Legion contributor Andrea Levine is recapping and reviewing Arrow for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @wysefyre!
Hello, hello, hello Arrowheads… or is it Quiverheads? Do we have a name yet? Anyway, Arrow is back and so am I. Apologies for missing those last few Arrow recaps, but as it sometimes happens, life gets in the way. But that’s in the past now, just like the season 5 season finale and the season 6 premiere, which we’re going to quickly recap, before diving into Tribute. That’s right, you’re getting three recaps for the price of one!
Adrian Chase kidnapped Team Arrow in an attempt to isolate Oliver. Oliver gathers an interesting due of Nyssa al Ghul and Malcolm Merlyn to accompany him to Lian Yu, where he recruits Digger Harkness and Slade Wilson to help him rescue the team, including Quentin and Thea, as well as baby mama, Samantha and his son, William. All of whom are being conveniently kept on Lian Yu.
Digger eventually betrays everyone and joins Chase, Evelyn, Talia al Ghul, and Black Siren in their revenge plot. Slade triple-crosses everyone and is ultimately playing for Team Arrow in exchange for info on how to find his son. The end result to all of this is Team Arrow is freed, but can’t get off the island, because Chase sabotaged the nearby plane and has rigged the island to blow up. Chase takes William, and when Oliver follows them, he’s given a Sophie’s choice — kill Chase and activate the dead man’s switch detonating the bombs or let Chase kill William. Oliver chooses neither and incapacitates Chase without killing him. Chase can’t handle that and kills himself. The bombs go off and we have to wait until season 6 to find out who survives and dies.
But we do know of one important death. Malcolm Merlyn finally does a proper and fatherly thing and saves Thea’s life. She accidentally stepped on landmine with a pressure switch. He pushes her out of the way and takes her place. Then in his final act, he blows himself up to help buy Thea and the team more time to get away from Digger and Chase’s people. Needless to say, Thea suffers from some complicated emotions from that act.
Other important notables are Quentin meets Black Siren. Part of him knows it’s not his Laurel, but it still is, so he goes on a wild emotional journey. Black Siren and Canary face off, with the end result being Dinah owning the Black Canary mantel. Chase kidnapping Rene causes him to miss the hearing to win back his daughter. And finally, Chase’s suicide is reminiscent of Robert Queen’s death. It’s hard not to see the parallels.
We also reach the final conclusion to Oliver’s adventures for the five years he was lost at sea. He had Anatoly take him back to Lian Yu and arrange for a ship to rescue him. However, Kovar followed Oliver and captured and tortured him. Oliver proved to be made of super strong stuff and escapes. Kovar and henchmen track him, leading to the Kovar/Oliver fight we’ve really wanted. It ends with Oliver snapping Kovar’s neck, and Oliver racing to get the supplies Anatoly gave him, aka the hideous long haired wig and his hood, and get his rescue signal seen. He succeeds and after he is “rescued” he places a call to his mom. We are treated to Moira not believing it’s him at first, but once she does, it’s gut-wrenching and emotional as mother and son are reunited, even if it is only over the phone. And while we’re talking Queen family reunions of sorts, in an earlier episode, Oliver gives Thea a flashdrive from Robert. He had been holding on to it to save Thea more pain, but realizes he’s wrong and lets her have it. Robert tells Thea she’s stronger than Oliver, and I think we start to see the beginning of Thea starting to heal herself, which makes what happens on Lian Yu all the more intense. So, without further ado, let’s get to season 6.
The season 6 premiere takes place five months after the events on Lian Yu. I’ll make this quick, just about everyone survives. They used the plane to help shelter them from the worst of the blast. However, there were some casualties. Oliver’s baby mama, Samantha, instead of going with everyone to shelter, ran inwards to try and get to William. Thea followed her. Slade, who had initially ditched everyone, comes back to bring Oliver to them. Samantha is mortally wounded and dies in Oliver’s arms, telling him to be a father to William. Thea ends up in a coma, and she’s still there five months later. Diggle gets hit by some shrapnel and it’s either given him a tremor or he’s having other issues, which are causing tremors. Either way, he’s got tremors and Dinah seems to know something is up. And while Quentin was not injured in the blast, he’s suffering from a mountain of guilt and is very close to relapsing, because he was forced to choose between Evil Laurel and Dinah, and he chose Dinah. He shot Evil Laurel and left her for dead.
Except she’s not dead. She survived, and is out for revenge. The actiony part of the premiere focuses on Evil Laurel and her quest for retribution. She faces off with Dinah and it’s what we’ve all been wanting, however, Evil Laurel gets away. Also, in the fight, Diggle is unable to shoot a goon, which leads to Rene getting shot. Diggle and Dinah track down Evil Laurel’s lair, find plans for City Hall and assume Evil Laurel is going to hit the SCPD graduation ceremony. They provide extra security at the graduation, but nothing happens. It turns out the real target was the Arrowcave. Diggle was there, but the tremor put him in jeopardy. Luckily, the rest of Team Arrow arrives, and more fighting happens. Evil Laurel escapes. Well, more like she passes Quentin, and this time he can’t pull the trigger. Evil Laurel laughs and says she would have.
But that doesn’t matter. The day is saved and all that is lost is one of Curtis’ T-Sphere prototypes. What that means, we’ll have to wait to find out.
