This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 12
Star City faces Cayden James alone, cut off from anyone who would help them. Oliver is paying through the nose to stave James off, but it won’t last. The split teams work together more than in previous episodes, but that’s not enough to heal the fundamental rift between them, a divide that leads both sides to come up short. Dinah and Vincent take center stage, with Vigilante paying the ultimate price in the group’s attempt to find the weapon and take down Cayden James.
Several elements from tonight’s episode felt like direct shout-outs to other shows: the use of a cordon echoed the short-lived Containment’s cordon sanitaire, and Mayor Queen’s limited-space bunkers sound like they’re fresh out of The 100’s last season.
It’s always good to see Captain Singh, and it was nice having (sparingly used) flashbacks on the show again. Dinah and Vince’s backstory felt a bit rushed – we skipped from their first meeting to them already as a couple, in a trade that doesn’t feel worth the “surprise” in exchange for seeing how hard Vincent presumably had to work to win Dinah over. But we did more or less cover the ground leading up to the night of the particle accelerator, when Vincent was shot.
Personally, I’m hoping for some sort of comeback from Vince, preferably powered by previously unforeseen metahuman abilities. First, I want Laurel and Quentin to be okay, and her not having murdered someone would be a huge help. Well really I want OG Laurel to not be dead, but that’s not happening so I’ll take what I can get. Beyond that, Vigilante is one of the more fascinating characters on the show right now, behind Dinah. The parallels between Vince and Oliver exist, but haven’t been directly noted by the other characters. If this is a season of Oliver shedding his ego and growing as a person and a leader, he needs to see his own hypocrisy. Dinah is good at pointing it out, as is the rest of her team, but Vincent/Vigilante is the living embodiment of it.
We’ve seen Dinah in a dark place before – that’s where she was when we met her, in the wake of Vincent’s first death(ish.) Perhaps she and Black Siren can have some sort of badass wayward lady group therapy – Nyssa al-Ghul can come, too.
If anyone needed a class in how to give a real apology, it’s Oliver Queen. Luckily, all of his frustrating qualities are made more tolerable by the fact that Dinah doesn’t let him off the hook for anything. As she asserted point blank, if Felicity or Lyla were in danger, there would be no question. But Oliver has long treated other people’s loved ones as collateral damage, moving heaven and earth only for the select few who he deems worthy. If Vince really is dead, I hope Oliver learns from this, and from Dinah’s impending downward spiral, that he needs to be a better, more ethical and humble leader.
The big showdown that led to Vincent’s death felt pretty contrived – everything that Anatoly and Cayden James did would only foil Oliver if the new team went to retrieve Vincent. Yes, that is how plans work, but I never like to see the writers’ lips move while the dummy speaks, and that was a bit too apparent this week. We know that the moral to this story will eventually be that teamwork makes the dream work, but tonight’s chapter in that particular lesson didn’t feel earned.
It’s also a bit hard to believe that Oliver couldn’t have found backup if he needed it. We’ve seen Felicity go into the field when necessary, and Quentin and Thea’s side mission was clearly over when the main action came underway. Yes, Thea has benched herself, but why not even ask? Or at least try to explain Quentin’s absence?
What did feel right and true was the new team’s continued loyalty to one another. It reinforced the commitment they’ve made to one another and the values upon which they founded their team. They understand the shortcomings of going after Vincent instead of saving the city, but they’re entirely up front about their motivations and decision-making, unlike Oliver. They also reach their decision collectively, whereas if Oliver were in Dinah’s position, he would have ordered his teammates to back him up.
In the end, Vincent did everything he could for Dinah, and she did everything she could to try to save him. While she may be headed toward a dark place, her teammates have earned her trust, and hopefully the ability to get through to her as she sets her sights on violence and vengeance.