Cyrus Vanch, a nefarious criminal, is recently released from prison and intends to re-secure his position as leader of the underworld. His first step is to take down his biggest opponent in the city: The Hood. Meanwhile, Oliver shows Moira his father's notebook and questions her about the names on The List. Thea starts her internship with Laurel at CNRI and Detective Lance makes a deadly mistake that puts Laurel in the crosshairs of Cyrus.
Cyrus Vanch, a gangster incarcerated for drug running, human trafficking, racketeering, and murder, is released from Iron Heights Prison on a technicality and his girlfriend, Vivian, picks him up. The two then visit Cyrus's lawyer, George Wolfman. Cyrus accuses George of botching his trial, leading to his incarceration. George cites the vigilante taking down Frank Bertinelli and China White, and The Huntress murdering Zhishan, as "contingencies that couldn't be anticipated". Cyrus hugs him in understanding, claiming that all is forgiven, then stabs George with a switchblade and appropriates the mansion as his own.
At the Arrowcave, Oliver shows John Diggle the notebook that he got from Felicity Smoak. John finds it suspicious that Moira would have a copy of Robert's list, but Oliver attempts to write it off as a coincidence. John understands Oliver wanting to believe that his mother is innocent, but the evidence is suggesting otherwise, especially Walter's recent disappearance.
On Lian Yu, using the map he stole from the mercenary camp, Oliver comes upon the remains of a downed cargo plane. As he attempts to loot the supply cache, an Australian man in commando gear drops down from a hole in the ceiling and holds a sword to Oliver's throat. Oliver tells him that Yao Fei Gulong sent him.
At the police station, Quentin and his commanding officer, Lt. Frank Pike, are arguing over Quentin's recent change of assignment. Quentin insists he is getting close to catching the Hood, but Pike notes that the vigilante has done a lot of good in recent months, and demand for his capture is beginning to wane.
Moira is getting ready to leave the Queen Mansion when Oliver subtly tasks her about the notebook. He claims to have looked up the names online and discovered they are all bad people. Moira tells Oliver that prior to his death, Robert kept a list of people who owed him favors. She reminds him that Robert kept many secrets from the family. She proceeds to destroy the notebook, citing that Walter's disappearance as proof that the only way to keep the family safe is to stop asking questions.
Thea begins her CNRI internship with Laurel, and is introduced to Anastasia, who is on pro-bono sabbatical from her high-paying law firm. Anastasia informs Laurel about Cyrus' recent release from prison. Laurel protests, but Anastasia states that District Attorney Kate Spencer is adamant there is nothing they can do without new evidence. As she plans her next move, Laurel gets a call from Tommy, inviting her to join in sampling some chefs who are being auditioned for the night club. Laurel says that she has to call someone and they'll go out together the next night.
Oliver returns to the Arrowcave and tells John about the destruction of the notebook. John sees it as a confirmation that Moira is hiding something, and says that if it were anyone else, Oliver would be donning his Hood gear and confronting them. Their conversation is interrupted when Laurel calls Oliver's ghost phone. Laurel tells him that she needs evidence that will put Cyrus back behind bars. Oliver points out that he doesn't gather evidence, but Laurel insists that the Hood is the only one who can help her. As Oliver leaves to help her, John asks if he is just using this as an excuse to run away from the truth about Moira. Oliver refuses to dignify this with a response. CTU tech Kelton informs Quentin that after listening in on the bugged cell phone, he's confirmed that Laurel is meeting with the vigilante. Quentin heads to Frank's office, saying that if there is a task force, he wants to be on it.
Cyrus tells Vivian that with China White and Frank Bertinelli out of the picture, there is a power vacuum in Starling City's underworld, and he plans on filling it. He plans to do "something spectacular" to earn the respect of the other gangs. While they converse, the Hood sneaks into Cyrus's mansion, takes out a few of his guards, and ends up shooting a transmitter arrow into a wall near him. Cyrus pulls out the arrow and tells Vivian his plan is to get rid of the Hood.
