After officially being probably some of the worst wedding guests, interrupting an impromptu wedding to ask to be married too, Oliver and Felicity are back in Star City celebrating their own marriage with friends and family. Of course, any time characters have something happy come into their lives it’s relatively quickly smashed down. It seemed pretty clear that Agent Watson’s proof that Oliver was Green Arrow had to be likely a person, and that is confirmed as Quentin Lance reveals they have a witness to testify and that it must be a team member. Once again this takes the characters down the path of betrayal from one of their own, but I guess at least this time it’s not to rat them out to an enemy like Prometheus.
While that betrayal by Evelyn Sharpe in season five brought a great twist and drama to a great season, this revelation along with the dragging Caden James stuff just puts an emphasis on the fact that this season of Arrow has been struggling. The angle of Oliver being investigated was interesting at first but has quickly dragged things down and the continued forced nature of trying to make Caden James the big bad just feels hollow. This cackling out to destroy the city hacker thing is nowhere near as compelling as the mysterious Prometheus who was ten steps ahead of the team. This episode doesn’t even bother to pick up on the one from two weeks ago where James said that Oliver had some connection to his son or something. Michael Emerson’s performance as James is fine, but the writing and the lame plots that they have going on for the character just make him the least threatening villain that the group has faced in the last few seasons. At this point, I’d even take a return of Damian Darhk, because Legends of Tomorrow has saved him and made him far more fun.
After all that the group went through, this dividing line between the original three and the newer three members of Team Arrow just feels forced. Especially after showing us how close they all are with the wedding party and Dinah’s being there for Diggle previously. That being said the new members are correct to be pissed off about Oliver and company spying on them because of their paranoia. The reasons that Rene betrayed the team though make perfect sense to protect his child, and yes he chose to betray instead of being clear about it but the whole first half of this first half has been about Oliver leaving the team behind to protect his child. Different methods were taken, but both were trying to do the same thing. Of course in typical fashion, they all come back together to save the day but then let the cracks form again and everything falls apart. Clearly, a big part of the second half is going to deal with the fact that the team has been splintered, the old versus the new. I can’t say I’m that excited about this little Civil War situation.
Interestingly enough it was Quentin Lance that really held this episode together from a character standpoint. That moment between him and Oliver at the wedding reception where he gave Oliver his family watch, showing the bond that the two have at this point, was a very touching one. The same can be said during his scenes with evil Laurel where for once we got to see more out of Katie Cassidy’s return instead of just the snarling killing everyone version of the character we’ve gotten lately. Their connection over her loss of her father in her world led to her actually letting him go, showing that perhaps she’s not fully as evil and irredeemable as thought. She still has blood on her hands, but perhaps the relationship between her and Quentin at least has the possibility of being better at some point.
All season there has been a wait for some sort of big bad to really step up because the series has lacked direction, and the focus on James made it seem like he might be that person which was a disappointment with how hollow and one-note the character truly is. Instead, the episode reveals that there won’t be just a one villain situation against the team, but a whole team of villains. Problem is, the moment feels so hollow. There so far seems no legit reason that these characters like Anatoly and Ricardo Diaz and even Vigilante would suddenly become like some knock off Legion of Doom. At least the Legends version of the Legion had compelling villains that were in it with a legit plan that threatened everything. Also, I’m sorry but this idea that Caden James and all of them bugged the bunker and planned for the team to split apart is so bogus. Clearly, they are supposed to be the ones that let Watson know that Rene was Wild Dog to get him against his team and all that. It just all feels too cliche and ridiculous. No true effort was taken beforehand to build up why all of these people are genuine threats, why they would be working together or even making it seem like there was some united plan connected to all their random appearances.
Season six so far has not been a worthy successor to the great season five, and it’s mid-season finale definitely cannot live up to some of the better ones in the past. At least even in weaker seasons like season three, there were legit cliffhangers that meant something like Oliver getting stabbed by Ra’s al Ghul. This finale is just empty feeling. Throwing in some last minute group of supposed evil masterminds to try and explain the ridiculous myriad of storylines this season doesn’t help anything. In fact, it makes things way more eye rolling. Hopefully, this team break-up and the stuff is given more weight in the second half and doesn’t continue to drag things down. At the same time, this show has stripped away most of the hope so I might be wishing for something that can’t & won’t happen.
Score: 5 out of 10