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ARROW Review: “Shifting Allegiances”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 6 years ago

ARROW Review:

Arrow — “Shifting Allegiances” — Pictured (L-R): Kirk Acevedo as Ricardo Diaz and Katie Cassidy as Laurel/Black Siren — Photo: Daniel Power/The CW






It’s been quite a while since the various members of Team Arrow got equal time together, and “Shifting Allegiances” changes that almost immediately with the return of Rene. It’s really nice to see him up and about after being gone a month. His various uses of the word “Hoss” have been sorely missed as ways to break up the tension, and there is plenty of it to go around with in this episode.

This episode in particular really does highlight how it often feels like two very different shows are playing at the same time. I’m not sure if there’s a specific reason that Oliver’s spent the last two episodes doing not much in the action department, but it’s a smart move nonetheless. Letting him get chained up by Anatoly allows the two of them to unpack the last year’s worth of bad blood and get stuck into some fantastic verbal sparring. David Nykl does a great job of selling Anatoly’s exasperation with Oliver’s nonsense while also being conflicted because it’s so obvious that Diaz would cut him loose without hesitation, he just needs actual proof of Diaz’s shiftiness first.

By Arrow logic, all the proof Anatoly really needs is for Diaz to play dirty when he and Oliver get into a bare knuckle brawl. It’s a well staged fight that does what it needs to in showing that Diaz is underhanded all the time. And it has an actual purpose in that Oliver getting the crap kicked out of him makes him look more TV friendly when the SCPD comes to throw him in jail and set his trial for next week. This is really one of the few instances where I felt like Diaz actually had a plan in place for dealing with Oliver instead of just vaguely hinting that he did, and it’ll be interesting to see if the show will go all the way with this.  

Meanwhile, New Team Arrow and Diggle get to spend a lot of time together working on busting Diaz’s operation, and starting to sow the seeds for an eventual reunion between all of Team Arrow. It’s quite fascinating to see Diggle operate with the newbies without Oliver or Felicity anywhere near them; having him immediately apologize for his actions in the team’s civil war is the mature thing to do, and the show thankfully doesn’t try to have any beef between him and Rene.

That the story instead lets the two of them bond over Rene’s PTSD and have something of a frank discussion about they as superhero fathers bury their fear out in the field is really interesting and something that I wish we got more of. Similarly, it’s nice that it turns out Rene’s daughter Zoe has known her dad and extended family were superheroes the whole time–prior to this, I thought it was just a thing she was told by them, but the show didn’t care enough to bring up–and that she actively tells him to suit back up again. The lack of any forced drama in the revelation makes it a godsend, and for that I am thankful.

I’m also thankful that it finally feels like Laurel will actually get to have more than superficial moral complexity coming up. The show still doesn’t really make a compelling argument for what she’s got to fear from Diaz — besides his sadistic streak if she fails, again, what’s stopping her from just killing him during a car ride? — but Paul Blackthorne is still really good at playing a disappointed dad. This would be a much better story if it hadn’t been done about eight times this season, but there’s still points to give just for actually seeming to go somewhere and all the cards being on the table.

“Shifting Allegiances” doesn’t really live up to its rather ominous title, but it serves as a nice course correction for Arrow. It feels like everyone’s on the same page after some scattershot turns, and if there were really anything that would get Team Arrow back together, the Trial of Oliver Queen would be it.

Additional Notes

  • Don’t know why Oliver would tell Diaz that he “failed this city,” considering that’s been his goal from the start, but alright.
  • I would watch just an episode of Anatoly and his bodyguards sitting around and catching up on perceived American past times.
  • Curtis actually became the action scene MVP this week with the show finally deciding to acknowledge he was an Olympic athlete and letting him parkour in the middle of a firefight.
  • Would’ve liked to have had that reveal for next week’s episode not spoiled for me thanks to the preview, because that is something the show should’ve kept as quiet as possible.

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