Laurel and Tommy are preparing for their date when Laurel gets a call from the Hood. He tells her that he has evidence on Cyrus and to meet him at the Winnick Building. Meanwhile, Quentin listens in and then tells his task force that they're to use rubber bullets; Laurel is to be unharmed, but they must do whatever it takes to capture the Hood. As he prepares to go, Lucas warns Quentin that Laurel won't be happy when she learns that her father used her as bait, but Quentin insists his daughter disobeyed his orders to stay away from the vigilante. Meanwhile, Laurel tells Tommy that she has some work to take care of and will meet him in a couple of hours at most.
When Moira's regular chauffeur mysteriously calls in sick, John arranges to take his place. Moira has him drop her off at a restaurant. Once Moira goes inside, John follows her in, only to discover that she's attending a friend's birthday party. When Moira asks why he's there, John lies that he was looking for the restroom.
Laurel meets The Hood on the roof of Winnick Building and he gives her the recording he made of Cyrus' plans. Suddenly, Quentin and his men storm the roof and The Hood uses Laurel as a shield. After giving her a whispered apology, the Hood leaps off the roof to the patio below and ducks into the building. Quentin recklessly charges after him, but the Hood knocks him out and makes his escape.
At the precinct, Laurel is outraged at being manipulated. When Quentin reminds her that she disobeyed his orders, Laurel points out that he bugged the phone after warning her, as he wanted her to contact the Hood. Laurel warns her father that his obsession with the Hood is leading him down a self-destructive path, just like after Sara died and her mother left. Quentin tells her that he will need the vigilante's phone back. Disgusted, Laurel slams it down on the desk and walks away.
Oliver tells John about the ambush, and John suggests that Oliver "cannot see straight" with either Laurel or Moira. He has been keeping Moira under surveillance, because someone with an unbiased perspective needs to keep an eye on her. Oliver initially disapproves, but John convinces him that there is nothing wrong with driving her around for a few days.
Laurel tells Tommy about how her father used her as bait to entrap The Hood. Tommy ultimately disapproves of her meeting The Hood, expressing that even if the vigilante has helped her, he's still a killer. Tommy says he can sympathize with Laurel over the fact that someone close to her has been lying.
The next morning, Cyrus is watching a news report on the failed sting against The Hood when Vivian informs him of a tip she received from their mole in the police department: the vigilante is working with an attorney named Laurel. Meanwhile, Tommy visits Oliver at the manor and tells him what happened with Laurel. Oliver is surprised that Laurel is lying to Tommy, and Tommy points out that Laurel has always been intrigued by bad boys like the vigilante. Trying to reassure his friend, Oliver advises Tommy to fix things with Laurel before it's too late.
On Lian Yu, the commando tells Oliver that he has been working with Yao Fei for months, trying to find a way off the island. They found the airfield but Yao was compromised and forced to work with Edward. The man then gives Oliver a ninjato and admits that he'll need someone to help him take the airfield now that Yao is gone. However, if Oliver is supposed to have his back, he needs to make sure he can cover it. The two spar, with Oliver being easily overpowered. Oliver insists that he's no soldier and that he only killed the mercenary by accident, and ran when Yao told him to. Disgusted, the man knocks him unconscious with one punch.
That night, Laurel is leaving an apology message for Tommy when someone knocks at her door. Believing it is Tommy, she answers it, only for two of Cyrus' men to break in. Laurel manages to fend them both off and runs for the door, but Cyrus steps in and tasers her unconscious.
John drops off Moira, who claims to be meeting with her accountant. Once she goes inside, John follows her and sneaks into a supply closet next to the office. Using a listening device, John overhears Moira talking to Malcolm (although John doesn't know who it is), telling him that she's made sure that Carl Ballard won't interfere with "The Undertaking". Malcolm then tells Moira to get rid of the wreckage of the Queen's Gambit, saying that there's no need to look for evidence of sabotage even though Moira is sure that it happened. Malcolm's bodyguard comes into the closet and sees John, and asks what he's doing there. John claims that he was looking for a place to smoke and shows the bodyguard a cigarette lighter, which he substituted for the listening device.
When Tommy returns to Laurel's apartment, he finds it in disarray and discovers the Hood's transmitter arrow stuck in the wall. He takes it to Quentin and they play back a recording of Cyrus telling them to send the Hood to meet with him or else he will "leave pieces of [Laurel] all over Starling City". Quentin realizes that only someone in the squad could have overheard his earlier conversation with Laurel about her work with the Hood. He tells Tommy that he can't trust his own men and has to make a call.
