Someone on Team Arrow betrays Oliver, and Black Siren kidnaps Quentin
Irreconcilable Differences
Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
S6 E9
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The midseason finale of Arrow begins with a union but ends with a separation — which, to be fair, is how things work on this series, where happiness is fleeting. From the moment the hour opened with Oliver and Felicity’s very joyful wedding, we should’ve known things could only go downhill from there.

The wedding is definitely the fun part of the episode, and it gives us a chance to check with everyone. While Oliver and Felicity celebrate their long-awaited marriage — which feels very earned after six years of watching this relationship develop — the Team Arrow newbies drown their sorrows in alcohol, especially the recently divorced Curtis. Thankfully, Rene stops Curtis before he embarrasses himself too much during a drunken wedding toast. The crowning moment of the entire wedding, however, is when Quentin goes full surrogate father and gives Oliver the watch his father gave him. This surrogate father-son relationship is one of Arrow‘s most effective pairings because the show has put time into developing it. Sometimes Arrow has a tendency to rush over important steps in relationships, but they allowed this one take its course at a reasonable pace. It feels right that Oliver and Quentin would be in such a good place.

Alas, the fun times were never going to last. During the party, Quentin receives word that the prosecution has a smoking gun witness who is willing to testify against Oliver, and it’s someone on the team. So, Oliver and Felicity set up surveillance on Rene, Curtis, and Dinah to figure out who it is. Diggle voices his objections but goes along with it. Their spying eventually turns up results: They discover that Dinah has been secretly meeting with Vigilante. Oliver’s not pleased that Dinah’s been lying about this and immediately assumes she’s the one who betrayed him — which means it isn’t her.

Criminal mastermind Michael Emerson Cayden James decides now is the right time to add to Team Arrow’s problems and instructs Black Siren to kidnap Quentin. Thea tries to stop her, but she’s still not back at full strength after waking up from her coma. But Black Siren lets Thea live so she can deliver a phone to Oliver, which Cayden calls and to give instructions: If Oliver wants Quentin back, he needs to break into ARGUS and steal something called a nano-aluminum amplifier, which I refuse to believe is actually a real thing. At least once an episode, I feel like Arrow is just making things up.

Seeing no other option, Team Arrow breaks into ARGUS and steals the device, without Dinah. However, Dinah learns they went out into the field without her, which forces a confrontation. Oliver accuses her of betraying him, which ends up revealing that he’s spying on all of them. Obviously, no one is happy about that. Even more obviously, Dinah denies turning on Oliver and is super hurt he doesn’t trust her. Eventually, the real culprit comes forward: Rene, who was honestly the only person it could’ve been. Rene explains that Watson had evidence he was Wild Dog and threatened to use it keep Zoey away from him forever. Since she had a solid case against Oliver with or without him, he cooperated. Oliver kicks him off the team.
(Next: Death of the Family)

What makes this latest team squabble different from arguments of the past is that the show has done a good job of making sure we understand both sides, and it’s not unevenly weighted toward Oliver being right. On the one hand, it’s understandable that Oliver would fall back on his old, untrusting ways and spy on his team instead of directly confronting them. He’s in a tough position and there’s a chance he could lose William. That being said, the newbies are very uncomfortable with the surveillance.

At the same time, it’s easy to see where Rene is coming from, and Oliver understands that, too, as he tells Thea, who drops by the bunker for a Queen sibling heart-to-heart. Thea points out that if he can see Rene’s perspective, then that means he should eventually be able to forgive him. This episode also proved that the show has definitely been missing something without Willa Holland around. Both Holland and her character bring level-headedness to the show’s proceedings.

Thea’s talk works, and once Curtis finishes sabotaging the device they stole for Cayden James, Oliver assembles the entire team to head out into the field for the exchange. However, Oliver has them keep their distance while he meets with Cayden, which they take as a sign that he still doesn’t completely trust them. So Rene, who for some stupid reason doesn’t realize he’s on a very short leash, ignores Oliver’s orders and abandons his post to go searching for Quentin, whom Cayden just ordered Black Siren to kill because he knows Oliver sabotaged the amplifier. A fight breaks out, but Oliver and Dinah have to handle Cayden’s men on their own since Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific ran off. And Wild Dog isn’t the only one who ignores orders. After having a very emotional moment with Quentin earlier in the episode, Black Siren frees Quentin and tells him to run.

Yay, Quentin is safe! But Oliver doesn’t allow them to celebrate this victory, and he scolds Rene for ignoring the chain of command, which Oliver interprets as a sign that he can’t trust him. Oliver kicks Rene off the team once more — and alas, that’s not the only departure. Both Dinah and Curits quit too, citing Oliver’s lack of trust in them. Losing her new family, Dinah turns to the only other person in Star City she knows: Vince.

And little does OG Team Arrow know that Cayden James and his cabal of villains — comprised of Anatoly, Vigilante, Black Siren, and Dragon — watch the dissolution of this makeshift family happen via the camera Black Siren installed in the bunker months ago. Hopefully the team gets back together soon, because there’s no way Oliver can take them on by himself.

Midseason Thoughts: In some ways, Arrow season 6 has so far struggled to remain at the same level as season 5, but that’s not a big problem. The dip in quality between seasons 5 and 6 isn’t as bad as the one between season 2 and 3. Part of the reason for that is Arrow has mostly worked through its Oliver problem, meaning he’s no longer an insufferable brood, and has also made the show less Oliver centric. The show does feel like it’s still struggling to adjust to this new post-season 5 world, and the season’s story line isn’t coming together as much as we would hope; however, this may be a symptom of Arrow needing to introduce all of these villains in order to end the first half of the season. The introduction Cayden’s cabal of villains gives me hope that the back half of the season will be much tighter.

Wall of Weird:

  • Rene gave a really heartfelt speech at Oliver and Felicity’s wedding. In fact, it’s what convinces Thea to grant Rene one dance.
  • Quentin and Felicity’s mother, who attended the wedding with her ex-husband The Calculator, had a very awkward moment on the dance floor. I loved every minute of it.
  • Dinah revealed she’s had multiple failed engagements. WHAT?!
  • Thea was disappointed Roy didn’t show up for the wedding, setting up his eventual return at some point this season.
  • “I am a man of my world, or else there wouldn’t be much value in vowing to destroy the city” — Cayden to Oliver
  • At the end of the episode, Rene brings his daughter home.

Episode Recaps

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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