With his plan to put Oliver Queen in prison thwarted, Ricardo Diaz decides to just kill Green Arrow and all of his former allies. The heroes of Star City must put aside their differences to finally join forces against their common enemy.
The Green Arrow comics of Judd Winick. (Invincible bad guys who are far more clever than the heroes.)
Lyla says that she can't bring in ARGUS to help with the fight in Star City because what Diaz is doing is a law enforcement matter outside of their jurisdiction. While this does make sense from a legal and logistical standpoint (The CIA is not allowed to get involved in affairs on American Soil, to give a real world example), surely Ricardo Diaz is a person of interest as a known associate of the cyber-terrorist who recently threatened Star City - a matter which ARGUS could act on?
For that matter, surely as the Director of ARGUS, Lyla knows who to contact at the FBI, the DEA, the ATF or countless other government agencies that would be empowered to arrest Diaz legally? (It might have been easier for Lyla to say she'd have to coordinate with the FBI to operate and it would take too long or for Oliver to point out there's no way to know Diaz didn't have connections in the local FBI as well.)
Kirk Acevedo goes full Shatner with his pauses and line breaks in this episode. (Why would she tip off Queen (pauses) and then DRAAAAG OUR AAAAAASES (pause) out of the fire?)
Diaz surviving the explosion at point-blank range and going flying down a staircase into a stone wall is complete and total bullshit.
Lyla doesn't have authority to bring ARGUS agents in force to deal with Diaz yet somehow orders a forensics team to investigate the ruins of Helix?
Why do The Quadrant leaders agree to a meeting with Diaz on his own turf with none of their own bodyguards close at hand?
Honestly, the whole heroic ensemble is on point this week, but we'll given an MVP shout-out to Juliana Harkavy, who gets the first chance in far too long to show how awesome Black Canary is and should be played.
All the opening action sequences are amazing.
As is tradition for the penultimate episode of every season of Arrow, the title is taken from a Bruce Springsteen song. As usual, the song ties into the theme of the episode, as The Ties That Bind is about someone who has been trying to stand tough on their own because they're afraid of the pain that relationships with other people can cause.
The Arrow logo card at the end of the first segment once again only shows Ollie's arrowhead symbol and not the rest of the Team Arrow symbols.
According to Dr. Schwartz, all signs of the nerve damage, loss of arm strength and loss of motor control that John had in his injured arm are gone.
Helix Dynamics now owns a polyrase inhibitor. Felicity and Curtis had to take out three loans to get it.
Diaz's "necklace" is a GRV-657 Solid State Drive. Felicity describes it as a military grade data storage device with dynamic encryption.
Felicity reprograms her sniffer to specifically couple with the digital signature of Diaz's drive.
Felicity determines that the encryption on Diaz's drive is Corto Maltesian in origin. She guesses the drive is carrying Diaz's books.
The SCPD use a tricelic gas in order to drive Team Arrow out of the Helix hideout.
(Open on a thug urinating in an alleyway. Black Canary comes up behind him.)
Black Canary: I'll give you the courtesy of putting that back in before we start this.
Thug: (smirking) Does it have to be in that order?
(He starts to turn around, but Black Canary kicks him in the stomach, knocking the wind from him.)
Black Canary: You work for Ricardo Diaz.
Thug: (still smirking through the pain) Who?
Black Canary: You want to play that game? Good.
(Black Canary grabs the thug by his shirt.)
Black Canary: I need to blow off some steam.
(John runs into the hallway towards the sounds of the shots. He sees Lyla with her guns drawn, one aimed toward each end of the hallway.)
(John runs towards her, and grabs her, spinning around as he shoots a man who was coming from the other direction.)
Lyla: I had him!
John: I know you did, honey.
(Three of Diaz's men have their guns trained on Black Canary's back. She has her hands up.)
Thug: One bullet. Back of the head. You won't even feel it.
Black Canary: (smirking) You know the cool thing about sound waves? They bounce.
(Black Canary lets out a Canary Cry against the wall in front of her. It echos and knocks her and the thugs back, but she's able to roll with the force and comes up in a roll as the thugs are sent flying and knocked out on the other side of the alley wall.)
Oliver: If we just press ahead like this.. we are going to die out there.
Felicity: We haven't worked together in months. You know Diaz isn't expecting that, at least.
Oliver: But he's planned for everything. Us getting back together? Working as a team? It's a start, but this guy's got an army.He's got the officials. He's got the police. He's got everything.
Curtis: Please tell me there's a "but" coming at the end of this pep-talk.
Oliver: Anatoly Knyazev.
Rene: I thought he hated your guts?
Oliver: I think we've come to an understanding. I also think he might be the one move Diaz does not see coming.
John: Well, Oliver, if that's our tactical advantage, we need to press it.
Oliver: Let me set a meet with him, ok? Let us make a move off of his intel. But until we have it, I want you guys to stand down, and... I'm asking you to trust me. I know that that trust does not come easy after everything that has happened. Let's put all of that aside... and get this done.
Anatoly: "You cannot wage revolution in white gloves." Lenin had his faults, but he was right about that.
(Felicity has just asked Lyla for advice on how to cope with Oliver being nervous about her going into the field.)
Lyla: We always knew our lives would be high risk. Eventually, we got to a point where worrying about that seemed less important than enjoying the time we had together. Even if it was on a battlefield.
(Felicity closes her eyes as if savoring the romantic thought.)
Lyla: (pauses) Also, getting divorced helps.
(Felicity's face drops.)
