This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 13
Much of this episode felt like a puzzle with one question and many answers: who are you, really? We saw William express an interest in his father’s night gig for the first time, finally learned who Cayden James really was before his son’s death set him on a dark path, and Laurel and Dinah will have to keep facing down the question of what, exactly, they’re capable of.
The parallel between Cayden James’s relationship with his son Owen and Oliver’s relationship with William was a good one – both sons just want to know their dad’s better. And both are in danger because of who their fathers are, even if they don’t know it.
Not surprisingly, Owen’s killer is the one person who isn’t primed for a redemption arc: Diaz. This leaves Anatoly and Laurel available to get back in the audience’s good graces, perhaps even teaming up with the Arrow Teams to help take Diaz down. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Diaz has up his sleeve, after the decent reveal that the new police captain is actually on his payroll. Others have tried to take this city in many ways – destruction, vigilantism, dark magic – it seems like Diaz is leaning heavily on the justice system, but that can’t be his entire plan.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Agent Watson, and I’m looking forward to having her back, though I doubt she answers to Diaz. In fact, finding out about Diaz’s plan may be the thing that convinces Watson to ease up on Oliver.
The flashbacks on Arrow have been much more successful once the show was free of its five-year time constraint, and the needless requirement for every episode to feature those flashbacks. In their place, we’ve had a few episodes with flashbacks when it made sense from a story perspective: Slade’s episodes with his son, the Vince and Dinah backstory, and now Cayden James. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one for Laurel sometime soon.
About Laurel – with every episode, it becomes increasingly clear that the show intends to have Quentin uncover some kernel of goodness in Black Siren, which will lead to some sort of emotional breakthrough that will essentially result in a one-for-one swap of Laurels. This is frustrating. They had a perfectly good Laurel Lance already, and her death was rightfully questioned at the time.
While some might say that replacing Laurel with, er, herself is righting that wrong, it actually cheapens it for me. The one thing I liked about OG Laurel’s death was that other characters reacted appropriately. That is, the entire show truly mourned for the loss. To undo all of that means that the writers got to use Laurel as motivation for Oliver and to raise the stakes for that arc and then simply hit the redo button later on when it’s convenient, having their cake and eating it, too.
Beyond that, Black Siren isn’t really bringing much new to the table, from a story perspective. Quentin has already grappled with an assassin daughter and with a daughter who comes back to life. The show has already revived a Lance sister and sent her on an emotional walkabout. This was rendered even weirder by the fact that for a short while, Diggle had a daughter named after the wrong dead Lance, when Sara was back and Laurel was dead. But rather than deal with that quirk of their own making, the writers used Barry’s Flashpoint meddling to “correct” this problem by gender-swapping Diggle’s kid, which had the added benefit of giving the side effects of Flashpoint some serious and far-reaching weight.
Speaking of Flashpoint – the man himself made a quick non-appearance to help Oliver and Diggle reach Cayden James before he could flee the city and detonate the bomb. It’s a bizarrely small non-appearance, but frankly it makes more sense than the idea that these various heroes help each other so rarely, particularly those who can close large distances so well, like Barry, Cisco, Kara, and literally everyone on a time-ship. The weirdest part is that the writers have chosen now for this kind of no-big, no-name, no-face crossover to happen. Well, that and Diggle’s sudden ability to keep from tossing his cookies.
We have a long wait ahead of us, but we’ll be back to find out what Diaz has in store, if Laurel can really be redeemed, and if Dinah is really capable of murder.