Arrow: Collision Course

collision

Hold on, let’s not do anything stupid… too late.

Several disclaimers here. This review will not be as spoiler free as most of mine are. And this is not remotely going to be a favorable review for Arrow’s “Collision Course” episode. I’ve watched this show from the beginning, and I’ve generally enjoyed it. But I think they big-time dropped the ball for most of this season, and certainly for this episode.

The show opens with Caden James’ autopsy not matching what we saw. As Oliver glowers, we see just how far Ricardo Diaz’s reach goes. Makes me wonder how Diaz got that much set up without James or any of the good guys figuring it out. The city is in dire financial straights after James’ extortion, and they’re not having a lot of luck finding where the money went. Oliver makes a rash promise to a room full of people that aren’t really identified, but seem to be various important people from the city government. When Oliver gets home, we see that Felicity and William are getting on great, and Oliver asks her a favor.

Meanwhile, the B team (for brat?) is having no luck in tracking down Anatoli or the other surviving members of James’ cartel. Rene mentions he ran across Diggle chasing down the same dead end lead he did. Curtis reflects on the widening rift between the teams, and is clearly troubled by Dinah’s focus on vengeance. Curtis and Rene seem to be handling this by agreeing to focus on the missing money and not thinking about her other plans. Dinah herself goes to City Hall, where she and Oliver get disturbing news from the city accountant, after which she and Oliver spar about motives and methods. A major piece of that argument, Laurel, finds herself on a couch with Quentin taking care of her. I know he’s been through a lot but that’s kinda creepy, really.

Back at City Hall later, Thea, Oliver, and Quentin watch a video that makes it pretty sure Laurel ran off with the missing funds. When she’s supposed to have done this, considering how busy Caden James was keeping her, I’m not sure. Quentin, maybe out of honesty, maybe covering his tracks or from guilty conscience, mentions he and Laurel have talked. Quentin decides to go play “bait” for Laurel. Thea offers to be backup, which I don’t get at all. She’s stated how many times she’s not ready to be Speedy again? How’s she going to back him up?

Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning to make progress, and that’s what the B team does, returning to where Laurel disappeared on them. With yet another new toy from Mr. Terrific, they get a new lead to follow up on. Dinah almost mocks Oliver for being worried about the money, and Wild Dog points out how much the city really does need the funds. Dinah is not sympathetic to this point of view. At all.

Quentin continues his almost Misery-like campaign to influence Laurel, now with offerings from a noodle shop and more talk. After her usual snarly answers, Laurel actually starts being nice to Quentin after he shares a theory about her. This is going well… except for the fact that Thea is spying from the window. This is her version of backup?

Team Arrow goes to the old crime scene, not finding much useful new except for Black Canary’s bootprint, which makes them worry she has Laurel. So both teams are wrong, which is not a good thing with tensions this high. This leads to a big breakdown between them when Team Arrow invades the B team’s ex-Helix base to search for Black Siren. It goes badly on many levels. What is laughable is Dinah demanding to know when her word hasn’t been enough for Oliver. Umm… when you started lying about Vince maybe? It’s not quite an all out fight but next door to it. At the end, Rene manages to plant a bug on Oliver, because somehow, despite Caden bugging the lair and causing them so much misery from it, they don’t have an automatic sweep set up. Wow, that’s dumb.

Thea decides to actually go in to Quentin’s place, and they have a chat about her following him, her knowing he was lying about something, and Laurel contributing general snark and sarcasm. Thea, reasonably enough, points out that while Laurel might be important to Quentin, the city is essentially dying without the money she stole. Thea wants to call Oliver about this, and Quentin really doesn’t want her to. Finally, they arrive at the following deal: they’ll let Laurel go, Quentin will go with her, and when she’s out of the country, she’ll tell them how to get the money. Thea texts all this to Oliver, and the B team overhears enough to follow them.

Team Arrow, in Diggle’s black van they keep using (I really want them to give it the A-Team red stripe), figure out they’re being followed, and Felicity FINALLY runs a check for bugs, which should be automatic at this point. Team Arrow finally loses the B team (they should have gone with Outsiders) and an annoyed Black Canary crushes the discarded bug. Ya know, they can’t have a lot of resources. Destroying an expensive piece of tech in a fit of pique isn’t the best plan, Dinah.