On the more personal side of everything, Oliver gets Rene another hearing for his daughter. It’s hard to really fault the guy, when he missed it due to extreme kidnapping. Dinah has been promoted to Lieutenant. Curtis and Felicity are just doing what they do. Oliver and Felicity are playing the same song and dance as usual, but it’s definitely a bit more honest. Oliver even admits to wanting to talk to her, but life gets in the way. William is living with Oliver and Raisa (she’s back!). He has terrible nightmares, but tries to play it off. He’s cold to Oliver. At one point, Oliver tries to comfort him after a nightmare, but William says he’s a bad man. Quentin is the man who helps Oliver get through this. He tells Oliver to be there for him. Be his father. And that’s what Oliver does. He tells William what Samantha’s last words were. He tells William a little bit about how Robert Queen was an extremely flawed father, and then he promised to be there for William no matter what. Even if he didn’t want him to be around, Oliver wasn’t going anywhere. Then he asked William if he wanted to watch a sportsball game with him, and William agreed. Then Oliver has the rug pulled out from under him. The media got a hold of a photo of Oliver as the Green Arrow minus his hood. And let’s move on to episode two!
Before Slade left to find his son, in the premiere, he told Oliver he was going to have to choose between being the Green Arrow and being a good father. So, naturally, that’s what Tribute is all about. That and money.
Arrow is doing a decent job of splitting up the personal and action. I think they’re doing better than previous seasons, because they’re not hindered by the Lian Yu flashbacks. They can breathe a little more.
In this case, Anatoly is the main antagonist. He comes to Star City demanding 20 million dollars. That’s the exact amount the insurance company gave the SCPD to fix the station after Evil Laurel wrecked it in the premiere. He’s doing it for two reasons – The Bratva kicked him out, because they believed his friendship with Oliver made him weak, and because he wants to prove to the Bratva he’s not. As far as reasons go, these are pretty solid ones.
Anatoly’s scheme involves taking hostages. Most are rescued, but one is not. It’s up to Oliver to save them before they die from the poison Anatoly gave them. He’s pulling some classic comic book villainy here. I appreciate it. The plan is foiled, but it’s still fun to watch. Anatoly gets away, and it’ll be fun to see what happens in the future, because Oliver still cares about Anatoly, so he treats him differently. I hope we see more of Anatoly this season. It would seem wrong for him not to be around.
Now, on to the more personal stuff. Curtis is secretly freelancing and has a coding gig. Felicity is running out of PalmerTech buyout money, so she pesters Curtis to throw a little bit of his work her way. He eventually agrees, and you know there will be shenanigans.
Diggle finally comes clean to Dinah about the tremor. He caught shrapnel on Lian Yu and never took care of it or spoke up. Now, it’s causing degenerative nerve damage. This is not a good thing for a man who often uses guns. I’m assuming it’s because the show is only an hour that Diggle didn’t confess to the team (or at least, Oliver), but given what happens at the end, I’d say it’s going to be really important Diggle stops hiding.
As for Oliver, he’s being hounded by the press and the FBI regarding his connections to the Green Arrow. Of course, he brushes a lot of this off, while he and the team try to figure out who leaked the photo.
We’re introduced to FBI agent Samanda Watson, who’s efficiently played by Sydelle Noel. Her no-nonsense approach to dealing with Oliver proves she will be a formidable adversary. The fact is Oliver is not getting rid of her anytime soon. When he meets with her, news breaks that the photo was doctored (thanks to Felicity and Curtis), but Watson doesn’t buy it. If anything, it adds fuel to the fire.
Meanwhile, William is the one most affected by the news of Oliver’s secret identity. He gets beat up at school, because his daddy is the Green Arrow. Oliver tries to teach him how to stand up to bullies, but that’s really not what William needs. He needs a father who’s there. He gets pissed at Oliver when Oliver bails on him to help take care of Anatoly. He expresses concern over Oliver not coming home. Oliver tries to assure William he will always return, but he also feels guilty over that white lie. This time, it’s Rene who points out white lies are part of the parenting gig.
Oliver decides to come clean to William. He apologies for lying about always coming back home. Once again, Oliver’s honesty helps break down William’s walls. SEE WHAT HONESTY CAN DO? We shouldn’t have had to wait six seasons for this message to be so blatantly obvious! Anyway, Oliver promises to take steps to ensure William is not left parentless. He goes to Diggle and asks Diggle to take over as the Green Arrow. And Diggle accepts.
And there you have it. Oliver is passing the quiver to Diggle. Diggle, who’s injured and lying to the team. Stupid, stupid, Diggle. I’m excited to see how things move forward, and I love the maturity displayed by Oliver, but all I can do is shake my head at Diggle.
Other thoughts are I’m really enjoying the new layers of complexities we’re getting with Oliver as he deals with fatherhood. It’s making his relationships with Quentin and Rene most interesting and nuanced. These moments almost make up for the fact that Arrow still doesn’t know what to do with its females. Dinah is slowly becoming more complex, but she’s not there yet. Felicity is the same old Felicity. And then we have Evil Laurel, who’s great but one-note, and Thea, who, once again, is given nothing to do. Literally. She’s in a coma. I really hope they don’t do that thing where they make an episode all about her, then kill her off or just kill her off. I want her to wake up and get a meaningful storyline.
So, tell me your thoughts on anything and everything that’s been happening on Arrow, and I’ll see you next week!