Episode Title: Brotherhood
Original Airdate: 11-19-15
When I heard yet another presumed dead character would be popping up, I was braced for more of the same, but an intriguing twist made this week’s episode more engaging than the standard Arrow staple plot twist.
Thankfully not stretching out the Andy revelation, Diggle immediately tells Oliver about HIVE targeting Andy because his criminal activities were infringing on their agenda.
In an interesting take on the typical handling of these scenarios, it’s Oliver trying to convince Diggle there’s still some good in Andy. Oliver suggests Andy may be deep undercover or under Darhk’s influence. I liked that Diggle didn’t want the easy out saying Andy let his family think he was dead for eight years. This had to sting Oliver since he essentially did the same for at least three years.
Felicity, Thea and Laurel agreed with Oliver making Diggle’s sensible approach seem unreasonable, but at least consistent with their past actions. After numerous resurrections, surviving the Mirakuru attack and the League of Assassins invasion, a little brainwashing barely fazes them, but I appreciated that in this instance the character with the strongest emotional tie was being the most logical.
That wasn’t always the case this episode though. Character logic again got needlessly cloudy as Darhk threatens Lance after the suspicious attack on his headquarters after Lance called for a meeting.
Despite the warning, Lance tips Oliver off to a location Darhk conspicuously left in plain sight on his desk. When Diggle and Arrow get made at this HIVE initiation, it’s hard not to miss the slight smirk on Darhk’s face as if he’s finally caught the rat in his operation. Although it didn’t get touched on the rest of the episode, you’ve gotta figure Darhk is on to Lance, who now takes the lead for being the person in the coffin a few months from now.
While the plots have been hit or miss, the action sequences have improved tenfold. The tracking and flow of movement is so crisp, clean and gives a greater sense of physicality the show hasn’t had before. The battle with Thea and Andy is a close runner-up to that phenomenal hallway fight on Daredevil on my 2015 list of best fight scenes.
Ray had been reluctant to tell the world he’s still alive, bummed out over not really leaving a legacy. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one equally bummed out this subplot wasn’t saved for Christmas so we could have had an Arrow version of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Eventually, Ray gets back into the game long enough to lend an armor-powered fist to help Green Arrow and the gang capture Andy. I’m positive I wasn’t the only one disappointed Ray didn’t bust out his newly discovered shrinking power instead of playing Iron Man Lite. But now, much like Canary and Firestorm, it’s time for Ray to do some soul-searching/chill out until DC’s Legends of Tomorrow comes calling.
With Andy safely tucked away in, Diggle finally relented to his pals’ encouragement to give Andy a chance to explain himself. Unlike some other cast members — Shot out original Sara Lance herself Jacqueline MacInnes Wood — the show thankfully got the original Andy, Eugene Byrd to reprise his role. I’m anal about casting continuity.
Sadly, Diggle wouldn’t be getting any answers from Andy, who sneered and acted as if he didn’t even know his older brother. No happy reunion here.
Malcolm’s arrived to help Thea out with her returning blood lust problem. Since she’s about due for another murder to set the clock back to zero, Merlyn has a solution — offing a neighborhood pedophile — up to be slaughtered. I’m inclined to agree with Malcolm on this one.
Thea has another idea thanks to her confrontation with Darhk, who recoiled when he tried to leech her soul once he got a taste of her Lazarus Pit contaminated energy. Much like her running buddy Laurel, Thea’s plan is guaranteed to end badly.
After a civilian encounter with Darhk, Oliver considers an alliance to further work his way into HIVE, but all of Team Arrow shoots that down since it’d be a
repeat of Oliver’s infiltration into the League of Assassins storyline terrible idea. Turning Darhk down is going to bite Oliver and I’m just about certain he knows Oliver is Green Arrow and has been waiting to exploit that knowledge.
The island flashbacks had some development albeit still too slowly to go anywhere. Reiter makes Oliver whip Conklin after quickly figuring out Conklin set up the worker to try and kill Oliver last week. But, the stinger for Oliver was the worker was his sole ally on the island’s brother. Armed with Reiter’s map, Oliver is going to figure out the ultimate plan and hopefully add some more spice to these segments.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The focus on Diggle made Brotherhood the most personal episode of Season 4 and with some dynamic action sequences, this was a standout leading to the big Legends crossover.