Arrow: 6.04 Reversal
Arrow season six has certainly switched up the dynamic; new costumes for Black Canary and Wild Dog, Laurel Lance now a regular character again in psychopathic villain Black Siren and most significantly John Diggle taking up the mantle of Green Arrow while Oliver Queen focuses on his life as Star City mayor and father to William. Those final two changes don't feel long lasting, but I am intrigued to see how long this shift change lasts. Two episodes in to Diggle's Green Arrow and there's no sign of a reversal yet (even the opening monologue supports this new world order).
This was an episode that continued to deal with the fallout of season five, this time Felicity's shady alliance with hacker group Helix. Kacey Rohl's Alena returned to recruit Felicity in the fight against her old boss Cayden James, who they broke free from an ARGUS prison in last season's Dangerous Liaisons. This time, Cayden was given a face in Michael Emerson, who emerged as a major player in the season, not only trying to take down the internet (yes that was a ludicrous thing), but also revealed as the man that brought Laurel back from Lian Yu.
This is an intriguing new development and I'm liking the threads slowly coming together; Emerson's Cayden is very much an evil version of his Person Of Interest character Harold Finch and is a very different type of villain the likes of Damien Darhk and Prometheus. This episode was clearly a setup for bigger things to come, particularly for Felicity; the fact that she helped unleash this villain will provide plenty of drama and I liked how the episode reversed her and Oliver's traditional roles (complete with him stepping in as Overwatch) while she faced the consequences of her actions and fought to fix them.
I've commented numerous times how great the choreographed fight scenes are in Arrow and after last week's support battle from the point of view of the car backseat, Reversal attempted a full-on one shot fight sequence between team Arrow and Cayden's goons and Black Canary. I am sure there were a few sweeps to black to mask multiple shots but it looked fantastic. I'm a sucker for a tracking shot and this was a confidence, exciting sequence to watch.
I'm wondering where Oliver's storyline is going though. He seems a supporting player in his own show, which shows the strengths of the rest of the ensemble and, coming off the back of a strong fifth season, allows the show to play with formula a little. Still, I liked how he blundered in to save Felicity in commando mode and then took on the tech support role. He's also a much wiser Oliver now and his scenes with Felicity were strong. I like that he could be the moral support she needed now and their reignited romance continues to feel more natural and earned.
While I enjoyed Reversal, I suspect its full purpose will become clear as the season progresses, particularly concerning Cayden James. I am still not sure where Arrow season six is progressing, but this continued confidence suggests another strong year to come.