Arrow: Thanksgiving

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Look, Agent Watson, all I’m saying is, aren’t the holidays stressful enough without all this?

You can tell when it’s getting towards the end of the year, because you get a Thanksgiving episode, closely followed by a Christmas episode, on a lot of shows. Well, Arrow isn’t even subtle with the title, “Thanksgiving,” although it’s not exactly a gather ‘round the table kind of celebration.

It starts off well enough, with Oliver and William working at a food drive for the poor of Star City. I guess that’d be the folks in the Glades, although that neighborhood seems to have largely left the show’s mythos since Roy Harper departed. William actually seems to be enjoying the drive, and has definitely taken a shine to Felicity. When Ms. Smoak is getting grilled by a reporter, William urges Oliver to go save her. Oliver helps shoo the nosy newsy away, after Felicity makes a joke that Flash is more her type than Green Arrow. Oliver gives a nice speech about the food collection and dedicating the new police station. This lasts long enough for Samanda Watson, FBI obsessive, to show up and arrest him in front of reporters, Felicity, and William. There is really just a mean streak in this woman. I’m really expecting that eventually, we’re going to learn she has a grudge against Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, or masked heroes in general. Either that or she’s a supervillain herself, or in thrall to one.

Inside the new police station, Rene is trying to get the officers ready for the mayor’s arrival. Of course, no one was expecting him to show up in cuffs and as the station’s first arrestee. No one is happy about this except Watson and her silent goon squad. Dinah is forced to book him in, even though he’s her boss on two fronts.

Oliver is in some very odd room for the next scene. It’s way too nice to be an interrogation room, but they shouldn’t be keeping a prisoner, especially not one they consider to be so dangerous, in a conference room. Oliver threatens to sue her, and she ignores this, going on with her theory that Roy Harper as the Hood was his idea, and that Diggle is Green Arrow now. She’s annoying, but she’s right, which is making me wonder where she’s getting at least some of her information. Then again, Team Arrow hasn’t exactly been careful with their secrets over the years. Oliver pushes to see William, which she finally agrees to, and the boy is clearly upset, thinking Oliver broke his promise about putting on the mask and hood.

Blissfully ignorant down in the lair, Curtis injects Diggle with his experimental tech to subdue Diggle’s tremors. Rene and Dinah come in, bearing the bad news, and Curtis once more wonders why he was never interviewed. I’m kind of curious about that myself, now. Diggle is worried that if people think Green Arrow is in prison (technically inaccurate, but whatever), the city will be in even more danger than normal.

On that note, Black Siren and thugs are breaking in to steal more toys, with Caden James acting as Overwatch (or Oracle, or the actor’s former role as Finch on Person of Interest). Siren and James clearly have a different view on how to approach things, and equally clearly, she doesn’t care. They get their gear and get out, leaving a few dead guards in their wake. Seriously, working as a guard at a tech firm in Star City has got to have a mortality rate around that of anyone working in Arkham Asylum.

After Dinah visits Oliver in his cell and they agree he shouldn’t escape, Curtis tries to figure out what happened last night. They didn’t get an alarm about the Sunderland break-in, because Caden James has hacked their various security interfaces throughout the city’s businesses. Curtis tries to get some help from Felicity, but she’s busy at Oliver’s arraignment.

We get to see the new District Attorney (another job with an abysmal survival rate), Sam Armand, who is reluctantly prosecuting Oliver. For the defense is Jean Loring, not seen since the 2013 season, and, in the comics, wife to the Atom. After arguing and legal terms being flung around, Oliver gets a $5 million bond, with bail at $500,000. Former millionaires-turned-vigilantes-turned-mayors don’t have that kind of money. But Felicity makes an interesting decision, and springs Oliver.

Diggle works out in an impressive fashion, wowing Curtis. They get interrupted when the computer goes off, Curtis’ hacker-tracker telling them Caden James is working on AmerTek’s computers. AmerTek is part of the history of obscure DC Comics character Aztek, and another favorite target of bad guys in Star City. Bizarrely, the team meets at City Hall to discuss their next move. Apparently, this was done just so Quentin Lance could be around so they could finally tell him Black Siren is working with James. Black Siren, of course, is the Earth 2 doppleganger for Lance’s dead daughter Laurel. Out in the streets, protestors are loud in their support of Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, and vigilantes in general.

Team Arrow clashes with Black Siren and company at AmerTek. This starts off going well, and then falls apart when Green Diggle starts suffering some serious side-effects from Curtis’ earlier injection. Black Siren and her merry band of thugs get away with their next item on whatever scavenger hunt they’re on. Once again, for no apparent reason, Black Canary was fighting as a brawler, ignoring both her powers and her guns, which she used last episode.

