The latest episode of Arrow paid off on a long-lingering storyline in a fairly surprising way, while also revealing just how deep the corruption has spread throughout Star City. Turns out defating Diaz won’t be nearly as easy as Oliver had thought.
Spoilers ahead for “Brothers in Arms,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Thursday, April 5, 2018.
If nothing else, you have to respect the storytelling this season on Arrow. You don’t have to actually like it, but there’s no doubt they’re taking this series in some strange, sometimes clever and certainly surprising directions in its sixth year. There’s no doubt that Oliver is spreading himself too thin, between being mayor, a father, a husband, and a vigilante. Hey, there are only so many hours in the day (and night). Diggle finally lays that fact bare, spurred by Oliver’s decision not to give him back the mantle of Green Arrow after his brief tenure under the hood earlier this season.
Oliver has never been a perfect character, and at times this show has seemed to positively revel in his failures along the way. As Diggle spit venom at him, calling him out for everything from the death of William’s mother to the calls he’d made that led Diaz to have such a stranglehold on the city, it was hard to argue with what he was saying. Telling a story that finds your two heroes coming to blows is an old cliche, but “Brothers in Arms” found a natural and surprisingly compelling way there. Diggle’s frustration finally bubbled to the surface, and became even more affecting once he realized what was motivating it.
Diggle believes Oliver is keeping the Green Arrow mantle for selfish reasons, and really, he’s right. Oliver says as much, though it’s still his mantle to keep. Diggle believes the city would be in better hands with a hero who could put his time into the mission (namely, himself), and again, it’s hard to argue with his case. The two have often butted heads and disagreed on tactics, but after six years, Diggle has finally reached a point where he can’t simply be a lieutenant anymore. He wants to save the city his own way, in whatever way that might manifest itself.
Oliver believes he’s his best self when he’s the Green Arrow, and you could see in Diggle’s face he feels the exact same way. It’s not the hood itself, it’s the responsibility it entails. The leadership that comes with it. That’s what Diggle is missing, and as he left the team by episode’s end, the move really did make sense. For a show that can fall into contrivance more often than not, they positively nailed this one.
*So Diggle is going solo, and it seems his newfound freedom might land him a gig at Argus. Which makes sense — it’d give him the resources to take on Diaz and still keep him tied into the fight. Again, this show is certainly not afraid to tear its characters apart and move pieces around the board.
*With Diggle gone, the OG Team Arrow is down to two members: Oliver and Felicity. Stripping away the team has been a theme this season, and as Diggle pointed out, at least some of that can be tracked back to Oliver’s decision-making along the way. With his support system pretty much gone, it’ll be interesting to see where Oliver goes next. He’s flying solo for the first time since the beginning of Season 1, at a time when it’ll take more than one man and a quiver of arrows to fix the problem.
*So Diaz’s corruption runs through pretty much every institution of Star City, and the DA and police chief are spinning their dismissals into a case for impeachment against Oliver. Which, yeah, makes sense. The optics of that aren’t good, especially if Oliver doesn’t come clean about exactly why they were fired.
*Before the big break-up, Diggle and Oliver did manage to deal a striking blow to Diaz’s cash flow by torching his Vertigo supply. Hey, small victories, but it should help.
*So it seems Earth-2 Laurel really is still evil, or is at least still playing both sides along the way. Which isn’t much of a surprise, but still, you have to wonder where the writers are going with this subplot.
*Curtis’ new boyfriend Nick, the (now former) cop knows he’s Mister Terrific, and with the police department rotten to the core, realizes vigilantes are about the only hope left. Which seems like a pretty good assessment there.
Next week: Oliver goes solo to take on Diaz, which will almost certainly not end well.