Arrow Review by Henry Tran

Arrow 6.04: Reversal

Arrow 6.04: Reversal

Written By:
Sarah Tarkoff and Emilio Ortega Aldrich
Directed By:
Gregory Smith

It's no secret that Arrow has struggled with its seasonal villains outside of Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson in the second season. Most fans have not been kind to the other villains outside of Deathstroke, while I've found some virtues in Ra's al Ghul, Damian Darhk, Adrian Chase, and Malcolm Merlyn. I guess I could count myself among the more forgiving fans of this show. Still, for all the danger to Team Arrow (and Oliver specifically) that Adrian Chase presented last season, he could have at least dialed back the intensity a bit.



 

I think this is what the writers are going for in slowly and meticulously crafting Cayden James (genre favorite Michael Emerson) as the potential Big Bad for this season. He's probably smarter than Chase, though it doesn't look like James wants to flaunt it in Oliver's face like Chase did. He operates efficiently and with something of a cold detachment to everything. In this episode, which has him onscreen for maybe fifteen aggregate minutes, his plan looks like it'll involve taking down the whole internet. If that somehow went through, it would cause unimaginable chaos since everything these days is digital and majorly dependent on the internet, as Felicity says during the episode.

 

As such, since James is a hacker and computer genius, this would entail Felicity taking a more hands-on approach to helping Team Arrow than she normally would as Overwatch. This isn't the first time the show has tackled either computer crime or given a bigger role to Felicity. Those prior episodes, which include the episodes that involved the hacker conglomerate Helix and Felicity's "friend" Alena, weren't really the more memorable parts of last season. Still, having Emerson on this show is something akin to a huge coup by the producers and casting people, even if James is a more comic book villain version of Harold Finch, Emerson's iconic character from Person of Interest.

 


 

The introduction of James is a surprise because for the first half of this episode, Team Arrow has to deal with Black Siren making her unexpected return, and killing innocent civilians in the process. It's revealed that James was the mysterious figure that rescued Black Siren from Lian Yu, a nice connection that explains why they're working together now. I know many of the show's fans want desperately for Black Siren to be elevated to Big Bad status, but I think she works better as a henchwoman to be deployed in a manner that will psychologically screw with Team Arrow.

 

I'm still a bit flabbergasted at the fact that none of the members of Team Arrow can get over the fact that this isn't the Laurel Lance that they once knew, and was a vital member of the Team as well. Quentin, who doesn't make an appearance in this episode, being psychologically broken by the sight of this Laurel I can understand, but Dig and Oliver and Felicity? They should know by now that this is a different Laurel, from a different Earth entirely. Yet, they remain stunned that they have to take her on in battle. That's something to keep an eye on for her future appearances throughout the season.

 


 

At least the episode, and the show in general, is now developing Oliver as someone who's more emotionally well-adjusted than he was before. He has fewer inner demons to deal with these days, and even if his public life is a mess (the ongoing FBI investigation and the likely failing anti-vigilante initiative), I get the sense that he's found a calmer way to operate. He's able to see how things went from Felicity's viewpoint, as she springs into action while he's left on the lurch during dinner, or when she invites him to their apartment, and she completely forgets about the original purpose of the call because someone from her past has come back into her life. The Oliver of two seasons ago would never have given ground to Felicity being in the field with Team Arrow, or even stepped in temporarily to be the Overwatch role for the team. He would have brooded over Felicity devoting more time towards dealing with Alena. He still stumbles in that arena from time to time, as he basically stalked the two women when they went to meet a contact, but then, he lays off.

 

This shows personal growth on his part (and him being Overwatch while being a pest in Felicity's ear is actually very amusing), and maybe he can actually be a good father to William, give him a stable life along with patching things up with Felicity. Again, many fans aren't crazy about Olicity, but I've always been willing to give the two of them a chance, since they both deserve to be happy. If that happiness is with each other, and there are no other prospects, then so be it. The team certainly works better with them working together, instead of fighting or not talking to each other.

 



Our Grade:
B
The Good:
  • This different take on the Laurel Lance role has really liberated Katie Cassidy in an unexpected manner
  • More fights between Black Siren and Black Canary, please!
The Bad:
  • I was indifferent to the return of Alena

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Arrow by - 11/6/2017 4:03 PM25 views

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