Thursday, November 2, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 4 - Reversal

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


With Diggle firmly embedded in the role of Green Arrow and things with William improving, Oliver finally feels ready to continue his romance with Felicity. Unfortunately, Black Siren has come out of hiding and is killing seemingly unimportant people all around Star City. Meanwhile, Felicity is approached by her old ally Alena about the hacker-group Helix's latest plan...


The Matrix (the scene where Oliver guides Felicity through a server farm maze to avoid the Helix agents mirrors the one where Morpheus does the same for Neo dodging Agent Smith.) and The Net (a techno-thriller for people who know nothing about computers.)


The fight scene as Team Arrow storms the Helix base may be the worst in the show's history - poorly lit and even more poorly shot with little indication of what is going on.

It beggars belief that Cayden James just happened by Lian Yu and saved Black Siren.

Anyone who knows anything about Internet Technology would probably die of alcohol poisoning within five minutes if they took a drink every time this episode got something wrong about how The Internet works, starting with the idea that one big server farm in one city controls the entire Internet.

How the hell does skinny Black Siren snap a man's neck with one hand?

The CGI of the arrow John shoots at Black Siren is just terrible.

Even worse - John shows no reaction to Black Siren's sonic scream despite being directly across from her when she destroys his arrow!


The only thing making that make this episode at all tolerable is Stephen Amell's chemistry with Emily Bett Rickards.


The set design for The Master Vault looks cool.


Felicity declares at one point that Curtis is Amazing but he corrects her and says he's Terrific. Amazing Man is the name of Will Everett - another DC Comics hero and one of the few African American legacy heroes in American Comics.

The first Amazing Man was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway and first appeared in All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983). A former Olympic athlete in 1936, an accident at the science lab where he worked as a janitor saw Will Everrett develop the power to duplicate the properties of any substance he touched. He passed this power on to his son and grandson, who followed in his footsteps as the second and third Amazing Man.

Once again, mention is made of Corto Maltese - a fictional country in the DC Universe, located off the South American coast. Originally created by Frank Miller as the site of a rebellion that was backed by the US Government in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it has become a catch-all location for shady dealings or stories requiring a modern-day Banana Republic.

It the DCTVU, Corto Maltese is the country Deadshot operated out of and where Malcolm Merlyn hid with Thea Queen between Seasons Two and Seasons Three of Arrow.

Felicity determines that Black Siren's victims are all managers of the IDND - International Domain Name Directory. This is apparently The DC TV Universe version of ICANN - the organization that coordinates domain names around the world.

Felicity decides to call her and Curtis' new company Helix Dynamix. In the real world, this is already the name of a business advisory firm.


A sonic scream one inch from a person's ear can kill them, creating symptoms similar to internal hemorrhaging.

Cayden James' plan could kill, at minimum, 4% of the world population. Felicity says that would be 300 million people. (She's not far off. Using the current estimate of 7.6 billion people in the world, 4% would be 304 million people.)

Felicity hits upon the idea of using the wiring and the propriety digital infastructure in the old Helix base to convince Cayden James's system that they are him. This will also require the use of a ghost mirror drive.

Black Siren's screams resonate in the terahertz range, which can be triangulated according to geography. In other words, Curtis can track Black Siren's location by listening for echos within a certain frequency range.

All of Black Siren's had traces of Dimotex 75 on their hands. Dimotex 75 is an adhesive polymer used on the streets to remove fingerprints. 

By back-tracing Black Siren's sound waves produced a probabilistic curve of geo-locations. By canvassing this through various cameras, Curtis tracks down where Black Siren is.

Felicity air-gapps Alena's hospital room in case Helix tries to get to her by turning off her medical equipment.

All of Black Siren's victims were access managers on the IDND - International Domain Name Directory.

The IDND manages domain names on The Internet. Messing with them could collapse whole parts of the Internet. The Internet is divided into sections so one person can't take down the whole thing at once and each manager controls a section. Three managers could access the Master Vault, which oversees all the sections. Destroying The Master Vault would destroy the Internet which - given the computerized state of the industrial world - could cause untold damage to electrical grids, hospital equipment and water supplies.

The Master Vault is accesses through bio-metric hand-scanners.

Cayden James overclocks the The Master Vault's CPU with a virus. This will make it overheat and explode.