Oliver: You promised me you would stay put.
Felicity:Well, I didn't exactly promise -
Oliver: Fine. You promised me you wouldn't do anything stupid. You charged into a fire-fight.
Felicity:Which was a calculated risk.
Oliver: Calculated - (stammers) Did you calculate how close Ricardo Diaz came to shooting you in the back of the head?!
Felicity: We got what we wanted.
Oliver: That's not - (bites his lip)
Felicity:And if I'm right, what we wanted has the list of everyone in the city that Diaz controls.This could help us get our home back from Diaz, Oliver. We could actually save our city this time around. I think that's a little more important than "what ifs."
Oliver: This is why I started working alone again.
Felicity:Yeah. You know what? I tried convincing myself that that was the right move too. But it's not. Because we're married and we're supposed to be each other's strength. So there is no "alone" for us anymore.
Oliver: It's not that simple and you know it.
Felicity: God, I'm really going to need you to start seeing it that way.
(Dinah is trying to talk Curtis into resting.)
Curtis: He almost killed my man! What do you expect my reaction to be?
Dinah: Exactly the same as mine.
Curtis:... I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking about Vincent. I'm so sorry, Dinah.
Dinah: You shouldn't be thinking about Vincent. You need to be thinking about Nick. (sighs) Just please don't go about this the same way that I did, Curtis - blind with rage. (pauses) Remember how you had to talk me down?
Curtis: I remember my advice not really taking.
Dinah: (chuckles) Yeah. Well, you're a lot smarter than me.
(Oliver is trying to justify his keeping Felicity out of the field.)
John: The truth is you were there for her tonight. The same way she's been there for you as Overwatch. (sighs) And, look, when I said that your focus was split, I didn't mean throwing away everything and everyone that gives you strength.
(Lyla and John are moving down a corridor, Suddenly, Lyla, grabs John, throws him down and spins to shoot one of Diaz's men who was approaching them in the same way John did earlier at the hospital.)
John: I had him, honey. (kisses her cheek)
Oliver: I shouldn't have pushed you away. I should have trusted you to keep yourself safe. And I should have trusted my abilities to help keep you safe.
Felicity: Thank you.
Felicity: It's good to know that after all these years, you can still learn something. (kisses his shoulder)
Oliver: Well, I still have a ways to go.
Felicity: That's true.
Diaz: Should've done this months ago. (The sentence that pretty much sums up everything about his "plans".)
As the episode opens, Felicity, Oliver and William are cooking dinner together, John and Lyla are meeting with Dr. Schwartz before their date night, Curtis has taken Nick to Helix Dynamics office, Rene is watching a hockey game with Zoe and Dinah is questioning one of Diaz's men alone.
Anatoly sends Oliver a text warning him of Diaz's attack.
Nick is wounded trying to save Curtis from Diaz's men. Lyla has them sent to ARGUS Med-Bay so he can get surgery.
Nick and Curtis are officially boyfriends.
Lyla has Zoe, William, Raisa amd John Jr. sent to the NORAD bunker in Colorado.
Diaz's men are seen trashing The Bunker before setting it on fire.
The ARGUS Charter does not cover law enforcement. What resources John has were provided by Lyla stretching the rules as far as she could.
Anatoly tells Oliver that the the SCPD has "kill on sight" orders regarding him and the rest of Star City's vigilantes and their family members.
The Quadrant is not happy with Diaz's turning Star City into a war zone in a bid to take out the vigilantes.
Curtis is stabbed by Diaz after trying to fight him one-on-one. Somehow, the team is able to get away from the SCPD and Quadrant forces carrying him.
Felicity says she can use her data sniffer - last seen in 612 - to get the information from Diaz's necklace.
Diaz's "tech kid" is a younger man named Crosby, whose grandmother is being held hostage in exchange for his cooperation.
Anatoly convinces Diaz that the spy in their organization is Lydia Cassamento, after Diaz accuses him of slipping information to Oliver.
Dinah refers to Curtis talking her down during her fight with Black Siren in 614.
Crosby is able to trace Felicity's system to the former Helix hideout used by New Team Arrow.
Diaz kills Lydia Cassamento.
Curtis had the entire Helix hideout rigged to explode. Rene gives Oliver the trigger to activate it.
Oliver blows up the Helix hideout when confronted by Diaz.
Lyla sent a forensics team into The Helix hideout. They did not find Diaz's body.
Felicity did not finish the decryption in time. There was nothing salvageable after the Helix hideout blew up.
Diaz kills another of the Quadrant leaders. The last one swears loyalty to him.
FBI Agent Samandra Watson last appeared in 607.
Watson agrees to help Oliver retake Star City in exchange for two things. The first is his saying "I am The Green Arrow." The second one is unrevealed at the end of the episode.
The Winick Factor
Averted, but this episode only goes to prove that had it not been for all the forced drama making all the various heroes fight with each other for most of the second-half of the season, Diaz would have been easily dealt with in two or three episodes, tops.
The Bottom Line
The best episode in recent memory and not just because there's no Black Siren Redemption Arc nonsense weighing it down. The only downside of the episode is the forced stupidity of The Quadrant Leaders in the final segment, the plot contrivance that prevents ARGUS from being brought in gangbusters and that most of this episode proves how easily Diaz would have gone down if it weren't for all the forced drama that drove the heroes apart and kept them from working against a common enemy. The damnable thing is I'm actually excited for the finale, though I suspect I'll wind up not liking the direction of the show as we go into Season 7.