The Brothers Green: Arrow Season 4, Episode 7 Review
Love and leverage. Hate and hurt. Fake deaths and dark secrets. The Queen family, sure. They took the fun out of dysfunctional. But the Diggles?
This episode was the full package. Oliver Queen in a tux. Multiple really slick fight scenes. Ray Palmer inching out the door to Legends of Tomorrow, meanwhile lending the team a technological hand. Diggle finally coming face to face with his brother Andy after 8 years, and heartbroken when he finds out his brother was not the man he thought he knew.
I'm always skeptical about actors and cast members directing episodes. They tend to bring their particular expertise and the rest of the material suffers. James Bamford, stunt coordinator since early Arrow days, proved that he's a good director across the board.
Although Bamford went all Blair Witch Project with the camera shots, once you take some Dramamine you see how getting the cameras up close like that, with exceptionally long shots, allows a different view of the best fight scenes in the last couple of seasons. He even makes chasing armored cars on motorcycles "just like old times" look interesting.
Then you have an explosive arrow shot INTO a guy. By Diggle. And a spectacular Speedy smackdown of Andy Diggle, her best showing yet. Thea was sure in the business of putting guys twice her size in the emergency room this week.
But Bamford also brought out the best John Diggle performance this season. #YearofDiggle is finally here.
Diggle at the bar with Laurel while Felicity and Oliver work the room at the Star City Patrolmen's Benefit - ladies, you can buy Felicity's knockout blue halter dress by Max Azria at Saks Fifth Avenue for less than $400, says Arrow Fashion Blog - is the first time we've ever seen Diggle in tears, and in such palpable pain.
And there's been a whole lot he could've cried about in the past 3 seasons, namely Lyla's kidnapping and his brother and best friend Oliver's betrayal.
Lyla and John's conversation later about Andy, on the sofa holding hands, was a parallel to how far Felicity and Oliver have come in the past 6 months. How solid they are as a crimefighting team and as a couple.
That's how they, the balance of Original Team Arrow, can be united against Diggle in the search for his brother Andy.
We're seeing the John Diggle from the season 3 finale: principled, unforgiving, stubborn. And hurt, for good reasons, if those reasons are the whole story.
Since this is Arrow, we know they're not. They can't even keep people dead on this show.
Oliver has this seemingly endless ability to forgive. (Receiving forgiveness is another story.) This is the guy who risked his life to save Malcolm Merlyn, murderer of half his city, who shamelessly corrupted Oliver's own sister into becoming a murderer, too. Oliver saving his brother John's possibly criminal other brother Andy from Damian Darhk, General of the Army of Genetically Modified Ghosts, is not even a discussion.
The rest of the Arrow family, plus Ray in his super suit, are going to rescue Andy Diggle, whether or not John Diggle thinks Andy deserves it.
Even though, in the best line of the night, John Diggle decides to join the team in the field anyway and rescues "his brother, the Green one," this isn't all about Andy for Oliver, and Diggle calls him on it. It's Oliver himself who needs to believe you can come back from the darkest of the dark. Ultimately, that's why instead of League of Assassins Infiltration 2.0 he chooses to go after Darhk in the light of day.
Darhk, standing in the bright sunlight at Oliver's speech in front of the bay that will be his first city restoration project as Star City mayor, looks out of place and seriously displeased. Episode 9, the mid-season finale, is titled "Dark Waters." I have a really bad feeling about this.
Thea's accidental discovery that her Lazarus Pit experience renders Damian Darhk's powers ineffective, and satisfies her blood lust (although her new boyfriend Alex is too good a political fixer to buy her explanation), is a gift to Team Arrow.
And a gift to Malcolm Merlyn.
Along with the Ra's Al-Ghul mantle, he apparently inherited the desire for League of Assassins payback, and being able to use his own daughter against HIVE - well, that's just a bonus.
He'd sure love to give Damian Darhk some Nanda Parbat flashbacks.
Speaking of flashbacks, my first instinct was to call an air strike on the island this season. Season 4 flashbacks are just a more boring version of season 1's, with a better haircut for Oliver, and more suitable clothes for camping out.
Once again, Oliver Queen ends up on Lian Yu not of his own free will, treks around the forest, almost drowns twice, and meets up with crazy people who wish him ill. And allies who roast weird food over wood fires.
However, this Diana the Diving Instructor, with whom Oliver doesn't even have chemistry as acquaintances eating lunch together, let alone a romance we're told to expect, has this recently deceased brother Vlad.
Hold up. Vlad is short for Vladimir.
Did we give up on Russia flashbacks too soon?
Coming up, episode 8, the Arrow/Flash crossover: