John’s Family Ties Are Tested In Arrow’s “Spartan” Episode

Credit: The CW

Last week’s episode may have been the Canaries’ week to shine, but in “Spartan” it was John Diggle’s time to shine. With Team Arrow still looking for Emiko, John enlists the help of an estranged family member and learns more about his own past in the process.

When Oliver and John interrupt an exchange between an informant and the Ninth Circle, they are left with a piece of tech that reveals that someone within ARGUS has been providing intel to the terrorist organization. Having left ARGUS behind to protect his wife, John finds himself forced to look for help in a rather surprising place.

Felicity was able to track the device down to the Department of Defense, so John approaches a contact at the DIA – General Stewart. The General refuses to give out any classified intelligence, before he criticizes John for his life choices and reveals that he is in fact John’s step-father. Their relationship has become increasingly strained following the death of John’s father in combat. John blames the General for his father’s death, as he believes he left the other man behind.

Meanwhile Felicity and Alena have been working on bringing Archer back to life. The program has already attracted a very high-profile investor in Dr. Will Magnus, who is interested in buying Smoak Tech and its AI to further his work in robotics engineering. Robots with a conscience? Sounds fishy.

Before they can even set up a meeting, however, the Ninth Circle pays the women a visit. With the help of the DIA, who had been tracking an ARGUS mole inside the circle, Felicity and Alena make it out unharmed, but the Ninth Circle has taken Archer.

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General Stewart reveals that the device Oliver and John found contains a list of military assets, which the Circle now have access to and can track down with the help of Archer. The DIA and Team Arrow work alongside each other to ensure the government assets remain protected, but the Ninth Circle gets to them first. They take down John and the General, who then face torture at the hands of Dante until the General reveals an access code for Project Cygnus X1.

The project the Ninth Circle is after is a biological nuclear weapon, able to destroy any and every material, and with the help of Archer they are able to locate the DNA of the ARGUS agents involved in Cygnus X1, which leads them straight to the weapon itself. Team Arrow jumps in with both feet, and while they finally find Emiko, the Ninth Circe ultimately gets away with the weapon.

Oliver and Emiko come face to face and battle it out, and he tells his sister that Dante has been using her and lying to her. Oliver also tells her that Dante was the one who killed her mother, and with revenge on her mind, Emiko ultimately shoots Dante with three arrows before ramming a fourth one through his heart.

Unredacted classified documents show that General Stewart was not to blame for John’s father’s death, and the two men share a heart-to-heart that improves their relationship and opens them up for more honest conversation. Stewart sees his step-son as a hero, but John claims he wouldn’t be without his tough training.

Felicity and Alena work towards regaining control of Archer, but when Felicity realizes she won’t be able to even with the help of local boosters, she instructs the program to self-destruct. This cements the end of Archer for her, but Alena has copied the root code and encourages her to start fresh.

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In 2040, Mia has handed the re-functioned Archer helmet to her mother, but the tech has taken a hit when it came across Laurel Lance’s canary cry. Felicity is unable to operate the machinery without a Galaxy power battery, so Mia and Connor head to the black market to find the missing piece.

In order to get to the Galaxy battery, the duo has to enter Deathstroke territory, which they do with the help of a mark on Connor’s clavicle, which is linked to JJ Diggle. This way Mia finds out about Connor’s brother, who joined the Deathstroke gang after falling out with their father.

With the help of the Galaxy battery Felicity is able to activate the helmet Laurel gave Mia, and is shocked to find out that it’s a weaponized version of her Archer code. With this level of intelligence, any individual wearing it could become dangerous, but an army of Archer soldiers would be unstoppable.

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Finally Arrow has given one of its brightest players some much deserved time in the spot light. This, I am sure we can agree, has been long overdue.  After seven years of barely knowing anything about the man other than his military background and his relationship with his brother, we read another chapter in the book that is John Diggle.

Or should we say John Stewart? Now that John and his step-father are back on good terms, maybe John will take over the older man’s last name and the legacy that comes with it. There have been many discussions on whether Diggle would ever take on the identity of the Green Lantern, and it seems more and more likely that the series is moving in that direction. Sadly, this only happens as Arrow slowly comes to an end. Do we smell another spin-off?

And what’s the deal with Archer? Has Felicity stopped developing it in the present time, and is it only a solid sixteen years later that she comes across the program again? And if so, who is the one behind the Archer army? If we had to put money on someone we would go with Dr. Will Magnus, the mysterious investor that has randomly popped up this week. Robotics with a brain should have been your first red flag, Felicity.

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Favorite Lines:

Felicity: I wanted to invent something that would help save the city and instead I made something that could destroy it. Oh my god, I am a mad scientist. Oh my god no, it’s so much worse than that. Oh my God, I am my dad.

Catch Arrow Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

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