Oliver's love life has always been messy, but things get much worse when Cupid sets her eyes on The Arrow.
"Draw Back Your Bow" is another villain-of-the-week for Arrow, with the continuing investigation into Sara's death gone cold and the threat of Ra's al Ghul not yet revealed. A copycat archer calling herself Cupid has murdered Ted Grant's former partner, Isaac Stanzler and Oliver must track her down before her body count rises. At the same time, Oliver struggles with the feelings he still has for Felicity, hurt and jealous over the realization that she is working closely with Ray Palmer.
With Felicity's help, Oliver identifies Cupid as Carrie Cutter, a former Starling City Police Department S.W.A.T. team member. Mental illness caused Carrie to leave the police force, and now she's become dangerously obsessed with the vigilante. For a bit of a tired trope (fan becomes fanatic becomes dangerous threat to themselves and those around them), Arrow manages to pull off this story without feeling too gimmicky. Cupid's creepy love nest, the slow reveal of the extent of her obsession, and some creative fight scenes all make Cupid feel like a real threat to Team Arrow. Her stated motivations are scattered and inconsistent, reinforcing the fact that she's suffering from a mental illness. Actor Amy Gumenick really nails the obsessive, delusional air of Carrie Cutter, though her dialogue doesn't always hit the mark. Her lines sometimes move past unsettling into laughable, losing her threatening edge.
For those fans who were missing the gratuitous shots of Oliver working out shirtless, this episode serves up parallel shots of Ray Palmer. The love triangle between Felicity, Oliver, and Ray is picking up steam now, despite Ray's advances still coming off as a little creepy. Oliver told Felicity he couldn't be himself and The Arrow at the same time in "The Calm", effectively ending their romantic relationship in order to remain a vigilante. In "Draw Back Your Bow" we see some of the emotional fallout from that decision. Diggle is back in the role of insightful, emotional communicator in this episode (after some character missteps last week), and his conversations with both Oliver and Felicity about their halted relationship are perfect little character studies.
"Draw Back Your Bow" is satisfying Arrow episode, giving fans equal parts comic book references, exciting action sequences, and character moments. This is the sort of early season episode I've come to expect from Arrow, and the slower pace suggests that Sara's murder is not going to be a mystery that Team Arrow solves quickly, despite the frantic pace of the earlier episodes this season. There's no new episode of Arrow next week. Instead, a two-part crossover episode between The Flash and Arrow will begin with "Flash vs Arrow" on Tuesday, December 2 and conclude with "The Brave and the Bold" on Wednesday, December 3. Both episodes will air at 8/7c on The CW.