Arrow: The Dragon

Laurel: "Satisfied yet?"
Diaz: "No."

The Green Arrow is given the night off in order for us to be formally introduced to Ricardo Diaz – The Dragon.

After months of languishing in Cayden James's shadow, Diaz has consolidated his hold on Star City and is now ready to make a play for the big leagues. He wants to join the Quadrant. The mythical criminal organization responsible for most of the major crime committed in the four corners of North America.

At first blush, Diaz appears to be your garden variety villain. A poor little orphan who is continually told that he's a nobody – a loser. But the scrappy young underdog pulls himself up by his bootstraps. He vows to make something of himself so that nobody can ever call him a loser again. Yeah, that's never been done before.

His backstory may be stereotypical, but the adult feels like anything but. Kirk Acevedo infuses Diaz with strength, intelligence and enough menace that I would back up a few feet in his presence.  A man that is willing to spend five years to put a plan in motion is a worthier adversary for the Green Arrow then Cayden James ever was. I say that with no disrespect to the illustrious Michael Emerson. Diaz is patient, persistent, and like a good Boy Scout, prepared. He's willing to swallow momentary indignities in service to his end game, but he will not roll over and play dead no matter what Laurel may think. When he's asked to extract Baylor from the FBI's custody, Diaz suspects that Cartier might be playing him. He does the job but he's not above bringing along a little body armor – just in case.

Cartier's betrayal does not deter Diaz from his goal. He uses the son to gain entrance to the Quadrant's meeting.  And although Diaz is willing to attack the Cartier Senior's position, he is very careful not to threaten or insult the other members of the Quadrant. One could make the argument that he finally loses his temper when Cartier called him a loser, but I prefer to think he made a calculated risk. There was no place for Diaz with four living members of the Quadrant, and there was no way Cartier would ever be willing to work with him. Cartier had to go.

That Diaz would seek his revenge on Jesse was as expected as it was subtle. Unfortunately, it was just as trite as Diaz's backstory. The best thing about it was the moment Jesse didn't remember who Ricardo was. That was proof that Diaz's vengeance was pointless and misguided. Why kill Jesse now when he's already been broken by life?

Laurel's loyalties remain in Diaz's camp, at least for the moment. I get the feeling she just wants to be on the winning side and tagging along for Diaz's little adventure was an opportunity to assess whether he has the goods. The fact that he's now a member of the Quadrant is certainly a plus. However, the look on her face when Diaz set Jesse on fire leads me to believe she's not entirely sold.

The B story focuses on Felicity adjusting to her post Overwatch world. It's not surprising that she would throw herself into work to keep her from worrying about Oliver. It doesn't work. Her fears are compounded when she learns of an explosion that is believed to have consumed the city block where the Green Arrow was last seen. Her feelings of helplessness continue despite finding Oliver alive and well when she arrives home. While I loved that Oliver says Felicity is never helpless, I can't help feeling like he belittles her fears and her contributions to Team Arrow when he says that she "feels like" she makes a difference when she's in the Bunker. He seems to have forgotten she has saved his life on more than one occasion. Felicity's argument to the contrary was admittedly weak.  Nevertheless, I doubt this is the last discussion the two of them will be having on this subject.

Can we take a minute to discuss Helix Dynamics? How are Felicity and Curtis working together? Did he mysteriously forget that Felicity is the one who invaded his privacy, regardless of whether it was for Oliver's benefit? Did Felicity forget that Curtis's last words to her were "We're done with the three of you. Period?" I guess somehow Felicity isn't included in the three even though he was looking right at her when he said it because after two seconds of awkwardness they were back at work as if nothing had happened. It boggles my mind.

I had no real issues with this episode other than it was Oliver-light. However, the stereotypical origin story / revenge subplot with Jesse kept this one from being a standout for me.

3 out 5 lighters

Parting Thoughts:

Ricardo Diaz, Jr.'s current comic incarnation began during the New 52. Instead of growing up in an orphanage, Ricardo, heir to his father's criminal empire, witnessed the Green Arrow and John Diggle defeat Ricardo Sr. This set Junior on his path to the League of Assassins and his eventual career as the Seattle crime lord known as Richard Dragon. Richard Dragon's original backstory is far too convoluted to go into here. Although, it should be noted that after a brief stint as a thief, he becomes a hero, not a villain.

Where does Quentin think Laurel is during her little adventure.

It was nice to see Ashton Holmes, Thom from Nikita, on my screen again, even if he was a bit of dick here.

What does it say that he burned his hand to save his father's picture as a child but tossed it into the flames without a thought as an adult?

Quotes:

Diaz: "Patience is one of the most important virtues can have."

Laurel: "They tell you to fetch. You fetch. What's next? Roll over?"

Laurel: "Call me 'honey' again, and I might only break your legs."

Diaz: "So, what? You want me to-"
Laurel: "Fetch him?"

Diaz: "I don't react well when people waste my time."

Baylor: "I didn't say nothing. Swear to God."
Eric: "Tell him in person."

Diaz: "Anything worth wanting shouldn't be simple."

Diaz: "In your enthusiasm to take out your man you forgot I was standing next to him wheen you started shooting."

Curtis: "Sure, so maybe improve it tomorrow when you've had some sleep and some food and some non-expired soda."

Felicity: "I thought throwing myself into work would work, but it's not working."

Diaz: "This is manning up."
Laurel: "Manning up. I hate that phrase."

Diaz: "You're selling yourself short, Kiddo. You're better than ten men."
Laurel: "And what if there's more than ten."

Diaz: "Glad you decided to come."
Laurel: "Someone's got to make sure you don't get yourself killed."
Diaz: "That's why I'm glad."

Cartier: "If you know who we are, you'll know we're not going to kill you for what you did to my boy."
Laurel: "Well, that's a relief."

Diaz: "Lookit here. It's a seat."

Felicity: "I'm helpless out here."
Oliver: "You aren't helpless anywhere, ever."

Oliver: "Felicity, I will always come back."

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

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Episode was okay..They made Curtis ultra annoying which made the DIaz Laurel stuff seem better than it was.
Sidenote - Glad someone spotted 'Thom' from Nikita..That was an amazing show that never got its due credit. It paved the way for Arrow which led to that whole verse.

Patryk said...

IT's good that they gave the Arrow some time off and that they used the episode to flesh out the villian. I guess it was the season equivalent of a whole episode flashback which we can't have anymore since the flashback ended last season.

Billie Doux said...

I'm falling behind with almost everything that I'm not reviewing, as I usually do when the season is winding down. I actually fell asleep a couple of times while watching this episode, and when I was awake, I kind of wish I'd been asleep. As good as Kirk Acevedo is, this just wasn't what I wanted to watch. And when you add in Oliver making Felicity feel unimportant and unneeded... not my favorite episode.

Billie Doux said...

And let me add, Shari, that your review of this episode is terrific. You are more than fair, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of what they're trying to do here. I had no idea Diaz was a comic book villain, although I should have assumed.