'Arrow' Review: "Betrayal"

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Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its thirteenth outing of the series “Betrayal,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell)'s vigilante association with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) puts her life at risk when Cyrus Vanch (David Anders) seeks to make a name for himself in Starling City, while Diggle investigates Oliver's mother to determine her involvement with the mysterious book of names.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Vertigo” saw Oliver looking to exonerate his sister by bringing “The Count” (Seth Gabel) to justice, while Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) revealed a secret to Oliver.  So, what does the thirteenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 12 episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “Betrayal!”

Following criminal Cyrus Vanch’s release from prison, he and his girlfriend pay his former lawyer a deadly visit, taking over his property in the process. Elsewhere, Oliver has trouble believing Diggle’s insinuation that his mother could be involved in any illegal dealings, remembering how back on the island Yao Fei’s map led him to an abandoned plane presided over by an ambushing soldier ('Spartacus: War of the Damned's Manu Bennett).

Meanwhile, Detective Lance gets taken off the Arrow case, as Oliver confronts his mother about the mysterious notebook. Moira dismisses the book as a list of favors Oliver’s father kept, burning it when Oliver suggests they should look into some of the bad people therein. Elsewhere, Laurel learns of Cyrus Vanch’s release, and Tommy calls looking to spend time with her.

Laurel places a call to the vigilante asking for help with Cyrus Vanch, to which Oliver reluctantly agrees to meet, while Quentin overhears the conversation through the tap and plots to ambush the pair with a task force. Later, Oliver infiltrates Vance’s mansion and listens in on the man’s plan plotting to rule the city by taking down the Arrow first and foremost.

As Diggle drives Moira around hoping to find some proof of her illegal activities to take to Oliver, Laurel meets with Oliver atop a nearby roof. The police quickly make their move, and Oliver barely manages to escape, knocking out Quentin in the process. Laurel chews out her father for using her as bait, but Quentin insists she betrayed him by associating with the vigilante in the first place.

Oliver objects to Diggle following his mother, while Laurel fumes to Tommy about her father’s betrayal. Tommy tends to agree with Quentin about Laurel associating with a known killer, while Vanch and his lady plot to bring Arrow to them by targeting Laurel!

Tommy takes his concerns to Oliver the next day, sending him into a flashback of explaining to the mysterious soldier that Yao Fei sent him to find the plane. The soldier explains that he and Yao Fei had plotted to take over a nearby airfield, and begins attacking Oliver to evaluate him as a suitable replacement, knocking him out. Back in the present, Laurel attempts to call Tommy, before being interrupted by Vanch’s goons in her apartment. She manages to hold her own for a bit, until Vanch himself gets the jump on her with a taser.

Dropping Moira off at another meeting, Diggle once again stealthily follows as she steps into Malcolm Merlyn’s office. Through the wall, Diggle hears and records Moira admitting to “The Undertaking” and her cover-up of Robert Queen’s yacht, while back at Laurel’s apartment, Tommy finds a message from Vanch demanding the vigilante meet with him to spare Laurel’s life. Tommy takes the message to Quentin, who realizes someone on the force must have leaked Laurel’s involvement with the vigilante to the criminal.

Back at the lair, Diggle plays Oliver the recording of his mother, the revelation somewhat tempered by Quentin’s call for assistance rescuing Laurel. Oliver once again remembers how he resisted the mysterious soldiers threats of killing him, breaking his own wrist to get out of restraints, before the man revealed himself as Slade Wilson, and offered to train Oliver as his new partner. Back in the present, Oliver meets with Quentin on the roof from earlier, and the pair reluctantly agree to help one another with Laurel’s rescue.

As Vanch taunts a captive Laurel, Oliver infiltrates the mansion once more, taking down scores of guards before finally finding himself at gunpoint before Vanch. Quentin takes out the one remaining guard, and incapacitates Vanch himself, as Oliver flees the scene. The threat abated, Laurel tells her father that despite her gratitude for the rescue, she’ll need some time away to regain trust of him. Outside, Oliver appears to Laurel as the vigilante and apologizes for putting her in danger, disappearing before she can protest his abandonment.

Back in flashback, Slade vows to train Oliver intensively, forcing him to choose a weapon, before Oliver finds the black and orange mask of the man who had tortured him weeks earlier! Slade explains the mask’s presence as one of two, the other belonging to his former partner in Australian intelligence, now working for the enemy.

Meanwhile in the present, Oliver apologizes to Diggle for doubting him, and vows to pay his mother another visit to learn about “The Undertaking.” Later that night, Arrow busts through a window and holds an arrow to Moira, telling her she’s failed the city! Dun dun dun…

Following the disappointment of last week's "Vertigo," we weren't exactly expecting a huge comeback episode, though "Betrayal" largely follows suit with the more average 'Arrow' episodes. The revelation of Oliver learning his mother's illicit involvement in the city's schemes and the yacht shipwreck certainly moves things along, but David Anders' villain of the week largely falls flat, accomplishing very little before being brought to justice. This seems to be something of a pattern with under-cooked 'Arrow' villains, while the hour's strongest guest star Manu Bennett is kept in flashback, with very little to do. We have faith in the series going forward, but "Betrayal" does very little to address the series' more glaring weaknesses.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its thirteenth episode?  What did you like about “Betrayal?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “The Odyssey” on The CW!

http://youtu.be/1D0dY_GaFm4

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