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After a long winter break, ‘Arrow’ is finally back! And somewhat surprisingly, they did not stay true to form and fix all of the cliffhangers from the Winter Finale in their first week back, which has often been the case with the series in the past few years. They are really letting this feud between the members of Team Arrow simmer, and personally, I think it is working nicely. The heroes of the DC universe do not always get along, nor do they always operate on the same team, so it nice to see them splitting up and having some complications, but still staying true to being heroes and fighting for their city. The only real issue now is whether or not they are ever going to explain how Cayden James managed to unite his cabal of evil. It still seems kind of strange to see so many ‘Arrow’ villains fighting on the same team. Especially Vigilante, who Oliver rightfully pointed out, once claimed he only went after criminals (and Vigilante’s response, something like “Yeah, and vigilante’s are criminals” doesn’t make ANY sense since Vigilante is literally the man’s name! So by his logic, he should be turning HIMSELF in!).

So the main storyline basically followed the attempts of Oliver to capture Cayden James, which he failed, rather spectacularly at, twice over the course of the episode, mainly because he kept trying it alone because he no longer has a team. And of course, Diggle can’t join him in the field because he still has the shakes, but luckily Felicity and Curtis (who may be off the team but is still willing to help out Dig) are still working on a chip to control Dig’s problem, and fortuitously, while testing out a new chip. Even though it fails, it does clue in Felicity to the fact that there is a bug in HQ, a bug which they figure out they can eventually use to their advantage, but which sadly does mean that James knows all of their identities, and has been many steps ahead of them for most of the season. From the ARGUS base (which they are using until they debug their own), Felicity manages to track down James’s base of operations. Oliver goes in alone and while he does manage to corner Black Siren and James, he is unprepared when they reveal their allies Anatoly (and his mob), Dragon (and his mob), and Vigilante, who swarm Oliver.

He manages to escape but realizes he is hopelessly outnumbered. Luckily for him, he has been approached by the final member of the Bertinelli crime gang who is being squeezed out by the James Cabal and wants Oliver’s help (enemy of my enemy and all that). So using Bertinelli, Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle set a trap by planting fake information for the bug in their HQ. But even that goes awry when Bertinelli turns on them and Oliver is almost taken out once more. In the end, Oliver decides he needs help, and will have to set aside his anger and find a way to forgive the old team and ask them to come back and find a way to trust them again.

However, the old team has not just been sitting around. Dinah has been seeing Vince pretty regularly, unaware that he is working with Cayden James, and Curtis and Rene have been looking into means of wiping out the evidence the FEDs have on Rene so he does not have to testify against Oliver. Once Felicity learns they have been bugged and their identities are exposed, she and Diggle inform the old members of the team, and they are not happy about it, and the schism is even more evident when Felicity starts another argument with Dinah.

Dinah confronts Vince and tries to arrest him, but he escapes, and Dinah meets with Curtis and Rene, who just discovered that the FEDs evidence on Rene being Wild Dog was most likely given to them by Cayden James based from the bug he put in HQ. The three decide that even though they are no longer part of the Quiver Crew, they can still fight crime in the city as their own team. So when Oliver approaches them with forgiveness and asks them to come back, they say they cannot return, as the old team was full of mistrust and they never felt equal to Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. Oliver wishes them well, and they set off to forge their own team with Curtis setting up their new HQ at the old HELIX base of operations where the three toast their new crimefighting future.

Also occurring in the episode, Thea rejoins the mayoral staff since they are down a man since Lance fired Rene (for not being able to trust him anymore), and she and Lance discuss his desire to somehow redeem the new Laurel, which at first Thea says not to try. Later, she admits that Merlyn was just as bad, but in the end redeemed himself, so there might be hope for the Black Siren Laurel, and says she will help Lance. At the end of episode, Curtis gives a new experimental chip to Felicity and Diggle which they test, and Diggle’s arm appears to be working normally once more, which means Team Arrow is now back to two functional fighting members once more. And over at Team James, Cayden confronts Vigilante about his relationship with Dinah, showing the footage of their fight which reveals that she knows Vigilante is in league with James. Vince claims he can still control Dinah, which does not bode well for the Black Canary.

BOW-STRING THEORIES:

  • Now that Thea has been fully integrated back into the show (more or less), I’m stopping my Thea counter… but I am still waiting for the remainder of her “missing” episodes to happen. There were still some left.
  • Did Felicity hear the “bug” interference again while working out of ARGUS? I thought it meant she was somehow carrying the bug WITH her by accident, but then they never mentioned it again. I just thought it was odd.
  • If Diggle’s arm is now back to normal, will Oliver give up being the Green Arrow again? Or will Diggle become Spartan for now with Oliver continuing to be the Green Arrow until the Cayden James situation is dealt with? After all, it is only a matter of time before lying to William is going to catch up to Oliver.
  • What is James’s final plan? What does he have against Oliver? Why doesn’t he just out him? We need some answers.
  • How long has Oliver been under surveillance by the authorities? And how have they not spotted him out as Green Arrow yet? Seems mighty (plot) convenient…

Not the best episode of the season, but a good way back in after the long break. It did a good job of reminding us of the stakes, the complications, and setting up the board for the back half of episodes. I really like Cayden James, he’s a very different kind of villain for the show, and I hope the payoff for his story is worth it. I also like the idea of redeeming the Black Siren eventually, as it would be interesting to see her on Team Arrow, though how she would not go to prison for her crimes is beyond me. Looking forward to seeing what next week’s episode brings!