Arrow, ‘Shifting Allegiances’: The Season’s Endgame Is Finally Taking Shape

Arrow, Season 6, Episode 20, “Shifting Allegiances”

The takeaway from this episode is that the ground is crumbling under Diaz’s feet, and he just doesn’t know it yet. A lot of pieces are shuffled around the board in this hour and although we don’t know ton about Diaz still, we’re getting a clear picture of what his downfall will be. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Arrow:

What’s the scoop:  Rene is out of the hospital, and itching to resume the hunt for Diaz with Curtis and Dinah. Diggle is fitting in swimmingly at his new gig at ARGUS. While Ollie is still doing the lone wolf thing, even he knows its folly to fight a multi-front war with Russia, so he tries to broker a truce with Anatoly. Diaz, himself is trying to further consolidate his grasp on Star City by strong-arming Det. Capt. Mayor Lance into signing over a city-owned building. Of course all this is easier said than done, because Diaz is keeping a low profile, Rene is suffering from acute PTSD, and Anatoly is acting less than friendly.

Meanwhile in B-plot land: Lots to choose from this week, because the whole episode felt like it was entirely comprised of secondary plots all stirred together. Laurel has been a pretty consistent B player of late, so we’ll spotlight her here. She’s already on the fence about Diaz after the whole “revenge on my childhood tormentor” incident she witnessed last week. Diaz making threats against her not-father is pushing her over the edge. Diaz has Laurel set up an ambush meeting about the real estate deal he wants to make with the city, and she follows orders. However, she feels really bad about it afterwards, and is super-bummed when Quentin gives her an “I’m very disappointed in you” speech, and kicks her to the curb. She pleads with Quentin to sign the deal and eventually, he does. Laurel is further taken aback when Diaz reveals he threatened his girlfriend’s father’s life just to see how he’d react. This action does not endear Diaz at all.

Sex and the Olicity: With so much going on, someone had to draw the short straw, and it was Felicity who was reduced to watching TV and comforting William when the news breaks about Ollie’s arrest.

What about the action: Diggle and his ARGUS crew track down lead that Team Hoss is also chasing from another angle. The two teams cross paths, but there’s no ill will to be seen. Diggs has some fresh perspective, and the former teammates bond on the major thing they have in common: Oliver is a jackass most of the time. They team up to hurt Diaz by taking out some weapons he’s running though the city. It hints that Diaz’s big plan is to turn Star City into a Mall of America for the criminal underground. With Rene on the shelf, Curtis gets a rare heroic turn, running around to mark targets for a drone strike. The raid is successful, and Diaz is angry. Oliver is busy, himself. He arranges passage for Anatoly to return to Russia and goes to tell his former friend the good news. Anatoly almost immediately turns on Ollie and serves him up as a prize for Diaz. Of course, Ollie knew this was going to happen, and it gives him opportunity to plant the seeds in Anatoly’s head that Diaz has no honor and will turn on him very soon. Stephen Amell’s love of wrestling shows with the episode’s climatic loser-leaves-town match against Diaz. It’s a calculated risk, and a brutal fight. Diaz shows his true colors by pulling out a knife and stabbing Ollie, when Ollie looks like he’s going to win fair and square. That’s enough evidence for Anatoly; while he might not be totally back on Ollie’s side, he’s not exactly going to get in Ollie’s way either. Of course Ollie has to get out of jail first, because Diaz pulls some strings to get Oliver’s bail revoked, and his trial moved up.

What’s next:  It’s the Trial of the Century: The People vs. Oliver Jonas Queen!

Last impressions: A lack of Felicity notwithstanding, this was a perfectly serviceable episode of Arrow. While this isn’t exactly a complement, the episode was better than the stream of dreck the Arrow writers room has been pumping out lately. Diggle and Team Hoss are on speaking terms again, and it makes you feel like Dinah, Curtis and Rene have futures on the ARGUS payroll. Rene gets the blessing from his daughter to go out and be a vigilante again (she figures the whole thing out herself, she and William should date when they are older). Although it looks bleak for Oliver, Diaz’s rash, brutal behavior has cost him the loyalty of Anatoly and Laurel. I’m not exactly enthused about Ollie’s trial, given the butchering of the justice system The Flash put on display earlier this year. But, at least the show has some momentum, which is good because Arrow is running out of season.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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