Arrow – Season 6 Episodes 1 – 9 Review

Arrow S6 P1

Arrow Season 6 picks up … a few months after the big cliffhanger ending, and wastes no time confirming that very little happened. Still, it does at least settle back into the Season 5 groove of group of group of vigilantes vs. large groups of thugs, which worked in refreshing the show last year, and sets up the rest of the season really well, so I can forgive the non-follow up… A bit. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Oliver Queen, current Mayor of Star City and the Green Arrow, is struggling to balance these parts of his life with the fact he now has to take care of his son William, who was left motherless during the island explosion at the end of the previous season. Meanwhile the rest of Team Arrow are moving forward with their lives, though one member is hiding a secret that could cost them all dearly, and a secret cabal of villains is slowly building its portfolio…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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It’s the lead cast!  ….  Minus the lead.

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) – Mayor of Star City and the Green Arrow, Oliver is struggling to balance these parts of his life with the fact he now has to take care of his son William. (Yes I just copied that from above, but it is a good sum up…)

Felicity Smoak / Overwatch (Emily Rickards) – Felicity is continuing to oversee the operations of Team Arrow from the bunker, but is also looking to do something legitimate outside of it…

John Diggle / Spartan (David Ramsey) – John was wounded in the island explosion several months ago, and he’s been hiding it from his fellow allies because… he’s apparently learned nothing.

Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) – Quentin has lost both his daughters, and although one came back to life (and then went time travelling) he still found it hard to move on and conquer his drinking problem. Now deputy Mayor, he is finally feeling good about himself and moving on with his life… that is until an evil doppelganger of his still dead daughter keeps popping up…

Curtis Holt / Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum) – Nerdy computer guy who is also out fighting on the field, though mainly with gadgets than hand-to-hand. He is also soon looking into starting a new company with Felicity…

Rene Ramirez / Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) – Rene would love nothing more than to see his daughter again, but the process is hard and he doesn’t know if he can do it anyway. Oh, he’s also helping the Mayor and fighting crime as the masked “Wild Dog”, but you know, that bit’s easy…

Dinah Drake / Black Canary (Julia Harkavy) – The second woman to take the mantel, she coincidentally has the metahuman power to do a canary cry much like the now deceased Laurel Lance did with the sonic device. She is also a lieutenant in the police, which is handy if Team Arrow need a new piece of evidence!

Slade Wilson / Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) – Formally a deadly agent, then a deadly foe of Oliver’s, Slade is now reformed, the drug that turned him a bit insane now finally out of his system. He wishes to be reunited with his son, but he may not like it when his wish is granted…

Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) – The Laurel Lance of Earth-2 who coincidentally ended up with the same sonic cry ability via metahuman means that the Earth-1 Laurel used via technology. She is also evil, though somewhere deep inside, there may be a glimmer of hope…

Cayden James (Michael Emerson) – Cayden is a master hacker and a great strategist, and he’s forming a cabal of agents and villains in order to bring down the government as revenge for how they treated him in the past…

Vincent Sobel / Vigilante (Johann Urb) – Sobel was believed to be dead by his former police partner Dinah Drake, but he survived his seemingly mortal wound and began a masked crusade against all criminals as the masked vigilante known as… Vigilante.

Anatoli Knyazev (David Nykl) – Anatoli is a member of the Bratva, and is trying to make headways into the US, where he former ally-turned-enemy Oliver Queen is currently the Mayor…

and many more!

The Good:

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A bit of father-son bonding, right before some good old fashioned killing.

I really like the new set up established in the previous season, with a group of mostly super-powerless street level heroes taking on normally equally super-powerless street level villains. It was also interesting to see them trying to freshen things up a bit by having Oliver step down as the Green Arrow and focus on being a father and the Mayor, even if this didn’t ever really keep him away from the action, though it is a shame what happened with the John Diggle story (see the bad section!)

That being said the subplots surrounding Oliver have been good so far. The key one of the FBI looking into Oliver being the Green Arrow and the potential strife it causes as everyone on Team Arrow soon get called in for questioning. Episode 9, “Irreconcilable Differences”, did the predictable splitting the team up (before inevitably reforming at the end of the season, or knowing the Arrowverse, probably by the end of the next episode) but in a realistic way, particularly with Rene ratting Oliver out in order to save the fragile relationship he has with his daughter.

The second subplot involving Oliver was really about Deathstroke and his relationship with his son, whom he had finally located. The two go to meet him, find out he’s dead, then when Slade goes all kill crazy at the people deemed responsible finds out that his son is actually leading the group of mercenaries he thought were responsible. This soon leads to a hard decision when Oliver is kidnapped by the mercs and Joe, Slade’s son, gives his father the chance to kill his “nemesis”. It was great stuff, and when Deathstroke attacked his own son to save his once-former foe I was looking forward to seeing where it leads… sadly, according to the producers of the show, it won’t lead anywhere for a while due to the DCEU having their own version of the character and therefore putting the kibosh on the Arrowverse version for the foreseeable future…

Although it was actually during the elsewhere -on-the-site covered Crisis on Earth-X crossover, it is nice to see Oliver and Felicity married at last. Now can we stop the “will they, won’t they” and get on with new ideas?

I like poor Quentin and his constantly being hounded by the Earth-2 version of his daughter, and how they both have hesitated to kill each other due to some inescapable bond despite knowing the other isn’t their version of their family member (alternate universes, eh?) Despite how close to parody he becomes sometimes, I’ll also mention that I do like Curtis as a character, and his partnering up with Felicity outside of the Team Arrow stuff is good for some more fun interactions between the two.

Finally, I liked the reveal of the big cabal of villains at the end of the season, a good mix of people, most of whom have beef with at least one member of Team Arrow (well, when it was united anyway), so we should get a great final episode or two when it all comes together.

The Bad:

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“So John, done anything else extremely stupid and out-of-character recently?”

What on Earth happened to John Diggle? The man who was always the wise experienced soldier type is injured in action so bad that his right arm shakes when he aims, and he… tells no one and tries to just get on with it, even when the problem nearly caused the death of his teammate? Then he takes on the mantle of the Green Arrow and takes street drugs to deal with it? When (as the show itself points out) he is in a team with a person who created a chip that made paralysed Felicity walk around with no issues? This whole thing was so out of character and really poorly thought out.

Much like I said in the Flash equivalent to the 17-18 TV season of Arrowverse, they completely wasted the cliffhanger they created at the end of the previous season. Within the first 5 minutes of episode 1 most of Team Arrow had appeared on screen in the present, confirming their survival, and by the end of the episode we were aware than the only ramifications were the death of Oliver’s one-time fling leading to him having to look after William, and the fact that Thea is in a coma, something that’s undone by Episode 6. If you’re going to non-deliver so badly, don’t give people six months to get excited about the resolution to it!

Overall Thoughts:

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Dun-Dun-Dun!! Great way to end the pre-Christmas part of the season!

For the most part I really enjoyed these first nine episodes of Arrow Season 6, but at the same time one plot thread was just completely out of character and annoying, and possibly made more annoying when a character in the show pointed out how stupid it was… Still, there was a lot more good than bad, and it’s set up some good plot threads heading into the next bunch of episodes, so for that it deserves praise. Let’s hope they keep up the pace and move on past the nonsense…

4 Star Watch

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