Last week, following a mission to Moscow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the rest of Team Arrow acquired the plans for a weapon to destroy Mar Novu, aka The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett)! John Diggle (David Ramsey) recruited Roy Harper, aka Arsenal (Colton Haynes), to return to Star City and rejoin Team Arrow! And Black Siren, the Laurel Lance of Earth-2 (Katie Cassidy Rodgers), rejected The Monitor’s offer to restore her world in exchange for betraying Oliver—and exposed Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) as working with The Monitor to Oliver and Diggle! This week’s episode, Arrow S8E6, “Reset,” finds Oliver and Laurel face-to-face with a lost loved one, and forced to confront some personal demons.
The episode opens with Oliver waking up on a couch. He’s wearing a suit, and a basketball game is heard on the television. Mia (Katherine McNamara), Connor (Joseph David-Jones), and William (Ben Lewis) all enter, and Mia asks Oliver what he’s still doing there. Oliver asks how he got there after Lyla had he, Diggle, and Laurel tranquilized at the end of last episode, and Connor says his dad explained it was all a misunderstanding. Oliver asks about the weapon, and William says they don’t need it anymore. They tell Oliver he’s late for a fundraiser for the Star City Council.
Oliver arrives at the fundraiser and finds Diggle. Diggle says Lyla feels bad about the tranquing, and that it’s been two days since that happened. Lyla arrives and reminds Oliver that she’s been working with The Monitor as a double-agent, and Diggle suggests Oliver go home and rest. Just then Rene (Rick Gonzalez) comes up to Oliver and tells him the mayor is waiting so they can give their speech. Oliver is still confused by everything as the mayor approaches: Quentin Lance (special guest Paul Blackthorne), who’s been dead for years. Oliver recaps that Quentin was shot by Ricardo Diaz, and Quentin says he’s lucky to be alive. Saying he remembers things differently, Oliver still looks completely lost, and Rene approaches again to tell them there’s a hostage situation at the Star City Police Department. The hostage-takers are demanding the mayor show up, and Oliver says he’ll go with Quentin.
Outside the SCPD, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) tells Quentin and Oliver, now suited up as Green Arrow, that there are a dozen cops being held hostage inside. Quentin asks for a bulletproof vest so he can go inside and distract the mercenaries while Oliver sneaks around the back. Inside, Quentin confronts the criminals, keeping them talking while Oliver makes his way inside. Oliver disarms the head mercenary with an arrow, nocking another one and telling him it’s over. The man says it’s not over until Oliver ‘stops it,’ then pulls out a detonator and pushes the button. Oliver and Quentin lunge at him, and the screen goes white.
Oliver wakes up on the couch, back in his suit, the game still on TV. Mia, Connor, and William enter just as they did before. Oliver says he’s late for a fundraiser, and as he exits he asks if anything happened at the SCPD headquarters, which none of the kids know anything about. Oliver arrives at the fundraiser again and finds Diggle, telling him The Monitor has put him into some sort of a time loop that no one else remembers. Diggle and Lyla blow him off, and Oliver finds Quentin and tells him what’s going on. Quentin believes him immediately and asks how he can help. Oliver tells him about the impending hostage situation, and they head to the SCPD. There, Oliver tells Dinah about the bomb and says it’s under the building. He makes his way to the basement of the building, where he finds Laurel. He asks what she’s doing there, and she tells Oliver that she’s caught in a time loop as well. Oliver tells her that Quentin is still alive, and as they try to figure out how to dismantle the bomb it starts to beep and count down. Oliver tells Laurel to meet him at the fundraiser next time, and the bomb goes off.
Edge of Tomorrow
Oliver wakes up on the couch again, and as the kids enter he leaves for the fundraiser. At the fundraiser he finds Quentin again, and they’re soon joined by Laurel, who hugs her father. Oliver says they need to go and that Quentin needs to go with them. At the SCPD, Oliver again tells Dinah about the bomb. This time Quentin will talk to the hostage-takers over a radio, and Laurel and Dinah will try to disarm the bomb. Oliver infiltrates the upstairs and rescues the hostages as Dinah uses his wrist-worn sonic device to disarm the bomb. Outside Laurel and Oliver wonder what they’re still doing there, and as they do Oliver notices a red dot on Quentin’s chest. He rushes but not in time to stop the sniper’s bullet from killing the mayor, and the screen goes white again, resetting the loop.
At the fundraiser, Oliver meets up with Laurel and they discuss the loop they’re caught in and how keeping Quentin from dying is the key to breaking out of it. Oliver suggests they find out who hired the mercenaries to take over the SCPD. He tells Laurel to take Quentin to the bunker while he goes and looks at the bomb. As Laurel exits she runs into Lyla, who says she didn’t expect to see Laurel here. Laurel snipes at her about betraying her friends, and says as soon as she’s out of the time loop she’s going to make sure everyone knows what Lyla has done. Lyla seems to not know what Laurel is talking about, but her expression changes as Laurel leaves.
