Arrow Review: “Brotherhood”

ArrowSeason4

Jim’s Review

This week’s Arrow was a pretty good one. Damien Darhk wasn’t used for as much as he could have been. He mostly hung around to be a menacing figure, but I like that his confrontation with Thea presented some possibilities. We got more of Ray, which mostly served to set up Legends of Tomorrow, but it was handled in a way that I feel was less intrusive this time. Both Arrow and Flash have been weighed down at times this season, doing some groundwork for The CW’s latest spinoff, but Ray folded in with the rest of team Arrow, and that meant the show didn’t have to pull double duty with an entirely separate plot this week.

Diggle’s emotional development felt a little strange to me. I had a hard time buying his animosity toward his brother, at least after he and Oliver witnessed HIVE’s use of mind-altering drugs. Dig’s refusal to consider giving his brother the benefit of the doubt felt out of character. What’s more, his burying the hatchet with Oliver was sudden. I’ve felt all season they needed to have Diggle forgive Oliver, but it’s weird to have him call the guy “brother” after half a season of cold shoulders and barely contained anger. In other words, if you’re going to drag the grudge out this long, you need something bigger than usual to get past it.

Diggle’s brother coming back to the show also underscores something Kyle and I have been talking about since last season, and that’s lowering the stakes by undoing death. For them to use another “resurrection” on such a minor character is a big risk without much in the way of a foreseeable payoff.

The island flashbacks and Oliver’s mayoral campaign still aren’t doing anything for me. We’re not seeing Oliver change much on the island, and it seems to me like that thread is taking its sweet time getting to the point. As for his campaign, politician Ollie is never going to be as fun or interesting as Green Arrow Ollie, and I truly hope they don’t sacrifice the latter for the former. As it stands, we’re being asked to believe running for mayor of a major city is a pretty casual thing. It doesn’t seem to take up much of his time, and though he’s running unopposed, it’s getting tough to believe absolutely no one is paying attention to where the guy goes between fundraisers.

I can’t stress enough how much of an improvement this season has been over last. It’s still got its bumps in the road, but I’m at least remembering why I like this show.

Kyle’s Take

Arrow put its Legends of Tomorrow superheroes on the backburner and gave Damien Darhk more airtime. That’s a great thing, even if Ray made an appearance as part of Team Arrow and Damien wasn’t used as effectively as he could have been. Damien Darhk is Arrow’s fourth season runaway star.

The Diggle story leaves much to be desired. Let’s just say David Ramsey (the actor who plays Diggle) doesn’t buy Diggle’s emotional development and Darhk had to have used a third method of bringing Andy Diggle back to life. Just because the Lazarus Pit is out of commission—for now—doesn’t mean Arrow characters big and small can’t cheat death. To paraphrase Tropic Thunder’s Kirk Lazarus, “Death ain’t nothing but a thang.”

Island flashbacks and a Queen running for mayor were so first season. I’m not sure if enough time has passed for them to come back in style and even if ample time has passed, these two arcs fell flat. And yet we’re brought back to Damien Darhk and another juicy tidbit: his power assuages Thea’s urge to kill.

Ah, I love the Damien character. I’d hire him to stand in a corner and look menacing, which is what he did for the most part during “Brotherhood.” While I don’t buy Ollie running for mayor, the moment he and Darhk shared at the end of this episode was great.

Arrow had some Easter eggs this week and we have them in our Arrow secrets page. Here’s a link. Thanks for reading.

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