Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
“My name is Oliver Queen and I used to be the Green Arrow.”
That’s not exactly what he says, but it’s close enough. That’s right, we have a new voiceover. One in which Oliver admits he couldn’t be a vigilante and a good father, so he passed on the mantel to John Diggle.
And the best part is when “Next of Kin” opens, we see Diggle is handling himself and the team pretty well. Team Arrow is on a mission to recapture Alex Faust, who escaped during the premiere. Diggle does this crazy move of jumping from a rooftop and having Dinah use her Canary Cry to propel him to the building Faust is hiding in. It’s such a great use of her power, and it’s a great moment for the new Team Arrow.
Afterwards, things start to get a little murky. Dinah is still concerned about Diggle’s injuries, but he swears the tremors are gone. It’s also pointed out that someone is going to notice the Green Arrow didn’t use any arrows apprehending Faust. Felicity and Curtis are working on a fix for that.
Over at Kord Industries, former CIA Black Ops Agent, Onyx Adams, breaks in, kills everyone, and makes off with the transport schedule for one of their projects, a particularly nasty nerve gas called ZX. Team Arrow heads out to offer assistance to the guys moving the gas.
Onyx disrupts the ignition and stops the truck. She shoots Diggle and the drivers. The rest of the team is in the back with the gas, but Onyx and her team are able to overtake them using flash grenades. Onyx’s team takes the gas, while Onyx steals the truck. Rene asks Diggle, who was only stunned, not injured, what to do, and Diggle freezes. Rene decides to go after the truck, but Onyx creates an explosion with the truck and injures several people and escapes.
At the Arrow Cave, Rene yells at Diggle for freezing. Diggle admits he screwed up. It’s something that’s never happened to him before. Dinah comes to his defense and blames it on fog of war. They should all let it go and move on.
In private, Dinah informs Diggle she covered for him because the team needs a solid chain of command, but truth be told, she’s worried. Diggle believes his inaction came from never having to be the only one to have to make the hard decisions. He’s always had someone there to back his play. He never knew how difficult it could be. He and Dinah also discuss Diggle’s decision not to tell Oliver about his injury. Dinah believes Oliver would never have given Diggle the team had he known. But they table that for now, because once again, Diggle swears he’s good.
As for Onyx, facial recognition helps give us the more complete story. Onyx and her team stole millions in Syrian gold. Three members of her team returned to the CIA, so Onyx has been staging terrorist attacks to cover up the assassinations of the defectors. Two of them are dead. One remains. Robert Reynolds is the best lead to finding the ZX.
While that’s all happening, Rene pays Oliver a little visit to tell him about Diggle freezing in the field. He thinks Oliver needs to come back. Instead, Oliver pays a visit to the Arrow Cave and has a heart to heart with Diggle, who is now engaged in Oliver level brooding. Diggle doesn’t understand how Oliver made the tough calls so easily. It wasn’t. Oliver worked mostly off of fear and instincts. He also wouldn’t have become the Green Arrow if not for Diggle. Diggle had faith in him, and Oliver knows if Diggle will just trust himself and have faith as well, he’ll be a better leader than Oliver.
This pep talk was just what was needed. Once Reynolds is tracked to one of the nicer Star City hotels, the team springs into action. The team coordination is tight and really impressive. Curtis developed glasses to counteract the effects of the flash grenades; however, Onyx sets off the gas. After a moment’s hesitation, Diggle commands the team to deal with the gas while he goes after Onyx and Reynolds. He saves Reynolds, neutralizes Onyx, and when Reynolds asks who he is, he replies, “I’m the Green Arrow.” THAT’S what I’m talking about!
The team celebrates back at the Arrow Cave. Dinah feels much better about Diggle’s abilities in the field, and Curtis and Felicity have solved the archery issue. They present Diggle with “The Green Monster,” a crossbow they modified to shoot arrows and all other kinds of badassery. Diggle tests it out and is in love.
And what about Oliver? Th first issue he’s dealing with is FBI agent, Samanda Watson. Watson has noticed the Green Arrow not using any arrows, and believes Oliver got someone to substitute for him. She’s right, but we don’t want her to know that. She also points out that even if he wasn’t the Green Arrow, he supports the vigilantes, and that undermines the police. I’m glad we’re finally having this conversation. I’ve been thinking this for years. Quentin agrees with her. Oliver asks him to find a way to make things better.
Quentin discovers one of the Councilwomen has created anti-vigilante legislation. Rather than let the board vote on it (they had more than enough for pass it), Oliver invokes Chapter Nine of the City Charter, turning the bill into a citywide referendum. He argues the SCPD needs help rebuilding and getting back to being the best, but they can’t do it while diverting resources to hunt vigilantes. The same vigilantes who coincidentally saved hundreds of lives the night before. He wants the people to have a say in what happens. This move doesn’t go unnoticed by Samanda. She wants to know who Oliver is protecting, AND she has a crime board with all of Oliver’s associates on it. She has a crime board. You know Oliver is trouble. You don’t mess with a crime board.
In the middle of all of this, Oliver still has to deal with William, who is studying for a math test and struggling. Oliver tries to tell him it’s ok to get a C every now and then, but William doesn’t appreciate that. Oliver turns to Felicity, who tells him to listen to what William is saying. William will tell him how he can help. And what William needs is a tutor.
Baring Big Belly Burger snacks, Oliver enlists Felicity to tutor William. She does and William aces his test. He also thinks she’s a cool chick. This leads to Oliver paying her another visit with a gift. It’s a key to his apartment. Felicity is confused, because she thought they had decided to cool things down, but Oliver says after seeing her with William, he knows William’s life as well as his is better having her in it. She accepts all of this with a kiss and then shoves Oliver offscreen. We all know what happens next.
Next of Kin ends with Diggle meeting a well dressed man in a dark alley. He gives him money in exchange for a briefcase. After the man leaves, the contents are revealed to be a drug that stops Diggle’s tremors. And we all know that’s going to end well. Stupid Diggle.
Other points of interest
~ Oliver asks Diggle if he asked him to take on too much. It’s like Oliver just remembered Diggle had Lyla and JJ. But Diggle claims he made his peace with his dangerous life ages ago.
~ Felicity and Oliver discuss how much it sucks that Thea isn’t around, because they know she’d make the most badass aunt ever.
~ Felicity and Curtis are trying to come up with names for their start-up. She suggests Bit by Bit, but Oliver wisely points out it sounds too much like an 80’s sitcom. Another rejected name is Oracle.
~ Felicity and William bond over the fact that William is a math prodigy, and Oliver never lived in the real world, where school matter. Oliver interrupts with monte cristo sandwiches made with waffles, and Felicity is aghast, William has never tried them before. She’s also amazed by the waffles. Oliver made them in the not-real world. It was a sweet moment.
~ William is glad he’s going to have more time with Oliver and not “the other guy.”
And there we go. The new Team Arrow is finding their rhythm together, which means it’ll all soon come crashing down when Diggle’s drug use and injury come to light. It’s nice to see Oliver cooking again, and being less broody. It’s so refreshing. Of course, this will all soon end. There’s no way Oliver will get to have a lot of time to be happy, but I’ll take what I can get. I like that Dinah is getting more to do, but I wish it wasn’t directly related to Diggle. It’s beginning to feel as though she’s Diggle’s Felicity.
This was good episode for OG Team Arrow interactions. We were given a throwback to when Felicity first met Oliver and rambled all over herself. We were reminded of how strong the bond is between Diggle and Oliver. It’s so clear how well everyone knows each other. It’s a nice reminder of the good old days.
What did you think of Next of Kin?