When we last left Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his recent bride-to-be Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) were in a pretty dire situation. Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) Ghost soldiers ambushed Oliver and Felicity’s limousine and riddled it with bullets. Oliver managed to drive the limo to safety, but Felicity was badly injured.
The latest episode, “Blood Debts”, picks up immediately after the attack on Oliver and Felicity. We see two scenes simultaneously — a shell-shocked Oliver at the hospital watching as Felicity’s being treated by a team of doctors, and Oliver as Green Arrow in the streets of Star City brutally attacking Ghosts one-by-one in search of Darhk’s location.
Oliver is desperate. He practically orders Diggle (David Ramsey) to rough up his brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) for answers. Andy, remember, is pretty much a prisoner of war at this point — a former Ghost that Team Arrow keeps locked up. Then Oliver confronts Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), who easily gives up an address where Darhk might be. Seems peculiar Oliver didn’t think of asking Captain Lance first instead of rampaging through the city, but either way, he’s got a lead.
When Oliver arrives at the address, he finds a grisly scene: dead Ghosts and an anarchy symbol smeared in blood on the wall. Lonnie Machin (Alexander Calvert), a.k.a. Anarky, who we previously met in this season’s second episode, “The Candidate”, has escaped. Through some quick analysis of the smeared blood, Team Arrow discovers Machin’s holed up at his foster parents’ home. After a brief skirmish, Team Arrow manages to apprehend Machin; but, instead of turning him over to the authorities, Oliver interrogates him hoping to find Darhk’s whereabouts, only Thea (Willa Holland) interrupts Oliver with the news that something happened to Felicity during her surgery.
When Oliver arrives at the hospital, Felicity’s mother tells him the doctors couldn’t fix her. Felicity will never be able to walk again. While it’s unclear whether Felicity will really be wheelchair bound for the rest of the series, this does proves that Arrow’s willing to take risks with its main characters.
At this point, Oliver’s at an emotional level we haven’t seen since Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) killed his mother in season two: both full of rage and terrified simultaneously. It’s a combination that rarely ends well; in this case, it ends with Oliver making one of his dumbest moves yet.
Shortly after Oliver left for the hospital, Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) and Speedy turn Machin over to the cops. But Oliver, somehow thinking it’s a good idea, ambushes the police van carrying Machin and frees him. “You make sure he’s dead”, Oliver says to Machin regarding Darhk. Yes, Green Arrow breaks out a “murdering psychotic” out to kill another “murdering psychotic”. With a plan so sound, what can go wrong?
But Oliver isn’t completely stupid. He placed a tracking device on Machin. However, the tracker goes dark soon after Team Arrow starts tracing it. “OK, so, what do we do now?” Thea asks. “I don’t know. That was the whole plan”, responds Oliver. To save Oliver further embarrassment, Team Arrow insists he go spend time with Felicity while they take over the search for Darhk.
Eventually, Team Arrow discovers Machin’s going to Darhk’s home, and launch an offensive. In a clever twist, Team Arrow end up battling Machin at Darhk’s home to save Darhk’s wife and child. After capturing Machin, Darhk arrives but tells Oliver his life will be spared for a few weeks as a thank you. The episode’s concludes with Darhk’s wife expressing disappointment that Damien didn’t kill Green Arrow when he had the chance. Perhaps Mrs. Darhk is even more ruthless than her husband? Seems like we’ll be finding out sooner than later.
“Blood Debts” might be a major turning point this season, now Felicity’s fate’s been revealed. Not to mention the episode featured some emotionally powerful scenes between Oliver and a bedridden Felicity. But Oliver’s big fail was uncharacteristically bad even for him. Things ended as best they could, but Oliver’s newest worst enemy is himself.
NUGGETS AND TIDBITS
Andy and Diggle’s relationship is finally showing signs of improvement. That’s good because I wonder how long Team Arrow can keep Andy locked up without it starting to feel inhumane. Sort of like the backlash the S.T.A.R. Labs’ team received for keeping baddies locked up in their super prison last season.
Thea’s relationship with Oliver’s campaign manager, Alex Davis (Parker Young), feels so pointless. It’s a relationship storyline for the sake of a relationship storyline. At some point, Alex has to become more involved in the plot. It just remains to be seen in what capacity. If Felicity isn’t safe, I doubt he is either.
We can mark off Felicity as the person in the grave from this season’s premiere. At the end of this episode, there’s a four-month flash forward with Oliver and Felicity together in a limo at the cemetery. Felicity tearfully tells Oliver, “You know what you have to do, right? You have to kill the son of a bitch”.