In the words of Jay-Z, nobody wins when the family feuds. Unfortunately, Team Arrow ignores that sage wisdom in the midseason premiere, which dives into the aftermath of the team’s big schism. Alas, nothing has changed in the past weeks. Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle are still on the outs with Curits, Dinah, and Rene, and both sides feels as though they can’t trust each other. Unfortunately, this is the worst time for this to happen because Cayden James’ cabal is getting stronger and bolder.
This week, Cayden James sets his sights on the ports run by Jerry Bertinelli, the last remaining member of the eponymous crime family. Cayden gives Jerry an ultimatum: Turn over his ports, or Cayden will have one of his associates murder his daughter. As the last member of the Bertinelli family, Jerry is too proud to go without a fight, so he tries to strike up an alliance with the Green Arrow. (Unfortunately, Jerry’s cousin The Huntress is underground at the moment and can’t help.)
Bertinelli isn’t the only lead Oliver gets on Cayden. Felicity and Diggle finally discover that Laurel bugged the bunker when she broke in months ago, and they decided to use that information to track Cayden down. Felicity and Diggle warn Oliver not to go in alone, but he pushes forward because he doesn’t want to lose the element of surprise. He storms into whatever warehouse Cayden and Laurel are burglarizing; however, his upper hand is short lived because the rest of the Legion of Doom arrives. Thus, Oliver finds himself outnumbered and has to flee — which no doubt bums Black Siren out because she was really excited about them finally getting a chance to kill him.
Speaking of the B-team: Dinah, Rene, and Curtis are adjusting to post-vigilante life when we check in with them tonight. Curtis is hard at work trying to create an implant to fix Diggle’s tremor; Rene, who was recently fired from the mayor’s office, is enjoying time with his daughter; and Dinah and Vincent are starting to get closer. However, this semblance of normalcy doesn’t last long once Felicity and Diggle share their new intel about Cayden’s cabal with their old teammates, who are pissed that they waited 24 hours before telling them.
Obviously, Dinah takes this news the hardest because she and Vincent just went for a lovely stroll along the water the night before. She storms out of Felicity’s apartment and confronts Vincent with the new information, cuffing him in the process. But Vincent manages to slip through the cuffs and knocks her out. (Recap continues on page 2)
At this point, Diggle still can’t go out into the field, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help Oliver set up some explosives in Bertinelli’s warehouse. As they plant the charges, Diggle suggests Oliver ask Curtis, Rene, and Dinah to come back, but Oliver refuses because he still can’t trust them and believes that he, Diggle, and Felicity can handle this all on their own. In past seasons, I would’ve found stubborn Oliver rather frustrating, but it’s very easy to understand where he’s coming from in this moment. This isn’t season 3. Oliver doesn’t just have to think about himself now. He also has to worry about William, whom he is still lying to because Oliver hasn’t changed that much. He needs to be able to trust that the people he goes out into the field with won’t put that relationship in even more jeopardy, and that’s not the case at the moment.
After Dinah regains consciousness, she barges into Rene’s apartment right in time to find Curtis hacking through the FBI’s database to figure out what evidence Watson has on Rene. It turns out she found out Rene was Wild Dog because of some recording. While they don’t get a chance to listen to it, they assume Cayden James, who knows all of their secret identities from spying, must’ve have leaked a recording to the FBI. Why did he target Rene and no one else? For Curtis, that doesn’t matter right now.
With the bombs set, Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle use the bug in the lair to lure Cayden and his compatriots to the port by making him think that Jerry has hired a Chechnyan army to defend himself. A stiffly directed shootout breaks out when Jerry’s men come face to face with Dragon’s men; however, it turns out director James Bamford was saving the pizzazz for when Green Arrow finally arrives on the scene and takes Dragon’s men out in a neat shaky-cam, one-take fight scene. Alas, Dragon isn’t alone, and Green Arrow soon finds himself outnumbered up against Vigilante, Anatoly, and Laurel. Cayden gives Jerry an option: Kill Green Arrow, or lose his daughter. Thankfully, the bombs go off, providing Ollie with the cover he needs to escape. In an act of desperation, Jerry agrees to hand over the ports to Cayden, who kills Jerry anyway and tells Laurel to make an example of him.
Oliver’s close encounter with Cayden’s Injustice Gang convinces him that he can’t take them on alone, so he calls another meeting with Dinah, Rene, and Curtis. He apologizes for breaking their trust and asks them to come back. But that’s the last things the new kids on the block want because they hate that they aren’t treated with the same respect as the Felicity and Diggle. This is yet another sign of Arrow‘s growth. In past seasons, the show would’ve copped out and made sure Oliver was in the right, but it doesn’t do that here. Curtis et al.’s concerns are taken seriously. In fact, Oliver wishes them luck with their new endeavor. Before they head to their new lair, however, Curtis hands Diggle a new version of the implant that actually works this time! At least we know Oliver won’t be out there by himself now.
While all of this is going on, Thea and Quentin share a story line that’s at least thematically related to Team Arrow’s feud. Quentin is still shook by Laurel sparing his life in the midseason finale and wants to try to bring the good out of her. Thea warns him against doing this because she thinks it’s a fool’s errand and he’ll just end up getting killed, and she can’t lose another father figure. However, something happens off screen, and by the end of the episode, Thea agrees to help Quentin with Laurel because if Malcolm can change, so can this Laurel. Hopefully, this means Willa Holland will be getting some great material in the next few episodes, because I’ve missed having her around.