Some big surprises in this episode, and a couple of major cliffhangers, as one would expect from the Winter Finale, which worked out well considering they had to follow the excellent ‘Crisis on Earth X’ cross-over event, and deal with the aftermath of events like Oliver and Felicity getting married at the end. Overall, a fairly decent episode, keeping up the pretty high standard for the season and proving that removing the flashbacks and making the show less-centered on Oliver “maturing” into the Green Arrow was definitely a step in the right direction.
Jumping right in, the episode picks up at Oliver and Felicity’s wedding reception, where they could invite everyone who missed their intimate wedding ceremony, where the only ones present were Barry Allen, Iris West, and Diggle. Both of Felicity’s parents are there, which makes for some fun awkward moments when Quentin wants to speak to her mom alone, and Thea is fully back in the fray, distraught that Roy Harper did not make an appearance, clearly setting the stage for when he pops up later in the season, showing just how strong her connection to the former Team Arrow member still is. The reception is one of the few times we see Oliver, Felicity and the team truly happy (minus the new members of the Quiver Crew, with Rene seeming a bit distracted, Curtis depressed to be at a wedding so soon after his divorce, and Dinah claiming she does not like weddings after breaking off so many engagements of her own, which shocks Rene and Curtis). I fully expected Cayden James and Black Siren to crash the wedding and ruin the good time for everyone at any minute, but that actually did not happen. Instead, the fun ends when Quentin gets a call from Oliver’s lawyer and they learn the FBI’s “smoking fun” / damning evidence against Oliver is a member of Team Arrow willing to testify.
Oliver, Felicity and Diggle, still in their wedding duds, head back to the HQ to discuss, and despite Dig’s objections, decide to spy on the rest of the team to find out who the mole is, and of course they discover that Dinah is in contact with Vigilante, making her suspect #1. Meanwhile, while heading home from the wedding Quentin and Thea are attacked by Black Siren, who takes Quentin hostage, knocking out Thea (who is still not back to full fighting strength after her coma, conveniently enough), and leaving her with a phone that Cayden later calls with ransom demands: a nano-aluminum amplifier that ARGUS was holding. Feeling they have no choice Oliver and company head to ARGUS for the heist, but Oliver does not call in Dinah, as he no longer trusts her.
Meanwhile, Black Siren and Quentin have a moment reminiscing about the Quentin from Black Siren’s Earth, with her explaining how he died when she was very young, killed by a drunk driver, and Quentin claiming she could get to know him instead, clearly setting up a bond between the two (even though Quentin did shoot her earlier this year). The heist at ARGUS goes off without a hitch, despite Curtis being VERY hung-over from the wedding, and when they return to the Arrow Cave, Oliver announces the plan is to give Cayden the amplifier but not before Curtis sabotages it so it will not work, as they know it could be used to make the bomb Cayden currently has that much worse.
Just then, Dinah arrives, and asks why she was not called in for the op, and all the secrets boil to the surface. Oliver and Felicity reveal they were doing surveillance on the team to find the mole, which pisses off Curtis and Dinah, who feel trust was broken, and everyone learns Dinah has been speaking to Vigilante, who is actually her old partner Vince. Lastly, Rene comes out and confesses that he is the mole, as the FBI claims to have evidence that he is Wild Dog and threatened to keep his daughter away from him forever unless he flipped on Oliver. Oliver throws him off the team, and everyone takes some time to cool off, with Dinah, Curtis and Rene meeting in the park over a hamburger to discuss the trust breach from the senior members of the team, though Dinah and Curtis both tell Rene he should have come to everyone with the FBI problem instead of betraying Oliver. Oliver is talked down by Thea, who knows Oliver sees Rene’s point and the tough situation he was in, and she councils her brother that if he can see Rene’s point of view, he should be able to forgive him eventually. So when Oliver calls in the team for the op to meet with Cayden James, he calls in everyone, including Rene.
