ARROW “BROTHERS IN ARMS” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
Tonight’s Arrow is frustrating on several character and story levels, not the least of which is its A-plot. After weeks of Diggle dropping some incredibly unsubtle hints about wanting to take over as the Green Arrow for Oliver again, Oliver’s refusal to just say he wants to continue being his superhero self leads to a schism between the two.
Refreshingly, the problem is less with Oliver and more with Diggle. Oliver gives the best apology he’s ever given, which is saying something, but Diggle can’t let things go because wearing the Green Arrow made him feel like he was a better leader. Which concludes, naturally, in the two of them dredging up old mistakes at one another until it gets to fistfight time. Stephen Amell and David Ramsey have the right anger and verbal wordplay to sell their argument, but truth be told, neither Oliver or Diggle can claim any kind of high ground here. Diggle should’ve been way more assertive in those moments where he was trying to get Oliver to “show restraint,” and his lies put the team in equal danger as much as Oliver’s did this year.
But here’s the thing: this plot is dumb. It all hinges on the logic that wearing the hood means really feeling like a leader, and that doesn’t really work. To boot, as a comics fan, this dispute makes no sense — several heroes in the DC universe like the Flash, Green Lanterns and Atoms share the same title, so it’s not like the show can use that excuse — and for show logic, it also doesn’t really hold water there, either. There’s not really anything stopping them from both deciding to be called Green Arrow, with Oliver rocking a compound bow and Diggle using a crossbow. What’s the fuss, you would ask, about a costume that the team no doubt has multiple versions of lying around in their bunker?
The answer is that the season also wants to be about “The People v. Oliver Queen,” in which we see our hero’s life falling apart as mayor, superhero, and family man. This would admittedly make for a good season to watch Oliver buckle under the weight of the knowledge that both his support system, and city, are crumbling largely due to him. However, the problem is that this hasn’t been very obvious until now, and with just six episodes left in the season, and that’s just not good. Previous seasons made it abundantly clear a couple of episodes in what the overarching theme is: the last two seasons were about Oliver’s rebirth and acceptance of his inner darkness, season three was about him coming to terms with being both himself and the Arrow.
Not helping matters is the fact that Oliver pretty much asks for people to turn on him this season. Once he learns that the DA and police chief are in bed with Diaz, he makes the very stupid decision to fire them immediately instead of thinking things through. As a result, he gets publicly called out by both to a city still under the belief he’s the Green Arrow and under indictment (and the city’s police force is now full of corrupt cops.) It’s frustrating that the episode makes a whole point of saying that Diaz has “won” several times and he barely seems to have to do anything when Oliver’s anger just puts everything in place. It’s no wonder Diggle leaves him for ARGUS when the guy is hardcore self sabotaging.
“Brothers in Arms” isn’t a complete downer of an episode; Dinah and Curtis continue to have a fun dynamic, and the show makes the smart decision for his cop boyfriend to learn he’s a superhero this week instead of down the line. The two of them are doing much better than everyone else and actually trying to move the plot forward by keeping their heads on straight, and manage to not be a slog while they’re at it. That’s good, but it can’t stop the episode from feeling unnecessary.
- Earlier this week, all the Arrowverse shows and Black Lightning were renewed alongside other CW staples like Supernatural, Dynasty, and Riverdale for the 2018-19 season. It’s good, but I definitely think Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl should trim their episode orders. Their season long stories are not doing so hot, bulked out as they are with nearly 24 episodes each.
- Laurel is not only feeding information about the team to Diaz, she’s now hooking up with him, which is gross.
- Oh hey, Lyla’s alive, that’s good to know. Who the heck is taking care of their kid?
- What exactly is Diaz’s play here beyond “take over the city,” because I’m still not really sure what it’s supposed to be.