When we last left our hero, he was fighting for his life after being injected with an unknown drug and left for dead.    Barry Allen is recruited to help Felicity save him.  But, the cure causes Oliver to hallucinate and he is confronted with ghosts from his past that remind him of some tragic decisions.

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**********CAUTION********** SPOILERS DEAD AHEAD **********CAUTION**********

 In the tense early moments of “Three Ghosts,” Barry, Felicity, and Diggle scramble to find a way to save Oliver.  In a short time, Felicity has come to completely trust Barry, which is made clear when she allows him to shoot Oliver up with rat poison in order to save him.  She made the right call, but their celebration is cut short when Oliver comes to and is not happy that Barry now knows his true identity.  It is interesting that the argument is primarily with Felicity, although Diggle had to have some say in the decision.  This could be connected to Oliver’s underlying anger that he seems to have about Felicity’s connection to Barry, making her supposed betrayal of his secret more upsetting.  Time will tell how that will play out.  But Oliver is definitely conflicted about Barry and, in particular, Barry’s relationship with Felicity.

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Ghosts in the Machine

The three ghosts that Oliver is confronted with all directly tie to the driving force behind his fight for justice — he carries the guilt of their losses with him constantly.  As they each appear to him, they each seem to offer different perspectives on his guilt and on the choices he should make in order to move forward.  They also represent Oliver’s fears about his past and his future.

The first ghost, Shado (Celina Jade), casts no blame on Oliver for her death, although we see later in the episode that Oliver feels directly responsible for her demise at the hands of Ivo.  Hers is a more loving interaction as she urges Oliver to lay down his bow and stop fighting or face losing the people he loves.  And this is a very real fear for Oliver.  Starting with his father, he has lost a continuous stream of loved ones, no matter how hard he has fought.  Perhaps it is time to stop the fight and just live, as Shado suggests.  Shado also represents the person that Oliver was when he arrived on the island.

The second ghost, Slade (Manu Bennett), is a more difficult demon to face.  He confronts Oliver on the true motive for his crusade, suggesting that it doesn’t lie with atoning for his father’s sins, but rather with atoning for Oliver’s sins.  Are his actions more selfish?  His cheating on Laurel put her sister, Sara, on the boat that shipwrecked; his father killed himself and the only other survivor on the lifeboat to increase Oliver’s chance of survival; he protected Sara from Ivo and, in turn, Shado was murdered; and there is the loss of his best friend, Tommy.  Now he is being confronted by the ghost of a friend and ally who was key to his survival and who is now accusing him of betraying him, of being a coward.  Oliver’s fear in this scenario is not about misguided motivation, but of becoming the vengeful, angry vigilante that Slade became – reverting back to the persona that he embraced when he first returned from the island.  He fears not being able to be strong enough to stay true to an honorable code in order to save the city and his loved ones.

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After sharing some of his troubles with Diggle, Diggle tells him that he must listen to his ghosts and try to understand what they are telling him.  When Oliver attempts to save Roy from Brother Blood and Cyrus Gold and is faced with the possibility of losing another life in this fight, he is almost defeated.  When Brother Blood declares Roy dead from the Mirakuru with the statement, “Another failure,” it is almost as if it is the final straw for Oliver.  But it is at this moment that his third ghost appears – Tommy (Colin Donnell).

Tommy urges him to get up and fight – that he is doing this for the right reasons.  Oliver is able to make peace with his final ghost and see that he has changed and that he wants to get up and continue the fight.  Tommy represents the man Oliver has become – how he has evolved.  After he has defeated Cyrus Gold and chased off Brother Blood, the first thing Oliver says to an unconscious Roy is, “I am not leaving anyone else to die!”  He keeps working on Roy and urging him to fight until he is revived.  Slowly, but surely, Oliver is making a difference.

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Friends and Enemies

This episode not only caps off the introduction of the character of Barry Allen, but it also resurrects a character thought dead – Slade Wilson.  He is back and he is looking for vengeance.  He has a score to settle with Oliver and he has an intricate plan in motion to do it.  He is the true power behind Sebastian Blood and pretty damn scary.  Can Oliver defeat him twice?

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Barry Allen has returned to Central City, but he tells Felicity that when she is ready to give him a chance, he’ll be there.  Even he recognizes that there are some things to be worked out between Oliver and Felicity.  The last scene is that of Barry Allen as he receives that jolt that will change his life forever.  I, for one, can’t wait.

 Arrow airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 8/7c.  Full episodes are also available at the http://www.cwtv.com/shows/arrow   and On Demand (check your cable listings) as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.

