Whoa. Raise your hand if you accurately guessed that Malcolm’s Undertaking plans included completely destroying The Glades altogether? And put your hand down, you liars. Nobody could have seen that coming!
The reveal of Malcolm Merlyn’s mysterious Undertaking on Arrow was a big one, but it was hardly the only big, noteworthy twist that went down in “The Undertaking.” Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Since he hasn’t exactly been rectifying his situation with both Diggle and Tommy, Oliver instead decides to focus on The List and steals a corrupt accountant’s laptop. He wants to give money back to whom it was stolen from. It’s official: he’s a modern day Robin Hood! Shooting arrows, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor. But even though Oliver counted the mission as a win, since Diggle and Oliver still haven’t made up Felicity feels stuck in the middle of her friends. Good thing these are two, easy-going, forgiving guys, right? Oh wait, they’re the two most stubborn men in Starling City!
Back at Queen mansion, Thea decides to break the months of silence and bring up a certain missing father figure from the household. “I know we haven’t talked about Walter in a while [Side note: UH YEAH NO S**T] but I miss him too.” Thea says. It’s good to see the Queen family finally showing some stress and worry about their missing patriarchal figure. It’s only been, what, 12 episodes?
In our first flashback of the night – important to note that this week’s flashbacks are not of the island, but rather the events that led up to Oliver getting stranded on the island – we finally learn Malcolm’s plans for The Undertaking: what it is, why he wants to do it, etc. He wants to completely level The Glades “right down to the bedrock,” all 24 square blocks. He’s convinced the area can’t be saved from the corruption and crime that took his wife away from him. He’s fanatical, and while I hope the rest of the board sees how ridiculous this idea is… I know that since The Undertaking is going down in the present, I’m guessing they’ll hop on board his crazy train. Malcolm wants to frame it as a natural disaster, and Unidac Industries is five years away from a prototype that can create such a disaster. Coincidental timing? I think not.
In the first of many extremely awkward conversations of the night, Laurel confides in Oliver about Tommy breaking up with her. While that alone is enough to make anyone uncomfortable, things are made so much worse when Felicity enters the scene. That whole exchange where Laurel meets Felicity but Felicity already knows so much about Laurel was just gold. God, I want to rewind and rewatch that scene over and over.
The reason Felicity interrupted the heart to heart between Ollie and Laurel was because she found an entry in the accountant’s laptop for $2 million the day that Walter was kidnapped. If they find who the money leads to, they can find Walter! The man in question is the head of an underground casino, and since she’s the only one who could pull it off, Felicity volunteers to go undercover at the casino. She’s already grown so much as a character from when we met her at the beginning of this season, and this choice proves as much. She used to be timid and wary, and was extremely hesitant about joining Team Arrow in the first place, and now she’s convincing Oliver to let her go out in the field, volunteering for dangerous missions. They grow up so fast!
Back to the flashback, we (and Robert) learn even more tragic details of Malcolm’s wife’s death. This was a tough scene, and even though Malcolm is the big bad this season, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears for the poor guy. Apparently the night Malcolm’s wife Rebecca was shot and killed in The Glades, she had called him and he ignored her calls. She left a voicemail begging for help, calling his name, and gasping for air. He literally listened to his wife die over and over later that night via his voicemail. That is just too much. No wonder why the guy wants to destroy a whole community!
Before taking off on the mission, Felicity goes to Diggle to ask for his help and to come back to Team Arrow, but he won’t until Oliver apologizes. Something tells me he’s going to be waiting a long time for that. Don’t hold your breath, Dig! I don’t think Oliver even knows the words “I’m Sorry” even exist…
Taking Oliver’s advice, Laurel goes to talk to Tommy to get some closure or at least some honesty about why he broke up with her so suddenly, but she wasn’t prepared for the latter. Tommy drops the bomb that she belongs with Oliver, and that he’s still in love with her. Colin Donnell really sold this scene. His quiet rage and restrained hurt were so well played.
Out in the field, Felicity gets a final pep talk from Oliver where they discuss the plan one more time. Felicity is going to get caught counting cards in the casino, and so the mob boss, a.k.a. Alonso, a.k.a. their connection to Walter will bring her to his office to get a warning, and Felicity will plant a bug in his computer. I know this is supposed to be super serious, but Felicity is looking goooood in her fancy dress. Oliver, are you paying attention?
Not to be confused with the flashbacks of The Undertaking planning, in the present Malcolm announces to Moira that “The Markhoff” device passed its final beta test. You know what that means: The Undertaking is upon us! And the second awkward conversation of the night finds Malcolm claiming that he sometimes waivers in his convictions but his friendship with Moira is what propels him forward with his plans. You can sure as hell bet that Moira felt disgusted when she heard that. Moira says she wishes Robert could be celebrating with them and Malcolm flat out says, “I’m sorry I had to take him from you.” How is this conversation so civil?!? Seriously, I half expected Moira to pull out a gun and just take down this dude.
