– by Mark Cook

Welcome back to this week’s episode of Arrow!  Now that Oliver has set out on his own, will this actually benefit him in his quest to take down Diaz?  Will the episodes begin to have a Season 1 feel?  Read on to find out.

Diaz’s Background — The episode begins 32 years prior in an orphanage in Starling City where viewers find a young Diaz.  We learn that his father left him at an early age and he endured harsh treatment at the orphanage from an older boy named Jesse.  Flash forward, we then learn that Diaz has been working on his current plan for the past five years.

Open For Business — Diaz opens the city for business by starting with a group called “The Quadrant” as they extended to the four corners of the earth.  Diaz wants a seat at the table.  Diaz’s composure in all situations is what makes his character so intriguing.  He never loses his cool, at least not in public.  He privately punches a mirror, showing that he does have pent up emotion that could be released in the future.  This composure added to his tactical intellect makes him a different type of threat than Oliver has faced before.  Diaz’s focus is on the long-term goal.  He is patient.  He is methodical.

The Quadrant needs Diaz’s help finding an informant in return for a possible seat at the table.  As Diaz delivers his side of the bargain, the members of The Quadrant shoot not only the informant, but Diaz as well!  The family views Diaz as a simple thug, and look to overtake his turf.  This could get interesting.  It looks like we may see Diaz angry.

This episode initially didn’t even feel like Arrow as Oliver wasn’t even in the first 20 minutes until briefly seen on TV, then disappearing again.  The story of Diaz was interesting nonetheless.  Through the torture of a Quadrant member, Diaz learns that his proposal was never taken to the entire group.  The Quadrant looked to take all of Diaz’s assets.  Upon learning this, Diaz decides to pay the group a visit.  This episode is all Diaz’s show, and I have to admit I am enjoying it more than I thought.  We don’t often get an episode from the perspective of the villain.  We have had flashbacks, but this episode really delves into Diaz and his motivations, and even want haunts him from his past. He names his fear “The Dragon” which gave us the reason for his nickname. Using this motif, Diaz claims that he controls “The Dragon”, and not the other way around. How does he eventually control “The Dragon”?  By killing who started it all…Jesse. Oh, not just killing him, but burning him alive!!

As Diaz and Black Siren infiltrate The Quadrant’s meeting, he makes his claim to have a seat at the table.  This leads to him shooting one of the members and taking his place.  Even though the group do not approve of his methods, they are intrigued by him, as I have been after this episode.

Felicity In A Frenzy — With Oliver going solo, Felicity confides in Curtis how nervous she is not being in the know.  How will this affect their marriage?  Reports said that an explosion in The Glades killed everyone, possibly including The Green Arrow.  Oliver ends up returning to a confrontation with Felicity, but a promise that he would always come back.

Lacking Hero — Initially I was upset The Green Arrow wasn’t in the episode aside from the TV report and the end.  Upon further thought, I actually think it was an interesting move.  Oliver is on his own now, and when he last did so in Season 1, he was extremely mysterious.  Leaving Oliver out of the episode created the same mystery, and intrigue.  Where is he?  What is he doing?  I am sure we will learn soon enough.

This week’s episode was off the beaten path, but I enjoyed it.   It was a filler episode that was intriguing to build character development and didn’t feel like a waste as past fillers have. What did you think of this week’s episode?  Do you enjoy Oliver being on his own again?  Do you hope it stays this way?  Are you enjoying Diaz as the primary villain this season?  Leave your comments in the usual place, and thanks for reading!

Arrow returns next Thursday at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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