“Doppleganger” or Welcome Home RoyBy Marc Watkins

Our show begins with Mayor Queen in his office speaking with his sister Thea when in walks his lawyer (Mayor Queen is currently under federal indictment for a host of charges stemming from his nocturnal activities as a masked vigilante) bearing good tidings: she claims with certainty that she can make Oliver’s federal case disappear. Of course the mayor feels this is a cause for celebration, but through another door Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance comes in bringing bad tidings. When Oliver follows him to the lobby there stands a “resurrected” Laurel Lance.

Surrounded by news cameras, “Laurel” claims she has been held captive for two years by Damian Darhk but that she recently escaped. When she sees Oliver & Quentin standing there mouths agape, she rushes in to their arms while the cameras roll, capturing it all. One of the intrepid reporters asks “Laurel” if she knows the identity of Green Arrow but before she can answer, Mayor Queen steps in to let the reporters know she needs her rest.

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As we all know, this is the Faux-Laurel from another earth and that the GENUINE Laurel really did die at the hands of Damian. Behind closed doors Faux-Laurel tells Team Arrow that she “came out” due to her fear of being hunted down by Dinah Drake, aka Black Canary who wants revenge for the death of her lover Vincent Sobel at the hands of Black Siren, Faux-Laurel’s secret identity. Faux-Laurel’s theory is that if she’s viewed as the goody two-shoes Laurel, it will make it harder for Dinah to kill her.

The most important thing to Oliver is, however, the money Laurel stole from Caden James after his death that he extorted from the city. Faux-Laurel claims that someone in turn stole it from her so the city is back at square one which is broke.

At the federal court in the judge’s chambers, Oliver’s lawyer puts forth her argument as to why his case should be dismissed, namely that the only one who could verify the video tape confirming Oliver as the Green Arrow, Caden James, is dead and therefore inadmissible. The government countered with OTHER evidence and that they’re not going to rely on the tape, but a secret, newly discovered witness – Roy Harper.

Faux-Laurel is taken to the hospital to be examined after her “ordeal” and to also receive treatment for her REAL injuries suffered at the hands of Dinah. Father and daughter have a talk with Faux-Laurel trying to convince her “dad” Quentin that she’s really trying to turn over a new life. The two are being observed by Dinah who, in her duties as a cop, has been given the case to solve of who held Laurel captive. Quentin steps out to talk with her trying to convince Dinah not to kill Faux Laurel but to no avail.

When the two step back in the room they find only a nurse who states that Laurel was escorted out of the building by another police officer. Dinah of course thinks this was a ruse by Quentin but he assures her he’s just as baffled as she is. Outside, Faux-Laurel is sitting in the back of a patrol car; when she inquires as to their destination she’s informed by the cop that she’s off to see Roberto Diaz, the drug kingpin who was behind the scenes secretly manipulating everything, including Caden – before he killed him that is.

In The Quiver, Team Arrow try to determine where Roy is being kept. Thea is beside herself with nerves and anxious for his return. Several years prior, Roy went on the run claiming to have been the Arrow in order to protect Oliver (before he became mayor) but not before he developed a romantic relationship with Thea and hadn’t been seen since. Felicity does what she does and is able to locate where Roy is being stashed. Oliver and Diggle stake out the place and while they do, have a conversation where Diggle wonders when – IF – Oliver is going to give up being the Arrow again. Diggle wants that job.

When the pair reconvene back at The Quiver they come up with a plan to rescue Roy which includes them going through an air-duct. Thea wants to be included in the plan due to her feelings for Roy which of course Oliver objects to. Thea has to remind the gentlemen that for their plan to work, someone has to be able to fit through the air vent which makes HER the most likely candidate. Thea 1, Oliver 0.

Faux-Laurel is taken to her destination but instead of meeting with Diaz, she speaks with Anatoly, former head of Bratva and ex-friend of Oliver. Faux-Laurel warns Anatoly of how dangerous Diaz is but he doesn’t care so long as he can get revenge on Oliver. When she finally does have a face to face with Diaz, she expresses her desire to just leave the city so she can be safe from Dinah. Diaz lets her know that he plans to take over the city and she need not go anywhere so she can help him run it.

