Arrow – Season 6 Episode 7
Arrow celebrates thanksgiving with an arrest, a change in leadership, setting up and ongoing plot and general friction within the team.
This episode is where things feel like they’re starting to come to a head. It’s about the right time in the season for some of the setup to start paying off to prevent the storytelling from becoming stagnant and repetitive.
Oliver’s arrest at the beginning of the episode sets up a plot that will likely inform the midseason cliffhanger in two weeks. It appears that Samanda has enough proof to arrest Oliver for all of the crimes he committed during his time as a vigilante. What form that proof takes isn’t currently disclosed because it is apparently more worthwhile to deploy it at the trial.
The lack of proof being presented is enough reason for the judge to allow Oliver out on bail because he has no reason to keep him locked up and is sympathetic to his status as a single parent. This is clever plotting because it keeps the threat of punishment dangling over Oliver’s head while still allowing him to move freely and be involved in the other plots.
Oliver’s arrest has a knock on effect on the other characters in various ways though most significantly is the partnership between Felicity and Curtis. It’s clear that they have a long way to go before making a truly effective team. At the moment they both keep too many secrets from one another and appear to be far from on the same page on several important issues.
Felicity is the first to express displeasure when she learns that Curtis has been using their proprietary technology to treat Diggle’s tremor without her knowledge though she is far from blameless as Curtis brings up the fact that she named their company without consulting him. Arguably those issues are very far apart on the scale of importance and Felicity specifically makes that argument though that’s largely to absolve herself of the guilt associated with the fact that she isn’t actually in any position to judge Curtis for keeping things from her.
The important takeaway is that they aren’t a true partnership and that’s something they have to resolve among themselves. It isn’t really a focus of the episode but keeping this plot moving by introducing complications is a good thing as it keeps it from being forgotten about and gives the characters lives outside of Team Arrow.
Felicity confronting Curtis is an outlet for the frustration she feels at being kept in the dark about Diggle’s injury. I’ll confess I hadn’t considered the fact that she wasn’t in the loop though last week specifically made sure that she wouldn’t attend Diggle’s confession. Her relationship with Oliver would have made her position difficult if she did know about Diggle’s injury which would have made for good drama as she wrestles with the decision to tell Oliver the truth. On one hand it isn’t her place to say but she also has a responsibility to Oliver and the team so seeing her conflicted might have been interesting.
What actually happened is that Team Arrow was effectively split into two factions split between those that know about Diggle and those that don’t. In theory it constitutes a rift though in practice it’s a temporary speed bump until the knowledge becomes common. This does cause some degree of friction but it is temporary as the affected parties reach an understanding by the end of the episode.
The conflicts shown were hit and miss. Felicity and Curtis’ argument worked in the sense of showing the teething problems appearing in a new partnership; even if the shared blame doesn’t quite match up it’s effective enough to show that they aren’t an effective team quite yet. Oliver’s argument with Diggle doesn’t really work because it requires each of them to behave out of character. Oliver coming to Diggle and telling him how disappointed he is in him for keeping the truth for him is counter to how Oliver has been behaving this season. An earlier episode showed him recognising that Diggle would have problems adapting to being the leader of the team so his lack of understanding here fails to acknowledge it. As far as Oliver is concerned in this particular conversation Diggle has sullied the name of the Green Arrow and failed to live up to Oliver’s expectations. His line about trusting Diggle to be the Green Arrow being a mistake is really cutting and very much not in Oliver’s character even if he’s angry.
Diggle’s defence is that he’s accountable to the team and nobody else so apologised to the people he endangered. Oliver isn’t part of that team any more so Diggle doesn’t owe him anything. Long term fans of the show know that this isn’t true and that Diggle would never think that way. I don’t really buy the drug affecting Diggle’s mind as it wasn’t previously established that the drug did that to him.
His comment about resenting the fact that he has always put Oliver’s mission ahead of his own priorities and has done so again by taking on the Green Arrow mantle since he put Oliver’s family ahead of his was interesting though. This isn’t something that has been brought up before as Diggle always seemed wholly committed to the cause. I can believe that Oliver throwing all the sacrifices he has made in his face would cause him to say something he doesn’t entirely believe due to anger. Oliver’s side of the argument is what lets this down more than anything.
