I will give Arrow a ton of credit for sticking to this ‘Diggle as the Green Arrow’ storyline for more than a week, even if, due to the FBI investigation, we’ve gotten less vigilante action than any other season thus far.
1. Fathers and Sons
Like so many other pieces of media, Arrow is really about fathers and sons. The show begins with Ollie’s father sacrificing himself so that Ollie may succeed. Ollie has a succession of father-like figures betray him, and is now dealing with the other side of that equation, trying to be a good father to William. While Slade Wilson is one of the shittiest fathers in all of DC Comics, but I wasn’t sure how bad of a dad they’d make him here.
Well, he’s pretty bad! They have simplified his family tree, which makes a lot of sense, and aligns Slade as a bad dude, but not an unbearable monster. This show has been a really interesting study in trimming away the fat of a character; sometimes they nail it, other times they take too much meat off with the fat. Slade somewhat falls between those two poles. They talk about him being a bastard, and under mirakuru, he did kill Moira and do other really shitty things. But since that wore off, he’s just been slightly prickly, and calls people ‘kid’ too often.
2. Slade needs Ollie, not the Green Arrow
This season has done a ton for giving Oliver Queen – not the Green Arrow – a personality that isn’t just reaction to Green Arrow things. For Slade to recognize the scalpel that is Oliver, versus the cleaver that is the Green Arrow, was a really fascinating concept. Of course, you learn that it is about setting up a bribe, and it isn’t about political nuance, and everything somewhat falls apart. But I like that the show wants us to see a real separation here, even if it will inevitably join back up.
b>3. And the Vigilante is….
…who gives a shit?
I mean, look – I get why for Dinah, having her former partner (as Curtis points out, both her partner and her partner) be the Vigilante would fuck her up something fierce. But it leaves a lot of weird questions on the table, doesn’t it? I must admit that I don’t remember every single Vigilante interaction from last season, but a lot of it seemed focused on ‘knowing secrets’ about Ollie and co, and doing what they couldn’t/wouldn’t do, right? That doesn’t really track with who he is, but maybe the show has more to say about that in the future. We’ll see.
What the show has also decided – I guess? – that it needs to up the sex appeal angle again, and so decided to make Dinah do some serious workouts in just her bra. It was about as gratuitously CW as we’ve seen the show get in a long while. It just seems really odd, and it seems odd, to me, how often the show places Dinah and Diggle in situations that feel, because of the tone of the show, like they’re about to get romantic. We know that Diggle has Laila and a kid, and seemingly is very happy in his marriage. Not to sound like Mike Pence here, but hanging out with a topless coworker while she works through her feelings seems like a bad mix, no?
4. Joe Wilson
So, the story really hinges on Joe Wilson, now called Kane Wolfman (ahhh, I see what you did there, Berlanti Productions!) who is hijacked from an Eastern European prison by the Jackals, a group of mercenaries. This is, again, a subtle tip of the cap to DC history, with the Jackal, aka Bill Walsh, being the man responsible for turning Joe Wilson into Jericho by slashing his throat/vocal chords.
Setting up Jericho as another hero would be really interesting. Maybe they reform Joe, and Slade asks Ollie to help keep him on the straight and narrow, so Joe/Jericho joins Team Arrow. I could see it.
What I can’t see is how they would give him his ability to jump into other folks and control their voices on a CW budget without looking really dumb.Continued below
5. Under investigation
This whole FBI investigation angle seems about 3 seasons too late, but also is giving the show time to build up some of its supporting cast in interesting ways. Dinah and Diggle, in particular, are taking the spotlight as people, not as their vigilante counterparts. This is good for the show in the long term, but I wonder if people are getting sick of the lack of action on the show thus far. I think the big crossover event for later this season will likely fix that, but we’ll see.