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On the island, Yao Fei brings Edward Fyers back to the cave and tells Oliver that Fyers has a plane. Fyers reveals to Oliver that the island was used as a Chinese military prison and Yao Fei was one of two criminals not killed, with Deathstroke being the other. As the three of them walk through the jungle, Deathstroke and his men attack, taking Yao Fei hostage.
Adam Hunt is murdered in a style reminiscent of The Hoods, but Detective Lance finds that the arrows and motives dont match. Oliver sends Lance a phone and calls to say hes innocent and needs an arrow out of evidence. After he is kicked off the case, Lance calls back with where to find the arrow. Felicity Smoak gives Oliver the address of a warehouse where a company named Sagittarius, Latin for the archer, shipped these arrows. Oliver checks it out and narrowly escapes being blown up inside.
Thea admits to Oliver that the Queens have forsaken Christmas the past five years. Oliver announces to his family that he will throw a Christmas party. Tommy brings Laurel as his plus one. Moira and Walter are upset with one another, each for lying about the others involvement with the list. Diggle informs Oliver that the other archer has taken hostages.
Oliver frees the hostages and has a serious fight with the Dark Archer, who has been killing people Oliver crossed off the list. Oliver learns that the man who authored the list wants him dead. Ending up concussed on the pavement, Oliver is brought to the hospital by Diggle. The Dark Archer reveals himself (though only to us) as Malcolm Merlyn. Walter is abducted because of his knowledge, while Malcolm tells Moira that in six months, the city will be the way the organization envisioned it.
Tropes applying to this Episode:
- The Alcatraz: Eight years ago Lian Yu was used by the Chinese military to hold prisoners too dangerous to be kept on the mainland. Fyers claims his men killed all the inmates except for two, the man he uses as his torturer and Yao Fei. He says that Yao Fei has slaughtered dozens.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Oliver's confidence is badly shaken on finding himself up against a more skilled opponent.
- Annoying Arrows: Oliver gets shot in the back with several arrows, which he removes by breaking them off against a wall. It's as painful as it looks.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Once again Thea and Oliver have a bust-up only to reconcile at the end of the episode.
- Badass in Charge: Malcolm hints that perhaps Walter needs a visit from "our associate", obliquely referring to the Dark Archer. Who it turns out is Malcolm himself.
- Bat Phone: Oliver has a mobile phone with encryption that will prevent tracing the call, and a voice changer like he uses as the Hood, delivered by mail to Quentin. Quentin refuses to work with the Hood but doesn't hand in the phone as evidence either, using it later on when he changes his mind.
- Brick Joke:
- Oliver does adopt the name of "Green Arrow" at the start of Season 4.
- When Oliver rings up Quentin under the guise of The Hood, he complains about his nickname then too.
- Christmas Episode: Also doubles a bit as An Asskicking Christmas.
- Felicity points out to Oliver that she is Jewish. Oliver wishes her a "Happy Hanukkah."
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Dark Archer thoroughly kicks Oliver's ass.
- Deadly Deferred Conversation: Played with; Moira promises to reveal everything to Walter after the Christmas party. Instead Malcolm has him kidnapped, promising to hold Walter unharmed until their plan is complete (and though unstated, as a hostage for Moira's continued cooperation).
- The Dragon: Subverted; Malcolm refers to his "associate", and the Dark Archer pretends he's working for the person who compiled the List when confronting Oliver, but it's all a bluff to hide that they are the same person.
- Dramatic Unmask: The Dark Archer takes off his hood to reveal himself as Malcolm Merlyn. Barely averted with the Hood—Oliver stabs the Dark Archer as he's about to take off his hood, and then stumbles away.
- Enemy Mine: The Hood asks Detective Lance to work with him to find who killed Adam Hunt.
- Evil Counterpart: The Dark Archer to the Hood. And worse, he's a superior fighter.
- Evil Plan: Whatever Malcolm and Moira are planning will take place in six months and cost thousands of innocent lives.
- Facial Dialogue: From the faces Felicity is making when Oliver asks her to track down the arrow, she clearly doesn't believe his explanation—which is confirmed in "The Odyssey".
- Funny Background Event: When Thea's boyfriend turns up at Oliver's party, Diggle can be seen silently shaking his head behind Oliver's back.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Played more seriously than usual for this trope; Laurel realises that fact that Tommy hasn't moved from Just Friends to boyfriend means she's holding back. At the Christmas party she formally breaks things off with Oliver so she can move on with Tommy, and Oliver pretends he's OK with that.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue: The cops are wondering how to get into the boobytrapped warehouse when the Hood shoots a cable and ziplines across.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Oliver enters Thea's room to find little sis and her boyfriend stripping down for sex.Oliver: (deathly whisper) Hit the road...
