Ricardo Diaz changes strategy, and the man is out for blood. In this week’s Arrow episode titled “The Ties That Bind”, Oliver is forced to bring back his team, as Diaz comes after everyone he loves. Finally, Oliver realizes that to beat Diaz, he has to do the unthinkable.
After last week’s imminent threat of a lifetime in prison, Oliver’s life has returned to normal. As he sits down with his family for dinner (scrambled eggs, an interesting choice) the bubble of domestic bliss he’s been living in bursts with the sound of gunmen entering their apartment. Oliver, Felicity, and William aren’t the only ones the assassins pay a visit to: Diggle and Lyla’s night out is interrupted, so is Curtis’s date, Rene’s evening with Zoe, and Dinah’s patrol.
When the masked heroes realize Diaz has finally painted targets on their backs, Oliver has no choice but to return to working with the team. Oliver also decides to leave William with Raisa in an ARGUS facility. When Felicity refuses to join the boy, tensions start to rise between the newlyweds.
Oliver meets with Dinah, Rene and Curtis at their lair, as the Team Arrow base has been compromised and destroyed by Diaz’s men, and they try to work out a strategy on how to take on Diaz and the Quadrant. Thanks to his connection to Anatoli, he gathers some intel on Diaz’s movements, and the team gets a chance to surprise him. They jump his men, and Curtis is able to get a few hits in, before Diaz injures him badly with a knife.
During the attack, Diaz had been focused on a necklace with a tiny encrypted flash drive on it. The team realizes that if the drive is important to Diaz, and likely holds sensitive information that could jeopardize his operation. Declaring it worth investigating, Felicity suggests infiltrating the police station to get closer to the drive and copy the files on it. Lyla volunteers to lead the mission under the false pretence of visiting as the director of ARGUS.
Oliver and Felicity continue butting heads when Felicity wants to join the action in the field, but her husband is reluctant to agree. She reminds him of all the times she supported him on site, but he counters that it is different now that they are parents to William. Felicity heads to the station with Lyla, but is meant to wait and access the drive from the safety of the van. Before Lyla heads into the station, she and Felicity share a short tender moment, in which Felicity asks for marital advice on how to make her relationship with Oliver work in the field.
Felicity then successfully hacks into Diaz’s device, but things go south rather quickly when the man in question realizes someone is copying his data. Lyla is compromise and Oliver and John come to her aid. Felicity eventually joins the fight to get her hands on the cloned files, which she learns could be financial files as they originated in Corto Maltese) and only escapes Diaz’s gun because Oliver interferes.
Back at the former Helix base, Oliver confronts Felicity about her risky decision to leave her post. They clash as she once again tries to make him understand that they are married and should find strength in each other. Oliver turns to John, who is able to give him some solid advice, and sets his head straight: Felicity has supported him as Overwatch for years, and he will always support her in the field. They need to accept that their lives will never be free of risk.
The friends’ conversation is cut short when Diaz attacks with his army. He fills the hideout with gas and storms the lair. The team splits up; John and Lyla take on one part of the building, while Rene and Dinah take another. Felicity refuses to leave the copied files behind, who have not quite finished decrypting, but Oliver urges them both to rush out when they start to lose breath. Together they fight their way up the stairs, where the come face-to-face with Diaz. The couple is only able to escape when they trigger the explosions Curtis had set up in case the lair was ever compromised.
Team Arrow can escape the explosion without a scratch, but Lyla loses quite a few of her agents. Diaz survived as well, and Felicity’s files are lost. The team is back at square one. When the members of the Quadrant start to question Diaz’s methods, he ends them quickly and efficiently, by slitting their throats. He has lost all control, and is truly a loose cannon.
Oliver has no choice but to take drastic measures. He pays a visit to FBI agent Samanda Watson and asks her for help. She is willing to support him, but she needs two things. The first thing is for him to admit who he really is, which Oliver finally does. The second thing we will surely learn in next week’s episode.
This week’s episode of Arrow has Oliver reveal the city’s worst-kept secret to his former enemy, Agent Watson. Whether that was a clever choice, or will eventually cost him dearly is yet to be determined, but he is truly lost for options. Diaz, on the other hand, has completely lost control over his own actions. He is ruthlessly killing everyone and everything that stands in his way, and there is no way he will stop at the Quadrant. Everyone you love is in danger, so get ready for some major deaths – this is Arrow, after all. It wouldn’t be May without some big, bad deaths. One or the other may have already been teased …
This week’s episode once again explored one of the show’s most interesting dynamics – the parallels between John and Lyla, and Oliver and Felicity. While the newlyweds seem to have some issues finding their footing and a healthy balance between life and vigilante work, John and Lyla have found theirs. Their relationship offers an interesting perspective of what Oliver and Felicity could have (and likely will have in the future) if they put their stubbornness aside and truly listen and communicate. I would even be so bold and say that the dynamics between Oliver, Felicity, John, and Lyla are some of Arrow’s highlights, and the reason why so many people still watch the series. It also helps that John and Lyla are absolute and total badasses, who could take on anyone or anything and come out the other end stronger. #relationshipgoals.
Sadly, it was once again very difficult to connect with the other characters. Curtis’s new boyfriend cannot win over the audience. Merely a year ago Curtis was happily married to Paul, who seemed to be the love of his life, so seeing him now with this character we’ve seen for maybe two or three episodes makes it very difficult to care. The same goes for Dinah and Rene. The episode would be exactly the same if the two hadn’t been featured at all, that’s how little of an impact they have on what is happening on screen.
The good news is, there’s only one more episode left this season. The bad news is, there’s no guarantee season seven will be any better …
Felicity: It’s so nice to see how you and John work when you’re in the field, because you are so in sync. How do you do it?
Lyla: You’re asking for marital advice? Now?
Felicity: Sorry, yeah, totally terrible timing. It’s just that Oliver doesn’t even want me here, so I thought a tip or two would work.
Lyla: We always knew our lives would be at risk. Eventually we got to a point where worrying about that seemed less important than enjoying the time we had together, even if that was on a battlefield. Also, getting divorced helps.
Catch Arrow Thursdays at 9/8 ct on The CW