Arrow: We Fall

"Time to proceed to the next phase."

This episode was emblematic of the season as a whole. It hit all the emotional beats I could wish for, but you could run both those subway trains through the narrative holes. So as Rene says. Let's break it down Pro/Con style.

The Pros

After months of laying the groundwork, Cayden is finally implementing his plan, and it's a doozy! I'm glad they gave a reason why Cayden waited to unveil his attack. It makes sense that he'd wait for the anniversary of his son's death. Interesting fact – There was an Arrow episode that aired on the same day last year. However, it was the episode before Oliver went to Hub City. Make of that, what you will.

I loved not having the foggiest idea which side Vincent was on. It always felt odd that the Vigilante would be working with Cayden and given Vincent's past as an undercover cop, the idea that he's infiltrated Cayden's organization to take him down makes sense. I could have lived with The Powers That Be stringing the question of his loyalties out for a little while longer since it seems my original assessment is correct and he is one of the good guys.

I had been waiting for Cayden's comments in "Reversal" to bear fruit, and they have. Felicity, in trying to save the internet, accidentally delivered the virus that handed Cayden access to the city's infrastructure. If it weren't for the fact that Oliver is already under indictment, I'd be worried about Agent Watson coming after Felicity for her part in this, but I don't think they have the bandwidth for that storyline to play out.

The idea that NTA (they abandon the Green Arrow but still keep Arrow in their name – lol) would choose to rule by consensus is a logical outcome of their issues with Oliver's leadership. I wonder how that will work in the field where you need one person to call the shots. I know Rene likes to bluster, but I call dibs on it being Dinah.

I may be in the minority, but I love that Oliver continues to subconsciously lay the groundwork for things he does not know or cannot admit he wants consciously. Why would Oliver have Cisco upgrade Spartan's suit if he had any intention of giving the hood back to Diggle? And now that he's gotten William's buy-in can there be any doubt what his intentions are? Will Dig quietly go back to being number 2?

Speaking of, Oliver's lies to William were finally addressed. As worried as William was about whether his dad will make it home at night, he was far more upset about the lie. He also had no qualms about calling his father out on it. I noticed that Oliver's respect for his son's feelings was far greater than anything he's shown the NTA. Is it solely because William is family? I do have one small nit to pick. I wish there was at least some acknowledgment before William's rescue that he was due some explanation. The way the scene played out made it feel like Oliver was surprised by William's response.

And can I tell you how much I enjoyed the fact that William is just as bossy as his dad? I mean that in the best sense. When his classmates were placed in danger, he immediately took charge in order to get them to safety and he even went back for Donnie, the class bully. Luckily, Donnie had enough of a conscience to stick around and tell the Green Arrow where William was trapped.

The OTA and NTA fought side by side, falling into their old routines and managed to win that skirmish. However, when Oliver attempted to buy time by giving Cayden his first payment, he conceded the battle.

I was also pleased that everyone's choices felt true to who their nature, even their bad choices...

The Cons

With the exception of Curtis. He has to be the single most open person in existence. As soon as a thought enters his brain, it is out of his mouth. Plus, he is usually the first person to correctly read the emotional temperature in a room.  So, it was a little hard to swallow that he would keep the fact that Vincent supplied the intel to himself for as long as he did. At least he brought it up instead of having the team find out on their own.

If Cayden shut down all forms of communications, and Felicity specifies email, TV, cell phones, and internet traffic, how is she still in communication with Alena and how does Oliver wire the money to Cayden? I know I should suspend my disbelief, but stuff like that drives me crazy. Especially when I would have been satisfied with some wild speculation that Cayden left City Hall and the Bunker alone just to prove how powerless Oliver truly is.

I realize that making Oliver responsible for Cayden's son, Owen's, death may feel like we are falling into Prometheus territory but to make it definitively not Oliver's fault feels like a narrative cop-out. What sets Arrow apart from the other Berlanti-verse shows is that Oliver is not a hero yet. He continually makes the wrong choices with the best of intentions and is forced to suffer the consequences of those choices. So why is the lynch-pin that holds together the season-long conflict based on a single piece of misinformation? And how did, arguably, Oliver's most intelligent nemesis fall for it? I hope there is more to this than meets the eye.

We will just whistle past all of the cops mysteriously disappearing when the vigilantes led by the Green Arrow show up to fight Cayden's men at a police-protected safe zone. Especially, with the Anti-Vigilante law in effect. Gee, I wonder where Mayor Queen was?

If the characters' actions seem believable and the emotional stakes are high enough, I'll forgive a lot. This is why I'm rating the episode as high as I am. What did you think?

3 out of 5 vigilante visors


Parting Thoughts:

Rest In Peace Captain Frank Pike.

Any bets on whether Oliver was letting William win or upset about the balance of his plastic bow? My money is on the latter.

In a similar vein, I had to smile when Oliver repeatedly defended his knowledge of the existence of coral. I think he's starting to understand how Mama Smoak must have felt.

If the police force was all hands on deck, why wasn't Dinah called in?

Star City's on-again-off-again subway. In season 1 the subway had not run for decades. Apparently, now it does.

Love how competent Thea has become. Although it appears that the idea played into Cayden's plans, the decision to create safe zones was a good one. It's hard to believe she is the whiny little pill popper from season 1.

One of the potential team names that Curtis suggests is The Outsiders. For those of you who might not know, a) this is straight out of the comics, and b) at various times Green Arrow, Arsenal (Roy), Katana (Tatsu), and Black Lightning were all members, among many others.

Quotes:

Felicity: "I think we've reached maximum level domesticity."
Oliver: "Oh God, I certainly hope not."

Oliver: "What do we know?"
Felicity: "Hack-cidents are happening all over the city. "

Quentin: "Just when I thought I was out."

Curtis: "This is real. It's locking onto him."
Rene: "Because your balls never malfunction?"
Curtis: "Really?"

Thea: "Ok, cool. Just like the old days."
Quentin: "I'm not that old."

Curtis: "Do you think the T on my face stands for gullible?"

Cayden: "Please don't imagine that I've gone to these lengths for money."

Donnie: "Does she read bedtimes stories to you?"
William: "At least she can read."

Oliver: "Listen, Buddy, I promise –"
William: "You promised before."

Rene: So you didn't bother telling us? How very Oliver Queen of you."

Cayden: "So predictable. It almost takes the fun out of it."

Curtis: "Attack. Oak. Street. Now. I'm assuming that's a warning, not a directive."

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great review.

I liked the ep.

I loved that the name Cayden James gave to Oliver was a huge Lost reference: Ben Gale. It had me laughing.

Shari Houtman said...

OMG. I totally missed that. I figured Gale was a Wizard of Oz reference (which is why Lost named him Henry Gale) but totally missed the Lost reference. Nice catch!

Patryk said...

For me the intelligence from Corto Maltese smells like one more dead man's switch by Prometheus. He may have even killed Cayden's son while wearing a Green Arrow disguise to make it believable. I think it's time for Oliver to not be responsible for his own enemies for once.

Now we know why Cayden had his unknown henchman, so that someone from his crew could die. :) I wonder where was Black Siren during all of this.

Shari Houtman said...

My wild speculation is that whoever sent it is the Big Bad for next season. They've introduced the Big Bad in advance every season so far.

And That was my thought about Boots as well. He was just a redshirt.