Arrow: Shifting Allegiances

"Life ain't fair."

Given the title, it is unsurprising the number of people who change alliances during this episode. The majority of them do so based on their perception of Diaz. The accuracy of those perceptions remains to be seen.

Oliver is convinced that the reason Diaz managed to secure the city is that the people he cared about were a distraction. He now believes the secret to his success will be the single-minded pursuit of Diaz. That would be a lot easier to believe if his first move hadn't been to make amends with Anatoly.

Oliver never meant to hurt Anatoly's status with the Bratva. He rectifies the situation by paying off both his and Anatoly's debt to the Bratva in a way that will not compromise Star city. Granted it was to cripple Diaz as much as to benefit Anatoly. Be that as it may, Oliver seldom does anything without a backup plan. This time the backup plan is to trust that the man he's known for ten years is still a man of honor. Good bet.

Anatoly is convinced that Diaz's code is built on mutual self-interest, if not trust. After Oliver's betrayal and the Bratva's banishment, his only desire is for the money that Diaz can provide. Anatoly is out for himself – or so he believes.

Oliver seeds enough doubt that even though Anatoly brings Oliver to Diaz, he spends enough capital to see if Oliver is right. He convinces Diaz to give Oliver a chance to win his city back, but when Oliver gets the upper hand, Diaz stabs him – proving to Anatoly that he has no honor. Anatoly's knowledge comes a little too late. Before he can help Oliver escape, Diaz has Oliver taken into custody with the promise of a speedy trial.

Laurel seems to have moved back to Quentin's corner. I guess setting people on fire is a deal breaker for her. To be fair, I'm not sure Laurel ever really left him. Laurel has more interest in being on the winning side than any loyalty to Oliver or desire to be good. But her concern for Quentin is genuine. Laurel has actively tried to protect her "father" even as she professed her loyalty to Diaz. Laurel believes Diaz is an emotionless monster or at least void of empathy and it terrifies her. If Laurel is correct, what will he do when he discovers her new arrangement with Quentin.

Quentin's allegiance is all over the map in this episode. He may be loyal to Oliver, but in his absence, he's willing to work with Diggle and the NTA. Once he realizes that Laurel is still working with Diaz, he kicks her out of his house until he thinks better of it. He knows his daughter well enough to recognize her fear no matter which Laurel it is. And for her, he's once again willing to do the wrong thing and sign over the deed to Diaz. Why do I think Laurel and Quentin's loyalty to each other is going to make things very difficult for Oliver, either this season or the next.

Which version of Diaz is correct? If you go by Diaz's words, he'd like to build a family that trusts and relies on one another. He's also said that if he suspected one of his men betrayed him, he'd have him killed. Diaz has accused Laurel of betraying him but now treats her as a trusted confidant, and I'm assuming lover. Yet, he's not above using her in a pissing match with her would-be-father. Does he have a personal code or does he tell people what they need to hear in order to get what he wants? After all, this is a man who was willing to wait 32 years to get revenge and put a plan in motion that took five years to come to fruition. There isn't much I would put past him.

Our B story revolves around John and NTA. Rene is out of the hospital and goes directly into the field without passing go or collecting his $200. I'm glad they addressed the mental consequences of his injuries even if they blew right past the physical ones. Rene's month in the hospital gave him plenty of time to contemplate how close he came to making his daughter an orphan. It's not surprising that he'd have a hard time putting himself in danger. I wish this had been a conscious decision on his part rather than having him freeze in the field. It makes his willingness to be Wild Dog once he has Zoe's approval harder to swallow.  A lack of bravery was never his problem.

John has officially joined A.R.G.U.S. but is not above giving the NTA assistance when needed. A.R.G.U.S's structured environment seems more suited to the soldier that he is. I'm beginning to think they may keep him there even after the season finale. I still wonder how he'll reconcile some of the choices Lyla has made. Then again he's been working with Oliver for six years.

Together A.R.G.U.S and the NTA go after Cassamento in the hope that she'll lead them to Diaz. While they don't manage to capture her or Diaz, they do take $12 million out of The Quadrant's pocket. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that once again the only successes any of our heroes have has come when they've worked together. Oliver can talk about getting back to basics and the need to be solitary all he wants. It was only when Anatoly decided to help him that he came close to defeating Diaz. Alone, he doesn't stand a chance. Even Anatoly knows that.

Another strong outing. Next up Oliver's long-awaited trial. I can't wait.

4 out of 5 Quadrant Rings

Parting Thoughts:

Oliver's journey to becoming a hero is far from complete considering he just helped the Bratva expand their drug running business.

If no one told Zoe about Wild Dog, how did they explain his injuries? And what does he do for a living now that he doesn't work in the Mayor's office? Child Services usually keeps tabs on that sort of thing.

The way Dig's A.R.G.U.S colleague mentioned human trafficking makes me think that may play a part in this season's final episodes.

Am I mistaken or was that Chinese food restaurant a redressed CC Jitters?

Quentin said that Laurel would never pick a guy like Diaz but if I'm not mistaken she dated Brother Blood. Granted he hid his dark side and she was pretty high at the time.

It was nice to see Curtis's abilities in the field not used as comic relief.

That fight was just brutal.

I wish I had not seen the previews for next week's episode. I would have preferred to remain blissfully ignorant. If you've seen it, please don't put any spoilers in the comments.

Quotes:

Oliver: "I just want to talk."
Anatoly: "We stopped talking a year ago."

Diaz: "She knows how to pick the winning side. I hope it runs in the family."

Rene: "Let's go ruin Diaz's next party."

Curtis: "What if we're wrong and those crates are filled with something other than narcotics, like lollipops – or I don't know – puppies?

Dinah: "Everyone who thinks that Quadrant showing up when Diaz gets control of the city is a coincidence, raise your hands.

Quentin: "The Quadrant. What is that?"
Curtis: "Just a super powerful, monolithic, secret organization. No big deal."

Diggle: "When I put this holster on, I leave Daddy home."

Quentin: "You can bring walls crashing down. You really expect me to believe you're scared of a thug like Diaz?"

Anatoly: "Every drop of blood you draw from prone man is a sign of weakness, your weakness."

Diaz: "You think you're so tough 'cause you spent five years in hell? I was born in it."

Curtis: "You know, I'd almost forgotten how awesome it is being a team, working together. It's almost like "Captain Planet" or "The Power Rangers", or whatever reference you guys would understand.

Rene: "Uncle Curtis and I were just talking about..."
Zoe: "How you both wear masks and go fight bad guys?"

Diaz: "You can stay in the city. For 25 to life. I'm thinking about moving up your trial. How's next week for you."

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

1 comment:

Patryk said...

That was definately Jitters. Just like it was in Legends of Tommorow. Now it just needs to appear on Supergirl for completion sake. :)

I like that Anatoly will no longer be an antagonist. Even if Arrow had to expand the Bratva's drug operation in Russia to do it.