The Crisis is coming! The season premiere of Arrow saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Laurel ‘Black Siren’ Lance (Katie Cassidy Rogers), following completion of a mission for The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), narrowly escape the destruction of Earth-2 by an anti-matter wave! Arrow S8E2, “Welcome to Hong Kong,” picks up immediately following those events, as the team deals with the fallout of what they’ve witnessed while reuniting with old allies and tangling with a familiar foe.
Live Together, Die Alone
The episode opens with Oliver awakening, fully clothed, on a bed in an unknown room. The breach device he used to escape Earth-2 is on the nightstand next to him, but Diggle and Laurel are nowhere to be found. As Oliver gets up, The Monitor appears and admonishes Oliver for disobeying his orders and interfering with events on Earth-2. He says they’re back on Earth-1, and that he showed Oliver the destruction of Earth-2 to teach him a lesson, that Oliver must do exactly as The Monitor says from now on. The Monitor disappears, taking the dwarf star particles with him, just as Diggle busts into the room and tells Oliver they have to leave. The two fight their way through what Diggle says is a local gang, meeting up with Laurel and exiting the building to discover that they’re in Hong Kong.
Oliver explains the situation to Diggle and Laurel, but Laurel refuses to believe her Earth is gone. The breach device was damaged in the jump from Earth-2, so she can’t go back and look for survivors. Oliver says they need to focus on his next Monitor mission, which is to collect Dr. Robert Wong and bring him to The Monitor, or else more worlds are going to meet the same fate as Earth-2. Laurel snaps at him, saying her mission isn’t his mission, and storms off to find someone who can help her fix the breach device. Diggle tells Oliver to let her go, and that they need to focus on finding Dr. Wong.
In 2040, the team of Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), Zoe Ramirez (Andrea Sixtos), and Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones) are recovering from their failure to stop John Jr. (Charlie Barnett) and the Deathstrokes last week. The codes Vasquez gave to J.J. were access codes for his vault, which the team found basically emptied following their defeat, save for a fried flash drive containing the vault’s security footage. Mia gives the drive to William (Ben Jones), who says he can fix the flash drive and find out what the Deathstrokes stole. Zoe says she knows where J.J. will go to sell the stolen goods, and she, Mia, and Connor head out to try and stop J.J.
Back in Hong Kong, Oliver and Diggle visit a secret ARGUS facility attached to an internet cafe. Oliver expresses his regret at causing the destruction of Earth-2 by interfering in events, and Diggle tells him not to blame himself. Accessing ARGUS’s network, Oliver discovers Wong is a biophysicist who’s been missing for a week. They decide to head for his last known location, a local university, but as they’re exiting the cafe they’re attached by a group of armed men. Oliver and Diggle fight valiantly before being cornered by men with machine guns. Suddenly a cloaked figure smashes through a cafe window, drawing a pair of swords and taking out the gunmen with ease. Pulling her cloak down, Oliver recognizes her as Tatsu Yamashiro, aka Katana (Rila Fukushima).
We Have To Go Back
Returning to Tatsu’s homebase, she tells Oliver and Diggle she was expelled from the Crescent Order after helping Nyssa al Ghul save the life of Oliver’s sister, Thea. Oliver explains why they’re in Hong Kong, and Tatsu says she knows about The Monitor from her time with the Crescent Order. She offers to help them find Dr. Wong, and identifies men in the last known photo of Wong as being part of Hong Kong’s security wing.
Elsewhere, Laurel is found by Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), whom Diggle called in for help. Laurel is trying to connect with someone she met a few years ago who might be able to repair the breach device and get her back to Earth-2, and Lyla offers to go with her as backup. The two fight their way to Laurel’s contact, and strong-arm him into helping her fix the device.
Back in 2040, Mia, Zoe, and Connor have located the underground black market. Zoe heads off to look for her contact, and Mia and Connor talk about why J.J. turned out the way he did. Connor says he thinks John and Lyla spent so much time worrying about him that they short-changed J.J., and Mia counters that J.J. made his own choices. Just then J.J. and a pair of Deathstrokes enter, and a captured Zoe emerges from the back. Connor agrees to talk with J.J., and the Deathstrokes lower their weapons.
In Hong Kong, Oliver looks at his wedding band and thinks about Felicity. Tatsu says she wasn’t able to get any info on Wong from her Hong Kong police contact, but Oliver and Diggle have discovered Wong was working on a top secret project for the government. The security force has Wong in protective custody, they say, but he’s scheduled to be moved.
That evening, Green Arrow, Spartan, and Katana ambush the security forces moving Wong, but are themselves ambushed by members of the Triad. Wong flees, and Oliver follows, but is intercepted by old foe China White (Kelly Hu). The two fight, while Wong is taken by the Triad on motorcycles. White drops a poison gas grenade and escapes, and Oliver attempts to go after Wong on foot, but is unable to keep up.
