‘Arrow’ Recap: Another Havenrock

Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW
Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Warning: This recap for the “Bratva” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.

Team Arrow track down Gen. Walker in Russia while René and Quentin bond back in Star City. Everyone’s past comes back to haunt them: Oliver must deal with his Bratva past; Diggle once again confronts the rage that killed Andy; and Felicity faces another impossible situation with a nuclear bomb.

The Plot
Most of the team head to Russia because Gen. Walker — who’s been taken into custody — escapes and flees to sell his nuclear trigger to terrorists. Oliver tries to enlist Anatoly, but he’s not having it because he abandoned Bratva. Felicity uses her Pandora data to blackmail a cell company employee for Walker’s tracking info. The general escapes when they pin him down in a church, but they capture one of his underlings. An impatient Diggle starts beating on the prisoner, which makes Oliver realize he needs to swallow his pride and work with Bratva again. Antoly gives them the intel, they intercept the deal and capture Walker, but their attack triggers the bomb. Rory uses his rags to wrap the bomb and smother the explosion, preventing another Havenrock, but draining the power of the rags. When they return to Star City, Rory tells Felicity he’s leaving the team — temporarily, anyway. Meanwhile, Susan Williams (Carly Pope) has gathered everything she needs to expose Oliver as a Russian mobster and the Green Arrow.

The Flashback
Talia sends Oliver on a training mission to take down a Starling City drug dealer (King Lau) doing business in Russia. Her philosophy of, “The man who embraces the dark is never without sight,” goes a long way toward explaining the high body count of his early career. Oliver finds Anatoly in the hospital after a confrontation with Gregor, the Bratva who sold out to Kovar, and resolves to deal with him.

OTA: Original Team Arrow!
No matter how many people you add, this show still comes down to the balance of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity. Oliver is driven to do good by any means necessary, and he needs Diggle and Felicity to keep him from becoming as bad as the criminals he hunts. Diggle needs Oliver and Felicity to check the rage that made him kill his brother. Felicity needs Diggle and Oliver to keep from backsliding into the anarchist hacker she once was. Diggle saying, “You, me, Felicity — we make each other better,” is basically the writers pointing out what the show needs to be its best.

Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW
Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW

Quentin and René, Sittin in a Tree, P-R-A-C-T-I-C-I-N-G
Quentin is fresh out of rehab and decides his first order of business is an on-camera interview with Susan Williams. Ollie got a lucky break here because, on paper, leaving someone with zero media skills and a serious anger management problem to coach an alcoholic fresh out of rehab for a punishing broadcast interrogation is madness. In practice, though, we get a refreshing repeat of events earlier in the season when René and Diggle connected in the safe house. As frustrating as it can be to have Wild Dog screwing up every other mission by ignoring a plan and just blasting away, his moments of bro-to-bro connection are pretty wonderful. Did anyone else imagine a tiny cartoon René with giant anime eyes resolving to turn his life around after a stern talking to from Papa Lance?

Susan Williams
The best-case scenario is that Susan is an active part of the Prometheus plot to destroy Oliver. If not, then she’s either a sleazy tabloid journalist willing to engage in a long con relationship just to get a juicy story, or she’s an investigative journalist so committed to her craft that she’s willing to prostitute herself for it. Both of those options make her seem like a sociopath; at least, if Prometheus is behind it, she’ll have a good reason for her actions.

Quiverful of Thoughts
*Has David Ramsay been putting on an absurd amount of muscle? Or did the costume designers just put him into something that makes him look like he should have a WWE championship around his waist?

*A city with the budget to maintain a private jet to fly the mayor to Russia at a moment’s notice seems weirdly more fantastical than magical rags that can stifle a nuclear explosion.

*Anatoly seems like he’ll be calling on Mayor Queen for favors very soon, at which point it won’t take Susan Williams to uncover the corruption. At this rate, Prometheus can just relax: Oliver’s perfectly capable of destroying his life on his own.

*Oliver is unusually open with Dinah. On the one hand, it’s great for him because she gives him straight talk that he needs to hear. On the other hand, didn’t he convince her to join the team by promising to help her deal with the very same problems he’s now struggling with? What is she getting out of this?

*Goth Felicity is great, but Russian oligarch Felicity is Next Level.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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