Previously on Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) learned that Mar Novu, aka The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), is not trying to prevent the coming Crisis—he’s trying to cause it! With the help of Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), Oliver learned that he can replicate anti-matter with plutonium, which he can only procure from Russia! Meanwhile, The Monitor offered the Laurel Lance of Earth-2 (Katie Cassidy Rodgers) a chance to restore her world – by betraying Oliver Queen! On top of all that, the children of Team Arrow from 2040 were transported back to 2019, and are now living alongside the original Team Arrow! This week’s episode, Arrow S8E5, “Prochnost,” takes the team on a pair of international missions, welcoming old friends back into the fold and revealing hard truths about Oliver’s past to his adult kids.
Mission to Moscow
The episode opens with Oliver and Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), Oliver’s adult daughter from the future, doing some training in the bunker. Oliver shows Mia all his trick arrows, and highlights that, despite her skill with the bow and arrow, she still has a lot to learn. While they do some classic stick fighting, they’re interrupted by William Harris (Ben Lewis), Oliver’s grown son also from the future, who says he was able to use facial recognition to locate the Russian general, Alexi Burov (Barry W. Levy), from whom Oliver can get his plutonium.
Burov is in Moscow, and William says Burov was working on a weapon called the Pulse Wave Generator, which is powered by plutonium, before he went missing. Mia asks where they’re going to get the plutonium to power Burov’s machine, and just then John Diggle (David Ramsey) enters and says he knows of a site in Bialya where they can get some. Diggle will go to Bialya to get the plutonium, and Oliver asks Mia and William to go with him to Moscow. The kids exit, and Diggle asks Oliver if taking them to Russia is a good idea given Oliver’s somewhat dark past there. Oliver replies that he’s a different man now, but Diggle seems unconvinced as Oliver exits.
Elsewhere in Star City, Laurel is approached by Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson), Diggle’s wife and secret agent for The Monitor. Laurel asks her why she would would work for Novu after he destroyed Laurel’s Earth, and Lyla replies that he didn’t, and that he’s trying to save worlds. Lyla tells Laurel that she needs to get to Russia, to Burov’s plans, before Oliver does, saying that this is bigger than Oliver or any of them. Laurel begrudgingly agrees to help, but has some choice words for Lyla about loyalty and betraying everyone she cares about.
Diggle rolls up to an auto shop and tells one of the attendants he’s looking for “Jason,” who rolls out from under a car to reveal Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), living under an assumed name after the events of last season in which a post-Lazarus Pit bloodlust led to Roy accidentally killed a pair of innocent men. Roy asks Diggle how he found him, and Diggle says William did. The two go for a walk, and Diggle asks Roy for help. Roy refuses, saying he needs a fresh start given his condition, and he tries to walk away, but Diggle stops him, saying the threat they’re facing is bigger than anything they’ve ever faced. Roy says it’ll be a one-time thing, and Diggle hands him a duffle bag with his Arsenal uniform in it.
In Moscow, Oliver, Mia, and William arrive at the home of Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl), Oliver’s old friend/sometime enemy, who greets Oliver with a hug. Anatoly expresses surprise that Oliver’s children are grown, and apologizes for his past behavior towards William, who forgives him in perfect Russian. Laurel, who’s also there, makes a snide comment about the cold weather, and Oliver asks Anatoly how the search for Burov is going. Anatoly says he has friends he can call, but Oliver asks him not to, and when Mia presses him on why, he says the people Anatoly is talking about aren’t really friends. Anatoly exits, saying he’ll find Burov “the hard way.”
Meanwhile, in Bialya, Diggle and Arsenal are lurking around the perimeter of a military storage facility. Diggle says a shipment is arriving tonight, and that they’re going to steal the plutonium from the shipment before it can get into the impenetrable building. Roy mentions how weird it must be for Oliver to have his adult son from the future here, and Diggle tells Roy about Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones), his own adult son from the future. Roy says Connor would’ve made a good candidate for the mission, and questions what they’re really doing here. Diggle says the only way for Roy to atone is to rejoin the team and learn to control his bloodlust. Roy says there’s no way to control it, and says he’ll help Diggle now but afterward he’s gone.
Back in Moscow, Anatoly tells the team that he’s found Burov in a local fight club run by the Bratva. Oliver says he, Laurel, and Anatoly will go to the club, and Mia protests, saying she used to fight in similar clubs to make money and that she and William aren’t children. Oliver replies that they are when he looks at them, and says this is how it’s going to be.
At the club, Oliver, Laurel, and Anatoly find Burov watching the fight. Oliver asks Burov for his help, and the four depart, but not before being seen by Oleg (Kis Yurij), a Bratva member. In a back room, Burov asks why he should give the plans to Oliver, referring to Oliver’s past as a Russian vigilante. Laurel asks if he’s not going to cooperate, and Burov says he’ll hand the plans over if Oliver fights. Oliver agrees, and shortly he’s entering the ring against a fighter twice his size. Anatoly expresses doubt to Laurel that she’s changed her ways, and she tells him to worry about Burov and not her before walking off to check the perimeter.
The fight begins, and as it does Oliver sees Mia and William enter to watch. The fight is a brutal one, but Oliver defeats the larger man quickly and efficiently, to boos from the crowd and an impressed ‘wow’ from Mia. After the fight, Burov is presenting a drive containing the plans to Oliver when the Bratva member and a few others enter holding Mia at gunpoint. Oleg says they didn’t approve Burov conducting this business in a Bratva-controlled location, particularly with Oliver, and shoots Burov in the head. Oliver and Mia are then knocked out by the other men.
