Arrow: Brothers in Arms
April 6, 2018 8:53 PM - Season 6, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Dinah mounts an unsanctioned police operation. Laurel gets career advice from Quentin. Diggle and Oliver have a discussion about the past, the future, and being a better man.
posted by sardonyx (10 comments total)
Maybe it was just me, but that was a horrible episode.

John's character and tirade just made no sense. I kept thinking to myself, "is his sudden departure from his normal character and his irrational behaviour that typical TV shorthand for brain tumor symptoms? Is the chip malfunctioning and somehow messing up his head?"

Oliver was exactly right. John went along with a lot of the decisions he now puts at Oliver's feet and that broke up the team. Now, he can't live with the consequences.

Thankfully Lyla talked some sense into him about his obsession with the mantle of Green Arrow, but this sudden moral high ground stance still feels off. I really hope they resolve this mess quickly, as the last thing I'm interested in seeing is Oliver be all mopey again because he's alone. Also, I don't think this show has enough time or bandwidth to have multiple plots running with all of the characters off doing their own thing. It was bad enough with Team Arrow and Not Team Arrow. Now, we've got Team Lance (Quentin and Laurel), Team Laurel (playing whatever angle she's playing), Team City Hall (I guess Oliver and maybe Quentin), Team Boyfriends, Team Fired Cop(s), and who knows what else in the future. Enough is too much.

Speaking of Team Boyfriends, I'm just not feeling that relationship. There doesn't seem to be any spark or attraction or chemistry between Curtis and the cop. The way Curtis talks about him doesn't help matters, and neither does the actor playing the cop. I'm sure he's a fine actor and nice guy, but to me, in this role, he just seems off somehow. I'm sure this sounds terrible, but looking at him, all I could think was that they took younger (less buff) Roy, stuck him in the hot water wash cycle, turned on the machine and shrunk him, and in the process, wore off the definition of his features.

Dinah looked great this episode. That rust-coloured jacket and matching lipstick were fabulous on her. I find that she's the type of actress who really comes across differently from episode to episode, (maybe make-up job to make-up job). The actress who plays Felicity, seems to be the exact opposite. Maybe it's just that she has been on long enough that the make-up team has figured out what works for her and what doesn't.

Speaking of Dinah, I thought her working with Oliver and Diggle was such a promising development, even though she said she was essentially forced into the action, and it was just thrown away by the rest of what happened with Team Arrow. Yes, looking back I realize that it was just the tease of co-operation that the writers threw the audience before pulling the rug out from under us, but that was so mean to give us a glimpse of how the show could move forward into the future before retreading old and tired ground again.

As for the Richard Dragon, corrupt city officials stuff, I really don't care about any of it. Dragon is a terrible antagonist, and I can't see anything the writers and producers can do to change this this late in the game. Don't even get me started on him giving Laurel vertigo. I can't believe she'd be stupid enough to take it, but then again, after this episode, who knows. Maybe she'll get hooked and daddy Lance will have to help her get clean.
posted by sardonyx at 9:14 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Is it just me, or does Diggle just...I dunno, I can't say I really saw him getting a happy buzz off being The Arrow, so why he's angry/surprised that Oliver wants to take the job back, I don't know. Dig is SO stoic it's hard to think of him giving that much of a shit about that particular role when he does the same sort of thing but in a different color every week.

"Well, at least I didn't kill my brother." Low blow, Ollie, that's just being a shithead. Also, you probably would have killed a brother had you had one yourself. Yay for Felicity being all "Break it up!"

It just felt like the writers were picking a fight for more drama.
I also second the remarks about the new cop boyfriend. Very bland. I concur with the "blander Roy" remarks.

I LOL'd at "hey, you can read your way to being a lawyer!" Like this girl is gonna care?!?! Though I did meet someone who actually read her way to a law degree once, so I guess it's still a thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:45 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

For some reason CW here in NJ bumped Supernatural & Arrow out from the usual Thursday night time-slots to Saturday, so I just got to see this one now. Sooooo bored by this episode. The last two episodes were at least entertaining, but this one left me right back in the doldrums that has constituted so much of this season. I just cannot believe in the world of Star City on a fundamental level, so this whole idea of 'corrupt cops vs vigilantes' as some real ideological dilemma between people or on a legislative level just feels more ridiculous to me than the most bonkers Legends of Tomorrow plot. And the drama between Oliver and the B-team has always felt manufactured, so this Diggle vs Oliver fight felt like just more of the same, if not worse.

