“Is that my hood? It looks good on you.”
This week’s Arrow continues the action and intrigue that we’ve become accustomed to in Season 6. As Oliver (Stephen Amell) and his team come to realise the identity of the true master behind Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) demise, we see the return of a fan favourite, as well as a former Team Arrow suiting up once more.
Following Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) tale of kidnapping, Star City welcomes back the former Black Canary with open arms – of course, this isn’t the real Laurel, and we know that. However, when it comes to proving it, there isn’t a reason anyone would be able to give that wouldn’t sound insane – for instance, “This isn’t Laurel Lance of this Earth, she’s from a different version of Earth where everything is different.” Nevertheless, while Oliver and company are unsettled by Laurel’s new identity, she has a lot of leverage to bring them on side – namely, the knowledge that Oliver is the Green Arrow – the hero whose identity the press is very eager to learn.
In return for her silence, the team will allow her to try and fit into the former Laurel’s life. However, that isn’t everything. With Cayden James out of the way, and Star City ready for the taking, Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) is assuming his position at the top – and he wants Laurel and Anatoly (David Nykl) to work alongside him. Diaz is a far more impressive villain than many we’ve seen on the show, as he manages to find a balance between physical violence, and mental and emotional warfare – he’s done his research and waited in the shadows, striking the city (and its vigilante team) at its weakest to do the most damage.
Although, the least impressive part of his plan is that he has managed to infiltrate the Star City Police Department. After all the corruption that we’ve seen in the SCPD, it seems as though it is incredibly easy to buy the loyalty of the city’s law enforcement officers. Perhaps Oliver should consider raising their wages, so they aren’t so easily persuaded. With the money stolen from the city still not recovered, the public services are pretty much running on empty – but Diaz’s Police Captain Hill (Tina Huang) has a plan – to auction off the SCPD’s seized goods, which she believes will raise over $30million. Because apparently, the police have been seizing bars of gold, along with flash sports cars.
Also on the Dragon’s payroll is Star City’s District Attorney, Sam Armand (Pej Vahdat), who is busy trying to solidify a case against the mayor, a.k.a. the alleged Green Arrow. This city is having some really bad luck with its DAs – the last one was a murdering psychopath with a vendetta against Oliver, this one is working for the man who wants to rule Star City – it’s as though there’s no interview process. But, DA Armand has a new piece of evidence to crucify Oliver with, and that’s a new witness, ready to testify. Enter Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), fugitive former-hero.
However, when they say their witness is “ready” to testify, what they really mean is “we’re beating him with a phonebook in a hotel room in order to try and force him to testify.” To be fair to Roy, he takes it like a champ, never backing down or revealing anything, even when Diaz threatens Thea (Willa Holland). Let’s take a moment here to celebrate the fact that “Doppelgänger” returns Holland’s character to her former glory, as a strong, troubled hero, rather than a somewhat bland side character, who only appears to supplement the storylines of others. Yes, this week sees Speedy back on the team, desperate to rescue Roy from his predicament, no matter what strange and convenient kinds of arrow Oliver uses to slow her down.
With Thea back on the team, there’s special focus on the action sequences, which have become even better than before, and the sequence that follows Oliver, Thea, and John (David Ramsey) as they face off against Diaz’s men is pretty amazing. Along with this, the scene that sees Diaz auditioning men for his team, in hand-to-hand combat shows the character as he is in the comics – a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
The only downside to this week’s episode, is that there is very little reference to the events of “Collision Course”, which firmly separated the original Arrow team from the newest members. It would have been nice to get a glimpse of Rene (Rick Gonzalez) in the aftermath of his injury, and perhaps see him, Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) together. However, the episode does work well without this, so we can’t really complain.
A great example of Arrow at its best, firmly establishing Team Arrow as the underdogs of 6B, oblivious to the hold that Diaz already has over the city. Hopefully, this is something that will continue through the remaining episodes.