The op of course does not go as planned. As Oliver meets with Cayden with Dinah, Rene and Curtis stay hidden as back-up, Oliver clearly not trusting them to do much else at the moment. Annoyed, Rene convinces Curtis that they should head out to find Quentin, which is lucky because Cayden knows Oliver sabotaged the amplifier, and he orders his men to attack Oliver, and also orders Black Siren to kill Quentin in the hidden location she and her alt-father are in. While Oliver and Dinah hold their own against James’s main force, Rene and Curtis find Quentin and Black Siren and attack the men with the villainess, but she flees with Quentin. Luckily for Lance though, when they are alone, Black Siren frees Quentin and tells him to run, breaking orders from James, clearly feeling some kind of connection to Quentin. The team escapes and heads back to HQ, but things are still not right with Oliver and company.
Back at HQ, the team argues once more, with Oliver furious that Rene and Curtis left their position and were not there as back-up for him and Dinah. Rene points out that he has done things like that before, and Oliver reminds him that was back when Oliver trusted him, which is not the case now. He throws Rene off the team once more, and Dinah speaks up and says she agrees with Oliver, that trust is important, and they lost hers when they started spying on their own teammates, so she quits as well. Later, after some soul-searching of his own, Curtis tells Felicity, Oliver and Dig that he agrees with Dinah, and is especially hurt that they did not trust him (understandably since he has been with them for so long) and he leaves the team, though he assures Felicity that he will still work with her on HELIX Dynamics. Rene returns home to his daughter, promising her that he will not let anyone keep them apart, while a heartbroken Dinah, devoid of friends or any other family in Star City, turns to the only other person she knows, Vince, for comfort.
While Diggle believes they can still find a way to heal the team, Oliver is not as sure, and is bothered by the fact that James knew the amplifier had been sabotaged. And then we cut to Cayden James himself, watching a live-feed of the Arrow Cave from a camera that we learn Black Siren placed there months ago, reveling in how many steps ahead of Oliver and his team they are. Cayden is soon joined by the rest of what can only be called an evil cabal, which so far consists of him, Black Siren, Dragon (the drug dealer who was providing Diggle with his steroid to fix his tremors), Vince (which is sure to piss off Dinah), and Anatoly, who truly has gone full dark side now. Clearly, Team Arrow needs to find a way to get back together to meet this new threat, because I doubt that Oliver can fight all of them by himself, especially if Diggle is still out of commission. But we will have to wait to find out till the Winter premiere!
- LOVED Curtis’ drunk toast, and the fact that Rene had to bail him out. It was a great character moment for both of them.
- Is Black Siren playing games with Quentin, or could she genuinely be having some sentiment for the man? It could go either way with her, but I want to believe she is still part Laurel, and could be turned around.
- So is Vigilante fully evil now? I had always thought he was still good, he just took his version of justice too far, but I cannot imagine him working with the likes of Cayden James and Black Siren and not realizing they are the kind of villains he should be fighting if he was still on the side of good.
- Gonna be some serious tension at HELIX Dynamics with Felicity and Curtis I believe. Same goes for the Mayor’s office if Oliver still allows Rene to work there, though I could see him firing him from that job as well for what happened.
- So Oliver is just full on lying to William now about being Green Arrow, that’s clearly going to blow up in his face. I do find it interesting that the show barely showed William this episode, most likely to avoid having to show Oliver doing exactly that.
So I sincerely hope that the break-up of the team is not permanent, as I like the extended team. On the other hand, I don’t want it all to be magically fixed in the next episode either, as the feud felt real and should take time to fix, and not all be wrapped up in one episode to get back to the status quo (as ‘Arrow’ has done in the past). I have thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this season, and I cannot wait to see what they have in mind for the latter half now that we know exactly who all the villains are, even if we are not fully sure of what they are up to yet. And if this whole “break-up” thing means we get some episodes with Team Arrow Classic I’m ok with that too, it has been some time since we have seen Oliver, Diggle and Felicity handling business like they used to. See you back here in January!