Back in the flashback, Robert confides in Moira about Malcolm’s plans to level The Glades without evacuating everyone and she seems shocked Robert would agree to it. Turns out, he’s been keeping secrets from Moira, like the time he refused to bribe a councilman from The Glades and they argued and the guy ended up dying. Robert sees the work he’s doing with Malcolm and The List as penance for the death of the councilman. And twist! Moira actually tried to convince Robert to stop The Undertaking from happening! That’s quite a different tune than what she’s singing in the present.
Felicity gets caught counting cards as planned, plants her bug, but Alonso knows she is working with a partner. Cue Oliver swaggering in all protective of Felicity, taking down the entire security team like it’s no big deal (and that shattered glass in the eyes trick? Had to hurt). But when he corners Alonso, he reveals that when he delivered Walter to whoever hired him he heard gunshots and that meant Walter was killed. I’m sorry, but I didn’t for one second believe this was true. No way Moira would have allowed that. I call shenanigans.
Back in the flashback, it turns out that Moira convinced Robert to stop Malcolm’s plans, and Robert dug some more and found out Malcolm was lying. He was actually planning The Undertaking for a long time, buying up a third of the real estate of The Glades already and only pretended like it was a recent idea. Robert and Frank Chen (RIP both of these guys) decide to conspire behind Malcolm’s back and buy the remaining two thirds quietly, and they need money from Frank’s contacts in China. Hence, why Robert was sailing that way! The pieces, you guys! They’re starting to fit together!
Also in the flashback we learn why Oliver wanted to sabotage his and Laurel’s relationship before he set sail: she was pressuring him to move in with her. That’s why he slept with Sarah!
Back in the present, Oliver overheard Malcolm and Moira discussing that Walter is still alive, and will remain in Malcolm’s custody until The Undertaking is complete. Oliver now has undeniable proof that his mother is in on the evil plans! Oliver is on a mission… and he is pissed. Time to go to Bludhaven (though no Nightwing will be in attendance unfortunately)! To prove just how angry Oliver was, he took out 20 goons singlehandedly without even breaking a sweat! And he found Walter and delivered him home, safe and sound.
Another flashback twist! It turns out that Frank Chen went behind Robert’s back and told Malcolm what he was planning, and he was the one to plant the bomb on the Queen’s Gambit! I don’t feel so bad about Moira framing him for the hit on Malcolm a few episodes back. This dude deserved what he got. Also, pre-island Oliver was such a douche. My god, poor Laurel.
Back at the hospital, the Queens were back together again, one “happy” family. But damn, the look of pure rage on Oliver’s face when Malcolm was trying to figure out if Walter knew it was him behind the kidnapping was absolutely chilling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, post-island Oliver is an incredible actor, and Stephen Amell is an even better one, portraying so many different sides and incarnations of the same character. I mean, playing a character who is playing a character, as well as playing different versions of that same character but just in different time periods? Impressive.
Laurel also made her way over to the hospital and asks Oliver to talk to Tommy and convince him they don’t belong together. Oliver, clearly done with all the lies and drama, refuses, and drops a bomb on her: he is still in love with her. Boom!
After all the emotional trauma he endured finding out Moira was in cahoots with Malcolm, Oliver swallowed his pride and made his way over to Diggle’s apartment and apologizes to him! Whoa! He needs help figuring out a way to stop Moira and Malcolm from whatever it is they’re planning. Team Arrow is back together, y’all!
Best quotes from "The Undertaking:"
Felicity: Let me guess. Some bad guy is missing his fancy new laptop?
Laurel: This coffee is terrible, Oliver.
Oliver: That’s what you get for ordering coffee in a bar.
Diggle: What do you want?
Felicity: Is that any way to treat a girl that just walked up six flights of stairs?
Diggle: No it’s not. Welcome!
Laurel, to Tommy: Wow. You really look like your father.
Felicity: So just to be clear, the plan is for me to get caught counting cards in an underground casino filled with hardened criminals…
Oliver: So you can get a friendly warning from Alonso and plant a bug on his office computer.
Felicity: It feels really good having you inside me. [Pause] And by you I mean your voice. [Pause] And by me I mean my ear. I’m going to stop talking right now.
Oliver: That would be my preference.
Alonso: I heard you never miss.
Oliver, after shooting an exploding arrow into the bullseye of the dart board behind his head: I don’t. [BOOM]
Laurel: Obviously, we can’t hang out at my house…
Oliver: Because your father threatened to taser me the last time I closed the door to your bedroom?
Moira: We’re together again. Everything’s going to be all right. [Cue Oliver’s look of total disgust and betrayal and misery]
Diggle: I guess you do know where I live.
Oliver: I’ve always known where you live.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum