This episode title of Arrow, “Brothers and Sisters,” is fairly ironic, considering I believe every sibling relationship on the series has eventually been revealed to be some kind of step or half kind. Something about family might have been a better title, since that seems to be the recurring theme of the episode. It does finally bring one thing I haven’t liked for a while to a close, so I was glad to see that.
The episode opens with Felicity having a nightmare involving Diaz. I suspect it’s not the first one. At City Hall, Oliver is leaving a message for William, also not the first one, that cuts off when the voicemail is full. Considering something that is mentioned later, I suspect some foul play is involved. Rene gives Oliver some advice from his own experience with Zoe, and then moves on to a favor for Emiko. In a major reversal from how the series started, Oliver disapproves of Emiko acting without official sanction. They talk about family drama and trust.
At ARGUS, the Ghost Initiative Team is training with live blades. Seriously, who thought THAT was a good idea? They manage to not quite kill each other before Diggle breaks things up. Lyla comes in with news that another one of their leads has gone bust, and they both worry about whoever the traitor is at ARGUS finding out what they’re up to. Somehow or other, this convinces Diggle to finally tell Oliver and Felicity they are working with Diaz.
He does so, and Felicity compares the Ghost Initiative to Task Force X, once again avoiding the Suicide Squad name. Oliver and Felicity aren’t happy to hear it, and then are a lot less happy when he tells them Diaz is part of it. Diggle tries to mollify them by telling them about the bomb in Diaz’s head, but that doesn’t really help. Felicity makes an unkind comment about Curtis’ departure, and Oliver tries to give Diggle the benefit of the doubt. Felicity doesn’t buy Diggle’s explanations, and sends a text to Laurel about finishing what they started.
While Lyla briefs her new team about going after Dante, Felicity talks to Laurel about her research; she’s already hacked into ARGUS and gotten access to the controls for Diaz’s brain-bomb. They have a wide-ranging talk covering revenge and Laurel figuring out Felicity is pregnant. Oliver drops in on Emiko and critiques her knife throwing technique. He brings her some information from the crime lab about the favor Rene was doing for her. Emiko is not happy to hear Rene told Oliver. This conversation also veers from revenge to family matters, and Emiko grudgingly accepts his help.
Four supervillains walk into a bar… no, really, they do, to find Virgil, Dante’s contact. Diaz makes an effort to spin a story, but Virgil figures it out and, after a big fight, flees in an unexpected manner. The team, now in cuffs, gets debriefed back at ARGUS, and there’s a lot of suspicion and mistrust. Diaz actually seems spooked about Dante.
Laurel is oddly almost maternal as she comes back to visit Laurel, bearing gifts. It’s an odd conversation. Lyla and Diggle worry about the traitor at ARGUS tipping off Virgil, and manage to figure out Dante himself is actually in town, which can’t mean anything good. They go to work with a decrypting algorithm Curtis thoughtfully left behind. Oliver and Emiko work on the case of her murdered mother, and things are tense between them. Rene shows up after helping Zoe with her geometry test, and Oliver critiques her arrows. They get a lead on a weapons dealer called Andrew Thornton, and Oliver once again pushes about her not having a badge. Not only is this a big change for him, I wonder if he’s going to take the same attitude the next time he runs into Barry or Kara. Or the Legends.
Later that night, a parking lot weapons deal gets interrupted by uninvited guests. Wild Dog and Green Arrow show up to go after Thornton. Then things get more complicated when Emiko shows up as well, with Thornton protesting that two of them aren’t fair. Oliver and Emiko argue over what to do with Thornton, which ends with him arresting the criminal and her angrily fleeing via arrow line, just like his. Later, back at the SCPD, Rene offers Oliver some advice about how he’s handling things with his estranged half-sister.
Diggle has a lead on Dante, and Lyla has bad news from the Pentagon. They realize they have very little time to make things happen, and then Curtis’ legacy gives them a lead involving a diplomatic event and Qurac, a small Middle Eastern country that is a never ending source of trouble for many DC characters. Lyla worries about sending Diaz in with no backup, and Diggle comes up with an idea. Oliver and Felicity have an emotionally charged talk and then agree that both of them will go on this mission of Diggle’s.
Several fake passes later, the team is inside the Quarci embassy, Lyla using her Harbinger call sign (the name of her comic book, far more powerful, version). Dante himself shows up, played by Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod of Highlander fame), and nothing goes right. Diaz betrays the team, at least one traitor at ARGUS is revealed, a big fight erupts, and Dante turns out to be a hell of a fighter with a thing for knives. He clashes with Diggle’s back up plan, Oliver, and manages to fight him to a standstill and get away. Diggle himself, instead of going after Dante, helps Felicity make sure Diaz doesn’t get away.
In the aftermath, Diggle assures Oliver and Felicity that Diaz is going directly back to Slabside. We don’t hear anything about the rest of the Suicide Squad Ghost Initiative team. Lyla gets some bad news and the ARGUS power couple have some decisions to make. Oliver goes to see Emiko and manages a decent apology, much to Emiko’s (and possibly his own) surprise. They make some progress towards peace between them, helped by Oliver giving her a gift from the SCPD. Oliver gets home and has a talk with Felicity about family, where he finally learns something.
The episode ends with two surprising scenes. Emiko is training in Oliver’s old style when she gets a surprise visitor who shows there’s a lot more going on than we knew. Diaz is shadowboxing in his cell when he gets his own mystery visitor. We don’t get to see who it is, but something very ironic happens to the man who styles himself “Dragon.”
In the future (which I really hope can still be avoided), William and the rest are stunned at learning that Mia claims to be Felicity’s daughter (presumably who she’s pregnant with in the current timeframe). Mia, in turn, is shocked to learn that her partner Connor is the adopted son of John Diggle, one of the vigilantes she hates so much. Mia insists that Felicity isn’t dead, but hiding. After some cutting comments about the Bunker and the others, Mia storms off to find Felicity without the others.
William goes to see Mia (how he knows where she is I’m not sure) and they compare notes on their upbringing. One of William’s complaints about how Oliver and Felicity treated him makes me think his grandparents are screwing with things behind the scenes. They bond a bit over one of Felicity’s old toys and get another clue that they need the opposite of cutting edge tech for.
What I liked: I was glad to see Diggle finally choose to back his friends over the job. Thornton’s crack about two Green Arrows not being fair was amusing. I’m hoping Oliver and Emiko get past the family drama. I think they’d be good for each other and make a good team. I’m not sure why Laurel is suddenly so upbeat, but it was fun watching her and Felicity together. I loved the Highlander show, so it was great seeing Adrian Paul again. I liked, but it was weird, seeing Rene as the voice of reason. I’m very ok with that final scene with Diaz. I’m glad Felicity told Oliver about the baby.
What I didn’t: I don’t know what suddenly made me think of it, but how DID Emiko pick up archery and fighting skills? You don’t train to that level at a local archery club or dojo. I suspect her final scene might have some answers. What happened to the rest of the Ghost team? I’m not sure I buy Oliver’s sudden total transformation from outlaw vigilante to “You can’t do this without a badge.” As I mentioned above, I don’t know how William found Mia so easily and quickly.
It was a somewhat uneven episode. I sort of feel like they don’t quite know what to do with Oliver since he joined the police. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.