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‘Arrow’ continued its rollercoaster of a season this week, bringing the Cayden James storyline to its climax while introducing yet another new threat to Star City, and managing to advance the story of the continued fracturing of Team Arrow, not to mention the complicated relationship between Oliver Queen and his son. The episode moved at a fairly quickly pace, and while most of it made good story sense, a few character decisions were still a little suspect, but we’ll get into that soon enough.

So the episode revolved around Cayden James calling endgame due to his anger about Oliver and company using Vigilante as a spy in his organization, threatening to set off his bomb at midnight. The only card that Oliver has left to play comes to him from Felicity and Alena (her hacker friend from HELIX) who are finally able to prove that the evidence that was sent to James about Oliver killing his son was falsified, and James’ son was targeted specifically to get James to go after the Green Arrow. Oliver presents the information to James, and James is furious, realizing the betrayal had to have been performed by a member of his gang, ordering Oliver to round up Ricardo Diaz, Anatoly and Black Siren and bring them to him before midnight, otherwise he will still set off the bomb just to kill whoever was responsible for the death of his son. Though no one likes the idea of working with James, Team Arrow knows it is their only chance of stopping that bomb from going off.

Throughout the episode, we get flashbacks to James’s backstory, showing him working with HELIX to shut down groups he sees as immoral, including a pharmaceutical company that was involved in some dubious dealings. We see him interact with his son, who doesn’t like his dad’s hidden secret hacker life, and is upset that his father missed his basketball game, an obvious parallel to Oliver and William in the present. Later, after James is warned by Alena that ARGUS is looking for him, James goes out anyway to see his son’s game since he promised to be there, and he is apprehended by ARGUS, showing us why exactly a brilliant man like that could be captured. While in prison, he is told about his son’s death, and we see him begin to plot his revenge.

We also see Quentin Lance speak to Dinah about her quest for revenge against Black Siren Laurel (BSL), and plead with Dinah to choose another path, which she denies. Quentin later tells Thea that if it comes down to Dinah VS BSL, he is more worried about Dinah’s chances of survival. Back in the main story, William is brought to HQ for safety as Felicity contacts Team Dart and they all agree to work together to capture the members of Cayden’s gang, starting with BSL, who is currently fighting for her life against Dinah. Oliver stops their battle, and they take Laurel into custody, with Dinah not happy about it, but she is tempered by Quentin who watches Laurel with Dinah. They easily capture Diaz and Anatoly and bring everyone to Cayden James where he is hiding out with him bomb, and Oliver is not happy to learn that William heard of the meet-up location and came there himself to make sure his dad was ok, becoming a liability (a very stupid character decision as the kid has to know his presence only makes things more dangerous and complicated for his father). As Cayden demands to know who betrayed him, Laurel confesses, but Cayden is not convinced, claiming he does not think she is that cold-hearted as he saw her hesitate before killing Vigilante, and he knows she did not really want to do it. Sadly for him, the detonator for his bomb somehow interfered with the power-dampening collar Laurel was wearing and it breaks, allowing her to use her scream on James and escape.In the chaos Anatoly and Diaz also escape, but Dinah and Quentin track down Laurel and take her down, with Dinah firing Quentin’s gun into Lauren’s stomach, injuring her before Laurel knocks her out. We last see Laurel on the ground, presumably mortally wounded, as Lance stands over her, deciding what to do, more convinced now than ever that she might be redeemed after hearing James’s thoughts on how she did not want to kill Vigilante.

Meanwhile, back inside, William tries to grab the detonator from the knocked out James but James wakes up and grabs William, and a stand-off ensues as Oliver is held at bay by James holding his son and the detonator. As Oliver tries to convince him that this is not what his son would have wanted, James insists he is going to get revenge on the person who killed his child. At the right moment Oliver knocks the detonator away from James and knocks the man out, and he and William reunite.

In the episode aftermath, the city is safe, though Rene, Curtis and Dinah make it clear they are not rejoining the team. Oliver and William make up once again and Oliver promises his son he knows what he is doing and William does not have to worry. Oliver later meets up with James in custody, who admits he made a mistake and Oliver stopped him from betraying his son’s memory. James gives back all the money he stole, and vows to help Oliver catch the other members of his crew. As for Quentin, we learn he has let everyone think BSL escaped, but Laurel is really in the back of his car, her wounds cleaned and wrapped, and Quentin informs her he still believes she can be redeemed, and she does not fight him, for the moment. And in the final scene of the episode, Ricardo Diaz enters James’s interrogation room, revealing the new police chief works for him, and he has been the true mastermind behind everything, including killing James’s son, all in an effort to break up Team Arrow and bring the city into chaos so he can take it over, never really wanting James to destroy Star City. And to make sure James is no longer a problem, he kills the man with a knife to the throat.

BOW-STRING THEORIES:

  • Not sure how I feel about the new flashback style of showing backstory to characters about to die in that episode. First we had Vigilante last week, this week we had Cayden James. Kind of seems like tipping off viewers as to a character’s fate by letting us know their full motivations.
  • Was Ricardo Diaz out to get Cayden James because he was working with the Pharmaceutical Company that we saw James go after in the flashback?
  • With all of Oliver’s promises to William that he is going to be fine, I am wondering if the season is going to end with Oliver “dying,” an event which has to potential to finally reunite the team in grief, (and allow Diggle to finally become the new Green Arrow), and set the stage for an epic Oliver come-back next season.
  • Even if they do redeem Laurel, she still has to go to jail for everything she has done, right? While I would love to see her join Team Arrow one day, they just cannot ignore all of the people she has killed, and that has me worried…

A fairly solid episode with lots of twists and turns, but again, I worry that ‘Arrow’ is climaxing too early this season, and I only hope they have some major twists ahead that can rival what they have already done this season, which I think has been pretty good. I know we have the return of Roy Harper coming up, and I look forward to seeing how that fits in to everything, and I also want to see how Diggle is going to react to Oliver continuing to be the Green Arrow since he had his heart set on the job, and if that causes any more conflict between the pair. See you back here next week to see where they take things!