After learning that this episode of Arrow was going to be titled ‘Bratva’, I found myself re-watching episodes from Season 1 and Season2; just to make sure that I would not forget any minor details when it came to this episode. Let’s face it, writers of Arrow love bringing us back things from the past (which is awesome by the way), so I wanted to make sure I was on top of things.
The episode began with a flashback of Talia and Oliver dealing with some drug dealers, and by dealing with, I mean hunting them down. After they finish off the dealers, Talia shot an arrow at Oliver. Just like we have seen him do many times in the past. Oliver caught the arrow without much effort at all. Talia responded by stating that he’s beginning to see that the man who ‘races in the dark is not without sight.’
In the mayoral office, Oliver is visited by Susan Williams; who jokes with him about the state of their ‘relationship’. Before Oliver has a chance to jokingly plead his case, Captain Lance enters the office. Fresh out of rehab, he startled both Susan and Oliver by offering Susan an on-camera interview.
Following his meeting with Susan and Lance, Oliver holds a press conference thanking his DA, Adrian Chase, for saving Diggle from General Walkers clutches.
Following the conferece, Susan asks Chase if she can interview him in regards to the death of Detective Billy Malone; to which he refuses. She then gets an alert on her phone stating that General Walker and a few other men escaped federal custody; killing 32 American Soldiers and Government workers in the process. On top of that, he also stole a nuclear warhead.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity tells Diggle and Oliver that Walker is taking the nuke to Russia to sell it to a group of Markovians. Since the neither ARGUS nor the FBI can’t go to Russia without causing a global crisis, Oliver says he will take the team to the Russia; but he elects to leave Rene behind to keep an eye on Captain Lance.
Rene heads off to the mayoral office to visit Captain Lance, but Quentin makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t want Rene’s help.
Oliver and the team arrived in Russia, where they were met by Anatoly. Instead of embracing him in a brotherly hug, Anatoly punches Oliver across the face, stating that Oliver should have never come back. Especially after Oliver pulled a gun on his Bratva brother, Alexi, years ago on his hunt for Slade Wilson. He tells Oliver to go home, and never come back.
Team Arrow sets up base at an abandoned ARGUS safe house (a pretty nice looking one if I may add). Oliver explains to the rest of the team that Slade killed Oliver’s Bratva Brother, Alexi, several years ago; and that is why Anatoly may refuse to help. Dinah says they’ll probably need Anatoly’s help to pull off the mission.
Oliver entered a known Bratva bar and there he discovered Anatoly. Oliver states that Anatoly owes him for ‘Grego’r. Anatoly agrees to Oliver’s point and says he’ll help Oliver in exchange for a favor. Oliver refuses, so Anatoly offers him some free advice… to act quickly.
In a flashback, Talia says their next target is a drug dealer who’s been supplying drugs to Star City, which Oliver immediately recognizes as the drug that he once saw Thea’s drug dealer offer to her back when he visited Starling City.
In present day, Dinah tells Felicity that General Walker is probably using the same burner phone he used in the US. Felicity says that she has a contact in Russia that will probably help hack the Russian phone network.
In order for Felicity’s plan to work, she has Curtis and Rory pose as Bratva. Together the three of them entered a Russian Casino and Felicity discovered a known Russian Network Operator. She blackmails him using the information she gathered from Helix to get him to give her the access she needs.
Oliver and his team track down General Walker to an abandoned building, but they quickly realize that it’s an ambush. Dinah arrive in time to rescue Oliver and Diggle, she also knocks out one of Walker’s men. Oliver grabs Walker’s man, saying they will use him to get the information on Walker that they need.
Oliver takes him down to his safe house’s basement and threatens him with spark plugs, telling him that he has five minutes. Diggle gets angry, saying that he wants to torture him immediately.
In a flashback, Oliver and Talia confront the Starling City drug dealer. Just before Oliver kills him, he tells him that he has ‘failed Starling City’.
Back in Star City, Rene prepares Captain Lance for his interview. Rene starts firing questions about Laurel’s death and his workings with Damian Darhk. Lance almost loses it and storms out.
