Arrow, Season 6, Episode 19, “The Dragon”
We’re entering the home stretch of the season, Arrow should be building to an explosive crescendo, but to this point, the show’s current big bad is so ill-defined they needed to devote an entire episode to what is essentially an origin story. Problem is, the episode taught us nothing we didn’t already assume. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:
What’s the scoop: We pick up Diaz and Black Siren (wearing her traveling wig) in Bludhaven, waiting to set up a meeting with a crime organization called The Quadrant (motto, we’re one better than a triad). Not-Laurel is wondering why they don’t just storm the place because she wants new places to lean on things and crack wise. Diaz preaches patience. Through flashbacks, we learn that Diaz was an orphan, and bullied by an older boy in the orphanage. I assume this is where he learned determination and patience, but it’s hard to tell exactly. Once they meet up with a junior mobster whose daddy has a seat at the table, Diaz is sent on a series of menial tasks which Diaz accepts with Siren taunting, asking why he lets them treat him like a dog.
Meanwhile in B-plot land: With Ollie on his own for the first time in forever, Felicity throws herself into her work a Helix. Curtis comes over and helps continue the work, and presses Felicity on why she isn’t in the lair helping her husband. She fills Curtis in on the current state of Ollie’s vigilante mission. Later, she confesses that having Oliver on the streets without someone there to watch over him (see what I did there?) is causing her no end of stress, which is why she’s throwing herself into her work with such gusto.
Sex and the Olicity: Ollie has been reduced to a cameo in this episode. Curtis gets a news alert about shots fired and an explosion across town. There’s news tape of Ollie on the scene, but no word if he got out in time. This sends Felicity into a panic spiral. She rushes to their apartment and nervously tries to locate Oliver on her tablet. The search is fruitless at first, before Ollie all but strolls in from the kitchen with a chicken leg, asking what all the hubbub is about. Seeing Oliver, Felicity pretty much experiences every emotion at once. While happy to see him again, she also makes it clear that she does not want to feel that helpless again. Ollie tells Felicity the same promise he told William: His love for her will always mean he will come home. So, don’t expect Ollie to come home from a mission at some point between now and the end of the season.
What about the action: Not much in the way of huge action set pieces. Sure there was some gangster style gunplay (Remember when this show tried to take a stand about guns? Good times, good times.). We got to see Not-Laurel in action acting as Diaz’s backup after the junior gangster tries to double-cross Diaz. Thanks to a bulletproof vest (which did no good on cops in the scene before) and dumb luck Diaz survives the murder attempt, kidnaps the junior gangster, and finds out where The Quadrant’s clubhouse is. Diaz straps a bomb to the gangster and sends him through the door to create enough of an opening to crash the meeting. There are a lot of threats, speechifiying, and promises of big money to be made, before Diaz finally loses patience, shoots the senior gangster and triumphantly takes a seat at the table. Why did Diaz go through all this? Sure, it helps his plans in Star City, but for him it’s more about the pink ring he won, which makes him crime lord, a somebody, instead of the bullied boy who no one loved. The first thing Daiz does with this new station in life is track down his childhood tormentor, who is a working class schlub, then take him to the top of a tall building and burn him alive.
What’s next: The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.
Last impressions: Diaz’s character needed some fleshing out, so the effort to do that is appreciated. However the results fell flat. Before this episode, I assumed his was a criminal who was really good at what he does. After this episode, Diaz is a criminal willing to grind and do the dirty work to be really good at what he does. There’s still not even a murky idea about what Diaz’s endgame is or why he is carrying a grudge against Oliver. How Black Siren fits into all of this is still unclear. She questioned Diaz every step of the way, but still gladly went along with everything he did. Once again you are getting the feeling that the writers still don’t know what to do with her. The most important piece of the episode feels like that promise Ollie made to Felicity. That sounds like foreshadowing to me and just the kind of scenario where Felicity gets all the folks angry at Ollie to band together to save his bacon, and by extension, the bacon of Star City.