This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 5
This felt like a classic episode of Arrow: a mix of character-driven substance and great action, building multiple season-long arcs, and a flashback to top it all off. Luckily, no scenes took place on Lian Yu with Ollie’s cursed wigs, although the Yao Fe reference was a nice touch.
Special Agent Watson is suspicious
I’m glad someone is finally calling out Team Arrow – the longer their secret remained intact, the more of an indictment it became on the intelligence of everyone else in Star City. Special Agent Watson may be a lot of things, but she is not stupid. She spends the episode widening her search to include the rest of Team Arrow, and all but tells Dinah to her face that she knows she’s the new Black Canary. Watson’s assertion that she relies on what she can prove is a threat: she seems to be gathering data points on the whole crew.
Dinah was the most prominent member of Team Arrow this week, which was a nice change of pace. We learned that the vigilante in black is really Dinah’s partner Vincent Sobel, who she saw shot in the head in the line of duty. Unfortunately that reveal lacked any real punch since we never knew Dinah’s partner (both on the job and off), and it’s not like he was recognizable in the moment of the “big reveal.” Still, he became more interesting over the course of the episode, taking a bullet for Dinah (which is apparently no big deal for him), and presumably leaving her with a very creepy present: a little paper rose. This obstacle also brought Dig and Dinah even closer, with the tables turning for him to offer her some much-needed council, even if she pretended not to care.
We’re also back to discussing the anti-vigilante legislation and the impending referendum. If ever there was a time that Ollie needed his politically savvy sister, this is it. I’m not surprised that the Black Canary saving Councilwoman Pollard didn’t sway the politician’s mind, but I’m hoping that it will have an effect on Watson. Even that beat cop seemed shook up after shooting a vigilante at point blank range. Dinah’s former partner did bring up a few good points: there are limitations to what the cops can do, and it’s pretty hypocritical of Dinah to get upset about him running around town in a mask.
Oliver (mostly) keeps his promise to William
It was great to see Slade and Oliver working their way back to their old rapport. Even when Slade did something dodgy, like drugging Ollie, it was all for the best. Slade seemed genuinely happy that Oliver and William have a second chance together, and he tried his best to help Oliver keep his promise.
Oliver, of course, tried to take the easy way out. He hoped Felicity would make his decision easy and tell him not to go with Slade, but Felicity has a better idea: honor his commitment to Slade, leave the weapons at home, and have some open, honest, age-appropriate communication with his son. Perhaps the most surprising part of tonight’s episode is the fact that Oliver seems to have followed that advice. Might we be finding our way out of the needlessly angst-ridden patterns of Oliver Queen?
Slade and his son return
Slade Wilson is back, and so are his amazing Deathstroke action sequences, including an amazing one where the bulk of it was done in one-shot, or close to it. I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch Slade (or anyone really) let it rip. There are excellent thematic reasons for most characters on the show giving up murder, but it sure is fun to watch.
Arrow is officially the second show this week to feature a “camping with kids as a cover for murder” storyline, after Good Behavior. It’s also the second show to currently feature a character names Jo(e) Wilson. Rather than being a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, here he’s Slade’s son who was allegedly in prison. In reality, he’s taken up with the Jackals, a criminal group that isn’t too intimidating. Honestly, I’m more invested in the father-son dynamic between the Wilson men, using it as a prism for Oliver’s relationships with his father and William, and learning more of the secrets the Wilson men hold than any attempts to make this group anywhere near as intimidating as Nyssa and the League of Assassins.
After two fun, well-paced episodes in a row, I’m excited to see where Arrow takes us next.