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On the island, Ivos men take Oliver, Shado, and Sara into the forest and order Oliver to choose which of the women will die. After unsuccessfully pleading with the men, Oliver rushes to protect Sara. Shado is shot. Slade awakens, and when he finds the others, he knocks out Ivos men and grieves over Shados death.
An unconscious Oliver hallucinates Shado asking him not to fight. When Oliver jolts awake from Barrys injection of rat poison, hes furious that Barry knows his identity. Barry offers more assistance, identifying the attacker by fingerprints, and asks a lot of questions, like why Oliver wears makeup, not a mask. After Diggle narrowly escapes death by Gold, Arrow brings Lance into the case and hallucinates Slade. Lance, Hilton, and Daily swarm Golds place, where Hilton is killed and Lance is sent into ICU. Arrow visits Lance and receives Golds key, which Felicity tracks to the Glades.
Thea, with Sin, hides a wounded Roy in her room, but allows Oliver to enter and call Diggle for medical aid. Thea and Sin ask Laurel for help uncovering the truth behind their friends murder, but the only thing Laurel uncovers is that the donors were subject to psych evals. As Roy sneaks through patient files, he finds his friends photo marked with Mirakuru. Roy is captured and injected with the serum. Oliver hallucinates Tommy telling him to fight, so he takes out Bloods men and brings Roy back to life.
Blood announces his run for mayor, then Slade agrees to provide another sample of his blood, but Blood cant go near the vigilante. Oliver warns his team that a war is coming. He opens a present from Barry to discover a green mask. Back in Central City, the particle accelerator malfunctions, causing a lightning bolt to strike Barry.
Tropes Applying to This Episode
- Arc Words: The STAR Labs particle accelerator, which was mentioned throughout the season finally pays off. It begins Barry's origin story.
- Arc Welding: It turns out that Blood and Slade organized the copycat Hoods back in the season premiere, in order to kill the mayor so that Blood could eventually run for election. Furthermore, Slade is the source of the serum Blood's injecting to his experimental patients, having been injected himself on the island, thus tying this year's two Story Arcs together.
- Ascended Fanboy: Barry.
- Backdoor Pilot: To The Flash.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: Ollie's talk with Hallucination!Slade makes it quite obvious that he's carrying deep emotional trauma from his stint in the island.
- Betty and Veronica: With Felicity as the Archie, brooding, Anti-Hero Oliver as the Veronica whom she has an unrequited crush on and Adorkable, Birds of a Feather, assistant CSI Barry as the Betty. It's seems that Barry wins when he asks Felicity out on a date and she say yes - only to have the particle accelerator go off.....
- Big Damn Heroes: On the Island Slade wakens from his Mirakuru injection and rushes to save his comrades, only to be too late to save Shado.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Low key heroic version. When Barry fanboys over Team Arrow's defeats, such as the Dollmaker, Count Vertigo, and the Huntress, Diggle says they weren't "keeping score", but he says he was.
- Cartwright Curse: Oliver's strikes again!
- Central Theme: The titular "Three Ghosts" each represent part of the guilt Ollie carries around.
- Character Death: Shado, by Boom, Headshot!.
- Christmas Episode: Downplayed. Oliver didn't even remember it was Christmas until he saw his mother decorating the tree. Moira also says, considering everything the family's been through (not to mention last Christmas didn't go over so well,) she decided to skip this years big, elaborate Christmas.
- The Cowl: Ollie's status as this is cemented by the end of the episode, when he finally dons the Green Arrow domino mask.
- Death by Irony: Cyrus Gold was made unstoppable by Mirakuru, only to be apparently killed by an overdose Oliver exposes him to.
- Though as noted below in Foreshadowing, concerning him...
- Death Seeker: Ollie's talks with Hallucination!Shado make it clear that, deep down, a part of Ollie is tired of fighting and just wants to take a long rest.
- Determinator: Hallucination!Tommy shows Ollie that, despite his sins and failings, he still tries each day to be a hero and do the right thing.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Everything about the Slade hallucination points toward his and Olliver's conflict in the latter half of the season.
- Eviler Than Thou: Blood is clearly scared of Slade.Remember your mask can be worn by another.
- Foreshadowing: Several, especially once Fridge Brilliance sets in.
- The Slade hallucination shows him acting antagonistic and terrifyingly hostile towards Oliver. He and Ollie are clearly going to come to blows on the island.
- The hallucination also snaps the arrow he caught in half with one hand, showing that Slade gained super strength from the Mirakuru, which we then see him awake from later.
- If you also notice, when Hallucination Slade first appears, the left side of the face is hidden in shadow. Then in comes real Slade...
