Team Arrow reunites to defend themselves in 'The Ties that Bind'
It finally feels like Arrow is approaching the end of its season. “The Ties that Bind” escalates the season-long conflict between Team Arrow and Diaz, who declares war on our masked heroes in the penultimate episode of the season. Sure, Diaz is definitely following the path of every super-villain that has come along in the past six seasons, but tonight’s hour pushed past a lot of this season’s nonsense and told a story that I was into for most the run time.
I was hooked into “The Ties that Bind” from the minute it opened. We begin with vignettes of everyone on Team Arrow enjoying some time with their loved ones, save Dinah, who is hitting the streets. Oliver is whipping up breakfast-for-dinner at Chez Queen, because we all forgot that Oliver developed a love for cooking in season 4. Like Felicity, I really can’t take him seriously when he says things like “Salt me,” but it’s cool because I found this little scene very charming. Meanwhile, Curtis is on a date with his man, Diggle and Lyla are at the hospital for Diggle’s final check-up, and Rene’s watching hockey with his daughter.
Obviously, all of that immediately goes to hell as Diaz launches attacks on everyone. Thankfully, Anatoly warned Oliver right before gunmen opened fire on his apartment. Everyone makes it out alive, although Curtis’ boyfriend gets injured in the shootout. This thrilling opening effectively set up the destructive tone for the rest of the episode, and I especially loved watching Diggle and Lyla fight together in the field because they’re just so in sync and so cute.
With Diaz coming after everyone, it’s time for Team Arrow to set aside their differences and join forces. Diaz sends his men to destroy the bunker, which means the team has to set up shop in New Team Arrow’s hideout. There’s a little plothole here: How does the all-knowing Diaz not know that New Team Arrow is shacking up in Helix’s old hideout? Diaz worked with Cayden James and probably knows that this place exists. But, that’s a small quibble.
After thanking everyone for being willing to team up again, Oliver suggests that they take things slowly as they decide their next move. He thinks the best course of action is to use Anatoly to help get the drop on Diaz, which means one great Oliver-Anatoly scene, which is always welcome because their scenes carry so much history in them. After meeting with Oliver, Anatoly suggests Diaz relocate to the SCPD station, which is way more secure, and Diaz agrees.
Team Arrow attacks Diaz’s convoy to the police station, but because we’re barely 15 minutes into the episode, so we know they fail to capture him. Curtis, who is out for blood after his boyfriend’s injury, takes off running after Diaz, but ends up getting his butt handed to him. Luckily, Diaz doesn’t finish the job because he decides protecting a fancy flash-drive he wears around his neck is way more important. The things we do for fashion, right? (Next: More explosions!)
Felicity deduces that the aforementioned flashdrive must contain all of Diaz’s financial records, which is the one thing they need to take back the city from him. Lyla volunteers to visit SCPD on “official” ARGUS business and use Felicity’s sniffer device to clone the information, which would require Felicity to sit outside in the van Chuck style to receive the data. Felicity going out in the field is the last thing Oliver wants because he’s worried about her safety and worried that worrying about her will split her focus. You’d think after six seasons Oliver would trust Felicity to be able to handle herself, but alas he doesn’t. Nevertheless, Felicity forces him to go along with the plan, which obviously doesn’t go as planned.
Diaz’s men quickly detect what Lyla’s up to and begin converging on her as she tries to escape the precinct. So, Green Arrow and Diggle bust into the station to help her out, and Felicity pulls a Chuck Bartowski, which means she leaves the car and wades headfirst into danger, in order to retrieve the sniffer device. And here’s where I feel it’s necessary to call out director Tara Miele, who made her Arrow debut tonight and handled this episode’s many action scenes incredibly well. I loved how this particular sequence followed Felicity as she ran through the precinct while the Green Arrow-Diggle-Lyla fighting happened in the background. Diaz almost gets the drop on Felicity, but Oliver saves her before he manages to fire a shot off.
Obviously, Oliver isn’t too pleased with Felicity’s actions in the field and scolds her for it because he’s concerned about leaving William parentless and about her distracting him. But Felicity, who sought marriage advice from episode MVP Lyla, accurately points out that being married means trusting her to handle herself and that they’re stronger together, which is how Lyla and Diggle’s marriage survives their equally dangerous jobs. That’s not enough to get through to Oliver, who still thinks that working alone was the best way to keep himself focused. Later on, Diggle tells Oliver that he’s wrong. When Diggle criticized him for spreading himself too thin, he didn’t want Oliver to push everyone away. (God, I’ve missed the Oliver-Diggle heart-to-hearts).
Diaz’s tech guy manages to trace Felicity’s data, so Diaz, ignoring the Quadrant’s concerns that he’s gotten too messy, launches an all out assault on New Team Arrow’s bunker. Thankfully, everyone manages to make it out of the bunker in one piece. Well, except for the bunker, which Oliver is forced blow up in order to escape Diaz, who almost kills both him and Felicity. Alas, because of Diaz’s unplanned assault, Felicity isn’t able to decrypt the data on the flashdrive, so that trip to the SCPD station was all for naught. As the episode winds down, Oliver realizes there’s only one option left: He turns to the M.I.A. Agent Watson for help, admitting that he’s the Green Arrow in the process.
As we head into the finale, Diaz is running the Quadrant after taking out most of its leadership, Team Arrow is reunited, and pretty much all of Arrow‘s sets have been destroyed. I have no idea what to expect from the finale, but I suspect that it’s going to set up a very different and interesting season 7.
Wall of Weird:
- By the end of the episode, Diaz has wiped out most of the Quadrant’s leadership and has established himself as the head honcho.
- Anatoly is in a precarious position with Diaz, but he seems to be handling himself just fine.
- “In Moscow, we traveled in nicer cars,” Anatoly, to Diaz as they sit in the back of dingy bulletproof van.
- “Oh, frak it! Felicity, before running into the precinct like a badass.
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