Wild Dog makes another run through the city trying to catch a crook. However, he accidentally trips off a roof, forcing the Green Arrow to save him and take the crook himself. Oliver unmasks Rene Ramirez and tells him to choose whether or not to be a man in a mask or something more. What escapes their notice is a note reading about a meeting tomorrow at 6:30.
At the lair, Curtis and Felicity go over information regarding the deaths of more gang leaders, wondering whether or not Tobias Church is behind them. Curtis also attempts to master Oliver’s salmon ladder but struggles to go any higher. Oliver then arrives and completes the round easily in his suit. Though Curtis struggled in an exercise, Oliver warns him that he will be harder on him than the others. While Ramirez and Evelyn Sharp have had some experience on the streets, Curtis has had none, making him the most vulnerable. In addition, Oliver emphasizes that he will disguise himself as the Green Arrow during training since he doesn’t trust the new recruits. He then leaves to prepare for a budget meeting. Curtis openly questions Oliver’s distrust, though Felicity informs him that distrust formed the original team. Unfortunately, Curtis reminds her, anyone who was part of that team is dead or gone.
Meanwhile, Diggle receives orders from the military to take part in a new mission to retrieve a stolen trigger from enemy forces that originated from the Genesis attack. When everyone is dismissed, he spots a soldier hesitating. He learns that this is the soldier’s first time in the field, leading to some fear of being in action. Diggle tells him that the clarity of his mission helps him to overcome his fear especially since they will be working together.
Oliver: No mask?
Felicity: No chance.
Oliver and Thea meet with the CEO and Vice President of AmerTek in order to discuss a possible PR event in donating medical assistance to victims in Star City. Although they doubt the company’s agreement, the CEO surprising accepts the idea in order to develop good press standing with the press. As they leave, Oliver confides in Thea that he is beginning to train the new recruits, something Thea also surprisingly accepts. In light of Oliver looking for new members of his vigilante team, Thea becomes inspired to look for new members of their office, starting with calling Lance.
In the lair, Curtis, Evelyn, and Ramirez arrive to train, though Evelyn and Ramirez are unsure about the circumstances. Ramirez nearly walks out before the Green Arrow returns and forces them behind a line. Ramirez argues that he has been working on the streets for five months without help, but Oliver reminds him that if he didn’t need help he wouldn’t have shown up in the first place. The recruits stand behind the line when Oliver orders them to get past him to ring a bell. Though skeptical, the three try but immediately fail to move past Oliver. Ramirez argues against Oliver playing games with them, but Oliver warns him that this isn’t a game, just like it wasn’t one for Laurel Lance.
Five years ago in Russia, the Bratva mob puts a group of men including Oliver through the same test, a test they continue to fail. However, Oliver takes some notice during the fight when a man helps him up after an attack.
At night, the Vice President Evan Warren leaves a building a give money to who believes to be a homeless man. That man then fights back with what looks like tentacles. Oliver and Felicity go over the details only to find that he suffocated from the attack, and there is no evidence. With this news spreading, he wonders whether this could affect the AmerTek deal with a possible attack on the company.
Oliver then speaks with the CEO who is considering pulling out of the charity event. However, Oliver offers to triple the police presence and provide additional assistance in his own way. Though the threat is not diminished, the CEO considers the deal with the event continuing as planned. Thea, however, understands that his idea of additional protection is himself as the Green Arrow. Without the rest of the team, thought, the protection seems useless.
Meanwhile, Diggle’s team in the field is ambushed as they attempt to acquire the trigger. He and the new soldier are all that remain.
Back at the lair, the recruits continue their exercise though continue to fail in ringing the bell. They demand to know the meaning of this trial, but Oliver says that figuring it out is the purpose. With the three becoming more frustrated, Felicity takes him aside to try and calm him down. Oliver refuses to listen to her, emphasizing that they have no idea how to take on the mystical criminal that killed Warren. To build their confidence, Felicity instead encourages Oliver to invite them to the event to provide additional protection. Against his judgement, Oliver agrees to this plan, though refusing to bring the three up to speed on his identity.
Curtis, Evelyn, and Ramirez work undercover with orders from the Green Arrow, not knowing that the mayor Oliver Queen is actually giving them orders. In the meantime, Thea meets with Lance who, despite being hired to guard the event, arrived hours late with his post unguarded. Though he maintains he was only trapped in traffic, Thea understands that he was likely drinking. With his post open, the figure sneaks in and attacks the CEO. Oliver quickly returns as the Green Arrow to fight back, but he is distracted by Ramirez who jumped in to save a civilian. Through the distraction, the figure escapes, but Ramirez manages to grab a piece of his costume.
Oliver: They're too green.
Felicity: Some could say the same about you...I've been waiting five years to make that joke.
The team regroups at the lair where they wait for the Green Arrow to return. They immediately blame Ramirez for their struggles, but he admits he went after the figure to protect others and managed to grab some evidence. Though Felicity is impressed, Oliver returns thoroughly unimpressed with the recruits. Though they argue their experience, he simply dismisses Ramirez as reckless, Curtis as useless without a computer, and Evelyn as a foolish little girl. Felicity then reminds him that his training is proving useless, and Ramirez’s recklessness has been the only source of their clue. For now, Oliver also needs to focus on handling the fallout of AmerTek.
Diggle helps patch up the young soldier and once again convinces him to continue to fight with him. Together, they move out for the trigger only to find the rest of the military waiting for him. Rather than working with him, however, the leader reveals that they are, in fact, looking for the weapon for themselves and capture Diggle.
