Every year on Arrow, Ollie's experiences during the flashbacks have informed the story in the present day. He learned the skills he uses to be a vigilante in the first season. In the second season, Slade Wilson came back into his life, affected by his own time on the island of Lian Yu. In season 3 Oliver learned what happened to his friends Maseo and Tatsu after the death of their child while he was with them in China. And in season 4, the magic sought after by Damien Darhk was familiar to Ollie, as he had encountered it before on Lian Yu.
So far, there has not been much overlap between Ollie's time in Russia and his current experiences in Star City. At least in season 5, there have actually been mentions of Oliver's time with the Bratva and how he acquired the ability to speak Russian.
Well, it's time for the past and present to intersect once more. The CW released the synopsis for 'Bratva', an upcoming episode which brings modern day Ollie back to Russia.
OLVIER RETURNS TO RUSSIA — A mission takes Oliver (Stephen Amell), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and team to Russia where they meet up with Oliver’s old friend, Anatoly (guest star David Nykl). Meanwhile, fresh out of rehab, Lance (Paul Blackthorne) returns to the mayor’s office ready to get back to work. However, when Susan (guest star Carly Pope) asks for an interview with Lance to discuss his addiction, he balks and it’s up to Rene (guest star Rick Gonzalez) to help keep things on track. Ben Bray directed the episode written by Oscar Balderrama & Emilio Ortega Aldrich.
It's not generally easy for Ollie to share personal information about his time away with anyone, including his team. But he's always opened up the most to Felicity, so it makes sense that she would come with him to Russia and meet Anatoly. It's not clear who else from the team is accompanying him, with one exception. Rene is apparently staying home to help Lance.
The story about Lance returning to work as Deputy Mayor is missing something. There is no mention of how he reacts to Laurel's return from the dead. The most obvious explanation for Oliver and the others not telling him is that they've already learned that this is not the same Laurel they remember, as indicated in the extended midseason trailer. Whether Lance knows an evil version of his daughter is around or whether they keep her from him entirely remains to be seen.
Arrow will return to the CW with 'Who Are You' on Wednesday, January 25 at 8 p.m.
Source: The CW
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