Arrow: 6.15 Doppelganger
I was asked this week by Baz Greenland to review the latest episode of Arrow. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it as the last few have been yawn inducing, concentrating on the time wasting spat between Team Arrow and Team Not Arrow. Seriously, it’s like watching a school playground argument. Thankfully, Doppelganger practically puts that to the side and incorporates stories and characters that make it feel like the Arrow of old.
The episode begins with Oliver’s lawyer revealing that the charges against him can be dropped, given that the evidence originated with Cayden James, who is now of course dead. Ricardo Diaz, the new big bad villain, still wants Oliver outed as the Green Arrow, so needs a new witness; he locates, captures and tortures none other than Roy Harper. Fans of the show will remember him as Oliver’s protégé from past seasons; personally, I loved his character and was saddened when he departed. Aside from being a punching bag, he does very little his presence brings Thea Queen out of retirement as she once again suits up as Speedy, showing she hasn’t lost it and that her feelings for Roy haven’t changed.
It was refreshing to see Thea make her way back to the forefront, and given something else to do aside from simply being Oliver and Quintin’s confidant. I’ve never been Thea’s biggest fan, but I thought her development back into Speedy was handled well, clearly showing her rustiness. With this feeling like the Arrow of old, what would it be without Oliver giving some brotherly advice to Thea? He tells her that, once they rescue Roy, she should essentially run away with him as it would make her happy. This was a nice little addition that made me smile, bringing the siblings closer together.
Cayden James as the villain this season, while always one step ahead of Oliver and the team, didn’t have the fear factor that the likes of Death Stroke or Damien Dark had. Diaz however proves a force to be reckoned with, showing he has the brain, brawn and evil presence to be a very effective villain.
A story I am becoming unenthused by is the progression of Black Siren (Laurel Lance’s Doppelganger), as things become more complicated with her this week. Last episode, she revealed herself to the world as the real Laurel, and that she had been kidnapped, not killed. This time she shows up at the mayor’s office to have what the public see as a tearful reunion with Oliver and her father. This subplot is all over the place. I am forever bewildered as to her true intentions; does she plan on manipulating Quintin and Oliver into believing she has turned over a new leaf? or is she really working with Diaz? The confusion is both interesting and annoying all at once.
Had the episode solely concentrated on the return of Roy, and Thea as Speedy, I would’ve been happy, but I suppose there is still plenty going on that needs developing and explanation. I get the impression that, when tackling this instalment, the writers were fed up with the side characters as several times the tone shifted dramatically. Most notable was when Curtis visits Rene’s daughter to tell her that her father has been badly injured (from last episode). Immediately, before Curtis had even finished, the scene transitioned to Oliver’s Green Arrow case…bizarre!
At every turn it seemed this episode wanted to distance itself from Team Whiny, or at least their alter egos. We still get cop Dinah Drake keeping her eyes on Laurel, but I must say that Dinah is far more interesting a character when not being a vigilante. I think the same goes for that whole side team really.
Once the team rescue Roy, Thea takes him to her place, where the two discuss their past and feelings for one another. The episode ends with a member of the League of Assassins spying on Thea, who she refers to as the “Heir of Ra’s Al Ghul”. This could become an interesting side arc as Nyssa was the last known holder of the title before the League disbanded. Either way, it’s an addition I can get behind and look forward to watching develop. At the same time I hope it doesn’t take too much away from Diaz and the overall plot.
Regardless of any negative points this episode has, undeniably it takes a step in the right direction. After a few lacklustre instalments, it was pleasant to see the original team back together and even more pleasant that the dynamic has hardly changed. There is more to look forward to and be hopeful about, providing the dull sub-plots are either removed or, at the very least, kept to a minimum.