After a few episodes setting up the new status quo, Arrow has dug into its season six grand scheme: Cayden James and Black Siren versus the world.
1. Hacktivism seems so dated
It is amazing what a year can do: ‘hacktivism’ was a buzzword as recently as a year ago, but in the age of literal Nazis walking the streets, propped up by the US government, the idea of doing good through internet shenanigans seems like a novel idea at this point.
Part of that is the show’s fault also, as it has always fell slightly to the Hackers side of computer representation, where everything is overly stylized and visual, which also makes it look fake and/or dated really quickly. I know that showing lines of code on the screen is not ideal for a number of reasons (like how could Ollie just jump in and help if he doesn’t know how to program if that’s the case?), but a little less reliance on what middle aged who probably have trouble with their smart phones think tech looks like would help a lot. This is a definite ‘less is more’ situation.
2. Black Siren returns
I can’t think of any show getting more mileage of dead characters than Arrow (well, maybe The Flash), and having Black Siren as one of the major players of this season continues that trend, allowing Laurel to live on without her death being rendered moot. So far, Black Siren has been nothing more than just ‘evil Laurel,’ but I’m hoping that the show will spend time this season giving her a personality of her own.
Speaking of The Flash, the multiple Harrison Wellses on that show is the model here. Now, that presupposes that Katie Cassidy is the same caliber of actor as Tom Cavanaugh, and I’m not sure that is the case, but they can learn from what Cavanaugh does every week on The Flash. Cavanaugh had to play the ‘nice’ Harrison Wells, which was really Eobard Thawne pretending to be Wells, then you had Thawne’s actual evil personality, Harry’s gruffness, and H.R.’s idiocy. Start giving Black Siren some more character traits, wrinkles, motivations, and quirks, and the show will benefit infinitely.
3. Ben Linus!
Michael Emerson, aka Benjamin Linus on LOST, has joined the show has Cayden James, hacker extraordinaire. No one on TV, aside from maybe John Barrowman, enjoys chewing scenery on genre TV than Emerson, and he will fit like a glove on this show. He brings an unique intensity to everything he does, from looking at his watch to threatening someone’s life. Even when he’s being ridiculous, you can’t take your eyes off of him.
Emerson is the perfect actor for this show, and will help prop up Cassidy a little bit. Hopefully, he can help with the prior point, and give her some direction that isn’t currently there.
4. Oh, I get the title!
Ollie is now the one on the sidelines in the Ollicity relationship, and a lot of this episode was spent with both he and Felicity reflecting on how things have changed. Felicity at one point actually says something like
“What are we, some kind of Suicide Squad?” “This role reversal will take some getting used to.” I am shocked and pleasantly surprised at how long Diggle has been Green Arrow already*, and keeping this going for a few more weeks/months could add some really interesting twists.
*LOL at Black Siren not recognizing that it isn’t Ollie under the hood. “Something is different about you…is it your height, body type, voice, fighting style, weaponry, or what?
5. Slade’s on the line
Bringing Slade Wilson back into the show as a wildcard is great; the character is compelling and iconic, and can float nicely away from the standard villainy when need be. He also serves a purpose for Ollie that almost no one else does right now: he was a friend before he was a vigilante. With Thea in a coma and Sara time traveling, only Quentin is left from his pre-Island life, and that relationship is almost totally different than it was back then.
Slade represents a terrible time in Ollie’s life, but also reminds him of what he can accomplish and get through if he sets his mind to it. He is an important part of the Arrow mythos, and I’m glad to see him back.