John plays Oliver the recording of the conversation between Moira and her contact (whose voice is distorted and unrecognizable), and Oliver is shocked that the accident with the yacht was no accident. However, he insists that Moira couldn't have been involved. John doesn't believe it and figures that the recording shows that she's involved, but they are interrupted when Quentin calls on Oliver's cell phone. He asks the Hood to help him since Cyrus kidnapped Laurel.
On Lian Yu, Oliver awakens to find that he has been tied to a chair. The commando reiterates that he needs someone else to help him retake the airfield, but Oliver is too weak to be of any use to him. He now plans to kill Oliver so he can't be captured and reveal his location to Edward. Oliver finally injures his hands to pull himself free of the ropes and then punches his captor. Surprised and impressed, the man introduces himself as Slade Wilson and admits that Oliver might have some fight in him after all.
The Hood meets Quentin on a roof and Quentin admits that he hates everything that the vigilante stands for. However, because there is a security leak in the precinct, he has no one else to turn to. The Hood states that Cyrus's mansion is too heavily fortified to take on alone, and tells Quentin that he'll have to help him.
At the mansion, Cyrus warns Laurel that her time is running out and he has trained men placed around the house. He's unaware that the Hood is already on the grounds, taking out the men in ones and twos. Meanwhile, Cyrus informs Laurel that he's confirmed that the vigilante always carries 24 arrows and flechettes while he has 25 men armed with automatic weapons. A guard captures the Hood when he runs out of weapons and brings him to Cyrus. Cyrus orders his man to kill the Hood, but Quentin arrives, kills the last man, and prepares to shoot Cyrus. However, the Hood reminds Quentin that he's a cop, not a vigilante. Quentin gets control of himself and punches Cyrus out while the Hood slips away.
Quentin takes Laurel back to the station to make sure that she's okay, and then offers to drive her home. However, Laurel refuses as she can't trust her father. As Laurel goes to her car, The Hood steps out and asks if she's okay. Laurel assures him she is and states her father has the phone back. Laurel tells the vigilante that she knew the risk, but the Hood refuses to let her take them anymore. As Tommy runs up, Oliver slips into the shadows. Laurel apologizes to Tommy for lying to him. Relieved that she's alive and unharmed, Tommy hugs Laurel, assuring her that nothing else matters as long as she's okay.
On Lian Yu, Slade warns Oliver that he'll kill him if he ruins his escape attempt, but Oliver points out that if he's dead then Slade will have nobody else to help him. When he asks what they should do next, Slade tells him to pick out a weapon from his supplies. When Oliver goes through them, he finds the black-yellow Deathstroke mask and assumes that Slade was the man who tortured him. Slade reveals that he is a member of Team 7, an elite division of the Australian Special Forces, hence the unique mask design. him and his partner/friend were sent to the island to extract Yao, but his partner/friend ended up going rogue. It was his ex-partner and former friend, not Slade, that tortured Oliver and captured Yao.
Oliver reviews John's recording and is devastated to learn of Moira's complicity in his father's death. John suggests that blind trust can be dangerous and they figure that they need to know what "the undertaking" is and how Moira is involved. Oliver suits up and says that he's going to talk with his mother.
Moira is holding a meeting in her office when the Hood swings in through the window and takes out the guards. He then turns to Moira, accuses her of failing the city.
Preparation ran from November 16 until November 26, 2012. Shooting ran from November 27 until December 6, 2012.
- This is the last episode of to not feature Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak until "".
- This episode marks the first time Oliver ran out of arrows during a fight. This would happen again in Season 4's "" and episode "".
- This episode marks the debut of Slade Wilson, who would play a major/recurring role in later seasons.
Behind the scenes
- Laurel states that Cyrus Vanch is connected to at least 52 homicides, a reference to The New 52 DC comics revamp.
- Laurel compares her date with Tommy to an episode of The Bachelor.
- Malcolm's office door reads "Faquet-Lemaitre Consulting", a misnamed reference to Dominique Fauquet-Lemaitre, a recurring set decorator on .
- After capturing the Hood, Vanch tells him, "Lose the bow, Merida". This is a reference to the Disney Princess/Pixar character Mérida, who is noted for her skill in archery in the film, Brave, which was released in theaters four months before Arrow's premiere.
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