Image credit: Jack Rowand/The CW
OPERATION! Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) play on Oliver (Stephen Amell). Nobody wins.
Felicity proves to be a woman of her word. At the factory, she and Diggle work together to patch up Oliver. Turns out, Oliver and Diggle were well-prepared for the worst. Not only do they have hospital equipment on hand, they also have stored bags of Oliver's blood. As Diggle works to get the bullet out of Oliver, Felicity tries to keep herself from throwing up. Meanwhile, Oliver takes us back to the island. Here's the interesting thing about this episode. While the series usually spends more time in the present, this episode is predominately set in the past...and it works. Though I'm not always intrigued by the flashbacks on Arrow, tonight's were completely absorbing.
In the flashback, Slade is teaching Oliver to fight with a bamboo stick. The purpose? A supply plane is slated to land on the island in 10 days, and Slade is determined to get on it. For that to happen though, he needs Oliver to help him take down Edward's goons. So far, though, Slade is not impressed. "I know Girl Scouts who have more fight than you," he tells Oliver. Hey, didn't he already use that joke last week?
After some more combat lessons, Oliver and Slade talk about their grand escape. Oliver thinks they should send some sort of signal to Yao Fei, but Slade refuses to take the risk. Instead, he tells Oliver to focus on the mission. And focus he should, because if Oliver fails to take down the guard stationed in the air traffic control tower, the entire mission could fall apart.
The night before the mission, Oliver dreams about waking up in bed with Laurel. He apologizes to her for sleeping with her sister, and she responds with a foreboding question, "Did it hurt, Ollie?" she says. "Did what hurt?" he asks. "When they killed you," she responds. Then, blood begins to ooze out of his forehead. Freaky. You would think Oliver would decide to stay in after a dream like that, but instead he heads off into the wilderness with Slade.
They don't get far, though, because Oliver accidentally steps on a mine (oh, Ollie!). Slade tries to help him but when he spots Edward's men approaching he makes a run for it, leaving Oliver to fend for himself.
Just when you think he's the bad guy though, Slade re-emerges and takes down all the guards. One of them lands on the mine, allowing Oliver to step away without exploding to bits.
Meanwhile, Edward tells Yao Fei that the incoming supply flight will have a shipment of 25 compound bows (and suddenly the origin story starts to come together more clearly). He wants Yao Fei to teach his men archery. Before Yao Fei leaves, Edward asks him if he's still steadfast in his commitment to the cause..."for her sake." Ahh, no wonder Yao Fei has been making nice with his former enemy, there is a "her" at stake.
Meanwhile, Oliver tells Slade he wants to go back and make things right with Laurel. Slade -- never one to water things down -- gives him a harsh reality check. "If you think you can sleep with your girlfriend's sister and still make it right, you're dumber than I thought, and believe me when I tell you that's saying something." Turns out, Slade takes the whole loyalty thing personally. He explains that the man who tortured Oliver on the island earlier was actually his partner. They were both sent to the island to rescue Yao Fei, but they were captured by Edward, who gave them an ultimatum: Join or die. Slade refused to join Edward's mission, but his friend, who is apparently named Billy Wintergreen, decided to switch alliances. The moral of the story? "Everybody is in this life for themselves." Fair enough.
NEXT: Oliver flatlines...