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Team Arrow makes their way back to where Roy is being kept and while Diggle & Oliver remain outside, Thea makes her way in. She shimmies through the vent to the exact room where Roy is being kept and has to remain silent as she watches him being tortured by dirty cops in the employ of Diaz. They’re trying to “convince” Roy he needs to testify against Oliver which he’s unwilling to do. When the cops step outside for a break (torturing his hard, tiring work), Thea makes her way in to the room and frees Roy. The two haven’t seen each other in years so there is a brief, tender moment between them. Over their communication device, Felicity, aka “Overwatch”, warns the team that a S.W.A.T. team is on the way and that they need to get out.

Thea opens the window and tries to get Roy over to it but he’s too injured to move fast at all. Despite being alone and out-gunned, Thea plans on making a stand. As she waits for the doors to burst open, arrow nocked, a lasso arrow encircles her and whooshes her out of the window just as the cops bust in the door. Of course Oliver whisked his little sister safety and she’s none-to-pleased.

With the video and audio from Thea’s comms, Team Arrow realizes that the police department still has plenty of dirty cops. The next day, Mayor Queen informs Quentin & Dinah to put aside their mutual distrust for each other an honor the badge they both love (Quentin was previously a police captain) in order to help root out the dirty cops. They both agree.

In The Quiver, Oliver tries to pacify Thea who’s still upset he pulled her to safety. He lets her know that had she stayed, ALL of them would have been captured or killed and that discretion was the better part of valor. He also tells her that WHEN they rescue Roy, Thea should run away with him. All the while, Felicity was monitoring communication channels and got the heads up Roy was being moved. Team Arrow suits up and intercepts the transport van. When they open the back it’s empty; they were faked out and Roy is elsewhere. Turns out the “elsewhere” is in the clutches of Diaz; he wants Roy, because of his skills, to join his organization.

Faux-Laurel turns back up at Quentin’s place with a tail to tell so he calls the rest of Team Arrow plus Dinah (her, Curtis & the now injured Renee formed their own team) to get the 4-1-1. Faux Laurel lets them know that Diaz has something big planned for the city which they need to stop. Of course they fear it’s a trap but when she lets them know Diaz has Roy, it’s a foregone conclusion they’re going to rescue him, trap or not. When Dinah offers to go to, because of the recent acrimony between the original Team Arrow and the B-Squad, Oliver is like “Nahh”.

Team Arrow arrives at Diaz’ HQ and with an assist from Overwatch, they’re able to avoid and take down several henchmen. They confront Diaz who’s got the unconscious Roy but he’s got several OTHER henchmen who come out guns-a-blazing. Seeing her love being carted away causes Thea to leave the safety of cover and start taking on the bad guys one on one. This of course causes Ollie and Diggle to break cover and fight as well.

Thea is able to shed the henchmen and confronts Diaz outside one on one after he placed the still passed out Roy in the back of a van. The two fight but just as Diaz is about to get the best of her, Oliver shows up in the nick of time to save his baby sis. He tells her to drive the van with Roy in it away as he deals with Diaz. While the two fight, one of Diaz’ dirty cops calls in the cavalry. Diaz lets Oliver know he’s got a choice; either stay and capture him or high tail it out which is exactly what the mayor does as the cops arrive.

When things calm down, Oliver shows up at Quentin’s place to talk to Faux-Laurel to thank her for her assist. She lets him know that she REALLY wants to be good and just needs time & space to do so. After Oliver leaves, Faux-Laurel receives a text from Diaz that reads “Good job”. Seems Faux-Laurel’s good girl routine is all part of some nefarious scheming on the part of Diaz.

As the show ends, we see Roy & Thea in a long embrace about to pick up their romantic relationship right where it left off. Outside, watching it all, is one of Ras Al Ghul’s daughters.

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What does this mean for Team Arrow? Tune in in 3 weeks on March 29th, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. to find out. And be sure to follow @ATLCW & @ATLBlerd on Twitter to live tweet the show.