Arrow was firing on all cylinders tonight. “We Fall” might have been the best episode of the season. After remaining in the planning stages of his big plan for weeks and weeks, Cayden James finally made his move against Oliver and the entire city, and it was bloody thrilling. Furthermore, having the two teams made the episode a lot more dynamic.
“We Fall” begins with Cayden James taking control of Star City’s electrical infrastructure and causing all kinds of mayhem. Unfortunately, police chief Frank Pike and a nameless councilman die from this initial attack. Once word spreads of the attacks, Team Arrow and The Outsiders (a.k.a. Rene, Curtis, and Dinah, who shot down that name for New Team Arrow, but I’m sticking with it) share intel and spring into action.
While Oliver heads to city hall, the Outsiders — who are very much enjoying being on a team they can trust — head out into the field because one of Curtis’ T-spheres surprisingly starts tracking Vigilante’s visor. This wasn’t an accident. Vigilante activated the T-sphere so he could stage a meeting with Curtis and warn him about Cayden’s plan to attack the subway system. It turns out Vigilante has been working as a double agent and wants to take Cayden down, too. Curtis decides not tell his new teammates about this little clandestine meeting, which is such an Oliver move, but he double checks the intel with Felicity and discover that it’s good. So, Curtis leads his new team out to stop two subway trains from colliding. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t respond, so it’s up to Dinah to use her sonic scream to hold one of the trains back — which is the latest clever application of the sonic scream. (Sith Laurel blowing a sonic kiss last week was also great.)
Speaking of which: Even though this episode is rather intense and the stakes are quite high, Arrow never gets bogged down by that, and it finds time to have fun. In addition to Dinah’s awesome save with her powers, there were other moments of levity in tonight’s episode. For example: Curtis, Rene, and Dinah bantering about whether or not to say “Suit up” before, you know, suiting up; Curtis suggesting they call themselves The Outsiders, a reference to a DC Comics group formed by Batman; and Cayden James showing up at city hall under the guise of Ben Gale, which is reference to the character Michael Emerson played on Lost (Ben, who first appeared under the alias Henry Gale). The writers are clearly having fun throwing in these little details, and that makes it fun for us. This kind of self-indulgence used to be rare for Arrow, but now it does it all the time, which is great. Even though season 6 has been somewhat uneven, it’s nice to see more evidence of Arrow‘s continued growth so late in the game.
Cayden’s meeting with Oliver goes exactly as you would expect. Cayden demands that Oliver deposit $10 million into his account at every night or else the attacks will continue. As we learned several episodes ago, Cayden blames Oliver for the death of his son, and tonight we receive more details on that. Apparently, Cayden’s son died from one of Green Arrow’s stray arrows exactly a year ago this day, and now Cayden wants to destroy the city because Oliver loves it so much. While I find vengeance stories rather simplistic, I’m invested in this one because of Emerson’s sad performance. You can feel his pain and anger in his conversation with Oliver.
However, there’s a little twist: Oliver couldn’t have killed Cayden’s son because he wasn’t even in Star City a year ago. He was in Hub City recruiting Dinah. Felicity reaches out to a contact about figuring out what evidence convinced Cayden James that Oliver killed his son. Apparently, he received some kind of package from Corto Maltese, so Felicity gets to work on trying to figure out what that was. (Next: The fall)
While they wait for results, Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle also realize what Cayden James is planning. Taking a page out of The Dark Knight Rises, Cayden is targeting and closing every exit out of the city in order to trap everyone in. They deduce this right before Cayden targets the tunnel, which just so happens to be where William’s field trip school bus is stuck. Once the bombs start going off in the tunnel, William channels his father and helps his classmates get to safety but gets stuck behind. Thankfully, Green Arrow and Diggle arrive in time to help everyone — and William discovers that Oliver has been lying to him about being the Arrow. Naturally, that doesn’t go over well, and William avoids Oliver once they get back to the bunker. (Diggle, whose hand is fixed, is also bummed that Oliver’s back in the suit because he was hoping he could don the hood again. I’m glad the episode took time to check in about how Diggle was feeling about this, too.)
That isn’t the only lie that comes out: Curtis finally comes clean to his new teammates about the fact that Vincent is the one who gave him the subway intel. Obviously, neither one of them is too pleased about Curtis lying to them, especially Dinah, who doesn’t trust Vincent. I really appreciate that the new team is having some struggles in their early days.
Oliver gives a press conference in which he declares that Star City won’t fall to Cayden’s demands and asks that all citizens make their way to the safe zones they’ve setup around the city. Unfortunately, this plays right into Cayden’s plan, but thankfully, Vigilante wasn’t lying about being a double agent and warns The Outsiders that Cayden plans on targeting one of the safe zones. In the spirit of cooperation, Curtis shares this info with OG Team Arrow, which leads to a team-up.
What’s great about the ensuing fight scene is that it’s not even about the action. It’s about what’s going on with William. As the fight plays out with the sound kind of muted, the episode cuts back to Felicity talking to William about why it’s important for Oliver to be out there and reassuring him that Oliver’s the best at what he does. I’ll admit that I found her little speech about William needing to have faith that Oliver will come home rather moving, especially since it draws on Felicity and Oliver’s history together. In the end, the day is saved, but the Outsiders make it clear that they don’t intend on reuniting.
With one fire put out temporarily, it’s time for Oliver, Felicity, and William to have a chat about Oliver being the Green Arrow. Watching his father kick ass in the field convinces William that the city needs him, and so William retires to bed. Unfortunately, that’s the least of their problems. Felicity’s contact was unable to figure out what evidence convinced Cayden that Oliver killed his son, and with the deadline approaching, Oliver has no choice but to have Thea wire the money to Cayden James. It’s devastating blow because Oliver spent the entire episode determined not to do that, but in the end he had to compromise.