In the wake of Green Arrow's final battle with Prometheus and the destruction of Lian Yu, Oliver Queen finds himself in a new role - father. Balancing his duties as Mayor of Star City and Green Arrow was hard enough. How can he manage that and being there for his son, William? Particularly when Black Siren - who also survived the destruction of Lian Yu - is threatening Star City with a new gang? Who remains to help Green Arrow save his city? And what new enemies will rise up to endanger it again?
The Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow (Oliver Queen caring for a child who wants nothing to do with him.)
Paul Blackthorne and Juliana Harkavy having amazing chemistry together - far better than Blackthorne ever had with Katie Cassidy, ironically enough. The scene of Quentin turning to Dinah for help with his alcoholism is a powerful one.
Honestly, Paul Blackthorne is the episode MVP and the scene of him talking about being a father with Oliver is a moment we never would have expected between those two characters five years ago. If nothing else shows how much Arrow has evolved, that scene does.
The script for this episode does a fantastic job of slowly revealing who is alive as it jumps between the flashbacks and the present.
The fight scene with Green Arrow and Spartan in The Bunker with the lights off looks amazing in terms of atmosphere and choreography.
This episode marks the first as Arrow moves to it's new time-slot at 9 PM EST on Thursdays. Before this, the shown at 8 PM EST on Wednesdays.
The teaser trailer for Season 6 only showed Oliver Queen, William Clayton, Slade Wilson, Black Siren and Dinah Drake as having survived the destruction of Lian Yu. The IMDB.com page for this episode only listed those characters as being in the episode, as well as Emily Bett Ricakards as Felicity.
The episode opens with a "Last Season on Arrow" notice, though all of the clips come from episode 523. It shows Oliver offering to help Slade Wilson find his son, Prometheus taking the rest of Team Arrow to Lian Yu, Samantha Clayton declaring she is not getting on the plane without her son, Felicity explaining to Oliver about Prometheus' dead-man's switch and the island of Lian Yu exploding after he kills himself.
The criminal Team Arrow goes after in the opening scene is a man named Faust. There are two famous Fausts in DC Comics, but neither of them is a weapon's dealer. The first is Felix Faust - a wizard who made an appearance on Constantine in C110. The second Faust, son of the first, is a powerful sorcerer in his own right, who was born without a soul thanks to his father's attempt to bargain it away for more magical power. The deal worked but, much to Felix Faust's annoyance, his son got the power and became a good guy. This Faust, whose first name is revealed to be Alex, has no magical powers but does seem to be obsessed with explosives.
Black Siren mocks Black Canary's new costume, saying she would have gone with fishnets. In the original comics, Black Canary's costume featured fishnet stockings.
The MGM-140 Faust fires at Star City is a "fire and forget" weapon. It's full name is the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS).
Mister Terrific disarms the missile by having his T-Sphere spoof the missile's guidance system and drawing it back over the waterfront where it can detonate harmlessly.
Faust makes use of a false-tooth C-4 implant. It becomes a powerful explosive when submerged in carbonated water.
Sniffers are electronic bomb-detectors that can spot an ounce of explosive materials within a 1000 ft. radius.
(Faust has just launched a missile at Star City.)
Faust: You can't stop it! You can't disarm it!
Green Arrow: No. But I have a very smart friend who can.
(Cut to Mister Terriffic, on a rooftop, throwing a T-Sphere after the missile.)
(We see Quentin, sitting at a bar, staring at three filled shot-glasses. Dinah enters and sits next to him. The two exchange quick greetings.)
Dinah: You did the right thing texting me.
Quentin: Heh. It's not like I can call my sponsor now, is it?
Dinah: Why not?
Quentin: If I tell him... why I want to drink, what I did, why... why I did it...
Dinah: Yeah. He'd think you're on something a lot stronger than booze.
Quentin: It's like all I got is this guilt. And all I can do is just run... run... run away from it.
Dinah: And run where?
Quentin: To the bottom of these glasses.
Dinah: Well, you're not going to do that. Because you know and I know that's not what Laurel would want.
Quentin: Which Laurel?
(Oliver is standing at Thea's hospital bed. He turns as he hears a figure enter the room. It's Slade Wilson.)
Slade: Hey kid.
Oliver: Hello, Slade.
Slade: How's she doing?
Oliver: She's the same. What are you doing her?
Slade: I popped by to say that the intel you gave me on my son, Joe... it panned out. So I'm heading to Calgary.
Oliver: Well, that's great. I'm very... uh. I'm happy for you and I hope that... I hope you find what you're looking for
Slade: You don't think I will?
Oliver: I think that finding your son doesn't always go as planned.
Slade: Have things been that hard with you and your son?
Oliver: ... yeah.
Slade: Be patient. But be prepared.
Oliver: For what?
Slade: Choosing between being the man that people need you to be... or the father that your son needs you to be.
Oliver: What do you mean by that?
Slade: You and I walk between two worlds. But we can only do that for so long.
(Slade offers Oliver his hand.)
Slade: Good luck... Mr. Queen.
Oliver: Good luck, Slade.
Every moment of William's crying about "The Bad Man". The child actor involved looks way too old to be saying the dialogue that was written for him.
Minion: Do you want me to kill him?
Black Siren: I'm not paying you to keep him alive.
The first scene of the episode opens Five Months Later. (i.e. Five months after the events of 523.) and shows Green Arrow attacking a ship belonging to an arms dealer called Faust.
The first character confirmed alive is John "Spartan" Diggle, who is seen talking to Oliver on the comms as they are searching for a Faust.