In the Lair, we start to see some fracture lines in one of Team Arrow’s stronger friendships. At the hospital, Diggle is being treated by the doctor that might as well be an unofficial part of Team Arrow by now. She thinks Diggle’s in withdrawal, which is entirely possible. Felicity calls and says she believes Caden is making a thermobaric weapon. How in the world former Special Forces operative Diggle doesn’t know what that is, I can’t begin to explain. Suffice to say it’s a nasty weapon. Curtis is sorry if his invention did this to Diggle, who insists that it’s his fault since he pushed for it. Oliver still doesn’t know about any of this, which no one but Diggle thinks is a good idea.

Rene joins Felicity at the Lair, not sure what James could be targeting. They say there are so many events happening that day. Personally, I’ve seen very few public events on Thanksgiving, barring football games and parades. Curtis is suddenly there, having made great time from the hospital. He and Felicity start bickering about recent events, and Rene wisely retreats.

Oliver goes to the hospital and visits Diggle. It’s a little bit of a friend checking in, and a lot of Oliver being disappointed in Diggle for hiding things from him. They get pretty heated before Oliver storms off to his next visit: Thea, formerly Speedy and currently comatose. He visits, talks, and she doesn’t react.

The team jokes about their traditional Thanksgiving dinner being Big Belly Burger (which is a CW-verse staple). Rene mentions he’s a Billy Joel fan, and a concert by the Piano Man is James’ target as far as the team can work out. Weirdly, this is Billy Joel’s second mention in the CW-verse lately. I wonder who’s a big fan behind the scenes? Sadly, the promoter is NOT a big fan of Oliver’s, and refuses to cancel the show.

Quentin and Dinah go over a lot of files, trying to figure out what’s going to happen, and commiserate about their troubled pasts. Quentin is haunted by choices about Black Siren, and Dinah tells him about who Vigilante turned out to be. They’re both shaken by the return of people they care about, back from the dead and gone to the dark side.

Oliver goes back to apologize to Diggle, and they share a few things. Diggle might become paralyzed if he keeps operating as Green Arrow (from an injury in his arm?). Diggle also reminds Oliver that, during the big team up last year, the alternate life the Dominator put him in was that of being Green Arrow, so it’s something he’s wanted for a while now.

The short-handed team tries to figure out what to do next. Just after Felicity nominates Black Canary as field leader, Oliver comes in and decides it’s time to suit up again. Nothing goes well on this outing. The doors to the stadium where the concert is are jammed, and James has fake cops working against the team’s evacuation efforts. James takes this chance to show up and drop cryptic hints about why he’s so focused on Green Arrow. Seriously, does no one notice GA is going from white to black and back? Being PC is all well and good, but this is kinda noticeable. James covers his escape with a well-timed intervention from Black Siren.

The team tries to put the pieces together of what’s been going on. James’ bomb wasn’t at the concert. Then, the news starts covering what looks like happened at the concert, and part of Caden James’ plan becomes clear. No one can find a connection between Oliver or Arrow and James.

Oliver gives a speech he really doesn’t want to, and FBI Annoyance Watson is there to rub it in. I wonder if she works for James? That might explain a lot. Later, Oliver and William visit Diggle, where we learn about one of William’s hidden talents. They have some conversation that seems to contradict what was said earlier, and then Oliver finally gets some good news to end the episode.

What I liked: I’m amused at the second Billy Joel reference this month, and even concert footage of him in the episode. So I guess Rene and Nate from Legends share a music fandom. I’m glad that Oliver and Diggle had that discussion about Diggle hiding things. I think Felicity and Curtis are both right to be annoyed with each other, and wrong in several things they’ve done lately. Caden James’ plan was pretty slick, or at least what we’ve seen of it so far. I was glad to see that bit of news at the end. I’m enjoying Michael Emerson’s Caden James. It was nice to see Jean Loring again. We need to introduce her to Ray Palmer already.

What I didn’t: Ok, so yet another person with a grudge against Oliver and/or Green Arrow. Wasn’t he in ARGUS prison for quite a while? Either way, this plot is getting worn as a retread. Why does Black Canary keep forgetting to use her powers in a fight (Firestorm syndrome)? With everything going on, and the team short-handed, we need a lot better reason why they’re not bringing Roy back from exile at this point. And what is Samanda Watson’s deal?

There were a lot of holes in this one. I’m giving it a low 3 out of 5, and that’s generous.

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