This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 7 Episode 14
“Brothers & Sisters” was a bit of the mixed bag, though it does illustrate well what’s going right and wrong with this season.
Where this episode shined was the relationships between our characters, something that has been hard to find this season and last. It was good to see Oliver and Felicity’s marriage continue to progress with Oliver finding a way to both express his disagreement with Felicity’s plan to kill Diaz and support her ultimate decision nonetheless. Oliver has come a long way, especially when it comes to considering himself the center of the universe. Felicity went through a lot when he was in prison, and just as she can never fully know the trauma of Slabside, he can never fully know the trauma of living in hiding, on the run, and having her home broken into and her family threatened.
Of course, Oliver is still Oliver, so he spent this episode re-learning those same lessons about empathy and respect when it comes to his sister, Emiko. While his critical and unwelcome behavior was annoying, it’s a sign of how different the show is that Oliver was corrected by Rene and then took that advice, even more or less apologizing. A few seasons ago this episode would have involved Oliver overworking and beating Emiko, like he did with his recruits, and demanding she thank him for the privilege.
John Diggle came up big in this episode, finally redeeming himself in the eyes of Felicity and her many stans for choosing his job over her mission to free Oliver and kill Diaz. It was nice to see him take the fall and protect Lyla’s career, especially since hers is more advanced and thus strategic than his. And he did, after all, get them into this mess. His ouster from ARGUS also clears the way for him to rejoin Team Arrow, although I hope the writers don’t simply forget his misgivings about that work in general and Oliver’s refusal to allow John to truly lead.
I’m curious to know the circumstances of Dig adopting his son, and where he and Lyla are at in the future. It makes perfect sense that Dig would ask any kid of his to watch out for any kid of Felicity and Oliver’s, though it’s funny that both of those kids were hiding their backgrounds from one another.
A more suppressing success in this episode is Laurel, who does seem to truly be earning that redemption arc. This season has been more effective in that regard than the last, which rushed it and tried a bit to eagerly, too openly, without investing in actually showing the character grow and change over time, and in a character-driven manner. By contrast, Laurel being the rational one to talk Felicity down and a good friend who keeps her secret and brings her pregnancy-friendly foods felt like a natural progression. I’m just hoping we get more scenes of Dinah, Laurel, and Felicity soon, and perhaps even Emiko in the mix.
I’m enjoying the future timeline more and more, to the point where I hope we’re do for a time jump rather quickly. Some information is more interesting as a reveal than as a storytelling experience. I’m in a hurry to see how Mia’s birth is hidden, what happens to Laurel, how Rene turns so coldhearted, and why Mia grew up without Oliver. But after that, I’d rather jump ahead and get some choice scenes of the Smoak household in flashbacks while generally moving forward to new action, rather than remaining stuck in a time that we know is ultimately marching toward the known entity of the flash forward era.
Dante’s apparent connection to Emiko gives him a faint whiff of intrigue for the first time in his existence on this show. Unfortunately, this is a mystery in which we are continually told the stakes are high and we should be concerned, but it’s never given the room to actually pique our curiosity on its own. It’s easy to see why Felicity doesn’t consider Dante a high priority – as far as we know, he hasn’t done anything to any of the characters we hold dear, nor did he pose a potential future threat, until now. This is an instance of Team Arrow literally going looking for trouble, and I fear it’s setting up yet another villain that fails to capture the imagination.
Speaking of, I hope we can finally, finally be done with Ricardo Diaz. The character has far overstayed his welcome, and perhaps he is of best use to us dead, with a slight mystery of who killed him. Still, much like Dante, I’m not so sure I care. Maybe Laurel did it, maybe it’s an opening for an interesting character from the show’s past. Until then, meh.
A few notes:
Rene and Emiko really do have a lovely dynamic.
Mia points out sound superhero logic: did you ever see a body?
Virgil’s Irish? Accent was highly annoying
Laurel rocking the double-breasted again
In the future, William claims he never heard from Ollie and Felicity again – so those calls aren’t getting through. Perhaps the grandparents are bigger jerks than we thought?
If all it took to deactivate the brain bomb was a common AED, it was not a very good brain bomb. Maybe Curtis was phoning it in at the end there.
Dante is good with knives and it’s fun to see Oliver fight someone truly skilled for once.
I love the use of an old message machine tape, and the great phrase, “encryption through obsolescence.”
Diaz had a helluva catch with that lighter. Too bad it doesn’t matter.