The second confirmed to be alive is Rene "Wild Dog" Ramirez, who appears in a new costume, saving Spartan from being shot in the back.
The third to be confirmed alive is Curtis "Mister Terrific" Holt, who disarm's Faust's missile with his T-spheres.
The flashback to the explosion on Lian Yu shows Slade abandoning the rest of the group to make for the boat on his own. Most of Team Arrow elects to use the sabotaged plane as a shield from the explosions. Samantha Clayton runs back into the jungle to look for William, not knowing he's on a boat with Prometheus. Thea Queen runs after her. Felicity Smoak starts to run with her, is told to go to the plane, falls as she turns around and is helped up by John Diggle as the two are caught in a blast as the island begins to explode.
Rene has received a promotion to Chief of Staff for The Mayor's Office - the job previously held by Thea Queen. This new position includes speech-writing duties for Mayor Queen. Surprisingly, he is good at this part of his job.
A reference is made to Dinah Drake being alive, though she wasn't in the field that night with the rest of the team.
Felicity Smoak is revealed to have survived as she returns to base with the rest of the team's take-out from Big Belly Burger.
Curtis tells Felicity she missed him disarming a missile. She says she's already seen him do that. (It happened in 423).
It is revealed that Oliver and Felicity are still romantically interested in one another, but have held off on restarting their relationship so that Oliver can focus on building a relationship with William without the added baggage of introducing "Dad's Girlfriend".
Raisa, a member of The Queen Family house-staff, makes her first appearance since The Pilot. She is now apparently in Oliver's employee as a house-keeper/nanny for William. It was implied in her first appearance that she was more of a traditional mother to Oliver as a child than Moira Queen was.
William addresses Oliver by his name - not as "Dad" or any other term of fondness. It is later revealed that "the bad man" in William's reoccurring nightmare who killed his mother is Oliver.
Dinah Drake is now a Detective Lieutenant in the SCPD.
Like Wild Dog, Dinah Drake is revealed to have a new suit as Black Canary.
Quentin Lance is still alive and still Deputy Mayor - both facts we learn when Dinah is informed that Quentin missed an appointment to discuss the Police Academy graduation ceremony.
Quentin is still fighting his alcoholism but has turned to Dinah for support in the absence of his daughters because he can't tell his sponsor the reasons why he's more tempted than ever to return to drinking.
Black Siren blows up SCPD HQ, killing 9 officers, injuring 4 and putting 6 in critical condition.
Both Quentin and Dinah claim to have seen Black Siren's body on Lian Yu after the island exploded. We find out later that they were lying, with Black Siren having ambushed Dinah and Quentin saving her life by shooting Black Siren. They left her for dead and decided to claim that they found her dead so as to spare Quentin the pain of having to explain that he killed his daughter's doppleganger.
In the flashback, Slade went back to look for survivors after the explosion. He saw two of Oliver's friends (Dinah and Quentin) return to the temple to look for survivors. He says that Nyssa Al Ghul returned to the cages to get Artemis. He then takes Oliver to Thea. Specifically, where her body landed.
Diggle seems to be suffering from some form of PTSD, freezing up while trying to shoot a mercenary to save Wild Dog's life. He later volunteers to avoid working in the field, running Comms from Team Arrow's base. Dinah later reveals that she discovered he hadn't fired his gun while he was in The Bunker fighting Black Siren's men.
Reference is made to Dr. Schwartz - the doctor at Starling General Hospital who secretly treats the vigilantes of Star City and is aware of Oliver Queen's secret identity.
In the flashback Samantha was fatally wounded but survived the explosions long enough to make Oliver promise to take care of William himself and be a father to him.
Black Siren's plans to blow up City Hall were a feint, leaving The Bunker relatively unprotected so she and her team could blow it up.
Oliver and the new DA of Star City pull some strings to get Rene another custody hearing for his daughter, Zoe. Rene missed his last hearing due to being abducted by Prometheus.
Thea is later revealed to be alive, but in a very deep coma.
Slade Wilson visits Oliver while he's in the hospital visiting Thea. He says the intel Oliver gave him panned out and he's about to go to Calgary in search of his son.
Black Siren stole a prototype T-Sphere from The Bunker.
It is revealed that Black Siren was saved from Lian Yu by a mystery man in a suit who has a helicopter.
The episode ends with a Channel 52 News broadcast showing a photo of Oliver, in his Green Arrow costume, with the hood down and the mask off.
The Fridge Factor
Samantha is killed to give Oliver one more thing to be angsty about.
Thea is nearly killed to give Oliver one more thing to be angsty about.
Black Canary is severely nerfed in terms of competence in order to build up Black Siren as a villain. (Presumably to appease the Katie Cassidy fans and the Laureliver shipping faction.)
The Bottom Line
Ignoring Black Siren's sudden competence and how annoying a presence William is, this would be a solid episode. Unfortunately, since the main focus of the story is how dangerous Black Siren has suddenly become and how William has come to hate Oliver for no readily logical reason (apart from whatever trash-talking Samantha may have done about his dad when Ollie wasn't around) this means that most of the episode is focused on plot beats we don't care about while things involving major characters are afterthoughts.
The damnable thing is that the cast does a great job selling this despite the logic gaps (Quentin suddenly having an issue with fighting Black Siren, despite taking her down last season), the repetitiveness (Rene is fighting to get his daughter back... AGAIN!) and the just plain unexplained (Whatever is up with Diggle.) It's a shaky start but the last ten minutes is magic.