Ugh. I don't know what they need to do to fix this show, but I really hope they figure out a better story for next season.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:42 PM on April 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Apparently the reason for all of this out-of-character mess and team-splitting is because the guy in charge of the show believes that characters fighting with each other is a staple of comic books, and therefore needs to be replicated on TV. Guggenheim also seemed shocked that people didn't feel equally strong about the newbies as they did for original Team Arrow. I'd call the man an idiot, but he's rich and successful and has a stable of shows on TV, so apparently he knows how to do some things right.

The only good thing I can say about this episode is that Amell has grown into a much better actor than he was when he started on this show. I don't think he could have pulled off that scene with Diggle (as badly written as it was) earlier in his career.
posted by sardonyx at 1:42 PM on April 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thanks for posting that TV Line link. It is just as frustrating to read how clueless Guggenheim comes across as it is to watch the show this season (and apparently the cast expressed some frustration with the storyline at a recent con). Tension between people on the team is fine but not when you assume the audience will sympathize with the side that is obviously wrong and unlikeable, or, in the case of Diggle, have people act out of character to create that tension.
posted by plastic_animals at 3:04 PM on April 8, 2018

So now they're bringing back Roy as a regular after Thea departs the show? I really get the impression they have no idea what they're doing with this show.
posted by sardonyx at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2018

Wha??? I look forward to the return of parkour, I guess.
posted by plastic_animals at 2:26 PM on April 9, 2018

Yeah, that's weird. I guess that means Thea dies off screen or something?

I can't recall: what was the deal with Colton Haynes leaving anyway? I can't remember if he was the one saying he was getting abused by someone on set, or if that was that guy who was on the 100/American Gods. He did say in some interview about his return this season that he wanted back on though...I guess gigs aren't great to land elsewhere.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:46 PM on April 9, 2018

in that TV Line article, the argument about how the infighting worked out well for Marvel with Civil War doesn't really match what's going on here. That was basically a fight over whether or not superheroes should be reined in by governments, an ideological issue. This was more about misunderstandings (Oliver should've approached the group instead of just surveilling them), unnecessary secrets (Rene and Diggle should've came to the group about their problems), and easy solutions that no one thinks of (really, that apology from Oliver was great, and each of them are mature enough to come up with it).

I've said this in other places, but these shows need to move away from the comics. I understand the baggage that comes with trying to use established characters from another medium, and I know that classic tropes and stories resonate with life-long fans of the comics. However, those stories were from a different era. Writing and characterization have matured greatly in the last half century. We, as consumers, have also matured. The problem is that as we see the world differently, our views of the old stories are also different. The nostalgia from the comics are of when we had a younger mindset that appreciated those dramas. But we know and feel now how they could easily be made better, having an experienced life and the knowledge of the world that comes with it, not to mention consuming much more media since then that have also evolved.

I used to complain about remakes of things that I loved as a kid. But now I've realized that what I complained about were bad remakes (*cough* transformers *cough*). You can always improve on an established story, making it more nuanced and mature. Arrow started out that way, with a grimdark take on an old character, and the flashbacks were one of my favorite things because you're learning about all the crazy things he's gone through to make him like this. This season has felt off because instead of focusing on evolving the characters, they're rehashing old dramas that the Oliver of season 4 would've just knocked everyone on their heads and told them to cut it out like Felicity did in this episode.

In the last episode I wanted to ride off with Roy, Thea, and Nyssa, because as little screen time as they have had, the writers gave them more maturity than anyone else in this show.
posted by numaner at 6:21 PM on April 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Aw I liked this episode. I like seeing Diggle stand up for himself and be something other than a sidekick. Oliver treats him like shit and he's finally had enough. Frankly the line about Diggle killing his brother to me should be unforgiveable, something that can never be walked back. Fuck you, Oliver.

OTOH the reactions here and the sheer implausibility of the various conflicts between characters makes me wonder if Arrow is at the end of its life. I came to this show for its middle-brow superhero soap opera and now we're pretty much in the "evil twin" and "personality altering brain tumor" phase of character remixes; can an amensia dodge or an "it was all a dream" retcon be far behind? (I also came to this show for the beefy shirtless men, something that is in short supply these days as I guess they're trying to be a little more serious drama?)

I'll be glad if Roy / Arsenal comes back because I liked that character, but it sure is awkward vis-a-vis Thea. To jenfullmoon's question about Colton Haynes this article says he left because of personal stresses, nothing specific. Seeing as how he came out as gay after leaving Arrow, I'm guessing he just needed time and space to be himself. There was sexual harassment on the Arrow set; producer Andrew Kresiberg was fired. But his victims seem to have been women.
posted by Nelson at 9:16 AM on April 19, 2018

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