- "I'm surprised. People usually don't return for a second dose of Vertigo."
- —Werner Zytle taunting Laurel Lance
Oliver is thrown by the changes within Team Arrow. He's used to calling the shots but sees that the team has evolved in his absence and tensions quickly escalate in the lair. Oliver is furious that Laurel has been going out as the Black Canary and tells her to stop risking her life, but when Vertigo hits the streets again, Laurel goes against Oliver's wishes and tracks down Vertigo who hits her with a full dose of the drug. Laurel's biggest fears revolve around her sister Sara so the Vertigo causes her to hallucinate a fight between Canary and Black Canary. Meanwhile, Chase surprises Thea, and Roy warns Thea to stay away from Malcolm.
The Arrow and Arsenal pursue an escaping man, who proves largely evasive until he is taken down by Black Canary - Laurel. Rather than be grateful, the Arrow is furious to see her still on the streets as a vigilante. He warns her that she is in over her head trying to live up to Sara's title, and tries to convince her to give up being Black Canary for her own safety. Annoyed by the Arrow's scolding and attempts to dissuade her, Black Canary suggests they simply avoid any direct contact.
Later in the Arrowcave Oliver is still fuming from their encounter, and demands to know from Diggle why he allowed her to go out at all. Diggle defends Laurel by pointing out she is not helpless, and that she was helpful during Oliver's absence. Felicity announces the arrival of Oliver's "new best friend"; Malcolm Merlyn. Malcolm wants to begin training Oliver to fight Ra's, but also wants him to tell Thea the truth about his vigilante work, feeling she can't be kept in the dark as they fight back. Oliver is reluctant to do so, as Thea's ignorance could be the last way to keep her safe. Diggle also warns Oliver that his on-off rocky relationship with his sister could end if she discover the truth about him.
Meanwhile, Quentin tells Laurel about what Sin told him; that the woman behind the Canary is not Sara. Laurel pretends to be surprised by worries her father is getting closer to the truth. Quentin believes Laurel claim to not know what Sin means and departs.
Laurel goes to the courthouse to oversee the transportation of Werner Zytle (Vertigo). One of the guards suddenly starts to hallucinate seeing the reporters as monsters and randomly fires his gun into the crowd, hitting many people. Zytle escapes as Laurel takes down the gunman. In the Arrowcave the team watch the news and try to locate Zytle's location. Laurel comes in and tries to suit up as Black Canary, but Oliver takes her outside and once again tries to dissuade her actions, this time likening it to that of an addict; Laurel sees the role of the Canary as an escape from harsh reality. However, he hits a nerve and is coldly rebuffed by her, who says Oliver falls into the same category as her, as he has many reasons to want to escape his own reality.
Oliver goes ahead and reveals his Arrow identity to Thea, showing her the lair and all his tools and outfit. At first in a daze to discover this, Thea is (unexpectedly) overjoyed and praises Oliver for being a hero, remembering all the grief she gave him when she thought he was self-absorbed. Later on in her home they discuss his activities, and Oliver confirms Moira's knowledge of his secret identity. Thea jokes in retrospect that many of Oliver's excuses to go out as the Arrow were not even good. Oliver turns serious when he discusses the trials that lay ahead of them, and adds that he will always hate Malcolm, but tolerates him because he has an important role to play. Malcolm appears and Thea accuses him of deliberately trying to create a rift between her and Oliver. Malcolm accepts her anger and leaves.
Roy talks to Thea, who is surprised he discovered Oliver's role as the Arrow before she did. Roy is grateful she now knows the truth. Thea admits to him she is starting to second-guess her father, and Roy urges her to break away from him. They are interrupted by the DJ Chase, who flirts with Thea.
Against Oliver's warning Laurel goes after Zytle alone. She takes down a few of his men but is infected with the drug Vertigo, which causes her to hallucinate seeing Zytle as Sara. "Sara" taunts, mocks, and derides Laurel for her attempt to take up "her" mantle of the Canary, accusing her of stealing it and failing at being a hero. The drug plays out one of Laurel's biggest fears; that she is fooling herself trying to live up to her sister's status as a hero. The two Canaries fight, with "Sara" (really Zytle) savagely beating Laurel. Driven to hysteria over it, Laurel pleads for "Sara" to stop, saying she is her sister, only to be beaten up even more. Laurel is nearly killed and only survives thanks to the intervention of Team Arrow. Arrow chases after Zytle, but he gets away, and the Arrow and Arsenal take a pleading and broken Laurel to the Arrowcave to be treated for her affliction.
