A jail break, cover-up and some heavy-handed themes in the latest Arrow

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Feb 23, 2017

Spoilers ahead for "The Sin-Eater," the latest episode of The CW's Arrow!

The short version: A few B-list baddies break out to try to steal some cash left over by Tobias Church. Green Arrow’s accidental murder of Det. Billy Malone is revealed and the ACU comes at him. Oliver's reporter girlfriend confronts him about being the Green Arrow, so Thea plants fake docs on her laptop and turns her career into a tire fire.

The good: A lot of stories come to a head, Thea goes dark

Look, this episode wasn't all that great. But it did manage to move a whole lot of lingering plot threads forward in meaningful ways. The hunt for Prometheus gets back on track and Oliver visits his mother … who refuses to help and basically tells him to get lost. In retaliation, Prometheus leaks the info that the Green Arrow is responsible for killing Det. Malone, so the ACU makes him Public Enemy No. 1. You just knew this cover-up would come back to haunt Oliver and DA Chase at some point, and those lies are coming back to roost big time. The scandal is all over TV, and it looks like Oliver's political career might just be a one-season story.

The lingering mystery of Oliver's reporter girlfriend's investigation into his real identity also hit this week as he lies to her when confronted about his vigilante escapades. Her suspicions are pretty much confirmed when Thea has Felicity plant incriminating stuff on her laptop to have her fired for plagiarism. This story seemed like it was going somewhere early, but no, she was apparently just a reporter dating the focus of her story. Umm, yeah. Ok, that does look pretty bad.

Thea has been MIA on and off for the past several episodes, but she came back in a big way tonight. It took a bit of getting used to, but Thea has figured out how to play politics. In this case, brutally. She torches the reporter's career knowing full well it'll pretty much ruin her life and doesn't really have a ton of remorse about it. Oliver calls her on it and points out she's acting with the same kind of ruthlessness as their mother. Which is a fair point. Thea hasn't had a good story in a while. This one wasn't great, but hell, it at lest gave her something to do.

The bad: That jailbreak, the clunkiness, Oliver

For real, how is Star City's police department stupid enough to transfer China White, Carrie Cutter and Liza Warner all on the same bus? With just two redshirt guards? That little transfer was destined to fail from the jump. Teaming those three characters up was a cool (if not somewhat random) move to dip back into the bag of former Baddies of the Week — while also throwing a nod to the dearly departed Tobias Church.

In case you didn't catch it, this episode was titled "The Sin-Eater." If you did miss it, you obviously weren't paying attention, because they beat that theme over our heads like a ton of sin-soaked bricks. The Russian story hits that note explicitly while Quentin is guilt-ridden with taking the blame for Liza Warner's jail break. Then there's Oliver, who is always a gaping wound of blame and guilt. Look, I'm glad to see the show stay on theme. But try aiming for a bit more subtlety next time, guys. It goes a long way.

Oliver was also a big problem this week. With the ACU on his tail, he decides to just take a seat on the bench and not catch the bad guys (err, gals). Which is weirdly out of character, because it's not the first time the cops have been hunting the Green Arrow. Why is this specific instance any different (a question Quentin actually asks, as a matter of fact)? Yes, Prometheus is pulling the strings. But that's happened before, and Oliver’s solution was never "eff it, let these bad guys just steal hundreds of millions of dollars."

Also: Glad to see Dinah Drake join the SCPD. With Quentin in the mayor's office, it provides the team with a connection back to law enforcement. But why does the entire media apparatus of Star City turn out for a random police officer swearing-in? This is, like, a huge city. TV stations don't typically turn out for every swearing-in for every new cop the town adds. That just felt really random.

Lingering questions

This season has been far from perfect, but seeing Oliver struggle with being mayor of Star City has been one of the most engaging new stories. With the cover-up scandal hitting the fan, it looks like we'll be getting a meaty city politics story to go along with all the arrow-shooting. Which is great, because when done right, it's a welcome change of pace.

Prometheus is still out there, and it's high time they circled back to that story. It's been on the sideline for a while now. After coming on strong, he's really taking a chill approach to super villain-ing these days.

Up next: Somebody is coming for the corrupt mayor of Star City. Sorry, Ollie.