Arrow: The Dragon


An episode about Diaz? Really?

Arrow takes a break from the annoying heroes fighting heroes story to focus on two characters: Ricardo Diaz, the Dragon (I still don’t buy he’s supposed to be Richard Dragon) and Felicity Smoak. With most of the story on Arrow’s current big bad, the episode is titled, “The Dragon,” and the usual run of symbols for the team(s) in the title sequence is replaced by a large dragon. While I’d like to see some of the main plot progress, at least I don’t have to listen to notionally adult super heroes whine this week.

The show opens in the Zandia Orphanage, which also gave us Brother Blood a few seasons ago, and we see young Diaz living a fairly horrible life, suffering under the cruelty of an older boy, Jesse. The chorus in Annie had it right, “It’s A Hard Knock Life.”

Leaving the villain’s rocky childhood behind, we move to modern day Bludhaven (comic book home of Nightwing) to see Diaz and Black Siren meeting with “the Quadrant” an organized crime group that controls most of the country. Diaz really wants this and waits patiently, while Siren complains about being bored. She needs to get a book or something. The representative finally shows up, and it’s not quite who Diaz was hoping for.

In Felicity’s loft/headquarters of Helix Dynamics, she and Curtis have a tense meeting about getting the company going despite the split team issue. Felicity is ready to work on things, but Curtis is still holding a grudge, because that’s what that team does. They eventually techo-babble at each other over some project.

Diaz once again repeats his “Star City is open for business” line he’s been spouting the last few episodes. I’m waiting for hats and bumper stickers that say that. He makes his pitch to the Quadrant man, who isn’t impressed and essentially gives Diaz a test before they’ll even consider listening to him: one of their men has been captured by the FBI and the Quadrant wants him located. Diaz maintains his calm, but loses it when he gets a moment alone.

Diaz is working on his task, and getting mocked a lot by Black Siren. The more I see of her, the less likable she is. Much like most of the B-team at this point. Diaz ignores her taunts and focuses on the long term, talking about what he’s already done and his next goal.

Felicity and Curtis work on their project, and he pushes her about what’s wrong. She finally admits to Oliver’s incredibly stupid decision to let Overwatch go, but claims she’s fine. Curtis gets smug about Diggle leaving, and Felicity warns him not to be.

Diaz and Siren bring their information back to their Quadrant contact, who isn’t happy about what they show him. He ups their mission to a rescue or eliminate kind of deal, prompting more snark from Siren. Diaz lets some of his temper show through and warns the man to not waste his time.

Siren keeps snarking as they go on their new mission. The Feds guarding the prisoner have a very bad day between Diaz’s bullets and Siren’s powers. It’s no surprise the bad guys complete their mission. Diaz, however, gets a surprise from the Quadrant when he tries to hand the man over for his reward. This Quadrant guy is also getting less likable as time passes. The Quadrant man reports in and they both mock Diaz, which just isn’t a good idea.

Diaz and Siren return to Hogan’s Alley, the bar they met their man at before. Hogan’s Alley is, among other things, the name of a special FBI training area, which makes naming their place that a ballsy move, a stupid one, or both. Siren is all for just going home at this point, but Diaz pushes on as they storm the bar, shoo out the customers, deal with the thugs, and explain a few things to their Quadrant rep. Diaz and Siren spring a trap in the bar, mostly due to her powers, which they’ve hidden until now. You’d think a big crime organization would keep up on things like metahuman powers, but this seems to be a complete shock to them.

Curtis wonders about Felicity’s fridge’s contents, which are mostly either missing or expired. Felicity tries to convince both Curtis and herself that she’s fine with the new arrangement with Oliver, which she clearly isn’t. Then, the news covers a live event of Green Arrow fighting thugs downtown and a massive explosion, which makes her even more worried.

Diaz and Siren continue to torment their Quadrant representative, as Diaz lectures the man about his past. I’m really not sure if Diaz is trying to impress the man or get sympathy from him, and I’m not wholly convinced Diaz is sure either. They do get out of their prisoner what led to the recent betrayal, and move on to their next step. They get plans for what they are going to do next with the very reluctant help of their captive.

Laurel expresses her doubt about this plan, and dislike for a popular phrase. She also wonders about his motivations, which do seem a bit muddy, I’ll agree. She tries to talk him out of this and build him up a bit, but Diaz has his mind made up and is going ahead with his insane plan. Laurel draws an interesting parallel between Diaz and her former villain boss, Zoom. Diaz goes on about his fear, and gives us the episode title in a roundabout way.

The pair of villains mount their attack on the Quadrant meeting, and Diaz has an effective, if ruthless, way of getting past their outer defenses, as well as getting some payback. After some more fighting, they get in to the main meeting room. For some reason, the assembled guards let Diaz wander around the room with a weapon in his hand, and that gets less realistic as tensions rise and Diaz shows one way of getting a seat at the table. He also exposes some of the double-dealing from the man Diaz’s prisoner was working for. They finally decide to listen, over some objections. Diaz gets a ring as a symbol from them, making him happy as he goes to deal with some petty revenge.

Felicity rushes home, worried, and doesn’t get any answer to her frantic shouts. Oliver strolls in a few minutes later, fine, and confused why she’s worried. She tells him how much she hates this new deal, that she’s helpless locked out of things, outside the bunker. Oliver disagrees, saying she’s never helpless anywhere. He promises her, as he did William, that he’ll always come back to her.

The show ends with Diaz enacting that petty revenge. Siren isn’t sold on him doing this, and I think it makes him look small and weak, personally. It’s a nasty piece of work that ends with the show title card and dragon symbol again. And I’m glad that’s over.

What I liked: I’m hoping the scenes we saw of Felicity and Curtis mean those two, at least, might start acting like grown ups, although from how Curtis was acting I’m not sure about that. I was amused by Oliver’s nonchalant entrance and honest confusion about Felicity’s worry. I’m glad she told him she didn’t like how he was doing things. I don’t either.

What I didn’t: Pretty much everything else. I don’t care that much about Diaz, and I didn’t need to see this much more about him. I’m liking Siren less and less, and I really hope Quentin finally figures out he can’t trust or help her. Even in the midst of Felicity reaching out, Curtis can’t stop being a dick about the split.

I really didn’t like this one. I spent the whole episode going, “Yeah, and…?” I’m giving it a 2 out of 5 and hoping they snap out of this. They have been renewed for next season. I really hope they make it worth watching.