Oliver and Mia awaken tied to chairs in the basement of a Bratva hideout. He scolds Mia for not listening to him and staying put, and Mia asks Oliver about his past, and he confesses that he was once a member of the Bratva. Oleg and the other Bratva members enter, and Oleg demands to know what’s on the drive Burov was giving Oliver, holding a gun to Mia’s head to force him to talk. Oliver tells him, and Mia glares at him, annoyed. Meanwhile, William, Laurel, and Anatoly are trying to come up with a way to track Oliver and Mia. Laurel asks if they’ve been injected with any sort of tracking devices, and William says he hopes not, then tells Laurel he’s going to teach her to hack into closed-circuit TV feeds.
In Bialya, Roy asks Diggle why he didn’t try to persuade him to come back before they got there. Diggle tells Roy about what happens to him in the future, including his self-imposed exile on Lian Yu and his return to Star City after learning to control his bloodlust by being part of a team, which Diggle tells Roy he needs to do now.
Ring the Bell
Back in Moscow, Mia is untied, a gun held on her by Oleg. Placed in front of a group of Bratva men, she’s told she has 60 seconds to get past them and ring the bell behind them, the same initiation rite that Oliver went through years ago. Mia fights her way through the men, but doesn’t reach the bell in time. Oleg pulls the trigger, but the gun isn’t loaded. He tells Oliver he had to be sure what Oliver said was on the drive was true.
William tells Anatoly and Laurel that he’s found Oliver and Mia’s location, and the three head out to get them. Meanwhile, Mia and Oliver are handcuffed to chairs again. Oliver dislocates his thumbs, freeing himself, then frees Mia, and as the two make their escape they’re met by Anatoly and Laurel, who’ve arrived to rescue them.
Having returned to Anatoly’s, Mia snipes at Oliver for telling Oleg what was on the drive, and the team discusses how to get it back before Oleg sells it. Oliver tells Mia and William they’re going home, and Anatoly and Laurel exit to let the family hash things out. Oliver tells his kids that, as their father, it’s his job to protect him, and William and Mia both argue that they don’t need protecting. Oliver and Mia go back and forth about Oliver leaving them behind, and Oliver says he would never break the promise he made to their mother to protect them. Mia storms off, and William has a drink.
Back in Bialya, the truck arrives, and Diggle and Roy attack, taking out the guards. Diggle grabs the plutonium, and stops Roy from accidentally killing again, and the two take off.
At Anatoly’s, Oliver and Anatoly share a drink and talk about Oliver’s decision to send his kids home. Anatoly tells Oliver that, despite his dark past, Oliver has also done good in the world. He tells Oliver that his kids aren’t weak, and that they can handle learning about Oliver’s past if they need to. Elsewhere, Mia is throwing knives to let off steam when Laurel enters. Laurel calls her out on her self-pity, and Mia expresses doubt that she’s not cut out to be a hero like Laurel is in the future. Laurel tells Mia she should stop trying to live up to her father or anyone else, and just be the best she can be and not give up. They head back to Anatoly’s and Mia declares that she and William aren’t going back to Star City, which Oliver agrees with. Oleg is planning to sell the drive during that night’s fight, and Oliver says he and Mia will go in together to fight. While they have Oleg and his men distracted, Laurel and Anatoly will steal back the drive.
No More Secrets
That night at the fight club, William escorts in a hooded Oliver and Mia. He persuades the fight organizer to let the two fight by saying the can take on six men by themselves. As they enter the ring, Oliver tells Mia to trust her instincts. The announcer asks Oliver and Mia their names, and the two remove their masks, revealing who they are to the crowd. The bell sounds and the fight begins. Oleg watches from above, the drive in his hand, and Laurel and Anatoly make their way towards him. Inside the ring, Oliver and Mia hold their own well, even after one of the men in the cage with them brandishes a knife. Above, Laurel is caught by Oleg, who is in turn shot by Anatoly, allowing Laurel to grab the drive. Oliver and Mia finish off the six men, and when their exit is blocked by gun-wielding Bratva members, the two throw smoke bombs and escape along with William.
Back at Anatoly’s place, the team shares a drink to celebrate a job well done. Oliver tells Laurel that Diggle was able to get the plutonium with Roy’s help, and he raises a toast to William and Mia. Anatoly and Laurel leave, and Oliver tells Mia and William that he’s not proud of what he did when he was in Russia, but that he won’t shield them from things any longer if they want to know about them. Mia asks about Lian Yu, and Oliver starts to explain.
Later, Oliver, Mia, and William prepare to leave. Oliver thanks Anatoly for his help, and the two hug one last time. The three leave, and Laurel follows, but not before Anatoly tells her he was wrong about her changing her ways.
Back in Star City, Diggle thanks Roy for his help. Roy says he’s going to stay for a while, and that he’s missed being around. Diggle officially welcomes him back to the team. That night, Laurel meets Lyla and tells her she’s not going to betray her friends. She steps aside to reveal Diggle and Oliver, who look shocked. Lyla apologizes, and from off-screen a trio of darts fire into the necks of Laurel, Diggle and Oliver. As Lyla looks on, her husband and friends fall to the ground unconscious.
This was a fun episode that revisited one of the more interesting times in Oliver’s past, examining it under a new lens. The interactions between Oliver and Mia were fantastic, as was the comraderie between Diggle and Roy, who’s been missed from the show since last season. And the revelation to Laurel, Diggle, and Oliver of Lyla’s relationship with The Monitor was both inevitable and legitimately surprising at the same time. How will the team, Diggle in particular, handle this betrayal? Or will Lyla finally make some things about The Monitor more clear? We’ll find out next week!