At the SCPD, Oliver is examining the bomb when Diggle arrives. Oliver tells Diggle about the time loop and how to break out of it, and Diggle says he believes in Oliver’s ability to do what needs to be done. Oliver suggests contacting A.R.G.U.S. to see if they can analyze the bomb, and Diggle agrees. Back at the bunker, Laurel explains to Quentin what’s happening, and then breaks it to him that in the real world he died to save her life. Quentin says he felt like he’d cheated death before, but that if he had to die he was glad it was saving her life. Laurel receives a text from Oliver with the location of the mercenaries’ hideout, and she and Quentin head out.
At the hideout, Oliver, Laurel, and Quentin break in to find it empty. A beeping sound leads Oliver to follow a set of wires to a bomb that’s been set up. It explodes, sending the three of them flying to the ground. As they get their wits, Lyla strolls in, telling Oliver that he’s missing the point. She draws a gun and shoots Quentin in the head, and the screen again goes white.
Happy Death Day
At the fundraiser, Oliver tells Laurel that Lyla’s not there. They discuss why she’s trapped them in the loop. Oliver says he feels like this is a test, and that he’s going to find a way out. Laurel begrudgingly agrees to work with him. They get Quentin and head back to the merc’s hideout. Oliver disarms the bomb immediately, and they access a nearby computer, learning a man named Anderson White hired the mercenaries, and tracking the money to a company called Global Solutions. The company has a warehouse on the docks, and they decide to go there.
At the warehouse, they’re ambushed, and Quentin is shot. Laurel struggles to keep him alive, saying she won’t give up on Quentin since he never gave up on her. She says Quentin is the reason she’s trying to be a hero, and he tells her she already is one, and that she loves him. He dies, and Oliver says they’ll fix things next time. Laurel says she can’t do this again now that she’s had a chance to say goodbye to Quentin, and the screen goes white.
Oliver goes to the bunker looking for Laurel. He finds Lyla instead, who says Laurel is out of the loop now, having gotten what she needed. She says Oliver needs to understand that he can’t avoid the inevitable, and Oliver doesn’t know what she means. Lyla tells him he needs to figure that out for himself, then disappears in a flash of light.
Back at the warehouse, Oliver (as Green Arrow) and Quentin (now wearing a bulletproof vest again) enter an office, knocking out the man inside and finding what Oliver believes to be a list of hit victims, which includes Quentin’s name. They realize that Anderson White is just a middleman who organizes the hits, and that they still have no idea who actually ordered the hit on Quentin. As they leave, they’re attacked by more mercenaries, and Quentin is shot in the stomach. They fight their way through, Oliver taking down as many men as he can before he runs low on arrows. Quentin asks Oliver how many times he’s going to try to change things, and Oliver says as many times as it takes. Quentin suggests that maybe the point is that there’s no saving him, and that Oliver should accept his fate the way Quentin did back when Diaz shot him. The room fills with red lasers, and Quentin removes his vest, stepping out in front of him to his death. The screen goes white yet again.
Oliver wakes at home again, taking his time this time. The kids arrive home, and Oliver tells them how glad he is to have had the chance to get to know them, and how proud he is of them. Mia tells him he’s going to be fine, and Oliver says they all will be, too, and leaves. At the fundraiser, Oliver finds Quentin. He asks him about when they first started out, and Quentin was leading the task force to capture The Hood, and what made Quentin decide Oliver wasn’t his enemy anymore. Quentin credits his daughters, saying that he trusted them, and they trusted Oliver. Oliver seems to realize what he needs to make peace with, and he shakes Quentin’s hand and says goodbye. As Rene hustles Quentin away to tell him about the hostage situation, Oliver exits through another door, which leads him out of the time loop and back to the real world.
Lyla congratulates him for understanding that he can’t change his fate any more than he could change Quentin’s. Oliver asks why The Monitor went to all this trouble, and Lyla says The Monitor knew Oliver had to see it for himself. She says she’s worked for The Monitor for “a while,” and that keeping this secret from Diggle is the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She tells Oliver that all they can try to do is survive the crisis, and Oliver tells her he doesn’t even know what it is. Lyla says he will soon, that there’s an evil coming she doesn’t know if they can stop, and that Oliver’s the only chance they have. He replies that everything The Monitor’s had him do has been part of a useless test, but Lyla assures him that everything—the dwarf star particles, Dr. Wong, and the anti-matter weapon—all serve a larger purpose, even if it’s not what he expected. Oliver asks why The Monitor brought his kids into it, and Lyla replies that “time is a gift.” Oliver has one final mission to complete, she says, and she’ll meet him there. The screen goes white again.
Oliver wakes on a cot in a large tent. He sits up, and Laurel, who’s on the cot next to his, does the same. They’re back in the clothes they were wearing when they were tranqued last episode. Laurel asks how they escaped from the time loop, and Oliver says Laurel getting to see Quentin and say goodbye to him was a reward for her not betraying Oliver. He tells her that deep down he believed he could still change his fate, and that now he knows he can’t. He and Laurel exit the tent, and they find Mia, Connor, William, and Diggle waiting for them. Mia asks where they are, and Oliver tells her they’re on Lian Yu.
I’m a sucker for a time loop story, so this week’s episode of Arrow was right up my alley. The return of Paul Blackthrone was a welcome addition, and a nice way to get some meaningful closure for his character, as well as to bring Oliver around to recognizing the larger game The Monitor’s been playing. What exactly is Team Arrow’s final mission before the crisis? We’ll find out next week!