It’s that time of the season where people need to stop setting up moves and actually commit to the story you want to tell. We saw that last week with The Flash, but Arrow seems to be muddling its way towards the back half, and the more I look back at this season so far I cant really figure out what has happened. Take for example this week’s episode “Brotherhood” a largely Diggle centric episode that makes a great case for why David Ramsey is awesome, but little else of consequence takes place that actually pushes the Darhk vs Ollie story forward. This is in an episode where Ollie and Darhk actually chat face to face, and yet Damien’s plan is no closer to being completed and all of our characters behaviors seemingly don’t care that they have run into the madman a bunch of times and yet know nothing about him. It is starting to feel like we are spin our wheels and I really need to know why we should be afraid of anything that is happening.
So let’s start with our sweet sweet prince John Diggle as he discovered not only was his brother alive, but that he is also one of Darhk’s followers because of reasons yet to be explained. Like i said in the opening, man is it good to be reminded why David Ramsey is so important to the show as he went through a wide range of emotions in dealing with the revel of Andy being alive. I loved the nomination of anger and sadness as if Andy seemingly had a choice in whether or not he would follow Darhk let alone become a weapon for hired. I also really dug the pushback Diggle gave to everyone as he did not believe Andy deserved a second chance because he just up and abandoned his family as if they were nothing. The two big scenes involving Ollie and Diggle, as well as Lyla and Diggle showed a lot more depth into John as a character. I love that he has been dreaming of this opportunity ever since he found out about the pit and that in the end he decided it was to much of a risk and that he didn’t know what would happen. Let me repeat that Diggle had the common sense to actually weigh the pros and cons of the pit and decided the cons were too numerous. This is why you should talk about things with the team Laurel.
Another character dealing with the aftermath of their return was Ray and I have to say, I like having antisocial, self reflective Ray and Brandon Routh absolutely nails it. Yes, I realize this is all setup for Legends of Tomorrow, but it is great for Ray to be out of his element considering how confident and suave he was all of last season. I liked that he is actually searching for purpose and not just all “I can fix everything Felicity screwed up” because that would undercut how in trouble his company truly is. It also forces Felicity to take control of Palmer Tech which she seemingly doesn’t want any part of despite being all for it earlier in the season. Ray is finally willing to step outside of his comfort zone and face the world and see who exactly Ray Palmer is to everyone. This should really open up the door for his growth on Legends of Tomorrow and finally complete his growth into a three dimensional character.
Then we have Damien Darhk who I am beginning to loose interest in despite Neal McDonough slaying it week in and week out. It is the fact that the more I see him, the more I wonder what he is actually up to and why HIVE cares so much about Star City. It can’t simply be because they need a new base of operations, that is just to baseline for someone who has been built up to this magnitude. I need a reason to care about these evil machinations in the same way I did the Undertaking or Slade’s revenge, because as of right now Darhk and his army are not threatening at all since they manage to be defeated each and every week like they are League of Assassins fodder. I did love the scene where Darhk converts the group of random people into his new mindless soldiers as it helped to reinforce how he desires compliance and order in his coming new world.
What really threw me off about Darhk was that he was not even subtle when threatening Ollie about giving up on the harbor. I enjoy the fact that Oliver is taking his campaign seriously and actually fighting for causes he believes in, but Darhk’s threats about opposing him rang hollow. If Darhk does indeed back a candidate to oppose Ollie they need to be inspiring and truly show Ollie that he stands little chance of actually winning. Also, Ollie is currently running unopposed I would like to believe that there is a certain window of time before no new candidates besides write ins can oppose Ollie’s quest to be mayor. It just seems odd as there is no real conflict in the Oliver mayor plot and I wish there was as much tension as there is in an average Green Arrow plot.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how great the action in this episode was as the shows stunt coordinator James Bamford directed this episode and he made damn sure it was top notch. I especially loved the container fight with Diggle and Ollie vs the ghosts as well as Thea vs Andy. Both were shot in a really unique and exciting format that played to the best of the characters abilities. Also Diggle threw an arrow at a guy and it worked, so top marks for creativity.
Overall it was a good episode I just really want to know where the hell this plot is going.
Final Grade B-
+Excellent performances from Ramsey, McDonough, and Routh
+Oliver being committed to running for mayor
-Yet he is running unopposed and still needs to do all of this?
-Darhk losing his menace
-Thea’s magically disappearing bloodlust
-Yeah, so Darhk is weak to Thea being revived from the pit? Also Malcolm is seemingly ok with Thea running into Darhk? That is super weird.
-Laurel literally jumped off a two story building and was completely fine, is she now some sort of Meta?
–Arrow and The Flash are off next week. Running in their place will be our reviews of Jessica Jones which airs it’s entire season on Friday. Gonna be a fun week everyone.