– by David Kozlowski

The writers on Arrow put their characters, subplots, and whatever other stuff they found laying around into a blender for Season 6… what’s really surprising though, it all kind of works. The series doubled-down on its gritty, street-level roots this season, while also upping its fight-choreography game — the team battles over the last few weeks are fantastic, far better than anything we saw on Netflix’s The Defenders mini-series. Arrow may not be the smartest vigilante show on TV, but what it lacks in brains it makes up for in style, tone, and action!

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is no longer the Green Arrow, he passed the mantle over to close-ally John Diggle (David Ramsey) a couple episodes ago… unfortunately, Diggle’s hiding a drug-addiction issue from most of the team. Meanwhile, a new villain, Cayden James (Michael Emerson) has emerged from the shadows, aligned with Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), in a plot to blow up the Internet (like I said, dumb ideas are an Arrow hallmark). Fortunately, Emerson is such a quality actor that he sells such absurd ideas, and layers on a kind of menace that we haven’t seen since the days of Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) in Season 2.

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Funny I should mention Wilson, because he doesn’t appear in this episode — although, he’s name-checked in the final scene. A new preview for Arrow Season 6 Episode 5 just dropped, aptly named ‘Deathstroke Returns,’ which brings the anti-hero back into the fold. Is he friend or foe? Unclear. Apparently, Wilson needs Queen’s help to find his missing son, so bring on the Russian mobsters, we’re getting an old-school team-up!

Queen and Wilson go undercover-ish to track down the lost child, and amazingly they stumble straight into an army of dudes with automatic weapons, because that’s how awesome fight scenes are made. Even better, Wilson goes full Deathstroke — armor, sword, pistols, thrust kicks to midsections — it’s all here.

Arrow Season 6 is really going for it between compelling characters like Cayden James and Slade Wilson, while also dialing-up some team conflict via Diggle with a drug problem… and we haven’t even seen Kirk Acevedo’s Richard Dragon yet. And where the hell is that Vigilante guy? Things are looking up for The CW’s original vigilante series!

Are you a veteran Arrow fan or new to the series? Let us know in the comments down below!

Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.
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