This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 7 Episode 15
Training Day feels like it tried to wave a magic wand and simultaneously solve the show’s anti-vigilante law problem and the schism between the SCPD & Team Arrow. That’s because it purported to resolve the differences between two deeply unfair outlooks, our current law enforcement system and vigilante justice, within an hour of fictional television. Reminiscent of season 5’s odd gun control episode, Training Day is a prime example of the fact that merely declaring an issue solved doesn’t actually make an episode’s ending feel satisfying or in any way earned.
If Arrow was simply going to take the easy way out with this Special Vigilante Task Force and go back to the status quo ante bellum (or before prison, as it were), why drag it out so long? Why not save us all the aggravation and use these episodes to tell more interesting stories? Instead, it makes so much of the post-Slabside time feel like Team Arrow (and indeed, the show itself) was spinning its wheels.
One aspect of this main plot that worked well was John Diggle once again acting as the voice of reason, outsmarting the Smoak-Queens and cajoling them toward their better angels. Similarly, Rene and Dinah continue to balance one another out as needed, even if Dinah was completely reasonable for being mad at Oliver. It was good to see the Oliver Personal Growth Parade continue, with yet another genuine apology and his continual effort to put his family and his city before his pride, tough as it may be. Unlike the harmony between the SCPD and the vigilantes, the audience can completely understand both Oliver’s motivation to cooperate and his hesitation to yield here. We feel every ounce of instinct that he swallows in favor of compromise and protocol, in a great, mostly performance from Stephen Amell that stands out in a bizarrely written episode.
It must also be said that Arrow squandered an attempt to address the show’s bizarre tendency toward injustice and instead doubled down on Team Arrow’s refusal to honor privacy or due process. Felicity will apparently never be held accountable for wire tapping (or worse) more private citizens without cause than the US government, and the episode practically feels like it makes light of the way Team Arrow employs excessive force.
Why is the Arrowverse so enamored of the police state, to the point that its own heroes become one? It’s bad enough that some bad cops want to be above the law. Why do these shows envision a world in which our heroes do even worse? Why not imagine heroes who hold themselves to higher standards? We’re supposed to be impressed that Oliver no longer murders people without trial and that Barry Allen no longer has his own private prison. But here we have Felicity monitoring every location that someone’s DNA showed up for two weeks and we’re told that’s legal? And what a bummer Dinah was for being mad at Oliver for physically assaulting a suspect – good thing she apologized for being such a wet blanket. Time for team drinks to celebrate, y’all!
So about that impending vigilante-based apocalypse…it was good to see Mia and Will come together as teammates for a bit as well as to see more of the future world beyond the characters we already know. Last week made it seem like William and Oliver were kept apart without Oliver’s knowledge, but this episode course corrects to make it seem like Felicity, at least, intentionally separated the kids for their safety. Whatever goes down, based on everyone’s ages and disappearances, it seems like it goes down soon, so let’s get to it already!
Rounding out our episode is a return to some of our loose threads this season. I’m glad to see Ben Turner again and even more happy to see that it was not Laurel who killed Diaz. Laurel arranging for Turner’s son to come in revealed that Connor, who his father calls “Little Hawk” is the boy who Diggle will soon adopt. That doesn’t bode well for Turner’s future. I’m guessing it will be some kind of valiant sacrifice for his son’s or the city’s future. Turner was also a reminder that Oliver’s prison reform endeavors were more lip service than action.
Emiko killing Diaz is more interesting than the murderer being Laurel, although it’s a bit odd that Laurel thinks anyone will be…sad that Ricardo Diaz is dead? Yes, cold-blooded murder is generally off the table for Team Arrow these days, although that’s not a hard and fast rule. And if there was ever going to be an exception, Diaz would be it.
So, bets on how and why Emiko knows Laurel is Black Siren? Is she actually from Laurel’s earth herself, explaining how Ollie didn’t know about her? Or, more likely, is her creepy friend feeding her with intel? Either way, I’m curious to see how Laurel’s redemption holds up when she’s backed into a corner.