Arrow: 6.22 The Ties that Bind
The first half of this season started off relatively dull, and soon descended into complete disaster. Cayden James was a weak villain; the whole team split dynamic was at times rage inducing, and simply, it made for poor entertainment week after week. The past few episodes have rectified this, and it’s slowly started to bring it back to where you can see light at the end of the tunnel. Although this penultimate episode may not be the best, it was nice to finally see the Green Arrow family (if somewhat dysfunctional) working together again.
After last episode saw Oliver kept out of prison, Diaz had every member of Team Arrow attacked in their home; this was the catalyst that brought them all back together. I always knew at some stage they would re-group, but the way this was handled was perfect, nothing felt forced, out of place or drawn out. While they may still not respect, trust, or even like each other, there’s a level of understanding that to achieve their common goals they must work together; a relatable scenario for anyone I would think.
The couples’ fighting alongside one another was a bit hit and miss. Diggle and Lyla worked very well, their chemistry as always is great, and their fight choreography was excellent if a tad cheesy. The same however cannot be said for Oliver and Felicity who spent the majority of the episode bickering, and basically arguing over sexist stereotypes. Oliver constantly telling Felicity to stay behind, stay safe and protect William is a tired, overused and unnecessary arc. It’s understandable that you would want to protect your loved ones, but not only has Felicity proven herself over and over again, but it shows a lack of trust, diminishing their otherwise strong relationship.
There was an awful lot of action in this episode and it was all done very well. However, Oliver taking out presumably highly trained, armed assailants, when he himself is unarmed was a bit far-fetched. I appreciate he’s the hero, but he isn’t indestructible; it would have been nice to see him humanised, making him, too, susceptible to being hit. Dinah bouncing her soundwaves off of the wall was spectacular and by far the best scene was Curtis punching Diaz while shouting, “you hurt the people I love” was comedy gold. Not sure it was meant to be funny but it was perfect nonetheless.
Diaz continues to be an ominous villain; his screen presence is genuinely creepy. Kirk Acevedo’s performance as the deranged gangster is superb, watching the development has been the highlight of the entire series. Unlike with Prometheus last season, I don’t think Diaz will rise victorious in the end, but no matter what happens he will not be forgotten.
The most disappointing aspect was by far the Quadrant. Introduced a few episodes back, the viewer was led to believe that a powerful crime syndicate was in charge. However, since Diaz has been in the picture, the organisation seems no more powerful than your average street gang. The idea was good but the execution has been terrible; at no stage were the Quadrant shown to be all powerful and threatening, three members have been killed at the hands of Diaz far too easily.
Closing out with Oliver speaking with FBI agent Watson, asking for help and ultimately admitting he is the Green Arrow, felt cheap and unwarranted. Not only has she been MIA for a long time, what can she really do, given that presumably the FBI is aware of the circumstances in Star City. I know it’s already been done, but I would’ve preferred asking the public once again to help overcome Diaz.
Regardless of any issues, this was a fantastic episode and has set up next week’s finale beautifully. Diaz has firmly waged war against our masked heroes and what comes next should be nothing less than explosive.