In the third episode of Arrow, Oliver Queen walked into a mechanic's garage and started speaking fluent Russian to the men he found there. It was a bit of a shock, seeing as the show had already established that he had been a very poor student who never finished college. Adding to the confusion was the moment when Ollie revealed a tattoo on his chest and said "I am Bratva" in Russian. Suddenly, he was treated with respect and refered to as a Captain. It was clear that a lot more happened to Oliver than was previously assumed.
It took until the current fifth season to see how he became Bratva. Ollie -- who spent his third missing year in Hong Kong before being returned to Lian Yu against his will -- left the island again and went to Russia. His mission was to kill Konstantin Kovar, in order to fulfill a promise he made to his friend Taiana. He learned the language and joined the criminal organization Bratva with the help of Anatoly Knyazev, who he had saved three years earlier. So far, he's not had much luck killing Kovar, and Anatoly has not been as much of a help as Ollie had hoped.
In the trailer for next week's episode 'Bratva', seen above, Ollie and most of Team Arrow head to Russia in the present time. Once more, Ollie wants something from Anatoly, who is not very happy to see his old friend again. In fact, during the last few moments of the trailer, it looks as though Anatoly greets Oliver with a punch to the face and the words "You never should have come back to Russia" while the rest of the team looks on. Though since another part of the trailer shows the two of them toasting their "imperfect union" it would seem that they get past this greeting.
Since the flashbacks for the season are only half complete, it's likely that the episode will not reveal everything that happened during Oliver's previous time in Russia. Though one possible theory is that Oliver eventually succeeded in killing Kovar, in spite of the alliance Kovar made with Bratva. Since Ollie will need to have returned to Lian Yu by the end of the season (in the flashbacks) in order to bring the series full circle, it's possible that the flashbacks will move out of Russia before the end of the season. So maybe we will learn what happened between Oliver and Anatoly in this episode after all.
There's also a few shots of the rest of the team, including new recruit Dinah talking to Diggle about stopping a nuclear arms deal in another country. There's also a comedic moment where Felicity tells Curtis to look tough and he literally growls in response. Missing is Rene, though according to the episode's official synopsis, he will have plenty to occupy him in Star City.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Bratva’ @8pm on The CW.