Arrow Episode 9 - Year's End (2012): TV Recap
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Adam Hunt, formerly rich evil businessman, is trying to get a little something started up again, trying to get back in the game, when he is visited by a familiar-looking hooded vigilante and shot three times in the chest.
During some knife-fight training with Diggle, Oliver realizes that Christmas is approaching. This is a new feeling for him. There were no holidays on the island; every day was Just Stay Alive Day. Oliver has fond memories of the Christmas parties his dad used to throw, though, with a tree in every room. Diggle advises him to take some time off from vigilantism to be with his family.
There haven’t been many flashbacks in recent weeks, but we do pick up where we left off. Oliver is trapped in a cave, and has gone days with no food or water when the Chinese archer returns, this time with Edward Fyers in tow. He’s the one who captured Ollie and had him tortured, and he has a plane, a way to get off the island. Things are looking up for Island Ollie!
During a fancy dinner party with high-ranking businessmen and city officials, the crowd discusses the falling crime rate. Is it because of the hooded vigilante? The police commissioner claims its because of the new changes his department has implemented. What’s Oliver’s opinion? He artfully dodges the question by saying he needs a new name other than “the Hood, or Hood-Guy.” Tommy’s dad agrees. “How about Green Arrow?” This is the first time in the series that anyone has muttered those two words in exactly that order. A spur-of-the-moment idea from Oliver’s secret enemy isn’t a great origin story for your super hero code name, but I guess it’s what we’ll have to live with. Oliver responds with typical disdain: “Lame."
Walter has to excuse himself from the party when he receives a phone call from Felicity Smoak. She has figured out that the hooded vigilante’s targets have all come from the names in the book Walter found in last week’s episode. Doug Miller, the head of their Applied Sciences division, is also on the list.
The commissioner has to leave the party early as well. The police have discovered Adam Hunt’s body riddled with arrows, obviously the victim of the vigilante. Oliver, knowing this is one murder he’s not responsible for, also excuses himself.
On the scene of the crime, the commissioner sees a vigilante murder, but Detective Lance isn’t convinced. The black arrows are inconsistent with the Hood’s M.O., and so is the fact that he already got $40 million out of Hunt a few months ago. Why would he come back to finish the job now? Lance knows immediately that they are dealing with a copycat.
Oliver and Diggle try to unravel the mystery of the copycat. From the tight grouping of arrows, Oliver can tell the copycat is a legitimate archer.
At the precinct, Detective Lance receives a package containing a phone, and gets a call from a blocked number. It’s Oliver, using a voice modulator, to ask for some evidence (and again mention what a bad nickname “the Hood” is). He needs to see one of the arrows to track down this copycat. He tries to impress Lance with his ability to work outside the law, but it’s not as effective as it was on Laurel. Oliver is clearly trying to go for the Batman/Commissioner Gordon dynamic here, where he can get inside info from the police and get a few minutes to examine crime scenes or evidence, but Lance isn’t biting.
Thea tells Oliver that since he and their dad went missing, the family hasn’t really felt like celebrating. They’ve skipped the holidays every year, but Oliver is determined to get the family back on track. He will throw the family Christmas party to make up for lost time, and to make up for being such a crummy son, stepson, and brother since he’s been back. Walter commends him for being a good man, which triggers a flashback.
Edward Fyers also called Oliver a good man for not giving up the location of his friend, even under the duress of torture. But what does Oliver really know about this “friend”? The island they are on used to be a Chinese prison. The military operated it as a penitentiary for inmates too dangerous to keep on the mainland. It was shut down several years back, but the two of the worst inmates remained: Oliver’s friend, and the man who tortured Oliver, Deathstroke.
The fake Hood takes down another evil businessman, this time one who had already returned $70 million in embezzled funds at Oliver’s insistence. At the scene, the commissioner tells Detective Lance to lie about who did this: it was the regular Hood, not a copycat, okay? The public doesn’t need to know that there are two of these nutjobs running around. Lance is completely against ignoring a serial killer, and refuses to do it. Well, then you’re off the case. Disturbed by the shady dealings of his department, Lance decides to assist Oliver in some off-the-books investigating. He calls his friend the vigilante on his new phone, and tells him he’ll leave one of the arrows in a heating vent on the corner of O’Neil and Adams (an homage to the famous writer/artist team who worked on Green Arrow in the ‘70s). But Oliver only has until Christmas to figure this out. “And then, copycat or not, I’m coming after you.”
After retrieving the arrow, Oliver can’t figure out where it came from, so he takes it to his company’s IT department, of course. He lies to Felicity about the origins of the arrow, and she is able to look it up on the computer and figure out where the shipment of these custom arrows was sent, despite only being able to pronounce the word “composite” in British. If she was able to do this in seconds, I’m pretty sure someone on the police force would have been able to figure it out as well.
