Arrow: Training Day

“We have to be something else... something better.”

The episode where Oliver learns, once again, he’s not always right, Dinah figures out who she is, Emiko shows her true colors, and William and Mia go on a treasure hunt.

To assuage the Mayor’s concerns, Dinah persuades Team Arrow that a little SCPD 101 might be in order. Not a bad idea if they intend to convict the people Team Arrow captures. However, limiting them to only SCPD issued uniforms and firearms kind of defeats the purpose of using Team Arrow in the first place. This goes over about as well as can be expected.

The SCPD officers believe that Oliver and company don’t understand the reasons for their procedures and resent the implication they are inferior. The former vigilantes feel handicapped by the chain of command, the chain of custody and the limits imposed by SCPD budget and technology. Dinah does her best to straddle both sides of the SCPD/Vigilante debate. Repeatedly asking Team Arrow for patience.

Her position changes when on her first outing as both Captain and Canary she discovers she cannot use her cry. While it’s true that Oliver and Felicity’s actions put Dinah in a difficult position it is also true that she’s made the calculation that if she cannot be the canary, then she’ll side with the SCPD. Rene reminds her that her Cry isn’t what makes her the Black Canary. If the flash forwards are any indication, in the not too distant future he will regret that conversation.

Oliver freely admits that patience is not his strong suit and he proves his case here. Although willing to attend classes and to submit to Dinah’s authority within the confines of the police station, the moment his authority in the field was compromised he declares his partnership with the SCPD a failure.

Felicity, in a moment of willful blindness, convinces Oliver that if he captures Midas, a well respected CEO who has given so generously to the SCPD in the past but is now suspected of creating poison bullets, all will be forgiven. After all, who needs a warrant, or proof for that matter. Both Oliver and Felicity are shocked when this is not the case and make plans to clean up Star City without SCPD assistance.

Diggle to the rescue. After congratulating them on the latest addition to the family, he promptly reminds the couple they would once again be in violation of the Vigilante Act and subject to arrest and imprisonment. Good luck cleaning up Star City from Slabside. Like Dinah, he has experience with both law enforcement philosophies and convinces Oliver there is another way. Felicity finds a viable (and legal) lead that ties Midas to his crimes. Team Arrow and the SCPD join forces to capture Midas, his gun-toting goons, and the evidence.  This forces Pollard to both acknowledge Team Arrow’s value and make some concessions.

I applaud The Powers That Be finally addressing Team Arrow’s penchant for ignoring private property, probable cause, and rule of law in general in their pursuit of criminals. It’s been a long time coming. I was also pleased they explored Dinah’s conflicting values. Unfortunately, both stories were given short shrift in order to set up new storylines and to tie up a few loose ends.

While it was clear Dante was behind Diaz’s death, I doubt anyone believed he did the deed himself. And as luck would have it, there was a witness – the partially reformed Ben Turner. He offers to spill the murderer’s identity if D.A. Laurel Lance frees him. She’s working on it but makes no guarantees. Alright, then get him a visit with his son.

The moment the word “son” spilled from Ben’s lips I realized we were witnessing Connor Hawke’s origin story. Unfortunately, it means Ben is not long for this world. Ratting out Dante, even indirectly, does not come with a long life expectancy. At this point, we can only hope for two things. First, for Oliver to keep his promise and arrange for Ben’s freedom however short-lived it may be, and second, for Ben to earn the redemption he’s been hinting at for years.

Which brings us to Emiko Adachi. Her ability to fault Oliver for any of his transgressions is at an end. For all Emiko’s talk of justice, she had no qualms about straight up murder. Oliver has walked many a dark path but I can’t remember him ever killing someone who had no means to defend himself. Waltzing into a supermax, dousing an imprisoned man with gasoline, and setting him on fire is hard to defend even given Dante’s apparent threat level.

Emiko had little fear of Star City’s D.A. either. I have to assume Dante filled her in on Laurel’s true identity but I’m hard-pressed to see how Emiko can use it to her advantage. Team Arrow already knows Laurel's identity and since she has successfully served as the D.A for months now, outing her as a metahuman criminal from an alternate universe to Star City might prove difficult. Just sayin’.

As for our flash forward, Mia and William join forces to acquire a microcassette player and listen to Felicity’s message. Considering they are both supposedly geniuses the ensuing comedy of errors should be but wasn’t unexpected. Mia, realizing William has no experience with Star City’s seedy underbelly tells him to stay put and “not do anything” and for some reason expected him to follow directions. William, understanding the true nature of his genius sees no reason to heed her advice. And like his father before him, he would be wrong. But in the true spirit of family, they work together. By marrying her knowledge of both the SCPD and the criminal element with William’s tech skills they succeed in getting the cassette player and give Felix his comeuppance as an added bonus.

Felicity’s message turns out to be coordinates for what’s left of Team Arrow and a plea for her children to get safely out of Star City instead of searching for her. Like that was ever going to happen. Does she remember who their parents are?

This episode neither carried the emotional weight nor the exuberance of last week. However, it did answer a few more questions of the “how did we get from the present Star City to the flash forward version” variety as well as succeed in setting up multiple story lines for the back half of the season.

3 out of 5 cryptic messages

Parting Thoughts:

The Powers That Be weren’t exactly subtle about foreshadowing Oliver and Felicity’s failure to make the better world for their children.

I really want to know where Felicity gets all her money. Is she embezzling from Helix again?

After everything his parents did, Oliver is still trying to honor their memories. Mia was named after Moira. Go figure.

When the truth about Emiko comes out, will Oliver or Rene feel the most betrayed?

Quotes:

William: “Are they all staring at you or me?”
Mia: “Both. You reek of money, and, well, I’m undefeated.”

Laurel: “I don’t know what you thought was gonna happen here, but you’re wasting my time. There’s no way that I’m– Fine, I’ll be right there.”

Rene: “Pollard’s taking away our threads?”

Tech officer: “What did I tell you about off-the-books hacking?”
Felicity: “You said no public resources. This is private. Loophole.”

Dinah: “There is no more vigilante-way. There is only the SCPD-way.”

Oliver: “Our partnership with the force is not working.”
Diggle: “Then we have to find a way to make it work. Compromise, do whatever you have to do because if you want a new future for this baby of yours, it won’t come by doing the same thing we used to do.”

Mia: “You’re a genius.”
William: “I am. Like, literally.”

Felicity: “Overwatch to Team Arrow. I have confirmation on Midas and a crapload of gun-toting goons.”
Midas: “Now I’ll have your badge and your costume.”

Rene: “So, we’re like the black ops for the SCPD now? That’s cool.”

Felicity: “Then get the hell out of Star City and whatever you do, don’t come looking for me.”
Mia: “So we’re ignoring her.”
William: “Definitely.”

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

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