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Green Arrow and Diggle storm the castle, or the bizarre floating bank museum, of the Ninth Circle. The ensuing battle not only frees Black Canary from her captors but also opens the door for Emiko to choose Oliver over her Shado and her obligations to the Ninth Circle.

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Continuing the opening arc of the new series, Green Arrow‘s long road back to reclaim what was taken from him leads to an encounter with John Diggle. While the initial encounter is more than a little frosty, the old allies quickly put past issues behind them to work together to take down the Ninth Circle who have kidnapped the snooping Black Canary to force Green Arrow to show himself (setting up next issue’s suicidal two-man rescue operation).

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Picking up the storyline from Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, Green Arrow and Black Canary continue to investigate the underground human trafficking ring of homeless victims in Seattle. An altercation on the docks leads Ollie to also raise questions about his company which, from what we see teased here, has been corrupted by the shadowy movements of the Court of Owls.

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Seizing on the mission statement of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 of returning more of the classic feel to both characters and the DCU, Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 returns Oliver Queen to Seattle (rather than Star City) and rekindles a romance forgotten by the New 52.

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Just once I would like Arrow to end a season without Star City in flames. Is that too much to ask? “Schism” wraps up the season-long arc of Oliver Queen‘s (Stephen Amell) battle with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) for control of Star City. Despite his bunker being destroyed, Darkh reacquires A.R.G.U.S.‘ missle technology with plans to start a nuclear holocaust to wipe out all civilization on the planet. Without a plan, Oliver makes a plea to the city to prevent it from tearing itself apart its final hours. It’s that small kernel of hope which Green Arrow uses to turn the entire city against Darkh.

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In an episode that actually shows us very little of the super-powered Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) discover the madman’s underground suburb and search for a kidnapped Thea (Willa Holland) while Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), the Calculator (Tom Amandes), and Curtis (Echo Kellum) work to try and stop Darhk from starting nuclear armageddon.

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As the members of the team struggle to deal with the death of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) an impulsive young woman (Madison McLaughlin) assumes the identity of Black Canary and begins targeting those she blames for the death of her parents. Whether or not she stays dead, or is eventually resurrected like so many of the characters in the series so far, “Canary Cry” certainly attempts to sell the idea that Laurel isn’t coming back (even going so far as to publicly out her as the real Black Canary at her funeral). Cassidy does appear in the episode as we get flashbacks of Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Laurel following Tommy’s death rather than scenes from the island this week.

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The latest episode of Arrow answers one big question while raising several others. More than once during “Eleven-Fifty-Nine” I wondered if I had missed an episode somewhere. Yes, I remember the team letting Andy Diggle (Eugene Byrd) out of his cage and deciding to trust him but when did he become a trusted field agent of Team Arrow? And weren’t we just seeing Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) mock Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and telling the would-be conqueror that H.I.V.E. was leaving him in prison and moving on with their plans without him? Why, all of the sudden does Malcolm want to help Darhk? And, as for the Diggle storyline, is there anyone anywhere that didn’t see how blatantly obvious his betrayal would play out?

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Cupid (Amy Gumenick) is a character of diminishing returns. By this point Arrow has gotten everything it’s going to get out of the psychotic love-obsessed archer, but that doesn’t stop the show from going back to the well once more. This time a grieving Cupid comes to town targeting loving couples. Of course this means the recently split Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) will be forced into a contrived wedding setup to catch the killer.

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Arrow returns from mid-season hiatus with both good and bad news for Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) fans. Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) attack has left some serious challenges for Oliver Queen‘s (Stephen Amell) girl Friday to overcome, but on the bright side Felicity is not the one buried at the grave site in the near future that the show teases us with a glimpse of once again. Although it looks like Felicity will have to struggle through her paralysis (be it temporary or permanent) for the remainder of the season, she isn’t the loss we see Oliver mourning over (which narrows the possibility down to a very small number).

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