Cayden James continues being annoyingly smug as Arrow deals with “The Devil’s Greatest Trick.” It opens with Green Arrow and Spartan following up on their one last lead about where James might be. Of course, he’s not there, and equally of course, he’s left behind monitors so he can taunt the heroes more. This time, he’s decided to move up the end game, and announces he’ll detonate the bomb he’s been threatening everyone with tonight at midnight. Returning to the Lair, the field team gives an update to Felicity and her hacker-buddy Alena, who seems to have moved in. Alena points out that Oliver’s plan to stop this banks a lot on his reading James right.
Cayden speaks to his assembled band of villains about the bomb going off, and an airlift he’s arranged to get them all out of harm’s way. After the detonation, he will transfer therm all their shares of the ransom he’s managed to shake Star City down for. He gets almost misty-eyed as he leaves, telling them how personally important this was to him. The villains exchange uneasy glances during his speech.
Quentin Lance is frantically working the phones, trying to make arrangements for the people of Star City with the bomb explosion moved up. Oliver calls Thea and announces a decision he’s going to have a lot of trouble explaining down the road as far as shielding essential personnel. As this goes on, Diaz, Anatoli, and Black Siren express doubts about Cayden’s evacuation plan, while Thea begins to worry about Black Canary’s new vengeance mission, and Quentin continues his obsession with Black Siren being a replacement for his lost daughter Laurel.
Speaking of Black Canary, she’s continuing her own quest, beating on some of Cayden’s foot soldiers. Despite her vow to kill every one of them, she’s using her staff, no gun, not even any powers, as she finds out the man she’s captured has no idea where James’ inner circle is. Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific show up after the fight and try and talk her down, which she appreciates but ignores. Wild Dog tells her about the new bomb threat, but even that isn’t enough to shake her off her vengeance quest. But remember, Oliver and his team are the bad guys. Somehow.
Back at the Lair, Alena finally finishes running the programs to reveal what actually happened to James’ son. James is already on the way out of town and they don’t have time to catch him… until Oliver asks for a favor from a friend. With a blast of theme music and a blur or red and yellow, the star of another show speeds them out to where Cayden is so they can show him the new evidence. They come to a sort of shaky agreement about what to do next, although James still definitely has the upper hand.
Green Arrow and Spartan return to the Lair and fill in Felicity and Alena on the new status quo. After Alena makes a few doubtful comments, Thea comes in with William. Oliver explains that he needs William to stay there while he looks for some people. William wants to come, Oliver tells him it’s too dangerous, and we all know what’s going to happen there.
Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific compare notes on their lack of success in finding Dinah on her rampage. Spartan tells them what’s going on with the bomb and Cayden and they decide to do the mature and smart thing and help save the city. Just kidding, they decide looking for Dinah is more important. Elsewhere, Black Siren starts packing to make her escape, pausing to smile at a picture. Black Canary shows up on her vengeance quest, and they have a nasty fight. Quentin comes in to try and stop Canary from killing Siren, and gets blasted for his trouble. Having had enough of this, Green Arrow comes in and ends the fight.
Having been prevented from killing Black Siren, Canary now sulks that they’re working for Cayden James. Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific finally agree to go find Diaz. With the fate of the city at stake, Canary continues to pout and refuse to help, remaining behind to guard Siren. By guard, I mean wait for the others to screw up and give her a chance to kill. Quentin, still pursing the delusion that Laurel can be rehabilitated, also stays behind. With all this high stress going on, I guess it’s a good thing the writers seem to have forgotten about his heart problem.
While Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific corner their prey, Canary puts a damper on Siren. Deprived of her sonic powers, Siren turns to verbal abuse, taunting Canary about the death of Vince. Quentin and Canary then argue about killing a monster versus what might be (but really isn’t, guys) Quentin’s daughter.
Down in the Lair, William frets about his dad while Felicity tries to reassure him. Felicity then manages to locate Anatoli and guides Green Arrow and Spartan to him. Anatoli is at least a lot more entertaining than the others. In addition to fighting, Anatoli and Green Arrow argue about who is responsible for Cayden’s rampage and his son, Owen’s, death. Having secured all three prisoners, Green Arrow contacts Cayden to arrange the drop off. William hangs around just long enough to overhear this before pulling the classic “kid knows better than the adults and is going to sneak off to fix things on his own.”
Green Arrow and Spartan arrive at the rendezvous with James just moments before William wanders in, provoking concern from his father and amusement from James. Cayden seems to actually soften a bit with William’s presence. James gets several amusingly sardonic comments out about William being there.
Black Canary and Quentin load Siren into a van (what could go wrong there?) and Siren and Quentin talk about Siren not liking Canary. Quentin is walking this odd line between being delusion and clear sighted about Black Siren which is really making me wonder if Quentin has finally lost it. Siren spews out a lot of nasty comments as she’s taken away.
Cayden makes a few more comments about William being there to pass the time until all the prisoners arrive, and then there’s a big argument. Cayden makes his accusations, and Anatoli scoffs. Felicity and Thea look on from the Lair, worried about William. After a lot of back and forth, Black Siren claims to be behind Owen’s death. As she keeps babbling, Felicity realizes what she’s up to just a moment too late. Things deteriorate into another giant fight, and Wild Dog makes more snarky comments about Oliver. Honestly, at this point, Wild Dog is top of my list for “Characters who can leave the show any time now.” He’s the one that started this whole spilt teams mess off in the first place by betraying Oliver to the FBI so he could get back the daughter he abandoned. Eventually, some of the villains get away, some get badly injured, and some get caught.
Back at the Lair, Oliver and William have a brief daddy/son moment before we go back to Black Canary storming out and Wild Dog snarking. After this brief alliance, the teams split up again, Wild Dog is being a dick, while Mr. Terrific at least sounds like he’s being somewhat reasonable.
Oliver goes to visit the imprisoned Cayden, who continues to be smug, even in handcuffs. They seem to come to some kind of vague agreement, mostly about fatherhood, and Oliver finally leaves. While we see Black Siren trapped in something akin to Stephen King’s Misery, Cayden gets another unexpected visitor to wrap up unfinished business.
Flashback Theater makes another encore, this time all about the relationship between Cayden and his son Owen, leading up to his Cayden’s arrest and Owen’s death.
What I liked: The Cayden plot seems to finally be over. Spartan is back in action and being useful. Green Arrow ending the Black vs Black fight was great.
What I didn’t: Pretty much everything to do with Wild Dog. Can we swap him out for Roy Harper or Wildcat? Please? And maybe trade Black Canary for Huntress’ return? Quentin’s choice near the end is really disturbing on many levels. The reveal of who was behind Owen’s death doesn’t really fit what we know of that character so far.
This is a weird place to do another extended break, and I find I don’t really care about a lot of these characters coming back. I’ll give this one a 2.5 out of 5.