- Ironic Echo CutWalter: You're a good man, Oliver.Flashback to Fyers on Lian YuFyers: You're a good man, Oliver.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Adam Hunt"Did you come back for another pound of flesh? You're gonna be disappointed, pal. Thanks to you, I'm—"(three arrows slam into his chest)
- Jerkass Has a Point: Thea's right when she says that Oliver needs to start accepting that she has changed as well.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Oliver despises Thea's new boyfriend Shane on sight, despite knowing nothing about him. When he walks in on them fooling around, his response is a cold "Hit the road." Thea is understandably angry at her brother's attitude.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Oliver asks Felicity to check on the arrow he got from the police, he says it was for his friend "Steve."
- Lured into a Trap
- Yao Fei captures Fyers, planning to use his airplane to get them off the island. Turns out Fyers is a Trojan Prisoner and Deathstroke is waiting to capture Yao Fei.
- Oliver goes to investigate the warehouse where the arrows were shipped, only to have the door slam shut behind him and a chemical binary bomb start cooking off. He uses an explosive arrow to blast open the door and Outrun the Fireball.
- Finally the Dark Archer takes hostages in a booby-trapped warehouse and threatens to kill them in one hour if the Hood doesn't show up. It's an Obvious Trap but Oliver feels compelled to try anyway.
- Mythology Gag:
- Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Thea accuses Oliver of trying to relive an idealised family past by celebrating Christmas like they used to, when everything changed after he was lost at sea.
- Not Me This Time: Despite his dislike of the Hood, Quentin doesn't just pin Adam Hunt's death on him, realising that he's dealing with a copycat. The arrows are the wrong color, and why would the Hood bother killing Hunt now after he's already successfully robbed him for millions?
- Not Worth Killing:
- Once Yao Fei is captured, Deathstroke doesn't even bother chasing after Oliver. Of course at that stage he has no reason to regard him as any threat.
- The Dark Archer makes no effort to stop the hostages escaping, as they were just meant to lure the Hood there anyway.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Diggle somehow retrieves a wounded Oliver from a warehouse surrounded by police and gets him to the hospital with a plausible cover story.
- The Perils of Being the Best:Dark Archer: Thank you for coming. After the warehouse, I knew I'd have to do something dramatic to get your attention.Oliver Queen: What do you want with me?Dark Archer: What any archer wants. To see who's better.
- Recruiting the Criminal: Inverted, Oliver goes to the police to offer his services in catching the Dark Archer, because he's of the opinion that it would take an archer to catch an archer (or it takes the Hood to catch a copycat of the Hood).
- The Reveal: Malcolm isn't merely in charge of the Undertaking. He's a massive badass capable of kicking the shit out of Oliver, who is half his age and spent half a decade fighting a war in hell.
- Revealing Reflection: Oliver is waiting in ambush in the rafters while the Dark Archer prowls about below. Unfortunately he sees Oliver reflected in broken glass on the floor, and fires his arrow off first.
- Sarcasm Mode: Annoyed by Oliver's questions about her boyfriend Shane, Thea snarks that "we rob banks and smoke crack together."
- Tastes Like Friendship: Oliver reminisces about the candy canes they used to eat at Christmas, only for Thea to say they stopped having them after their mother went on a sugar-free diet. While Oliver is in hospital however, Thea produces a bunch of candy sticks for him.
- Tempting Fate:
Nelson: Seventy million dollars isn't worth getting an arrow through the chest! (gets arrow through his chest)
- Embezzler Nelson Ravich is on the phone explaining why he let the Hood scare him into making amends.
- Oliver says this copycat can't be any tougher than anything he'd already faced on the island.
- Walter is on the phone to Felicity and says he'll be losing her signal because he's stepping into an elevator but he'll call straight back. As he does so, the man in the elevator knocks him unconscious with a hypodermic needle.
- That's an Order!: The police commissioner orders Quentin to pin the recent killings on the Hood. Quentin refuses and is taken off the case—fortunately this only convinces Quentin to give the Hood the arrow that he wants.
- Twerp Sweating: Tommy visits Laurel and finds her father there.Tommy: Merry Christmas. How are you?
Det. Lance: [in a low voice] Proficient with firearms.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Oliver feels frustrated about being defeated by the Dark Archer, Diggle reminds him that he still rescued the five hostages.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It's implied that as well as luring the Hood into a trap, the Dark Archer is also killing those people on the List who are no longer needed or who have become too exposed to the public eye after being targeted by the Hood to be useful any more.