“What your dad does, it’s very dangerous. And heroes don’t always make it home.”
It’s safe to say that this week’s Arrow shows that Oliver (Stephen Amell) has indeed met his match in Cayden James (Michael Emerson), as we begin ‘We Fall’ by seeing the true extent of James’ abilities. With a few keystrokes, he causes tech chaos, causing cars to crash, life support to fail, and technology to shock people so severely it kills them. Killing a councilman, the captain of the police force and a number of others, Cayden James begins to show Oliver just how much damage he can do to the city. And all at 7am – which is the truly evil thing.
Quickly, Oliver begins to set up analogue safe zones around the city, removing all of the technology connected to the internet, and cutting off James from the people of Star City. Except it’s obviously not that easy, as City Hall receives a visit from the man himself, posing as the mayor’s 10am appointment, and demanding $10million from the city by the end of the day, or he continues to kill people every hour, on the hour. When Oliver confronts James on his reasons for this attack, he once again cites his son’s death – though this time he gives a little more, explaining to Oliver that his son, Owen, was killed by a stray arrow of Oliver’s that missed his intended victim on this day, one year ago. The problem being, Oliver wasn’t actually in Star City on that date, and so he couldn’t possibly be responsible – so why does Cayden James think he is?
Enter tech-wiz Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) who is coming back into her own as a character, though is still there, for the most part, to be Oliver’s other half. With the help of her Helix contact, she learns that someone sent a USB to James which contained “evidence” that Oliver was Owen’s killer. However, while they work hard to find out who sent him this falsified information, there’s still a tech-savvy psychopath taking his revenge on the city. And as the attacks keep coming, at every possible way out of Star City – in a plan that plays out a little like a tech-based version of Bane’s plan in The Dark Knight Rises – Oliver must work to keep the casualties to a minimum.
John (David Ramsey) is back in the field, now that Curtis’ (Echo Kellum) miracle chip has corrected his nerve damage (or something like that, it’s not really explained too clearly) and he’s stronger than ever. However, if they are to face off against Cayden James’ forces, it will take more than John and Oliver, so, they must enlist the help of ‘New Team Arrow’/’The Outsiders’ – who are actually doing pretty well on their own, with a little help from Vince (Johann Urb) who’s revealed to be a double-agent for another organisation, working alongside Cayden James because he is his target. Using the tracker Curtis placed in Vigilante’s visor, Vince is able to send the team messages in Morse code, telling them of James’ attacks, and allowing them to save as many civilians as they can. Which is more intel than Oliver’s team has got, as Felicity finds that she is the reason James has access to the city’s systems – when she hacked into his system, which she believed was stopping him, it only acted as a doorway to allow him to spread a virus.
Nevertheless, the two trios join forces once more to protect the city, though Rene (Rick Gonzalez) and his ever-changing scar (which looks newer in some episodes than others) is quick to remind Oliver that this in no way means that they are one cohesive team again. Of course, with Oliver returning to suit up as the Green Arrow, he must once again break his promise to William (Jack Moore).
‘We Fall’ does a great job of cementing Oliver’s family unit, and with William at the centre of one of the city’s attacks, we find that William has inherited his father’s reckless saviour complex, as he breaks through a door in order the save his classmates from being trapped in a school bus. Yet, when his father appears, all suited-up to save him, William is once again faced with the prospect of becoming an orphan. So, housed in the safety of the Arrow Cave, Felicity takes on the role of mother, explaining how she has had to cope with Oliver’s dangerous extra-curriculars over the years, and though it never gets any easier to watch him go out as the Green Arrow, it’s a necessary evil, as he protects the city and those who inhabit it. Of course, then she kind of undoes the great parenting she does by letting William watch as his dad kills some people – but still, it’s the thought that counts.
Oliver and the team work hard to keep James at bay, but in the end, it all seems to be for nothing as in the last moments of the episode, Oliver gives word to transfer the money to Cayden James, essentially bankrupting the city, with no real assurance that the murders will end. Which is hopefully part of an intricate plan, and not just a bad move on Oliver’s part.
Though the episode takes time to establish more of Cayden James’ motives, we seem to move a little slowly (and clumsily) through the start of his revenge. Hopefully, the pace will pick up in next week’s episode, or else it will be a waste of all they’ve established around his character.