Back at Tatsu’s HQ, Oliver and Diggle question how China White escaped from ARGUS custody. Tatsu questions Oliver’s motivations for going after Wong, and his apparent blind faith in The Monitor, saying it reminds her of their situation years prior with Amanda Waller. Diggle interrupts to remind them that they still need to find Wong, and Oliver suggests if they can find out what Wong was working on, they can find out why the Triad took him.
Meanwhile, Laurel’s technician contact has fixed the breach device, but when Laurel tries to open a portal to Earth-2 it doesn’t work. The technician says he’s not finding any signal or signs of life from Earth-2, and Laurel flips out, pulling a gun on him and demanding he fix the device. Laurel breaks down as an alarm begins to sound, and Lyla grabs her and says they need to leave.
Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do
Diggle uses ARGUS resources to uncover the location of Dr. Wong’s lab, which Tatsu says is the address for a heavily-fortified People’s Liberation Army garrison. At the location, Oliver fights his way in and makes his way to Wong’s lab, where he discovers the doctor has recreated the Alpha-Omega Virus. Later, after stealing the virus from the lab, Oliver tells Diggle and Tatsu they can use the virus as bait to draw out China White and rescue Dr. Wong. Tatsu warns against that, noting how dangerous it could be, but Oliver doesn’t back down, and Diggle agrees to help set up the meet.
Elsewhere, Lyla tries to console Laurel, who has some serious survivor’s guilt. Lyla tells her a story from her time in the military, about a day her whole unit was killed by an IED while she was assigned to desk duty. She says she tried to make a deal with any deity who would listen, and when Laurel asks if it worked, Lyla replies “sort of.” She tells Laurel the guilt doesn’t get any easier, and they just have to keep moving forward as a way to honor the dead.
At Tatsu’s base, Oliver prepares for his meeting with China White. Tatsu reminds him again how dangerous this will be, and that nine years ago he failed to keep the Alpha-Omega Virus out of White’s hands. Oliver promises this time will be different, and Tatsu questions The Monitor’s motivations for wanting Wong. Oliver says he has no choice but to believe The Monitor, and that if he doesn’t then all of his sacrifices will have been for nothing. Tatsu tells him firmly there’s always a choice.
In 2040, J.J. and Connor have a drink in the bar at the black market. J.J. says he wishes Connor would’ve joined him, and Connor says he just wants his brother back. J.J. recounts a story in which he got grounded by John and Lyla for something Connor did, and Connor pleads with him not to throw his life away over mistakes their parents made years ago. He says he and J.J. can fix things together.
Back in Hong Kong, Oliver arrives at the meeting with China White and her men. White reveals that she was freed from ARGUS custody and paid off when the most recent iteration of the Suicide Squad was shut down last year. Diggle and Tatsu, who are watching from a distance, see a car pull up behind White and her men. Oliver hands over the virus to White, and Wong emerges from the car wearing an explosive vest. White turns him over to Oliver, who gives a signal to Tatsu and Diggle to attack. Three of White’s men escape with the virus, and Diggle pursues them, while Oliver follows Wong and a pair of White’s men who have re-taken him, and Tatsu faces off against White. Oliver rescues Wong, and Diggle and a newly-arrived Lyla secure the virus. Tatsu subdues White, who hands over the detonator for Wong’s vest before throwing a dagger into Tatsu’s gut. As White prepares to finish off Tatsu, Black Siren screams her into the harbor.
You Can Let Go Now
Later, Lyla tells Oliver, Diggle, and Laurel that Tatsu is resting and that she’ll be okay, and that Wong is safe at an ARGUS facility. Oliver thanks Laurel for saving Tatsu’s life, and Laurel says she’s ready to help make sure what happened to Earth-2 doesn’t happen to any other worlds. Oliver says he doesn’t want to hand over Dr. Wong to The Monitor until he gets some answers about who The Monitor really is.
Back in 2040, J.J. rejects Connor’s offer, and says he has more vision than Connor or their parents ever did. He tells them his goal is to cripple the movement to unify Star City and The Glades, so the Deathstrokes can move in and fill the vaccuum. Meanwhile, back at the bunker, William has repaired the flash drive and connects it to the system, revealing a list of names including his own. As he looks at the list he hears a group of Deathstrokes storming in to kidnap him.
In the present, Oliver checks in on Tatsu and apologizes for almost getting her killed. He tells her he’s going to Nanda Parbat to find out more about The Monitor. Meanwhile, Lyla meets with The Monitor, saying he should have told her about what was going to happen on Earth-2. The Monitor asks if she was successful, and she replies that she has Doctor Wong. The Monitor says it’s time to proceed.
After the cataclysmic conclusion of last week’s episode, it makes sense that Arrow would slow down for some reflection, and this episode handled the fallout well while still moving the story forward. What does The Monitor need Doctor Wong for, and how does it relate to the dwarf star particles from last week? How long has Lyla been working for The Monitor? What secrets will Oliver learn while in Nanda Parbat? How does the storyline in 2040 figure into any of this? We’ll find out next week!