Cayden James develops something that will prevent Black Siren from being traced by her scream. What, precisely, he develops we aren't told but he considers it ample reward for her help on this job.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Felicity is leaving dinner early to deal with Team Arrow business.)
Oliver: This is how it felt to be you, isn't it?
Felicity: Oh yeah. (wincing) Sorry!
Oliver: Go.
(Felicity gives Oliver several short, quick kisses, most of them connecting with his lips.)

(Felicity describes her and Curtis' plans for their start-up.)
You're joking. You left Helix-
Felicity: I was kicked out of Helix. By you!
Alena:- to make home appliances? I thought you wanted to change the world?
Felicity: I thought you wanted to change the world. And look where you ended up.

(Oliver has just discovered Alena and Felicity as they were leaving. Alena has excused herself.)
I know how much you love to say "I told you so" -
Oliver: No, that's you.

(Curtis explains how he can track where Black Siren has been.)
John: I heard two mights and two maybes, but I'll take it.

(Felicity answers her door. Oliver is there.)
Oliver: Hey. John told me what happened.
Felicity: Hmm. And I'm guessing this little visit is his idea of therapy?
Oliver: Actually, I'm thinking that he probably wanted you to speak to one of the world's leading experts on guilt and regret.
(The two sit down opposite each other.)
Oliver: What's happening now is not your fault.
Felicity: Is that what I sounded like all these years?
Oliver: No. You sounded smarter.

Dialogue Disasters

Black Canary: You are one twisted bitch!
Black Siren:  That really hurts my feelings.


Oliver notes that it's been three years since his and Felicity's first date, referring to 301.

Felicity asks that Oliver take his time on bringing her out in the public eye as "The Mayor's Girlfriend" given everything on her plate with Overwatch and the start-up with Curtis.

Oliver hates going to public events dateless.

Black Siren's first victim was an accountant named Jackson Klimavich. He was a married man with a boring Upswipes profile. (Upswipes being the Tinder-style app first mentioned in L301.)

As of the latest polls, the people of Star City are 70% against the new anti-vigilante legislation.

Alena from Helix - last seen in 519 - comes to Felicity seeking help fighting against Cayden James, the hacker Felicity helped to free from an ARGUS facility in that same episode. He has apparently been beating her.

Cayden James was held captive by ARGUS for eight months and put through sensory deprivation and nutrition withholding.

Cayden James is currently hiding in Corto Maltese - a nation known as a haven for criminals, which has been mentioned repeated on the show. Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen hid out there between Season Two and Season Three, with Oliver and Roy traveling there to retrieve her in 303.

Black Siren's second victim is a college librarian named Veronica Medina

Black Siren's third victim is an freelance IT expert named Jenny Johnson. She is killed in a parking garage on the corner of Marleau and Hainsley.

Amnesiac is an illegal tech dealer who operates out of a nightclub in Star City.

John Diggle guesses that the people Black Siren is killing are covert operatives using boring cover identities to hide who they really are.

Black Siren is revealed to be working for Cayden James.

Black Siren makes a reference to having had a family once.

Cayden James is revealed to be the one who saved Black Siren on Lian Yu.

Rene plays fantasy football. His team this year is apparently doing well.

Alena offers Felicity an idea for her company - mass-producing the implant that is helping her to walk, that Palmer Tech didn't see the point in developing further.

Felicity decides to appropriate the Helix name for her new company.  - Helix Dynamics.

Cayden James develops something that will prevent Black Siren from being traced by her scream.

Cayden James reveals that his plan wasn't to destroy The Internet - it was to trick Felicity Smoak into taking down the firewall in The Master Vault so that her digital fingerprints would be on the server instead of his. It also allowed him to upload a bit of code into the systems controlling something called Arclight.

At the end of the episode, Oliver receives a phone call from Slade Wilson asking for help.

The Fridge Factor

Black Siren proves to be as incompetent as her Earth One counterpart. She kills unnecessarily and makes no effort to hide evidence of her crimes.

Even more maddening is the fact that this character, an evil version of one of the more powerful feminist figures in modern superhero comics, is now working for her third male criminal mastermind rather than striking out to work for her own benefit.

The Bottom Line

Much as I love the Oliver and Felicity romance, even I know it's a bad sign when the Oliver and Felicity scenes are the highlight of the show. Easily a contender for the worst episode of the series alongside Canaries. Ignoring the nonsensical technobabble-based plot, most of the cast is given nothing to do and our heroes look total amateurs as they are out-maneuvered by a bunch of hackers and a kill-crazy metahuman who can't be bothered to hide the bodies.

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