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ARROW “Spartan” Review

By on April 23, 2019

Arrow — “Spartan” — Pictured: David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW






Following last week’s Black Canary-focused episode and the episode devoted to the Queen kids in Star City 2040, one might naturally assume that an episode called “Spartan,” and named after Diggle’s codename, would really dig into the character or at the very least, take advantage of the flash-forward conceit to show how Diggle’s life has affected his family. This…doesn’t entirely do that.

Of course, none of this is at the fault of David Ramsey, Ernie Hudson, or Joseph David-Jones. In fact, just as last week’s episode and the 2040 episode milked the legacy angle for all its worth with their respective focus characters, what works in “Spartan” works because of the Diggle men. There’s a clear through-line in how Roy Stewart’s military training clashed with whatever Diggle picked up from his birth father through childhood, turning him into the sometimes conflicting character he is on the show. And it’s no wonder that this schism became more literal in both JJ and Connor, though the show does lose some of its weight in not actually showing us an adult JJ who leads a Deathstroke gang.

That said, the episode sort of falls apart because it isn’t really interested in telling Diggle’s story, so much as it wants to just use him to connect everyone else’s. When you consider the Canary episode last week and how it focused entirely on the women of this corner of the Arrowverse, this feels like a missed opportunity. I came away from the episode wanting to learn more about the Diggle men and feeling shortchanged. 

Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big sticking point for me if the episode just had more going on. Oliver tells Emiko about how Dante killed her mother and she guts him to close out the episode, but I couldn’t tell you what her thought process is now. Likewise, it seems as though we’re marking time until Felicity’s Archer program goes all Terminator, which of course comes after a setback that sees the source code kept intact after the program is “deleted.” Maybe we’ll get more information as to how Archer got so messed up now that we’re seeing it being used to augment cops in Star City 2040.


Additional Notes

  • Early in the show’s run, there were rumors and speculation that Diggle was or would end up being a Green Lantern, and with Crisis soon, the show really leans into it with references to will, “the Corps”, and a shot of Diggle bathed in green light.
  • Surprisingly no Ghostbusters references.

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