Lance is watching the commissioner, blaming the vigilante for the killings, on TV when Laurel walks in. She knows he didn’t do it either, despite calling him a monster a few episodes ago. Tommy arrives at the apartment to invite Laurel to the Queens’ Christmas party and to give Laurel her present: a badly Photoshopped old photo of her, her dad, and her dead sister Sarah. Laurel wants to move forward in her relationship with Tommy, but something seems to be holding her back.
Oliver follows Felicity’s instructions to go to the abandoned warehouse with the hastily painted “10245 Wharf” sign on the door, and finds one of the black arrows dug into the floor. He notices a very slow explosive device that requires liquids to fill up glass jars, which buys him enough time to whip out a trick exploding arrow, shoot the locked exit door, create an explosion of his own, and escape before being blown to bits.
At the Queen Christmas party, tensions are high. Thea’s objectionable friend Shane shows up. Tommy and Laurel show up. Oliver gives Tommy the deep bro hug, and gives Laurel the one-armed cooties hug. “So how long do you guys think it’ll be until this isn’t so weird?” Moira is concerned because Walter’s digging into the names on the list has not gone unnoticed by Merlyn. Unfortunately, Walter is not the type of person to let his best friend’s murder go without being avenged. If they can just get through the party, Moira will tell Walter everything.
Laurel needs to talk to Oliver in private. The excuses she’s been making, it’s her dad, it’s work, are all untrue: she’s been holding back with Tommy because of Oliver. He gives her a peck on the cheek and blesses the relationship, even if he’s not totally convincing.
Oliver leaves that awkward situation only to walk in on another. Looking for his sister, he finds her about to get it on in her room with the Shane kid. She’s supposed to be downstairs at the party Oliver threw for her! He’s not listening to his sister, though. This party is reminding her of memories she’s trying to forget. No matter how nice Oliver’s party is, their family will never be the same. Diggle interrupts with bad news: the false archer has taken hostages and will only release them is Oliver surrenders himself.
In the final flashback of the episode, the Chinese archer tells Fyers to call his people and bring the plane. Fyers informs him that his people will indeed be here shortly. “Don’t you think it was convenient that you captured me so easily?” It’s an ambush! And Deathstroke is here to get revenge for the last fight. As Oliver runs away, the Chinese archer takes another shot at Deathstroke, but he deflects it with his sword. They keep teasing the shot that takes his eye, but I have a feeling that won’t happen until Oliver finally gets a chance to take him down. Oliver’s protector is taken by Fyers’s men, and Oliver clearly doesn’t know what to do.
Oliver avoids the explosives preventing the police from accessing the hostages by zip-lining to the roof. As he gets the hostages out, the false archer appears at the end of the hallway. They both fire a few arrows at each other, dodging them Matrix-style. After flipping around the room fighting for a while, the fake archer shoots Ollie twice in the back and starts beating him mercilessly. During the beating, he tells Oliver that it’s obvious that he knows about the list and the man who authored it wants him dead. Ollie finally manages to reach up, grab a knife, and stab the guy in the leg, buying him enough time to escape. He breaks off the arrows, rolls out of a window, and crashes to the street below. He’s still lucid enough to call Diggle to pick him up.
He awakens in a hospital bed. Diggle cleaned him up and got him admitted under the pretense of a motorcycle accident. Of course, his family wonders why he was out on his motorcycle when he was supposed to be at the party. Thea especially must think it’s hypocritical of him to get to duck out for a ride when he interrupted the ride she was about to get. Oh, well. Maybe the party was badly timed, but it did ultimately bring the family closer together.
The false archer, fresh off his failure to kill Oliver, returns home and takes off his mask. It’s Merlyn, Tommy’s father! I knew based on the Merlyn name that someone would be an archer, but I thought it might have been Tommy. I should have realized when Tommy’s fencing father was revealed to be the well-dressed businessman harassing Moira that he would have the background training to become a super-villain. Maybe at some point down the road there will be a Norman/Harry Osborne dynamic where Oliver takes out the father and the son takes up his mantle out of revenge. Tommy better start practicing!
Walter is drugged in the elevator and taken captive. Moira knows all about it; she’s helping get him out of the way so he won’t be killed for snooping. Merlyn tells Moira it will be fine in six months when their organization’s vision for the city will be realized. Thousands will be dead, but Merlyn will still feel a sense of accomplishment, and Walter will be returned unharmed.
Oliver is in his hospital room, walking with a cane (shades of The Dark Knight Rises?) to look out the window to look at the city. This time it was Oliver who failed the city. He tells Diggle that he had always assumed that his father had compiled that list of names, but the false archer told him it was someone else. If Merlyn’s not in charge of the organization, who is? “I think there’s someone else out there, someone who’s more of a danger than the archer, and I am going to take him down.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. Year's End originally aired 12/12/12.