“Do you ever feel like life would be easier if there was never a Team Arrow?”
After the action-packed events of last week’s crossover, this week’s episode of Arrow brings the fans crashing back down to earth – because for a midseason finale, it’s pretty boring.
‘Crisis on Earth-X’ ended much as we had expected, with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) tying the knot alongside their superhero friends. And so, ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ picks up a short time after, with the couple throwing a lavish bash for their friends and family to celebrate their elopement. Which is all very lovely, with the fancy outfits, twinkly lights and heartfelt speeches, but at the end of the day, it’s a large chunk of the episode where not much is happening.
The saving grace of this part of the episode is an appearance from Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) where the former detective gives Oliver a Lance family heirloom in the form of his father’s watch – losing both of his daughters, he has no one else to give it to, and with both of Oliver’s parents gone, he is standing in the role of father. What’s particularly lovely about this scene is how it shows the progression of the pair’s relationship from the beginning of the series to now, with Oliver going from Quentin’s enemy to his family. It’s also wonderful to see Thea (Willa Holland) back on her feet, almost unrealistically seeming to be experiencing absolutely no side effects from her extended time in a coma, and jumping straight back in to her role of having almost nothing to do with the story.
However, celebrations are brought to a close when Quentin receives a call that threatens to tear Team Arrow apart – the prosecution in Oliver’s indictment have someone who is willing to testify in court that the Mayor is the Green Arrow. And it’s someone on the team.
Immediately thrown off guard, Oliver puts Felicity on the job of tracking the three newbies to the team: Rene (Rick Gonzalez), Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) and Curtis (Echo Kellum). Anyone acting suspiciously to the original team members, in their mind, makes that person the one who has betrayed them. Which, of course, is something that backfires on them almost immediately, as Dinah is caught on camera talking to ex-partner and masked Vigilante, Vince (Johann Urb). Having lied to the team and told them that Vigilante got away from her, it comes as a shock to Oliver and John (David Ramsey) that Dinah is speaking so openly and freely with him, and they immediately think that she must be the one to hand Oliver over to the FBI.
Elsewhere, Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) is back, and she’s still working with Cayden James (Michael Emerson). Still planning on blowing up the city (or something) James needs one more thing in order to pull off his plan – some ARGUS tech. And obviously there’s only one way to get it, and that’s kidnapping Quentin, and holding him to ransom, forcing Oliver to break into the high-security facility and grab the tech for him, of course.
Which he does, in a sequence akin to something of an Oceans/Mission: Impossible hybrid, where John finds his way into Lyla’s office to locate the item, Curtis and Rene pose as cleaners, Felicity hides in a bin ready to jump out and deal with the security system, and Oliver quite literally drops in through the ceiling to grab the tech before the security system comes back online – all while Dinah is kept at a distance. Given that ARGUS is a government facility, it seems relatively easy for them all to get in – maybe they should go to Felicity and Curtis company and get a new security system?
For the first time since he shot her and left her for dead on Lian Yu, Quentin finds himself alone with his evil daughter, and it’s clear that Laurel is still holding a grudge. However, when the two get a moment alone, Quentin confesses that it’s hard for him to look at her and not see the daughter he raised – to which Laurel explains that this doesn’t go both ways, as her father was killed in a car crash when she was thirteen, and so she never got to know him in the way that Quentin knew his Laurel. It’s a touching moment, in which we realise that Black Siren Laurel isn’t all bad, as talking to Quentin in this way, we see her finally realise that she still has the chance to have the father she lost – and she cannot bring herself to kill him when Cayden gives the order.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand” – Lincoln’s words are the underlying theme of ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ as the suspicion brought on by the perceived ‘traitor’ on the team, causes fractures to run through Team Arrow, which are only exacerbated by Oliver, John and Felicity’s actions. By the end of the episode it seems that all distrust amongst the team members has shattered the team irrevocably, and it seems that this is exactly the plan of those working against the Green Arrow, as we see a number of familiar antagonists band together in order to tear down those who would stand against them.
Though it seems that not a lot happens in this week’s episode, Arrow is clearly laying the foundations of a big second half to Season 6 – and while ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ is intriguing in a calm-before-the-storm way, it is disappointing as a midseason finale. Hopefully, when Arrow returns in the new year, it will come back with all guns blazing.