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Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
Marked Men

Africa. Ati the tea lady brings Carter a bowl of water. As he splashes some onto his face, some glowing strands -- this time yellow -- squiggle over his skin. The skull symbol again appears and then fades. Ati's heavily made-up eyes flash as she turns away.

Brewery of Torture. Still in his Green Arrow gear, Oliver now stands where he was tortured the week before. Chains and cuffs lie on the floor. His torturer walks up behind him. "Did you miss me?" he asks. He teases Oliver about the beating: "You made me work for it." "I'm glad it was good for you, too," Oliver says, turning to face him. His torturer raises a gun. Oh, what the hell. We all know he's Rick Flag, even if no one's said it yet. I'm calling him Flag from now on; "torturer" is just awkward. Flag says the public tide is turning against the vigilantes. That would have been nice to see on-screen before this episode. Oliver isn't interested in joining, he just wants to put bad guys in jail. "It's going to get tougher," Flag says, "the longer you and your little league of heroes stay half in, half out." Flag says the thing about his group is that everyone thinks they're dead. "We could use you," he says, lowering his gun. "But this is your one and only offer." Oliver RSVPs with an arrow. Flag just as quickly has his gun back up and fires. The bullet grazes Oliver's gauntlet. The skull symbol appears in a puff of smoke. Oliver proceeds to beat the living snot out of Flag. Flag falls to the ground. Oliver kicks him in the ribs. "Where's Chloe Sullivan?" he asks, punctuating each word with a kick. Flag rolls onto his back and tells Oliver it wasn't a kidnapping. "It was a trade," he says. Oliver crouches down beside him and punches him across the jaw. "Trade for what?" Oliver demands. "For you!" Flag shouts back. He chuckles and says Oliver would have been proud of her. "She didn't crack. She downed a cyanide pill just to save your life." Muscles twitch in Oliver's face and then he goes blank. He stands up, numb, and walks away.

Watchtower. It's dark except for flashes of lightning beyond the stained glass window. Oliver sits at the bottom of the spiral staircase, considering the glass vial he found in Chloe's apartment. Clark walks in, momentarily confused because he's usually the one brooding in the dark. "Chloe is gone," Oliver says. He tells Clark what he learned from Flag at the brewery. Clark wonders who these people are and Oliver says they call themselves "crimefighters." "They think we should all remain hidden in the shadows," Oliver says. Is that why he didn't turn on the lights? When he tells Clark that Chloe took a cyanide pill, Clark shakes his head in disbelief. Then Oliver tosses him the vial and explains there were traces of a cyanide antidote in it. "She faked her own death," he says. Clark doesn't look too perturbed, because he remembers that she saw the future. "She was planning to go," he realizes aloud. As he tells Oliver about how Chloe used Dr. Fate's helmet, he looks almost proud of Chloe. Oliver is aghast that Clark let her go. "I had no idea she was leaving," Clark says. Oliver's still pissed. Clark's all, "I understand how much she means to you, Oliver," and gives him an equal rights for chicks speech. Clark trusts that Chloe knew what she was doing. Oliver's really maddest at himself, for failing to protect her. He starts to walk away, but then Clark goes off about how they were born to do this. Oliver's as tired of that destiny crap as I am: "You're playing the fate card? Is that what you're doing again? Is that what gets you through the day?" Not to mention several long seasons of this show. Now Oliver's pissed that people paint them as vigilantes and for some reason turns the conversation to Lois running away. Clark holds up his flight tickets. He wants to go after Lois, but... "They left us, Oliver." Well, it's not really the same thing, Chloe and Lois. "With our lives, we can't blame them." Oliver whips out a set of Kryptonite brass knuckles and punches Clark in the face, shouting, "Quit trying so hard to draw parallels! It's a totally different situation, asshole!" That's what he does in my head, at least. On my screen, he wonders what would have happened if they'd come out of the closet, or words to that effect. Oliver thinks it's time to forge a new fate. "Something's got to change." Yes, please! Clark thinks about that for a while.

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