Felicity takes the piece of evidence to Detective Malone and asks for his help in analyzing it. She at first tries to pass off the evidence as a means for her friend, but Malone reminds her that she never introduced him to her friends. Though he is still unsure about her behavior, he agrees to help her scan the cloth.
Oliver returns to his office only to find Thea talking with Lance. When Lance leaves, Oliver asks Thea about her plans with him. Thea admits that she was hoping to reach out to Lance after discovering his return to drinking, something Oliver knew about since he returned. Unfortunately, Oliver is busy with the new recruits and dealing with AmerTek’s budding lawsuit against the city.
Returning to the lair, Oliver finds the recruits missing except for Curtis who informs him that the others had already quit. Oliver reveals that the purpose of the exercise was to learn teamwork in the field, but Curtis admits that teamwork is useless without trust. Oliver then tries to argue his point, but Curtis reveals that he tried to defend him to the others. However, as he began to think, he realized that Oliver’s training only teared them down rather than build them up, forcing them to abandon the cause. Even Curtis decides to leave.
In private, Oliver admits that Felicity was right in criticizing his training. Felicity reveals that she only originally joined the team after getting to know him, something the others never had to chance to do. From that, Oliver also admits that when he was with the Bratva, no one was given a name. He was taught that the only person he could trust was himself. Now, he treated the recruits the same in order to try and spare himself the loss he had with Laurel. In these circumstances, Felicity tells him that the original team only joined because they trusted Oliver rather than the Green Arrow. Suddenly, she receives a call from Malone who has finished analyzing the evidence.
In Russia, Oliver works with the other men to come up with a plan. With the others distracting the men, Oliver sneaks past the guards and successfully rings the bell. However, once he succeeds, the mob kills the other men. Anatoli arrives and congratulates Oliver for succeeding.
Curtis: I had the same cognitive dissonance.
Thea leaves AmerTek after unsuccessfully trying to speak with the CEO. From the corner, she suddenly spots the CEO herself speaking with someone in an alleyway. Thea sneaks up a roof and watches her speak with none other than Tobias Church, agreeing to sell millions of dollars’ worth of weapons.
Meanwhile, the military explains to Diggle that they were preparing to take the trigger for their own purposes on the guise of a mission. However, Diggle’s activity has caused a snag in their plan. The leader admits that this plan developed out of their fear of another Genesis as well as the meta-humans in Central City. This trigger developed out of their desire for protection. The new solider then arrives to attempt to save Diggle, but he is immediately killed by the leader.
Thea relates what she learned to Oliver. With this in mind, she wonders if Ragman (who Felicity dubbed) is actually bad guy since AmerTek is behind shady dealing. When Oliver questions this dealing, Felicity arrives and reveals that AmerTek is actually threatened with bankruptcy. The rag Malone analyzed turned out to be a 2000-year-old piece that was found radioactive. The radioactivity was traced back to an old company that was a subsidiary of AmerTek. The company then attempted to save face with the charity event but fear going under without getting involved with Church. Knowing a deal is going down, Oliver plans to ambush the area. However, he is forced to go alone without the recruits willing to join him.
When Oliver spies on the trade with Church, the group is ambushed by Ragman who tries to attack the CEO. Oliver then fights back, going after Church in the meantime. In his attack, Ragman reveals that he is the last survivor of the attack on Havenrock, seeking revenge against AmerTek for creating the missiles that destroyed his city. However, when Oliver is threatened, Ragman foregoes his vengeance to save Oliver, letting the CEO escape. Church and his men also escape, though Oliver notes that Ragman indeed has a conscience.
On the rooftop, he confronts Ragman who reveals what happened to him. When the missiles came down, his father wrapped him in the old rags, believing that they would protect him. Now, he wants to fight to avenge his father. Oliver relates to him, admitting what happened to his own father. However, he advises the man to be better than he was to honor their fathers. To do that, Oliver encourages him to join the team of recruits, so they can both be better men.
In Russia, Oliver asks Anatoli why the other men were killed. Anatoli explains that Oliver was the only one to ring the bell, though Oliver emphasizes that he couldn’t do it without their help. He says that if he knew they would be killed he would have refused to complete the challenge. In this, Anatoli tells him that the first rule of the Bratva is that the only person he can trust is himself. Oliver then collapses from his multiple wounds.
Thea: Maybe the guy in rags isn't so bad.
Diggle awakens tied to a post as the military offers him a chance at a confession. He scoffs at the idea, but the leader admits that it was his gun that killed the soldiers, and six other men will corroborate the story. Without a confession, Diggle will be considered an enemy of the military.
Thea finally speaks to Lance about his drinking problems. Lance admits that he screwed up in letting Ragman sneak in, but Thea reveals that she thinks he can do better. She offers him the position of deputy mayor in order to provide a reason for him to be a better man.
In the lair, the recruits return under the promise of an apology from the Green Arrow. To ensure their trust, Oliver reveals his identity to the group, understanding the unsteady relationship they have between them. However, after Oliver’s reveal and sign of trust, the recruits agree to work with him once again.
Outside of the city, Church exits a building only to be attacked by an archer. The archer threatens him after Church nearly killed the Green Arrow, warning the gang leader that the hero can only be killed by him. Church demands to know his name to which the archer replies Prometheus.
- AmerTek is best known as the fictional organisation that employed Dr. John Henry Irons, also known as Steel.
- Ragman desired vengeance for the destruction of Havenrock which may come back to haunt the team since Felicity was the one who diverted the missiles.
- Prometheus finally introduces himself in this episode.
Photo Credit: CW/DC