“You want me to fight him fairly? Life ain’t fair.”
After last week’s exploration of Season 6 big bad, Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), “Shifting Allegiances” brings us back with a bang, as Oliver (Stephen Amell) calls upon old friends to help him in the fight to save his city.
Thrown into familiar territory, we join the Green Arrow in Russia, taking care of some Bratva problems, in order to pay off his debt to the group. However, our hero has an ulterior motive – thinning out Diaz’s following, namely our old friend Anatoly (David Nykl). Cast out from the Bratva due to his ties to Oliver, Anatoly sought revenge, teaming up with those who would ruin Oliver’s city, and so the hero believes that wiping out his debt, and proving that he and Anatoly are no longer on the same side will allow the Russian to return to his country and his brothers, leaving Diaz short on manpower. Of course, it was never going to be so easy, as Anatoly explains that all his years in the Bratva brought him no loyalty from his brothers, so why on earth would he return when he’s got such a good thing going with Diaz?
As a side note, can we all agree that calling Oliver “Kapiushon” is way better than “Green Arrow”?
When Oliver finds that Anatoly is no the honourable man he claimed to be, it is too late, and he is already within the Dragon’s den. It is the face-to-face interaction that both hero and villain have been waiting for, as a hoodless Oliver is dragged before the man who is set to destroy Star City. So, the two make a deal – they will fight, and whoever is first on the ground will leave the city forever. Kudos has to go to Acevedo and Amell in this episode as we see Oliver and Diaz go head-to-head in a brutal fist fight that leaves you near-breathless in anticipation of the next move. But when renowned rule-flouter Ricardo Diaz gets the jump on Oliver, he finds himself beaten and imprisoned in Diaz’s hold, with no hope of rescue, leaving Anatoly to question whether it is better to side with a man without honour than it is a man on a mission to save his home.
Ever the businessman, Diaz directs his focus to Star City’s new mayor, Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) as he considers branching out his organisation to include infiltration of City Hall. And when Laurel (Katie Cassidy) invites her sort-of dad to lunch, poor old Quentin is ambushed by a meeting which has him simultaneously break bread with the city’s biggest foe and his daughter’s unsavoury boyfriend, Diaz, who insists that Quentin must choose where his allegiances lie. Of course, for the good of the city (and the safety of Laurel) there’s only one right answer – and it certainly isn’t Oliver Queen. Though he agrees for the greater good, Quentin finally sees that this Laurel isn’t his Laurel and she never will be – but she is scared, and his Laurel or not, he refuses to put her in danger, protecting her in a way he didn’t for his own daughter.
Elsewhere, Rene (Rick Gonzalez) has returned home after weeks of recovery, to reunite with his daughter and teammates. With all of their team back together, it is time for Rene, Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) to get back out there, and fight Diaz. One thing this team has over Oliver is the ability to think logically about where they need to strike, and most of this comes from Dinah’s background in the police, especially her undercover work. Knowing that the best way to attack Diaz is from within, they work on destroying different arms of his operation, and when they receive intel that says Diaz is expecting a shipment, they know this is their chance.
Of course, it helps that they have something that Oliver never did – and that is help and coordination from John (David Ramsey) and the rest of his team at ARGUS, who join them to destroy Diaz’s shipment. Seriously, if ARGUS could do this, why haven’t they been helping Oliver and the team all along? It could have saved them a world of trouble. But, when past traumas rear their head, and threaten to compromise Rene’s work in the field, he finds himself worrying that if he leaves Zoe (Eliza Faria) alone, then she may end up without a father. To be honest, Zoe, William, and John’s son JJ should start some kind of ‘Vigilante Dads’ club, so they’ve got somewhere to go while their dads are out fighting crime.
With Oliver’s trial on the horizon, and all of Star City’s government in Diaz’s pocket, it doesn’t look good for the Green Arrow. Will good win out, or has Oliver had all the lucky escapes he’s going to get?
As we near the end of Season 6, the stakes are getting higher, with our heroes facing one of their toughest enemies to date. With tensions on the rise, we have to wonder what this season’s finale will do to top the Lian Yu explosion of Season 5?