“Arrow” is still working on solidifying its footing this season. I’ve a feeling that much like “The Flash,” once all the bothersome tie-ins to “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” are finished, this season can focus more on its title character and less on spin-off building and be much improved for it.
Not that this episode didn’t have some great moments, but the quality of “Arrow” especially is hurting for constantly having to be the launch point for the greater CW DC TV universe.
But first, let’s talk about the good, specifically the return of the original Team Arrow. It’s been two seasons since it was just Diggle and Felicity aiding Oliver on his mission and with Thea and Laurel at
the spa Nanda Parbat (shhhhh), the OGs were left to defend Star City.
Diggle tracks a lead to Mina Fayad (Carmen Moore), a HIVE operative that may have hired Deadshot to kill his brother. Mina is coincidentally in town to arrange a meeting with Damien Darhk and her associate Jeremy Tell (JR Bourne) aka Flash comic villain Double Down.
Double Down is a relatively new Flash villain whose flesh has been replaced by a cursed magical deck of cards. Double Down can toss those cards a la Gambit at his opponents. Of all the numerous Batman rogues the show has used, Double Down is actually a great opponent for Green Arrow since he uses edged weapon as well.
Their first encounter ends in a draw with Green Arrow catching a card in the arm while Diggle misses his chance to interrogate Mina after being spotted by her security.
Darhk isn’t pleased with Double Down’s failure and uses his apparent telekinesis powers to kill Mina. Since Darhk clearly has enough power to beat Green Arrow on his own, the use of weekly inferior mercenaries to get the job done seems kind of silly.
The highlight of the night though was Felicity chewing out Oliver and Diggle telling them to get over their crap and talk through their issues. Diggle said there was a time he would’ve taken a bullet for Oliver, but now he’s not so sure. It’s hard not to see Diggle’s perspective, but being pissed at Oliver all season wasn’t going to work out in Diggle’s favor.
Beyond eventually setting up Curtis as the show’s version of Mr. Terrific — and that looks to be soon if the T-sphere prototype is any indication — I’m still not sold on the Curtis/Felicity dynamic.
Through three plus seasons, Felicity has been an expert in pretty much everything, but now she’s suddenly losing competency in order to get Curtis some screen time. This week, she has Curtis analyze one of Double Down’s cards/human tissue since she apparently couldn’t do the same thing or call Cisco and Caitlin like she does every other time she’s stumped.
Double Down comes calling to collect his missing card, but now his aim has degraded to Stormtrooper level as Felicity leads Curtis to the underground Arrow HQ revealing her ties to GA. There, she manages to fend Double Down off again by shooting him in the shoulder. Pretty sure being foiled by Felicity makes Double Down the absolute worst assassin in the DCTV.
Somehow though, when Diggle and Green Arrow catch up before he heads back to Central City, Double Down is back to being a dangerous, competent villain. He flings a card at Diggle, but Green Arrow takes the
bullet card for his friend. Cute bit with GA downplaying taking a card for Diggle, but Diggle saying that was enough.
Felicity’s phone keeps going on the fritz and by fritz, I mean looking like she’s tapped into “The Matrix.” It’s probably something a hard restart wouldn’t fix, but she keeps blowing it off even when her name appears through the matrix.
Gotta think this is definitely miniaturized Ray/ATOM trying to communicate with her so he can re-enter the real world. That’s a nice nod to the comic as Atom would travel along via telephone calls and pop out the other end once the person on the other end answered.
That’s further illustrated by Meryln explaining Thea has a bloodlust that won’t be satiated until she gets a killing fix, which he helpfully provides by offering up two of his League of Assassins. Horrified at what she’s become, Thea wants nothing more to do with Merlyn, who tries to make good by agreeing to resurrect Sara.
After repeatedly seeing all of the negative consequences and emotional distress a Lazarus Pit resurrection brings about, why Laurel would still be willing to do this seemed at best delusional and worst, extremely selfish.
To some extent it’s because Laurel’s irrational desire to bring Sara back to life seemed to have come out of nowhere. A major portion of Laurel’s outstanding season-long story arc last year her closure following Sara’s murder and decision to honor Sara’s legacy as Black Canary.
This minimizes much of Laurel’s growth to the point that it begs the question with Sara back why do we need Laurel as Black Canary anymore? Predictably, Sara returns hella crazy and has to be kept in restraints.
Nyssa does her best to ensure the Lazarus Pit doesn’t become a series crutch by contaminating it and ending its restorative powers. For a far more interesting Team Arrow dynamic, I’d gladly trade Laurel and Thea for Nyssa.
The flashbacks thus far this season have been largely forgettable. Despite literally dropping in from nowhere, Oliver’s completely earned the trust of the mercenaries supervising the drug fields and they’re perfectly fine listening to his advice. Skeptical mercs would have been cliche, but sensible in this case. Oliver leads the one hostage unafraid to speak out away from the camp. Potential island love interest?
Also, for the love of all expert costume designers can Diggle please get a better suit? I know we begged and griped about Oliver’s original ally just walking around in a leather jacket while all the other members of Team Arrow were in costume, but man, Diggle costume ver. 1 needs an update. The Magneto helmet definitely doesn’t help.
The episode ends on a hopeful note as Oliver, Felicity and Diggle kick back over some drinks laughing and joking like old times when Oliver reveals he’s got a surprise — a new headquarters. Please be in a cave.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The action sequences made for a fun episode and getting the original Team Arrow on the same page was a welcome move for the rest of the season. I’m still not sold on Sara’s resurrection, but next week’s teaser looks to out the season’s major secret of the Lance/Darhk alliance so it should be a good one.