Russia, home to a rich historical culture, a wealth of arts, literature and agriculture and that time Oliver Queen was involved with the Russian mob. The perfect family-friendly destination to get to know one’s adult kids from twenty years in the future. While Oliver’s getting to know his kids over some vodka, Diggle pulls an old ally back into the fold.
How does Oliver bond with his daughter? He shows her how to shoot tennis balls out of the air and introduces her to his arsenal of trick arrows. Normal daddy-daughter stuff. Meanwhile, William’s been looking info on the weapon that can help them defeat the Monitor. Tracking the General attached the project isn’t as easy they’d thought it would be. But before the adventures in Russia can begin Laurel gets her mission from the Monitor. Specifically, she gets it from the Monitor’s Harbinger. Lyla meets with Laurel, telling her to steal the plans from Oliver. Lyla doesn’t explain why she’s working with the Monitor only that she has too.
In Russia Anatoly, in a nice change of pace, doesn’t punch Oliver on sight. Instead, welcoming him and his kids. He’s helping them find their General, even offering to reach out to the Bratva, but Oliver doesn’t want to get them involved with his kids around. So they do things legit. Or as legit as one can do things when looking for a General in charge of a top-secret weapons project.
Turns out Russian Generals like frequenting underground fight clubs run by the Russian mob. This is the opposite of what Oliver wants to involve Mia and William in so he makes them stay behind while he, Anatoly and Laurel go. Being Oliver’s kids they don’t listen, following them to the club. The General agrees to give Oliver the plans if he can beat the current champ. He does and things are going far too well for twenty minutes into the episode, so this is where the complication happens.
The Bratva kills the general and kidnaps Oliver and Mia. Threating Mia they extract information on the weapon from Oliver, then for the fun of it they put Mia through the bell test, the same thing Oliver once did to prove himself to the Bratva. She fails by seconds, but the Bratva let her live.
William meanwhile has been hacking satellites looking for them. Oliver uses his dislocated thumb trick to escape just as Anatoly and Laurel show up for the rescues. Back at Anatoly’s Mia is mollified by her failure to ring the bell. Oliver’s terrified she was almost killed. He’s more than a little overprotective, after all for him it’s only been months since Mia was born and William is still a kid.
Anatoly reminds him they aren’t children and the darkness from his past he’s scared to let them see might be the best way to open up to them. Mia meanwhile is feeling distinctly un-hero like. Between having a front-row seat to her father kicking ass and her own failure to measure up to him by ringing the bell she doubts that she can live up to the legacy left for her. Laurel opens up that none of them are without flaws. Least of all herself or Oliver. Their respective talks are enough to get father and daughter on the same page.
This time their plan to infiltrate the Bratva includes William and Mia. They, along with Oliver provide the distraction while Laurel and Anatoly get the plans. Mia and Oliver’s distract by entering the ring, William playing their rich benefactor. Father and daughter fight well alongside one another, buying the others the time they need to dispatch the Bratva and get the plans.
Meanwhile, Diggle went to collect the other ingredient they need for their Monitor killing weapon: Plutonium. And he picked up an old friend to help him do it. Roy, who now goes as Jason and works as a mechanic while containing his bloodlust. Diggle convinces him to come back for one more mission, but his ulterior motives don’t stay hidden long. He knows from the kids Roy manages his bloodlust in the future by working with the team. Diggle wants to help him now. They steal the Plutonium and when Roy almost loses himself Dig is there to bring him back. Back home in Star City Roy decides to stick around. Why wait 20 years for a solution he can work on now?
As for the Crisis of it all, the Monitor isn’t going to get all the pieces he wants. Laurel shows up to her meeting with Lyla without the plans. She doesn’t want to save her world by betraying anyone. She’s not empty-handed though. Oliver and Diggle are with her, both shocked to see Lyla is the Monitor’s errand girl. They don’t get much time to hash it out before all three of them are knocked out with darts.
‘Prochnost’ was a very by the numbers episode of Arrow. There was a McGuffin the heroes needed, there were people who had the McGuffin. Cue character drama and action sequences between the episode’s start and the heroes getting the McGuffin. The episode’s saving grace was that character drama, particularly between Oliver and Mia. Their tension here drew out the right anxieties for their characters. For Oliver, it’s him potentially ruining his one chance to know his kids. For Mia is the legacy of heroism left behind her by her parents and if she’s ready to take up that mantle.
It helps this section of the Arrow trip down memory lane looked at one of Oliver’s darkest times. The Russia storyline of season 5 held a mirror up to Oliver as he was, a vigilante willing to kill without hesitation to the hero he had become. It showed how far he’d come. Prochnost too reflects on the distance between Mia and Oliver. Mia is young and inexperienced, still finding her footing in the hero world. She looks at Oliver with awe. She sees him everything she wants to aspire too.
As for the rest of Arrow memory lane that happened this episode, this was a lovely send off for Anatoly who’s always charming in his own rough around the edges way. Roy, on the other hand, was the first time this season floundered with a returning character. Maybe it was his relegation to the B-plot or the rehash of a storyline we’d already seen resolved (albeit twenty years from the current time), his return didn’t bring with it the same delightful charm that’s been carried by the other returning faces. He’s hanging around for a bit longer so here’s hoping he gets his moment in the light in another episode.
Some Stray Shots
- Who’d have thought the sight of a tennis ball getting pinned to a wall could make one nostalgic?
- In an episode where multiple characters had big secrets to hide (Diggle about Roy’s bloodlust future; Laurel about the Monitor and Lyla) all the secrets got out by the end of the episode. Plus all the characters handled the reveals in ways that helped moved the plot forward and not let it get dragged down by drama. That would have been inconceivable on Arrow a few seasons ago.