Reviews TV

The Arrowverse – Arrow 6×13 “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” review

All the recent plot lines, save a couple of them, come to a whimper of a conclusion this week.

Arrow 6x13

At long last the Cayden James plotline mercifully comes to a semi-conclusion, a whole slew of other issues come to the forefront in the process. Team Arrow is divided all over the place, not any closer to a reunion and Quentin Lance is falling deeper into the well when it comes to Black Siren.

Villain Development A Little Too Late

Really, the thing that made Cayden James finally decide to stop being a lame cat playing with a mouse over months villain is that Vigilante was a traitor? Thinking Oliver killed his son apparently wasn’t enough to make him just decide to finish the hero. You know what, whatever, nothing about this plot has ever made sense. Flashbacks are sticking around it seems like now we get ones for Cayden as if this is supposed to make him a better villain. First off, what is it with these shows and their constant need still in this day and age to have hackers be people just furiously typing at a keyboard to do all the Hollywood super hacker stuff they can do. Second, Michael Emerson is doing great with this part even if the writers are not really giving the character great plots. The sympathizing moments in his moments with his kid are helpful but a too little too late.

It would have been better to see some of this stuff about Cayden a long time ago before he was this super hacker willing to kill people and threaten to blow up a whole city. Losing a son is painful, but clearly, Cayden was already not a great person since he’s easily willing to blow up an entire city because of that pain. Not really how your average person acts when in grief. We’re meant to believe that the time in ARGUS custody and after changed Cayden a lot from the nerdy calm guy we’re shown in the flashbacks, but that’s a huge personality change. Not that it matters anyway since Cayden James is now no longer a worry at all. Let’s stop using the flashbacks as a foreshadow of tragedy, shall we?

Two Groups, Too Similar For Their Own Good

One of the biggest flaws of this division of the ranks plot is that the two groups are too similar. As much as the younger heroes rag on Oliver for his brooding and mistrust and one man army mission they have all done those things in just the last few weeks. Dinah starts this week off on a mission of vengeance against Laurel for the death of Vigilante, telling her teammates to stay out of her way or else. Choosing to go on a revenge mission instead of saving the city from a bomb, not very heroic like that group was trying to say they were. Basically, the two groups threw some tantrums and went opposite ways to do the same things overall. Separating the heroes had potential but with the Cayden James group plot bogging down the whole season, there was not a room left to explore this dynamic. It’s time to just end it and bring the groups back together fully so they can move on. Of course though, the series plans to milk this even more once it comes back from it’s Olympics related hiatus. Joy.

Arrow 6x13 Arrow

Is That Truly How It Ends?

Weeks ago when the cliffhanger in the mid-season finale dropped to reveal this group of villains all working together, my first thought was about how lame of a threat they were. That alone all of them had easily been dispatched by the heroes in the past. With this episode, how little of a threat they are was fully proven. Just like with most villain groups this one crumbles quickly as the others realize that Cayden James claims he would get them out of the city before the bomb explodes was a lie and then the heroes all split into smaller groups easily picked off the three remaining compatriots of Cayden so that they could deliver them to James since it looked like one of them was behind this whole deception that pitted the hacker against the archer hero.

One thing that the two oldest of the CW DC shows have in common this week is unsatisfying conclusions to parts of their overall season plots. This whole bomb thing comes to an end after Laurel breaks free and sends all the cabal scattering, Cayden ready to blow things up for his son until he realizes his son’s death is ultimately his fault for the life he led as he watches Oliver and William together ready for the bomb to go off. Heroes save the day as they are meant to, but in the process proved just how weak the villains of this plot truly were.

Arrow tried to replace one strong villain from last season with an entire cabal of villains but they were all weak on their own and only strong together because of plot reasons. Seeing team Arrow take out on a worthy team of villains is definitely something many would love to see in the future, but this group was not that threat. Something far more threatening and powerful would be best. Maybe season seven, if we get one, will provide. Right now though we’re getting something just eye rolling.

Diaz going from this one episode drug dealer to part of the Cabal to now being revealed as the mastermind behind Cayden James’s son’s death, and now the murder of James himself is just ridiculous. This thug guy who wants to just rule the city as a crime lord with officers and others on the take is a guy who long-planned out the death of Owen James, got the FBI onto Oliver, split the team and manipulated all the other villains? No, just not. Don’t believe it one bit. Why would he even want to rule Star City that is increasingly full of vigilantes? Why not control one of the umpteen cities without metas or vigilantes. Makes no sense.

Now we’ve traded Michael Emerson’s at least well-acted villain in for another typical street thug type with ‘s Diaz. Maybe it’s time for this season to just end already.

Also this has nothing to do with the ending or the reveal, but that wasted Flash cameo was the worst. We all know that the heroes of these shows never call on one another, outside of the crossovers, because shared universe rules of can’t have heroes solving one another’s issues all the time otherwise it ruins the drama. Yet, the show writers chose to show us Flash (as a blur) being a taxi service for Oliver and Diggle but then just run away…instead of helping find the giant bomb that is about to destroy the city. It draws attention to the question of why Oliver asked for no help in these matters. Attention that could have been avoided easily with some other solution to them getting to James.

Final Thoughts

Wow, just wow. This has been a pretty bad week for Arrowverse shows and delivering fulfilling endings some of their big dramatic plots. I’m glad Cayden James plot is over but now we’re in for weeks more of infighting and the series really tring to stretch out making Diaz a threat and making Laurel either someone that Quentin can fix or that proves to truly be a villain in the end. Going to be a rough few months to the season finale.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

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