There were three major things that were new to this episode, plus a ton of returning ones that we'll make note of as we pass them by in conversation.
As ever, we watched this episode right along with you, dear readers, and would love to hear if you have something for us that we hadn't yet considered. Comments, e-mail, Facebook, buy a billboard...whatever.
But don't buy a billboard. It's really expensive, and unless you're in one of the two cities where we have major operations, it would be pointless.
Onward, to mayhem...
The major plot this week facing Thea and Moira was the idea that Moira Queen has been tapped to run for mayor.
It sounds like the showrunners are doing the old TV trick of not naming parties, so that you can sympathize with a character on their merits rather than on your real-world politics, but Queen is apparently a fiscally-conservative Republican, running at the urging of bankers concerned that a tax-and-spend liberal like Sebastian Blood might bankrupt the city trying to help the poor and those affected by the earthquake at the end of the first season.
Will we see a Mayor Moira Queen, then, when all is said and done and Blood is (theoretically) outed as a creepy, evil cultist?
It's hard to say. In the comics, Oliver Queen ran for mayor a couple of times, and won once. The short story "What Can One Man Do?", written by Elliot S! Maggin in his first professional work, gave Oliver a kind of similar story to what his mom experienced on Arrow this week, as he agonized over the decision to run for mayor.
(Fun fact: That story was written for a high school class, and Maggin earned a B+ for it if I'm remembering correctly. He thought the grade was silly, since when you write a comic book for your social studies class you probably should either get an A for creativity or fail for not following directions. I first learned this when I interviewed him for my high school paper in 1997...the first comic book professional I ever interviewed, and a story that won me the Empire State Student Press Association Gold Award for entertainment writing in 1998, and by extension earned me an internship at Wizard Magazine in 1999, starting my career in comics journalism!)
The fact that Moira and Walter talked about Thea's parentage so much this week seems...relevant. Could this mysterious stranger coming to suggest a seemingly-insane strategy of Moira running for mayor perhaps be doing so at Malcolm Merlyn's urging, thrusting her into the public eye where revelations about Thea's parentage can do the most damage? Worth considering...
Markovia isn't an entirely unfamiliar name to viewers of Arrow, who will remember that it was mentioned in the episode "State vs. Queen."
In the comics, it's a nation run by Brion Markov, who is a superhero named Geo-Force and who had a sister named Terra who was killed by Deathstroke (Slade Wilson).
On Arrow, of course, Markov designed the earthquake machine at the heart of this episode but doesn't seem to have enough juice to get a whole country named after him...so it seems to be either coincidence, or perhaps some as-yet-unrevealed backstory. Also, he's dead now.
In any event, Geo-Force has powers that could be used to create or simulate an earthquake by manipulating the earth itself. Perhaps that's what they were getting at by putting the weapons dealer's customers there...!
You know, both Geo-Force and Green Arrow have been known to work with The Outsiders, a group that occasionally poke their nose in Markovian politics and who count Shrapnel (the villain of Arrow's midseason premiere "Blast Radius" as a recurring foe...!
When Bronze Tiger seemed hesitant to jump right into the earthquake machine business (even though he got over it quickly), we thought about his anti-hero status in the comics, and about his involvement with the villains-as-heroes team Suicide Squad, led by Checkmate's (and now A.R.G.U.S.'s) Amanda Waller.
When Waller appeared in this episode, then, we knew exactly what she was going to say--and boyoboy, was that exciting.
Some online have noticed that the pair of high heels seen making their way to Bronze Tiger's cell were red, and wondered whether that might be fellow Squad member Harley Quinn...but Amanda Waller actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson seemingly dismissed that idea (without knowing or acknowledging that it was out there) when she tweeted of the episode's end:
if you hear the ominous clickety clack of high heels coming toward you, you better hope it's not me #Arrow #clicketyclack #SuicideSquadMilo Armitage
— CynthiaAddaiRobinson (@CynthiaAddaiRob) January 30, 2014
As noted by Sephron13 below, arms dealer Milo Armitage is a not-insignificant figure in the history of the Green Arrow mythology...although he hasn't appeared on-panel with Oliver before.
Amitage was a thorn in the side of Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen's son who took over the Green Arrow mantle briefly--as well as Connor's stepfather, having married Moonday Hawke (his mother).