A battle between dueling Team Arrows has been brewing for months, and it finally came to a head this week, with repercussions that will almost certainly reverberate through the rest of the season. It’s not quite Civil War, but it’s still pretty huge.
Spoilers ahead for “Collision Course,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Thursday, March 1, 2018.
This week, there really were no heroes.
There are some lines that, once you cross, you just can’t come back from. Stories that devolve into heroes punching heroes run the risk of getting contrived and clunky real fast — but “Collision Course” pulled no punches and actually managed to do something true to these characters while putting real stakes in the middle. The end goal is to get all the show’s heroes to fight, but the journey there actually makes sense — which is far too rare these days.
Team Arrow and New Team Arrow fundamentally disagree on how to handle Black Siren, aka Earth-2’s Laurel Lance. Dinah wants to kill her for revenge over Vince’s murder, while Oliver wants to keep her alive to recover the $70 million of Star City operation funds Cayden James extorted during his siege of the city. Of course, the OG Team Arrow also has a soft spot for Evil Laurel, since she’s wearing the face of their dearly departed pal.
But instead of trying to set up one team as “right,” the approach here finds both sides giving up the moral high ground along the way. Oliver bursts into the new team’s bunker to accuse them of harboring Black Siren; Curtis cripples Diggle to use the chip in his arm to track the team; Rene puts a tracker on Oliver; then they absolutely beat the stew out of one another once both sides converge on Laurel’s location, with Quentin caught in the middle just trying to save the last fleeting bit of his late daughter. Both sides have good points, but neither side is right. Oliver is willing to let Laurel vanish in the wind so long as the city gets its money back, while Dinah wants to murder her in cold blood. Curtis serves as a voice of reason and talks Dinah off the ledge, but still, Star City’s heroes were anything but in this one.
When it came to blows, the Green Arrow understandably mopped the floor with his former pupils — almost killing Rene in the process, when an old gunshot wound reopens and lands him in the hospital. Laurel manages to escape in the chaos, and seemingly chooses not to return the cash she siphoned from Cayden James’ account. As far as fallout, the city is broke and will need to start closing down essential services soon, which all falls on the mayor’s head. Rene is also off the board for the foreseeable future, and if the initial doctor’s report is to be believed, might never suit up again.
The story ends on a note we’ve seen a lot of lately, but here it feels more final. Instead of Rene telling Team Arrow “Nothing’s changed, hoss,” it’s Curtis delivering the message that — in no uncertain terms — all communication and civility is over. Star City has two teams of heroes, and they intend not to cross paths again. You know, or at least not for another week or two.
*The teams are in such disarray that no one is starting to put together the pieces that Diaz is actually the guy pulling the strings, and his reach goes a whole lot deeper than anyone thought. He has bought allies within the Star City Police Department, and they’re apparently hatching a place to take down Oliver.
*Quentin Lance continues to be the heart and soul of this show, and watching him fight for Laurel really did go a long way toward bringing some compassion, empathy, and nuance to her character along the way. Speaking of which, Evil Laurel is still in town, and is seemingly looking to assume the life of the deceased Laurel Lance? Or she’s had amnesia or something? Yeah, that story is only getting started.
*The moment where Oliver tells Quentin he trusts his call to trust Laurel was a great one. Those character have been through so much over the past six years, and Oliver being willing to go all in on Quentin’s hunch was a touching scene. It backfired tremendously, but still, the respect is there.
Next week: Roy is back! And is Thea suiting up again?!