Still, this is really a mess of her own making, which she does own up to, but it seems a bit unfair to throw things at Oliver’s feet. It’s a mess on both sides.
• BONUS: Love that Blake Neely incorporated Bear McCrary’s Constantine theme into the episode music. The Arrow-ized Constantine stuff during the spirit fight was really fun.