This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 14
The continued conflict between the two halves of Team Arrow feels more intractable than ever. On the one hand, it’s admirable that the conflict has real and lasting stakes, rather than being neatly solved as soon as it arose. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine what could eventually resolve this schism, and until the third act of the episode, it was starting to wear seriously thin. Luckily, this is the first episode in a long while to move the Team Arrow conflict forward.
The back and forth between the two teams is, as Dinah points out, mostly a re-hash at this point. But there were a few new things, like Diggle’s bizarre assertion that Vincent would have lived if Dinah, Rene and Curtis hadn’t walked into a trap. Cayden James had Vincent already, and there’s no reason to think Vincent would’ve been allowed to live if they stayed away.
Felicity eventually admitted that she hacked the other team, as she has hacked them before. But she had to be called out to do so, and even then she was loathe to admit it. Worse, she didn’t seem to have even thought of it that way, which was oddly played for laughs, as several off-putting lines from her were in this episode. It’s disturbing how frequently Felicity violates the law and the privacy of friends and private citizens, not funny. There needs to be some sort of reckoning for that behavior before all of this is through. I’ve always loved the character of Felicity, but she has been nearly impossible to watch this season, with her glib penchant for overstepping bounds and the condescending way she speaks to the other team, as though they’re tantrumming children.
Rene had an excellent point when he called out Oliver for solving all of his problems with fighting, though he cheapened it by shoving Oliver immediately after saying it. That was apparently part of his plan, but it does make Rene less credible than if he had stuck to harsh words.
While in many ways Quentin, Laurel, Oliver and Dinah were the focus in this episode, it’s Curtis who had the most movement as a character, and who made most of the choices that elevated this above a usual episode.
Messing with Diggle’s implant was a huge deal, one that got a little lost in the action and the need to churn through so much plot. I’m looking forward to that being unpacked more next time, particularly how Curtis feels about his choice, and the fact that it’s really the first time Curtis has ever really crossed a line.
It’s been the most frustrating to watch Felicity say nasty things to Curtis, because he is so clearly the moral compass of the group, and because his relationship with Felicity has always been one-sided. She names their company without him, spends their angel investor money without telling him (which is also very illegal), spies on him, and breaks into his lair. And while reasonable people can disagree when it comes to the Oliver versus Dinah conflict, prior to this episode, no one could say Curtis deserved any of this, and he so clearly deserved better treatment from Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity in particular. While that’s all still true, turning off Diggle’s implant means Curtis no longer has the unimpeachable high ground.
I’m glad Curtis got through to Dinah, and convinced her not to kill Laurel. She is ultimately someone who believes in true justice, and she wouldn’t have forgiven herself for killing Laurel. It makes sense that Curtis, the show’s moral center who also delivers the best pep talks, is the one who finally got through to her. I love that the new team continues to hold true to their values of working together and talking issues through as equals, rather than going behind each other’s back or having one person give orders from on high.
This episode also had the clearest demonstration of Oliver and Dinah’s similarities, something Curtis rightfully pointed out. Oliver at least acknowledged to Dinah that he has no real grounds for telling her not to murder someone, but that’s little comfort to Dinah, nor would it be if someone had said it to Oliver back when he was into murder. They both have serious tempers, strong leadership skills, and are the best matched when it comes to fighting skills. It’s hard to know where Diggle stacks up after his injury, but there’s a reason Curtis and Rene had to tag-team on Oliver.
Curtis’s final big move was drawing a line in the sand between the two teams. He was well within his rights to enforce boundaries with Felicity and Diggle. Even if they hadn’t literally crossed a boundary by breaking into the other team’s layer earlier, being part of the team that put someone in the hospital really means you lose the right to show up and demand to see them. But even more than that, Curtis is done with Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity, and more committed than ever to finding Laurel. Luckily he hasn’t been driven to extremes yet – he still just wants Laurel to go to prison, and for the city to get its money back – but his commitment to the new team and their goals is stronger than ever.
Let’s just hope that somehow, as the most reasonable and competent person on this show not currently mired in the conflict, Thea suiting up will help set things on the road to recovery.