Previously on Arrow, Oliver kinda died but then was saved by Maseo and Katsu, Felicity told Ray she wouldn’t help him die for the city, a baddie named Brick started to take over the glades and Laurel took over for Sara as the Black Canary.
When we begin this week’s episode, we are reliving the moment Felicity begged Oliver not to go fight Ra’s al Ghul, and if he did have to go, to kill Ra’s, to not let his humanity be his downfall. But this time, Oliver listens to Felicity and decides to stay. Because he loves her. He kisses Felicity but then starts bleeding from the mouth, which is just never a good sign. Luckily, it was just a timey wimey dream, and Oliver wakes up in Katsu’s cottage. Katsu and Maseo explain that, thanks to the snow and the cold, Oliver was only mostly dead not really most sincerely dead; combined with his will to live, Katsu was able to bring him back, and she didn’t even need a Lazarus pit.
Back in Starling City, a woman is being chased by a dirtbag when Laurel shows up, in full Canary getup. He snickers and says that he heard rumors about a woman in black who protected the city, but when Laurel was too slow to avoid his knife slice, he figured she wasn’t the legendary vigilante. Roy swoops in and saves her and says they have to talk. He leads her back to the Arrow Cave and stitches her up, not nearly as gently as she liked; she asks for Felicity instead.
Roy tries to explain all the reasons this is a terrible idea. First and foremost, Sara was a trained assassin, Laurel is a lawyer who took a boxing class that one time. Laurel says the criminals in the city feared the Canary, and with both Sara and Oliver gone, someone needs to step up; they can’t fail this city.
At Palmer Tech, Ray tries to get Felicity to help him again, but she’s still not interested. She won’t help Diggle and Roy get themselves killed, she won’t help Ray get himself killed. She just wants to be the Palmer Tech geek monkey, and is only there today to join him for a meeting the mayor called for city leaders.
Meanwhile, in the Glades, Brick is terrorizing everyone. Even Verdant’s resident DJ is packing up his stuff so it doesn’t get jacked. But not before shamelessly flirting with Thea. Thea plays it cool, because she is cool, and tells him that he can see her later, on her own terms, kthanksbye.
After the DJ leaves, Merlyn appears, furious that Thea isn’t packed and ready to ditch the life she’s made for herself. She tells her father that she’s not leaving until a) she finds Oliver and b) he tells her exactly what has him one step away from shoving her in a trunk to get her out of there.
At the precinct, Captain Lance excitedly asks Laurel if she’s talked to Sara and while she collects her eyeballs and puts them back into their sockets, he explains that he heard the Canary was spotted so she’s obviously back in town. She mutters that she hasn’t heard from her and is probably real grateful when the meeting with the Mayor begins to distract him. This Very Important Meeting is interrupted by Brick and his band of not-so-merry men, and Laurel instinctively saves the ladymayor from certain death. Everyone scrambles and fights, so though they were supposed to kidnap the mayor and three aldermen, and kill everyone else, they only got the aldermen, and mostly all the SCPD and their guests stayed alive, including Ray and Felicity.
Captain Lance pulls Felicity aside and asks Miss Smoak why a certain green hood didn’t show up during that 30 second battle, and Felicity says simply that he’s gone. Cap muses that this news seems odd since Sara is back in town and you can practically hear Felicity’s whole heart shatter. For half a heartbeat she forgot, barely the length of a blink, but it’s enough to reopen old wounds.
Felicity quickly puts two and two together and knows exactly who the new bird in town is.
Merlyn goes to Thea’s apartment because he has nothing better to do than hang out with his daughter, and though Thea isn’t there, Roy is. Roy warns Merlyn that he better leave Thea alone, but Merlyn is more afraid of spiders than he is of Roy. Roy says that someday Thea is going to figure out what Merlyn did, and then he’s going to lose her forever.
Back at Palmer Tech, Felicity tends to Ray’s wounds and asks if he’s doing OK, after being faced with armed gunman like the ones that killed his lady love. Ray says he understands now what Felicity meant; he was going about things all wrong. His super suit and future vigilante-ism shouldn’t be about vengeance for the one he lost, but about protection for the ones he hasn’t. For her.
At Arrow HQ, Roy helps Laurel suit up, offering her a new weapon, but she prefers to keep Sara’s giant stick thing. Diggle comes storming in and is NOT pleased, and tries to convince her to stay behind and be the voice in their ear, but she is dressed in head-to-toe leather, and that is not a staying-in kind of outfit.
Diggle reminds her again that she’s not Sara, and Laurel is like, “I know I come off as completely unhinged now and then, but I know I’m not my sister.” She thought he of all people, he who also lost a sibling, would understand better than anyone.