- The Bond One-Liner about Cyrus Gold dying on Saturday and buried on Sunday?.....Soloman Grundy, Born on a Monday...
- A bit of foreshadowing that would be subtle if we didn't already know where Roy is heading. When Oliver puts an arrow through Roy's leg, we get a close up of the bloody "red arrow" and Roy's face behind it.
- Freak Lab Accident: How Barry gets his superpowers.
- Genre Shift: This episode helps cement the season-long swing, from "Dark, Gritty and Realistic Crime Drama" to "Dark Superhero Show".
- Hallucinations: The titular ghosts are visions Oliver has of Shado (who tells him to stop fighting), Slade (who tells him he deserves to die for his sins), and Tommy (who reminds him who he is; see Heroic Second Wind).
- Heroic Second Wind: Oliver's vision of Tommy, had while Cyrus Gold is beating him into the ground, reminds him that he's a fighter and to never give up, giving Oliver the strength to get back up and seemingly kill Gold with a Mirakuru overdose.
- Heroic Willpower: How Roy survives being injected by Mirakuru, with some help from Ollie.Ollie (giving CPR): I am not... leaving anyone else... to die. Come on, FIGHT IT!
- It's All My Fault: Ollie has a massive survivor guilt complex from the island and it only gets worse when he puts Lance on the trail of Cyrus, resulting in the death of Lance's partner and his own near death.
"I hate to break it to you, but not every death in this city is your fault."
- Lampshaded by Lance:
- The Man Behind the Man: Slade turns out to be behind Brother Blood.
- Mythology Gag:
Diggle: What happened to Cyrus Gold?
- Linda Park better known as Wally West's girlfriend/wife in the comics is the journalist on TV in Central City, reporting on the particle accelerator's meltdown.
- The "Solomon Grundy" poem is found in Cyrus Gold's apartment. This is referenced again at the close of the episode.
Ollie: Died on Saturday, buried on Sunday.
- Present day Slade looks almost exactly like the comic version of Deathstroke without his mask, with graying hair and an eyepatch.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: In order to cover for Ollie, Sara tells Slade that Ivo just shot Shado without saying why rather than explain the Sadistic Choice. In hindsight, lying to him about why Shado was killed probably helped his FaceHeel Turn.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Apparently being a CSI assistant and working with cadavers means that Barry can also diagnose and treat drug overdoses.
- Revenge by Proxy: Slade intends to destroy everything Oliver cares about before eventually killing him.
- Sadistic Choice: Ivo makes Oliver choose between Sara and Shado, and when Oliver instinctively jumps in front of Sara, Ivo shoots Shado.
- Ship Tease: Barry notices that Felicity actually likes Ollie. She's also irked that Ollie manages to have several girls along, while being stranded on an island.
- Shout-Out: The general premise of "Three Ghost Visit At Christmastime" is there, but the references don't quite reach far enough to qualify as Yet Another Christmas Carol.
- Start of Darkness: Shado's death is the trigger for Slade.Slade: Whoever did this... is going to suffer.
- String Theory: Fitting for a CSI investigator, Barry has one of these boards in his lab.
- Super Hero Origin: Two actually. Barry's origin story is the most obvious but Roy's transformation into Arsenal (which was slowly being built up over the course of two seasons) kicks off when he is injected with Mirakuru.
- Survivor Guilt: Diggle interprets that this is why Ollie is having hallucinations. The mixture of the reintroduction of Mirakuru and Sara to his life seems to have triggered his Shell-Shocked Veteran status much more heavily.
- Tempting Fate: The moment Barry asks Felicity for a date, you knew something was going to happen.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Blood's has reached the point that he's able to popularly announce his plans to run for mayor.
- Warts and All: Lampshaded regarding Barry's reaction to being saved by Ollie.Felicity: Never meet your heroes, right?
- Wham Episode: A big one made of a lot of wham moments. Detective Lance is almost killed by Cyrus Gold (who seemingly dies himself later on), Shado dies on the island, Roy is injected with Mirakuru, Slade is revealed to not only be alive but also masterminding Brother Blood's actions and harboring a grudge against Ollie, Barry experiences his superhero origin, and Ollie gets a domino mask.
- Wham Shot: When Slade is revealed to be alive and the one behind Brother Blood.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: An example that's not too obvious at first. The episode takes place at Christmas time and Ollie is visited by three hallucinations, the titular ghosts.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After the hallucination of Shado tells him to give up and the hallucination of Slade reminds him of his sins, the hallucination of Tommy shows up and tells Ollie he's a hero. Fitting in this episode, where he finally gets his domino mask.
- You're Insane!: Ollie's reaction to the Sadistic Choice.Oliver: You freaking psychopath!
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Ollie's fight with the hallucination of Slade causes actual damage to the base.