Arrow – Hitting the Mark

I always like to include some of my favorite quotes and exchanges from the episode.  If you have some quotes or moments you liked, please share in the comments section.

Oliver, after being stopped from choking Barry:  “What the…  What the hell is going on?”
Felicity:  “You were injected with a strong-acting blood coagulant.
Barry:  “[coughing] You would have stroked out, ahem, but fortunately you had a very effective blood thinner handy – warfarin – better known as rat poison.”
Diggle:  “Kid saved your life, Oliver.”
Felicity:  “This is the point in a life-saving emergency where you thank the person that did the lifesaving.”
Felicity to Barry:  “Never meet your heroes, right?”
Hallucination Shado:  “You can’t fight what’s coming.  Put down your bow.  Take off my father’s hood.”
Oliver:  “I wear that hood to honor your father.  And to honor you.”
Hallucination Shado:  “If you want to honor me, stop fighting… and live.  Or everyone you love will die.”
Felicity to Oliver:  “You’re hallucinating?  What are you seeing?”
Oliver:  “A girl named Shado that was with me on the island.”
Felicity:  “Shado.  Sara.  How many women were you marooned with?  Are you sure this wasn’t Fantasy Island?”
Barry to a concerned Felicity:  “Don’t worry, I’ll figure out what’s wrong with Oliver.”
Felicity:  “You’d be the first.”
Barry to Felicity, regarding Oliver:  “You’re really worried about him, huh?”
Felicity:  “He takes crazy chances.  Even when he’s not hallucinating about beautiful island girls.”
Barry:  [chuckles] “Hmm.  The other night, I asked you if you liked Oliver.”
Felicity:  “I told you.  I don’t.”
Barry:  “I remember.  But if you did… I could see why.  I mean, Oliver Queen.  He is a billionaire by day and he saves the city by night.”
Felicity:  [chuckles] “Sounds like you want to date him.”
Barry:  [smiles knowingly] “I just have a little experience with liking someone who doesn’t see you the same way.”
Oliver to Hallucination Slade:  “You’re not real.”
Slade:  “Neither are you.  You told everyone when you started this crusade that it was about making up for your father’s sins.  That was a lie.  [snaps arrow in two]  This charade is to atone for your sins.”
Oliver:  “You’re dead.”
Slade:  “You are not a hero… or a friend… or a brother.  You are nothing.  [Oliver turns away] Do not turn your back on me!  Not again.”
Oliver:  “You’re gone.”
Slade:  “Wherever I am… it’s time you joined me.”
Oliver:  “Diggle, do you think I’m losing my mind?”
Diggle:  “No more than the rest of us.”
Oliver:  “I saw… Slade Wilson.  Slade was my friend on the island, and… like Shado, he’s dead because of me.  Mr. Lance said not every death in the city is my fault.  Fine.  There are plenty that are.”
Diggle:  “When I got home from Afghanistan, I… saw a ghost, too.  Survivor’s guilt.  Why us, not them.”
Oliver:  “I know why.”
Diggle:  “Then the ‘why’s’ not your problem.”
Oliver:  “How’d you make your ghost go away?”
Diggle:  “I figured out what they were trying to tell me.”
Oliver:  “Which was?”
Diggle:  “That’s for me to hear, Oliver.  You have to figure out what yours is trying to tell you.”
Sebastian Blood:  “You know who he is under that hood, don’t you?”
Slade (alive and kicking):  “I know exactly who he is.  He’s my friend.”
Blood:  “That’s why you don’t want him dead.”
Slade:  “Death would be a release from this life, and his sentence is yet to be carried out.  I am going to tear everything he cares about away from him.  Destroy those who choose to follow him.  Corrupt those he loves.  Once he has lost everyone and everything he values… I will drive an arrow through his eye.”

For the final favorite quote/exchange of the episode, I almost used the conversation between Oliver and Hallucination Slade, but I decided that this one was really the key to Oliver putting his ghosts to rest:

Hallucination Tommy:  “Get up, Oliver.”
Oliver:  “Tommy?”
Tommy:  “You’re not going to die down here.”
Oliver:  “Tommy, I’m sorry.  I let you die –“
Tommy:  “You didn’t let me die, Ollie.  You fought to save me.  Because that’s what you do.  What you have always done.  You fight to survive.  I know I called you a murderer, but you are not.  You are a hero.  You beat the island.  You beat my father.  So fight, Oliver.  Get up.  And fight back.”
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