Arrow: All For Nothing

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No, I can pout more than YOU can…

Arrow’s “All For Nothing” starts with Quentin and Oliver trying something new to get some help in the seemingly futile struggle against Cayden James. James continues to be one step ahead and virtually omniscient. Let’s just say that while Quentin and Oliver don’t get what they want, some ARGUS agents have a much worse day.

On the heels of this defeat, we learn that Oliver has been paying off Cayden for a week, and Star City is running out of money. He and Thea are running out of ideas, especially after the latest setback. Thea tries to be supportive and encouraging, but she’s essentially spitting out platitudes. Meanwhile, Quentin finds out he has a shadow of the doppleganger kind.

Dinah and Vince meet up for another intel exchange/rendezvous, where he assures he didn’t know about the ARGUS chaos until it was too late. Vince is worried that Dinah is losing faith in him, and does his best to convince her he’s on her side. It’s a good emotional appeal, if not exactly the best reasoned argument. Vince returns to Cayden’s base and the master villain makes some vaguely veiled threats.

After a frustrating meeting with the city council, an exhausted Oliver returns to the Lair, worrying Felicity. Even Oliver isn’t sure he believes what he’s telling them at this point. Felicity spins some lovely sounding daydreams about their post-Cayden honeymoon, and then gets interrupted when the computer chirps an alarm. It’s located Vigilante, and there’s a very tense situation made worse by the arrival of the other team and some claims that Green Arrow and Spartan find difficult to believe. The team that’s so pissed off about the others keeping secrets is doing a great job of keeping things to themselves.

The teams meet up at the new base/former Helix headquarters. Felicity is impressed at how much work Curtis has done, and he comments about being single giving him a lot of free time. The teams finally share a bit more information, and Felicity comes up with a plan that’s fairly risky but might finally locate the damn bomb that Cayden is holding over the city. With a lot of trepidation, both teams agree to the scheme. Oliver then has a quick private chat with Vince the Vigilante, who really doesn’t seem to like the archer/mayor much.

Thea bullies the poor city accountant into trying to find another payoff for Cayden, and then she and Quentin talk. They have their own little subplot going, and I think it’s a horrible idea. Once again, Thea is reduced to the role of cheerleader. I really miss her being an effective character.

Dinah and Vince have another quick chat, and he assures her that going along with this scheme is his own idea. As if he’s going to just do what Oliver says. Both teams now convene at the Lair, and Rene goes to great lengths to point out that this is NOT a reconciliation. I get they’re all having issues, but this other team, especially Rene and Dinah, really just seem like spoiled kids having a tantrum. They talk Vigilante into doing what he needs to, which gets more complicated when Cayden turns up, because of course he does. After a bluff of a chat, Cayden lets Vince go, only to have him grabbed as soon as he gets outside. Aside from they needed him to get out to make Felicity’s plan work, I’m really not clear why Cayden let him out.

Alena, formerly of Helix, is now also at the Lair helping sift through the info they just got from Cayden’s computers. The others get more and more impatient, and Wild Dog makes a snarky comment about being in the lair giving him PTSD. Dinah and Rene leave, because they wanted a dramatic exit I guess. Vince is not at all having a good evening as Cayden drones on about never really trusting him in the first place. Vince plays dumb, until the others leave him to Anatoli’s not-so-tender mercies.

Quentin and Thea enact their own little plan, which is amazingly risky. I get why they’re doing it, but these two are being willfully, blindly, optimistic. They spring their sorta trap, which doesn’t go at all as planned. Their quarry eventually runs off after trashing a fair amount of equipment, and they delude themselves their plan is working.

Dinah and Rene wander back to the lair having… well, we don’t know what they were up to or why they left. Just being moody I guess. They have information on the bomb, and are about to actually do something useful when Vince’s screams echo through the com gear. After an emotional argument, the B team decides to go after Vigilante, while Green Arrow and Spartan try and capture the bomb. This seems like a terrible idea to me, but what do I know?

The split teams go to work and, once again, it seems like Cayden has foreseen all this. While the B team tries to rescue Vigilante, and he does a decent job of starting to rescue himself, Green Arrow and Spartan encounter a lot of complications trying to secure the bomb. I have to say that, in addition to knowing everything, Cayden also seems to have nearly unlimited resources. Then again, he’s gotten some $70 million in the last week or so, which buys a lot of friends. The B team get some nasty surprises and suffer a brutal loss, while Green Arrow and Spartan lose the bomb. So yeah, splitting up was a brilliant idea, folks.

There’s a lot of frayed nerves from the fight and its aftermath, which the B team handles with the emotional maturity I’ve come to expect from them: none. Alena gets a lead on one of the background issues in the whole Cayden mess, which makes it sound like James has more problems than he knows. I don’t feel a bit sorry for him.

While Quentin and Thea finally realize their weird little dream isn’t going to come true, Oliver goes to try and offer some reassurance to one of the other team. That goes spectacularly badly, and Oliver may well have just made another enemy, or at least an obstacle.

Flashback Theater makes an unwelcome return this week. It’s set 5 years ago, and is the story of Vince and Dinah’s first act. We even get a cameo from Captain Singh of the Central City Police, and a redo of their mutual origin the night of Barry’s big accident.

What I liked: Spartan seems to be the most rational of everyone involved in this mess. Green Arrow is making some hard, but logical, decisions. Vigilante is overconfident, but at least trying to do the right thing.

What I didn’t: Thea and Quentin are being delusional. For that matter, where did this weird pseudo father/daughter dynamic come from? Quentin loathed Oliver for quite a while, and Thea was off being a party girl most of the time. Dinah’s team is being ridiculous at pretty much every turn, especially Rene. You know, the one that betrayed Oliver to get time with his daughter who we never see anymore? Cayden must be a metahuman at this rate, since he seems to always know everything.

I really liked Arrow for a while, and it started the CW-verse, but they’ve really been slipping lately. I want to really like the show, but they’re making harder and harder to do. I’m giving this one a low 2.5 out of 5. I really hope they wrap up the split teams and Cayden stories. Soon.

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