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These are some major spoilers, peeps. Watch the episode, then read the review.

Arrow episode 12, Unchained, immediately brings Nyssa back into the fold. After some time being locked away as a League prisoner, Nyssa escapes and goes on a mission to find a Lotus Elixir. Meanwhile, in Star City, Team Arrow go up against a parkour crazy thief who is stealing new technology that could take down the internet. The team not only learn that the thief is working for the Calculator, but that Thea’s blood lust is taking its toll in a new way. After refusing to kill, her body starts to suck the life from herself causing the initial wound caused by Ra’s to reappear.

From props, to name drops, I love the hints episode make when referring to comics and previous episodes. This episode was an amazing onslaught of both. First off was Nyssa, my favourite character from last season. I was so enthralled with the last few episodes story arc that I forgot her and her vendetta against Merlyn. Her introduction in this episode reminds viewers why she should never be forgotten again. She once again leaps into action and forces her way into some of the best fight scenes Arrow has to offer.

The second, freakishly unexpected addition is Roy Harper. While (stupidly, really) chasing down the crazy parkour thief without his green hood, Oliver tackles his prey to the ground and knocks off his hood. Bloody hell, there’s Roy. As always, Colton Haynes fills the screen with his chiselled jaw and gymnastic brilliance (… stunt double…) but this episode he brings so much more wisdom and thoughtfulness then his character has ever had. His true growth is seen when he talks to the dying Thea, the pair profoundly wiser than their first introduction.

It did, however, feel that the writers (as had many fans) have forgotten that Thea and Alex are dating. I get that nothing happened between Roy and her, but doesn’t Alex care? His girl is MIA!

Then, flippin’ Katana. My heart couldn’t take it. The bad costume was back, the weird mask donned, and I still freaked out. Revealing once again Tatsu’s artistry with a sword, Nyssa and she duel to the joy of every fan ever.

But the good stuff keeps coming! As stated last week, Felicity is not Oracle. Forget the chair, forget the tech, she’s not Oracle. But… But, the big villain this episode is none other than Calculator, Oracle’s self-proclaimed internet nemesis. Oracle and Overwatch are in near perfect alignment. It’s the identity of the Calculator, however, that causes the biggest difference.

Flashbacks this week went to a whole new level of weird. Reiter has turned to torturing Oliver, and when the pain became too much Oliver started to have visions. Who should turn up but Shado who takes Oliver on a spiritual journey to forgive himself. Although different and shorter than previous weeks, the flashbacks were not easy to enjoy. Spiritual/ Dream realm scenes generally aren’t. Especially with the ‘it’s real but not real’ at its back bone.

Unchained was a whirl wind episode that is best watched without knowing any spoilers. The sudden appearances of old characters and random references added another layer to Arrow that makes it even more enjoyable.

Quote of the Episode: Good story. Write me a letter from prison. (Felicity)

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Brittany Howarth

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