John Diggle’s official time as Green Arrow definitely cannot be called a smooth transition. While the other shows in the universe have been about reclaiming fun and team dynamics from previous seasons and getting back on their feet, Arrow so far has spent much of it’s three episodes this season creating a lot of issues for the team & even causing tensions between various team members. This episode pretty much went the way most would expect. It moved from the team making an easy bust, to doubts being cast upon John’s abilities as Green Arrow, to Oliver giving him the pep talk to fix all things leading to the team achieving a victory and John’s issues with his nerve damage and psychological concerns appearing to be behind him. If that was where it ended then eyes might have rolled about how simple and formulaic it all was.
Instead we’re left with the knowledge as the audience that John’s issues are not over and are going to likely pop up very soon and likely will tear the team apart. Diggle’s time as Green Arrow is clearly not going to be a forever thing, as predictably there will be some reason that Oliver has to break his promise and don the hood once again. Until then there is a ticking clock till John’s issues become too much of a problem for the team and something goes wrong for them or others get hurt. Onyx & her crew, the typical villains of the week situation, were nothing compared to the threats the team is likely to face with the return of Black Siren next week and whoever or whatever the big bad is that will invariably be revealed soon enough.
Honestly the plot lines happening alongside John’s struggles were actually a bit more interesting. Oliver and Quentin having to deal with Agent Watson’s investigation still as part of their lives and how to distance themselves from the vigilantes shows that the handing over of a hood didn’t make life any easier for Queen or those around him. An anti-vigilante bill pops up in the episode as one way to do that and despite Oliver’s attempts to deny that as an option, others decide that it’s worth bringing to the City Council. Oliver might have been able to push it off for the time being by turning it into a city referendum instead of a bill but it’s sure to come up again. How that will affect things in the long run and if it gets off the ground will be interesting to see. In DC’s Legends of Tomorrow this week they went to a future where A.R.G.U.S. had laws in place against meta-humans and seemingly even non-powered individuals in costumes that were said to have gone into effect in 2021. So there is the chance that these two things very well could end up being connected at some point. The Arrowverse is good at times with their little connections between the different shows.
At the same time Oliver struggled in the episode to deal with being a father and not knowing how to provide the help his son needs. While Oliver and Felicity as a couple, or Olicity as the fans seem to enjoy, was something that died in season four and wasn’t something I personally wasn’t clamoring for to return the work put in to get them back together here actually works. They are both in different spots since their breakup and have grown and changed a lot. Felicity seems to fit easily into the world with Oliver’s son William, and the two being able to work together to make his acceptance of his new situation easier should make for some good subplots. Especially once Oliver has to take back up his hooded mantle at some point this season, most likely around the mid-season finale or likely even the four part crossover coming in a few weeks. Hopefully they don’t go the cliche route and have it really ruin his relationship with William and instead we get to see Oliver being a good dad while still doing his bit to save people. The two things are not exclusive and really there is enough other drama in the show that adding that is not needed.
Many of the fights, especially with all the strobe lights, were not as great as they were last week with the kitchen and ship yard fights. Though the final fight between Green Arrow and Onyx with them moving in and out of the camera focus atop the limousine with windows breaking and knives slamming into the interior was pretty great. Even the dour drama filled series of the Arrowverse reminded us that at times it can be a bit funny when it threw in the moment in the truck cab with the music. Fans of Ted Kord/Blue Beetle, and those of his best pal Booster Gold, are likely not happy that Kord Industries keeps having cameos but no sign of Ted. Fingers crossed it could happen one of these days. Also the second week in a row of no flashbacks is greatly appreciated. The episodes flow so much easier when there is not this constant cutting back and forth between the past and present day. It also allowed more room for each of the plots to actually breathe and not feel rushed to make room for flashbacks.
Things have not been easy for the Arrowverse shows this season as many had to overcome issues that crept up in their previous seasons. Legends had the easiest time as it just kept to form of last season and The Flash is jumping right back into silly and fun without worry. Arrow though is in a bit of a holding pattern it would seem. Things are moving forward but there is no real overall direction for the series as a whole right now other than Oliver as a father and the struggles of the team with Agent Watson on their tail. That’s not to say that I want the big bad revealed and to dominate the season. It worked well with Prometheus for the most part but it should not be repeated. In part the lack of flashbacks and the island focus is likely something that even the writers are having to come to grips with being done as that was the whole identity of half the show for it’s first five years. Meaning it might take a bit of time for the creators and the show to re-find itself. As long as they keep things entertaining like they mostly did this week, we can afford to let the show find itself once more.
Score: 8.5 out of 10