By the time they get to the Arrowcave, the drug's effects are in full swing and Laurel is violently convulsing and bleeding. Laurel hallucinates Felicity as Sara, and pleads for forgiveness. As they administer the cure Thea comes in and sees Laurel in her costume, and guesses she is involved. But she is unable to get any answers as Oliver tries to usher her out - only for Roy to snap at him for trying to keep her in the dark. Thea leaves and Oliver prepares to reprimand Roy for his words, only to be scolded himself by Felicity. She points out that in Oliver's absence they thought he was dead and had to do things without him - even when it included doing things he would not. Though Oliver tries to argue that he is back, Felicity cuts him off and says this means nothing, so he will have to get used to the team's independence outside of him. She adds spitefully that he has no right to criticize their decisions. When no one comes to a stunned Oliver's defense, he resigns to going up to Verdant to muse about Felicity's words. Diggle joins him and goes for a more subtle approach. He explains the team was very close to hanging up their vigilante business under the impression Oliver was dead. It was then that they realized they did not do it just for Oliver but for themselves and the people of their city. He tells Oliver that he has created something great, but questions whether he can handle it.
A lucid Laurel tells Felicity what she saw in her hallucination and begins to feel uncertainty and doubt over being Black Canary, thinking she can't live up to her sister. Felicity suggests that this is the problem: Laurel is trying to be like Sara. She believes Sara wore a mask partly to be a hero, but also to hide inner darkness, and Laurel has a light inside of her she can use to her advantage. Reassured in herself, Laurel suits up as Felicity discovers Zytle's location. Oliver and Diggle come in, and Oliver tries to tell Laurel something; she assumes he is going to try and dissuade her again, but he does the opposite; he has her come with him to confront Zytle.
Thea sleeps with Chase and they prepare to drink wine. However, Thea notices a particular aroma in the red wine and realizes he is trying to drug her. She reacts aggressively, but Chase proves to be a better fighter and holds her at bay with a knife. Before he can kill her, Roy as Arsenal comes to her defense. However he proves as insufficient and Malcolm shoots an arrow into Chase's shoulder. Realizing there is no way out but through death, Chase drinks a poison that immediately kills him.
The Arrow and Black Canary find Zytle holding scientists hostage. He escapes by setting the chemicals on fire, and the Arrow saves the hostages as Black Canary goes after Zytle. Once again he infects her with Vertigo, and she once again is faced with Sara. She also imagines seeing her father, confirming another fear: that she is in the wrong for not telling Quentin of his youngest daughter's death. "Quentin" fiercely scolds Laurel for her decision to remain silent, arguing "he" could not mourn for Sara. He is replaced by "Sara", who demands to know if Laurel thinks she can be like her. Laurel states she is no longer trying and proceeds to viciously beat Zytle into submission. She imagines seeing a civilian-clothed Sara smiling at her, with it really being Oliver.
Upon discovering Thea's close encounter, Oliver goes to see her and Roy. Thea is greatly shaken by the event and reconsiders whether she can face the League of Assassins after all. Malcolm decides it is time for the two to train, and tells Oliver to face his greatest fear - as Ra's will use his fear to his advantage.
At the same time Laurel decides to tell her father the truth about Sara. At first it seems Quentin has already come to realize it, but it turns out to be his revelation that Laurel is the Canary; he realizes the truth when Laurel breaks into tears. He becomes distraught to discover he has lost Sara again, and father and daughter hug in grief.
Oliver and Thea leave Starling to go to the place Oliver is terrified of; Lian Yu.
During flashbacks, Maseo tells Oliver to contact his family and the media so that Waller cannot get to him; Waller will eventually realize Maseo tried to give away the virus and retaliate. In the meantime, he, Tatsu, and their son will go on the run. Oliver tries but is found by A.R.G.U.S and tortured for the family's whereabouts. Waller forces Oliver to reveal their location by thinly threatening Thea, who she mentions has descended into drug use,and could easily "overdose" any day. However they only find Maseo, who lied to Oliver about where they were going in case he was caught. To make up for this, Waller has the two taken to China White's location to apprehend her. In Starling City.
Preparation ran from November 17 until November 25, 2014. Shooting began on November 26 and ran until December 9, 2014.
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