Brothers in Arms was a really interesting episode. If it focused on the main plot throughout the episode, it probably would have been one of my favorite of this challenged Arrow season. This was definitely a case where the other subplots spoiled some of the fun here.
Since Rene’s injury, Curtis and Dinah have felt like very unnecessary characters. It also comes off so weird that Curtis is caring for his daughter now as it really makes the case that she was better off in the foster care system than she is now. Curtis’ new relationship drama is annoying for multiple reasons not the least of which this is way too late in the season to make Curtis’ love life a subplot. And the last thing this season needs is another pointless romance for an already useless character. The longer Dinah and Curtis are away from Team Arrow the less I miss them and their contributions to the squad.
I’m getting real close to reaching that high annoyance stage with the Laurel subplot. I keep waiting for Quentin or Oliver to reveal they never trusted her and have been feeding her information to catch Diaz. But they shockingly really are completely trusting her and acting like she never killed Vince or tons of other innocent people. The writers are making the characters forcibly stupid here to string this storyline out and at this point it’s reaching its limits.
Maybe the most ridiculous aspect of the episode was the notion that Laurel managed to stumble onto something that the District Attorney Armand missed that could further screw over Oliver.
These were two very frustrating elements to Brothers in Arms, which otherwise would have been better served focusing on the splintering of Oliver and Diggle’s partnership.
They were on the same page as Dinah got their help busting Anatoly. Too bad Armand stepped in and got him released. I’m a big fan of Diaz and Anatoly. They have this cool villain team-up swagger down and play off each other well.
Oliver called Armand and Capt. Hill out for being on Diaz’s take and while I’m glad the two minority characters in high ranking positions had legit reasons to betray the city, they weren’t remorseful. Armand didn’t even care Oliver was Green Arrow while making threats so it made sense for Oliver to fire them. Too bad he didn’t do like most people and escort fired employees out of the office ASAP. How in the world could Hill fire all the cops who weren’t on Diaz’s take if she was fired? And who’s paying anyone if all the money is gone?
This was the major development in tonight’s episode as Diggle slowly came to grips — through Lyla’s help — that he wasn’t so upset about not being Green Arrow, but Oliver’s leadership under the hood.
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That does make some sense as Diggle was mostly sympathetic to The Outsiders and didn’t sign off with a lot of Oliver’s plans. Dragging this beef out over multiple episodes wasn’t the right play as Oliver and Diggle needed an emotion-filled blow-up to stop working together. Diggle also thinks Oliver stretched himself too thin as a new husband, father, mayor and a vigilante, which led to some bad decisions.
This might have been some of the strongest performances from Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in the series. This started off like a serious discussion with friends that kept getting progressively more personal with the kind of verbal gut punches that could only hurt from someone who’s closer than a brother. And when it turned to a physical fight, it seemed more earned than some of the other broken alliances this season.
While Felicity gets them to stop fighting long enough to destroy Diaz’s Vertigo factory, the damage is done. Diggle declares Oliver a better man from all the changes in his life, but he’s a worse leader and he can’t follow him anymore. Maybe now he officially heads to ARGUS with Lyla?
Now we’re back to Season 3 with Oliver and Felicity. Emily Bett Rickards was really, really good tonight as well as Felicity desperately tried to play peacemaker. With the way Team Arrow has ballooned over the years, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Let Oliver do his thing solo while Spartan leads The Outsiders. It’s not like Oliver needs a small army to take down Diaz, Anatoly and Black Siren.
File Closed: Brothers in Arms greatly benefited from superior performances from Amell and Ramsey, but got dragged down somewhat by the underwhelming subplots.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW