Arrow: Brothers in Arms

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Well, in the comics, Green Arrow worked alone most of the time…

I’ve been watching Arrow, and mostly enjoying it, since the show debuted several years ago. I also haven’t make a secret about the fact that I’ve felt disappointed by most of this season, especially the whole ongoing “split teams” plot that just isn’t working on many levels. Well, it’s like the writers heard that many people don’t like this story and said, “Hold my beer.” I do have to say that “Brothers In Arms” is a remarkably ironic title.

The episode opens with a scene that was giving me hope about the split being mended. Dinah is leading a small team of cops on a drug raid, having gathered the few she trusts at this point. When the raid turns ugly, the police get backup in the form of Green Arrow and Spartan. Overwatch provides tech-support, monitoring, and badly timed questions. By the end of the raid, the good guys win and Anatoli is arrested.

Back at the Police Department, Dinah comes in triumphantly, the crooked Captain Hill is pissed off, but Dinah was clever and has outflanked and outranked Hill by Oliver saying he authorized the raid as mayor. I’m not sure a mayor can actually do that, but it’s a nice show of unity. That lasts until they walk down a hall, when Dinah and Oliver start sniping at each other again and Lance steps in to stop it. Anatoli doesn’t seem too bothered about being arrested, and we learn why a few moments later. It’s an upsetting blow to Dinah, Lance, and Oliver.

Down in the bunker, Oliver fills in Felicity and Diggle about what happened, and no one is happy. Felicity is going to do research about their new problem, while Oliver and Diggle have a long-overdue conversation about the future of the hood. It seems like Oliver makes good points and Diggle accepts them, but both Felicity and I have doubts.

Diaz and Anatoli deliver an unmistakable message to the police that dared to move against them. As that message is received, Diggle has used his contacts to work out that Diaz is probably pulling in a million per day from his illegal operations. That seems a ridiculously high figure to me. Diggle goes to Lyla for more intel, and Felicity is worried that Oliver isn’t taking Diggle’s feelings seriously enough. Oliver decides to go to City Hall and talk with some of the people who seem to be under Diaz’s sway.

Back at the former Helix base, Dinah is planning to protect her people as best she can. Curtis is offering to come along, and they argue and banter about his motives. Lyla talks to Diggle, giving him info in exchange for him talking about what’s going on with him. Diggle isn’t quite able to figure out why Oliver not giving him the GA identity back is bothering him so much, and Lyla, correctly, points out Diggle needs to figure that out.

Oliver talks to the corrupt officials, who at first deny their involvement with Diaz. Eventually, he gets them to reveal the leverage being used against them. They, in turn, bait him about being Green Arrow. Hill gets snippy, Oliver delivers his own message, and DA Armand warms him he has no idea what’s coming. Which seems to happen every season. Oliver never knows what’s coming.

In a weird domestic scene, Lance goes home and talks to Black Siren, still pretending to be Laurel. I have thought from the start of this it was a bad idea and blindly optimistic of both Lance, and everyone else involved. Claiming boredom, “Laurel” offers to help Lance since she knows how Diaz thinks. Lance also make an interesting suggestion to her about what to do with her down time.

Diggle interrupts his beating up a heavy bag to talk to Oliver about more info on Diaz’s operations and yet more talk about the hood situation. Once again, Diggle seems to understand. Once again, I’m pretty sure things aren’t this simple. Green Arrow and Spartan go into action and go after one of Diaz’s dealers. Their tactical plan is great, but they get a few nasty surprises in the aftermath. There’s also tension as the two heroes are trying to use very different approaches on the dealer, and it’s not Good Cop/Bad Cop, it’s conflicting methods that just don’t work.

Back at the Lair, things are even more tense. Diggle starts yelling at Oliver, and Oliver is, understandably, confused. They argue, with Diggle sounding more and more like a crazy man. Finally, he storms out, leaving Oliver and Felicity exchanging “What the hell?” looks in his wake. “Laurel” gets an unexpected visitor who is encouraging her to fall to the dark side, if she ever left it, which I doubt.

Diggle goes back to see Lyla, which is at the very least a good sign for their relationship. Diggle himself seems confused why he’s acting this way, giving Oliver credit for a good apology and explanation. Diggle is worried about what’s going on, and Lyla encourages him to figure it out. Curtis Holt, meanwhile, finds something out about the cop he’s crushing on which could be bad news for their future.

Diggle goes back to talk to Oliver, having come to some realizations. He believes Oliver has made several mistakes, and recounts them all, getting increasingly passionate about it. He criticizes Oliver’s decisions and leadership. Things get increasingly heated, with Oliver bringing up some of Diggle’s own errors in judgement, and he’s had a few of his own. It goes downhill until Diggle ups the stakes by throwing the first punch. This degenerates into an ugly brawl which a screaming Felicity ends eventually. Diggle sort of apologizes, and Felicity sends them off on their next mission. Because just after this, let’s give these two weapons.

Curtis laments the surprise about Officer Nick’s reveal, driving Dinah crazy. Dinah offers some advice and then their gathering gets interrupted by party crashers of the armed and dangerous kind. This leads to a big fight and some heroics and Nick getting his own surprise. Elsewhere, Green Arrow and Spartan patch up their differences enough to attack Diaz’s drug operation. They do a good job together, and Dinah makes a desperate move to save everyone over at the other fight.

Back at the Lair, Diggle makes a decision and gives a speech. I can’t say I’m surprised at this point, but I’m disappointed. Once again, Oliver accepts bad news with good grace. Well, it’s not like he hasn’t had practice. Felicity and Oliver are both saddened by this newest twist.

Curtis and Dinah talk in the aftermath of their own fight. They’re both not sure about what to do next, when Officer Nick arrives with more bad news, which at this point is just news in Star City. Dinah ducks out so Nick and Curtis can talk, and Nick reconsiders a few things.

Diggle once again goes back to Lyla, and she make sure he’s ok. I’m not sure about some of what she says, but I’m glad she’s supporting her husband. On a few levels, actually, as she makes him an offer. Oliver doesn’t even have time to properly sulk or wallow before the next blow arrives via television. Things are looking bad for Team Arrow and Mayor Queen. We also see who guided some of this strategy, and one of the good guys is going to get his heart broken again.

What I liked: The action sequences are always good on this show. The Curtis/Nick relationship could be interesting. It was nice to see Green Arrow and Dinah working together again, however disappointingly brief it was.

What I didn’t: Most of it. Diggle’s attitude and deep concerns seem to have come out of nowhere. I was really expecting to find out he was back on those drugs again. It was about the only thing that would make sense. Lance playing house with evil Laurel is just dumb, and endangers everyone. Lyla’s big offer to Diggle at the end seemed very anticlimactic.

The disappointments continue this season. I’m giving this a 2 out of 5. As a hero fan in general, and longtime fan of Green Arrow in particular, I hate to say this, but I’d actually be ok with this being the last season at this rate. I already know it’s not, but really, enough is enough. I hope they pull out of this stupidity by the end of the season.

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