Their second conversation is much more in keeping with their established relationship. Oliver admits that he didn’t consider Diggle’s family when asking him to shoulder the burden of leading the team and is genuinely apologetic about that but Diggle admits that he took on the mantle because that is something he wanted to do. The fantasy scenario the Dominators made them live through during last season’s crossover revealed something that he didn’t know about himself so he sees taking on the mantle as living out that fantasy and is grateful to Oliver for that opportunity.
Of course it seems like Diggle’s time in costume might be coming to an end thanks to permanent nerve damage caused by his injury and repeated steroid abuse. Oliver thinks he’s subbing in for now but it’s likely that it will become a permanent shift if Diggle is no longer up to the task. It does beg the question of what his role in the show will be if he can no longer operate in the field but that’s a discussion for another time.
One of the main reasons I liked the idea of Diggle taking on the mantle is that it suggested the writers had an appetite to move characters forward in ways that are unexpected. Oliver remaining Mayor and still being the lead without being in costume could be really interesting and changing the Green Arrow identity into a legacy is definitely something that had a great deal of potential. Diggle being rendered incapable of operating in the field could be another indication of that desire to move characters forward. Since this show is broadly about unpowered people fighting crime it stands to reason that this can’t be permanent as the Human body can only take so much punishment. Oliver and Diggle have been at this a long time so moving them into a role that doesn’t require them to fight as other characters deal with that is a very logical and interesting progression opportunity for them as well as the other characters. I suspect everyone will be back to their normal roles before long but it’s fun to speculate.
Oliver getting back into costume was exciting enough even if the mission itself felt fairly routine. There was supposed to be a twist in the form of a fake bomb that worked to some degree but it felt like a fairly standard sequence for this show. The whole thing being an elaborate plan to allow Cayden James an opportunity to talk to the Green Arrow is a bit much but the scene itself was nicely handled. Michael Emerson really brings this character to life and distracts from the fact that he’s another villain bent on revenge for something Team Arrow did to him. The details are so far vague but it has been seeded as something important for later.
The secondary goal of Cayden James’ plan also works exactly as he expected it to. Team Arrow are caught on video beating up what appear to be police officers but are actually his men in disguise. This comes on the eve of Star City’s vote on the anti-vigilante laws and it works as intended with the city passing the law and Oliver being forced to accept that the people don’t want vigilantes in their city so he has to actively take steps to stop them. It’s a difficult position to be in as he has to put plans in place to stop himself as well as his friends so seeing how this plays out will be fascinating.
Quentin makes a welcome return after an extended absence and spends most of his time trying to ignore the fact that his daughter’s evil twin is back causing trouble. He’s struggling with his desire to fall off the wagon and start drinking again but focuses his energies into clearing Oliver’s game. It’s fairly standard Quentin stuff but Paul Blackthorne gives it his all as usual. The conversation he has with Dinah about blaming himself for Evil Laurel being on the loose since he could have killed her and didn’t was really well done. Dinah replying by admitting that has similar feelings about Vigilante whom she spared recently. Their shared confession and guilt makes their relationship much more interesting and further reinforces Juliana Harkavy’s ability to play off any member of the cast.
The episode ends with Thea waking up; I don’t really have much to say about that other than it being good to see her conscious again. It’s unclear how she fits into this season’s shifting dynamics and what her role will be now that she no longer works with Oliver or suits up to fight with the team. Time will tell.
A great episode that shakes things up nicely and builds tension for later development. Oliver’s arrest and the promise of a trial creates fascinating dramatic possibilities for the show. Keeping the supposed proof a secret for now is a good move that builds anticipation for the trial that will soon take place. The knock on effect for the other characters works really well as it creates a reason for Felicity and Curtis to realise that they aren’t an effective team yet even if the argument they have doesn’t quite hold up. Diggle’s injury being outed to the team temporarily creates two factions within Team Arrow and allows for a manufactured Oliver/Diggle conflict that doesn’t match up with their established characters. It is resolved in a scene that does work for their characters but the initial conflict brings this down somewhat.
Oliver subbing in for Diggle as the Green Arrow is exciting enough though the sequence feels somewhat routine for this show despite an engaging scene with great acting from Michael Emerson and the complications it ultimately creates since the situation helps the anti-vigilante law be voted in. Quentin’s return is well done though fairly standard for him. His scenes with Dinah make for great viewing and further cement Juliana Harkavy’s ability to interact with other members of the cast. Thea regaining consciousness at the end of the episode is definitely a good thing though I wonder what role she will take in the coming episodes.
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