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– by Mark Cook

We are back with another week of Arrow.  In the last episode, Vince ended up being killed by Black Canary for being a turncoat.  Also, this brought Dinah to a dark place, and Cayden James’ faction is having issues of their own. Where will this lead the teams?  Read on to find out.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

James’ Mission — James and company vacated the compromised hideout they were in for obvious reasons.  While Oliver and Diggle go to the former base, James gives them a message that he will detonate the bomb at midnight, and his son’s justice will come in the ashes of the city.  Alright, but how?  How would blowing up the city avenge his son?  Yes, it is Oliver’s beloved city, but why not just kill Green Arrow.  Wouldn’t that give him his justice?  We do find out why he wanted to the money from the city, to pay off his fellow villains of course.  Viewers get to see a sense of emotion from the usual monotone James as he thanks them for their help in giving justice to his son.  He tells them that they will be airlifted to safety prior to the explosion and will be wired the money, yet the others seem somewhat cautious.  Black Siren, Anatoly, and Dragon begin to question James as the airlift doesn’t show up on time.  Could he be planning to keep all of the money for himself and let the others parish?

Flashbacks — The flashbacks in this episode focus on James.  He previously worked for Helix with a rookie Alena.  There is obvious conflict between James and his son, Owen, as he is an individual obsessed with his work and misses his son’s games.  I enjoy the flashbacks of other characters this season.  It humanizes many of the villains and develops other characters while not taking away from the overall plot. ARGUS picks up that James hacked their system, but he goes to his son’s game regardless. James watches the game from afar before being taken into custody.  His son obviously did not seem him nor did he think he was there.  The next news he hears is that his son was murdered. This created even more emotional depth into James’ guilt and quest to avenge his son.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

Alena’s Assistance — Alena has been helping the teamwork towards proving Oliver’s innocence.  In doing so she finds out that an assassin was hired to kill Jame’s son in order to frame Oliver.  Unfortunately, the assassin was killed not long after.  Who could be the mastermind behind it all?  Oliver realizes they need to find James, and fast.  He had an idea of how to get to him quickly, and we see Barry’s speed lightning drop them off at the scene.  This was a fun way to include Barry, if only for a brief moment, and really filled any gaps in wondering how they could get there so quickly. James watches the actual video of his son’s murder, and traces it back to the same individual who manipulated the photo of Oliver as Green Arrow.  He deduces that it is someone in his own camp and tells Oliver and Diggle to round them up or he will detonate the bomb.  Maybe his emotions got the best of him, but with all of his technological expertise, I would think he would have checked this type of thing already.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

Dinah’s Revenge — Team 2 goes to search for Black Siren.  Dinah embraces her inner Christian Bale Batman voice when questioning bad guys about where the find Siren.  She is on a one-woman mission and tells the others to stay out of her way. As Dinah finds Laurel, the remaining members of Team 1 and Team 2 restrain both in order to save the city. Dinah still blames Oliver for Vince’s death for some reason, but Oliver sends the team in different directions in order to apprehend Anatoly and Dragon.  After catching all three, they go to deliver the individuals to James all while William overhears where it is going to go down.  He leaves, undetected, to the meeting place.

(Photo Courtesy of The CW).

Showdown — As all the major players of the season come together, James confronts not only them, but William as well.  Who was the traitor? The answer is…Black Siren, or was it?  There was a great twist when James explains that he knows it wasn’t her because he saw her hesitate in killing Vince.  Now this is interesting!  To add to it, her collar that rendered her powers useless deactivated due to how close she was to the detonator!  I really enjoyed this part.  I found myself extremely curious as to who killed James’ son, and why.  I couldn’t figure out if it was a member of the group, or someone outside, which is what I want as a viewer! Black Siren uses her cry to disrupt the scene and everyone scatters in order to find the fleeing villains.  The matchups were good: Diggle vs. Dragon, Dinah vs. Black Siren, and Mr. Terrific/Wild Dog vs. Anatoly.

During the fighting Black Siren is shot by Dinah! At the same time, Oliver (with William) confront James.  Prior to detonating the bomb, James reveals that he is truly at fault for his son’s death, which allows Oliver the time to disarm him of the detonator.  In the aftermath, the two teams separate still holding on to hostility and Dinah wanting to go after Laurel.  Meanwhile, Dragon and Anatoly escape while Lance holds on to Laurel.  James has a catharsis and realizes his son would have been disappointed with him, much like he had been when he was alive.  He gives Oliver the possible places his colleagues could have gone, and tells him to be a better father than him.  I haven’t liked James as a villain, but this episode made me extremely sympathetic for the grief-stricken character.  Another twist occurs when Dragon shows up to speak with James!  We come to find out that destroying the city isn’t the way to go, but taking it over is.  He has the new police chief and many other prominent figures on his payroll.  At that moment, he slides a knife into James’ neck!

This episode may have been one of the best of the season.  I wouldn’t say that this season is as good as Seasons 1 and 2, but it has definitely found its feet with a good balance, and a majority of the story is interesting. I am glad that they didn’t drag Cayden James’ story out (like they are with The Thinker in The Flash).  It seemed to have a natural conclusion while there are many directions they can go with characters who they have already established and don’t need to waste time on introducing.  I am actually looking forward to how things turn out come March 1.  Team 1 and Team 2 look to battle once and for all.  Also, where have Deathstroke and the Jakals been?  I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of them.  Do you think they are involved in any way?

What did you think of this week’s episode?  Are you enjoying the second half of the season so far?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

Arrow returns next Thursday, March 1 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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