Team Arrow gets to the cabin where Quentin is enacting his disturbing father-not-quite-daughter intervention/abduction. Oliver finally allows himself to be persuaded because Quentin trusts her. Not the best basis if you ask me. Meanwhile, the fuming B team decide to use John’s implant as a very, very painful way to track the others, with Wild Dog fussing that John is why he got shot. I do dimly remember something like this, but that was a long damn time ago, and his armor caught most of it as I recall. Anyway, they do it, John collapses in pain, and Felicity eventually blocks it, but this removes the chip’s magic ability to block John’s weird tremor.

Finally, they talk out a plan, but make sure it takes long enough for the others to show up. After a lot of shouting and accusations and posturing, Quentin, Laurel, and Thea (who was offering to be back up earlier, remember?) run away while Green Arrow and Spartan delay the others. It’s an ugly fight. Given whose show it is, and that he’s had the most training from the most different sources, Green Arrow is the number one ass kicker, defeating Mr. Terrific’s spheres and taking Wild Dog down hard in hand to hand. Black Canary gets away from this fight, and shows what a hero she is by using her staff to beat on Quentin. Nice. Eventually, she agrees to only torture Laurel for the money info, not kill her. The fight comes to dramatic end when Wild Dog collapses all of a sudden for no apparent reason, but not until after he manages to shoot Felicity in the arm.

In the aftermath, Oliver is furious as Felicity (magically recovered from Wild Dog shooting her) works on John’s arm in the Lair. Laurel got away in all this, and there’s no word, so the city has no money, and is going to have to start shutting down. Where’s Bruce Wayne when you need him? Felicity is mad at Curtis for hacking John’s arm and their company product. Wild Dog apparently was running around in the field with a not fully healed gunshot wound, and that’s why he fell over and is now in the hospital. Well that was bright, Rene, but then, he’s never been the smartest. Thea tries to reassure Quentin, who thinks he screwed all this up. I can’t say I disagree.

Dinah and Curtis wait at the hospital, and Curtis tries to deflate some of the tension by making bad jokes, which fails horribly. Dinah, acting almost like a hero again, thanks him for stopping her. Curtis pushes for going to track down and arrest Laurel after they make sure Rene is ok. Oliver has a horrible meeting at City Hall where he tells everyone he doesn’t think they’re getting the money back and, in a call back to the show’s roots, says he has failed the city. But no one puts an arrow in him. As this goes on, the prosecutor goes to one of the crooked cops as they arrange to get Oliver in more trouble, but he’ll need “all the city’s resources.” Hasn’t a lot of this been about the city not HAVING any resources?

Diggle and Felicity go to the hospital to check on Rene, and Curtis explodes at them. No more talking, no more cooperation, no more friendship. Because it’s not right that they tried to stop Dinah from her stated goals of murder and/or torture? It’s an ugly scene that will no doubt get more dramatic in the coming weeks until the teams reunite probably after someone dies or comes really close, or at least that’s my guess. There’s an end scene with the badly injured Laurel limping out of the woods, seemingly claiming to be the “real” Laurel and that she was kidnapped a few years ago. Ummm…. what?

What I liked: Not much. The good guys were focused on trying to save the city, which is kinda what heroes are supposed to do. The bad guys were either intent on kidnapping, murder, and revenge (B team), keeping someone prisoner (Quentin), or extorting a way out of the country (Laurel). Of course, only one of these is supposed to be bad guy…

What I didn’t: So very much. Dinah going around the bend after Vince’s death I can sort of understand. Rene and especially Curtis helping her, I really don’t. The majority of this whole two teams plot has been about the B team sulking and acting like spoiled children, and they keep doing that here. “How dare you stop us from letting our friend kill someone?” essentially asks Curtis near the end. Diggle’s implant is hackable? Given his adventures as a hero and everything they’ve seen in their collective careers, this is amazingly stupid. Thea offers to be back up and then runs away when a fight starts. Quentin is acting creepy as hell. Wild Dog having an unhealed wound that just manages to massively open when Oliver kicks him is ridiculous. Plus, Rene shot Felicity, which is really not cool. Dinah beating on Quentin and Laurel when she was on the ground is long way from heroic. I mean, really, look at everyone’s motivations throughout the show, and the B team are sounding a lot more like villains than heroes. The end scene makes no sense. If Laurel is telling the truth, the city has lost its money. If not, there’s no reason for her to be lying to some random guy she’s never seen before.

I’m sorry, I hated this. It was badly executed on almost every front. The actors are doing the best they can with what they’re given, but the writers really need to pull their collective head our their ass or something. I’m giving this a 1.5 out of 5.

This season needs to end. This plot needs to end. This show is sliding downhill fast.

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