Felicity and Rory have a heart to heart and she tells Rory the truth about the Pandora data cache. Rory tells Felicity that the cache is a major responsibility and that she shouldn’t abuse it, or continue to use it against people. Oliver enters the van and Rory tells Oliver that he feels like Felicity went ‘too far’. Before Oliver can ask more, he hears a lot of yelling and he stumbles upon Diggle beating up the hostage. In order to help Diggle as fast as possible, Oliver seeks out Anatoly and agrees to help him.
Oliver takes Dinah on a mission to shut down one of Anatoly’s rivals. He confronts the rival, breaks two of his fingers and then storms off with Dinah. Following that, Oliver tells Dinah that he wanted to move past his time in the Bratva, but this mission proves that he hasn’t changed at all. He also tells Dinah about Prometheus and says that Felicity and Diggle are both affected by Prometheus too. Dinah coaches Oliver to talk to them, because they love him and they will listen to what he has to say… as long as he is honest and open about it.
Rene finds Quentin and tells him that Susan Williams confirmed her interview time. Quentin then apologizes and says that he’s trying to figure out a way to live with Laurel’s death as a sober man. Rene sits Lance down prepares to do another mock interview.
In Russia, Oliver tells Diggle and Felicity that he went back to the Bratva to stop them from making the same mistakes he did. Oliver says that he needs them both to be better than him, and that is why they work together. Anatoly shows up at the ARGUS safe house and he tells Oliver that he has Walker’s location; and additional man power for the team.
Oliver and the team arrive just as Walker moves the nuke. The van carrying the nuke attempts to make a getaway, so Dinah and Oliver team up to stop it. Meanwhile, Diggle confronts General Walker. Walker says that he was never planning on selling the nuke. He then tries to get Diggle to break and shoot him, telling Diggle that he has ‘friends everywhere’, so he could easily get out of prison. Diggle refuses to follow through, and lowers his weapon.
Felicity attempts to disarm the nuke, but by doing so, she speeds up the countdown. Rory wraps his rags around the bomb and tells Felicity to get out. The rags survived Haven Rock, so he is the only one who can save them. Oliver and Dinah arrive to see a giant flash, and they run inside to see Rory had in fact survived the explosion.
Later on that evening, Oliver, Anatoly, and the rest of the team celebrate the successful mission. Diggle says that working with Oliver and Felicity makes him a better person, and he thanks Oliver for getting through to him. Anatoly asks Oliver for his help on another Bratva mission, but Oliver says that their arrangement was a ‘temporary one’. Anatoly points out that Oliver took an oath to the Bratva, and the oath with the Bratva is one that lasts forever.
In a final flashback, Oliver visits Anatoly in the hospital, where he finds out that Gregor had Anatoly after Anatoly learned the truth about Gregor working with Kovar. Anatoly says that they can’t do anything about Gregor, but Oliver points out that they can just kill him.
Oliver heads back to Star City, where he gets intimate with Susan Williams. Susan asks about Oliver’s scars, about Lian Yu, and his tattoos. Oliver says he’s not ready to talk about them with her right now.
Captain Lance and says that Susan Williams went easy on him, surprisingly. Rene tells Lance that he told Susan a story about how Lance helped him as a kid, and put him on a better path.
Felicity walks into Rory’s workshop to find out that he is leaving town. The nuke shorted out his rags and Rory feels like he’d be a liability to the team without powers; but he promises to return when he finds out what is going on with them. As Felicity walks out, she gets a text from her hacker friend encouraging Felicity to continue using Pandora; and that there are bigger people than Walker that need to be stopped… and Walker was just the beginning.
In the closing minutes, Susan meets with her government contact, who confirms that Oliver did have dealings with the Bratva before coming back home to Starling City. He shows her a dark picture of a hooded archer that was active in Russia; approximately the same period that Oliver was there. Susan and her contact both realize that Oliver and the Green Arrow have to be the same person… otherwise it is the most extreme case of irony.