I’m not at all suggesting that life has been all sunshine and roses for John Diggle in Season 4 of Arrow, but he’s been doing alright, all things considered. His daughter and wife have remained safe, he’s got his new
Magneto crime-fighting helmet, and possibly his very own super hero code name to boot.
But Dig’s good luck train may have run out of steam at the end of last week’s episode. All this time, John has been seeking revenge against HIVE, the organization responsible for the death of his brother. Now it turns out his brother may have been a bad guy, making his assassination a net positive for society.
I’m guessing that the title of this week’s episode, “Brotherhood,” has a double meaning, as Arrow episodes are usually wont to do. It might play into the bond between Diggle and Oliver Queen, it could tie in with the situation Ollie found himself in the flashbacks to Lian Yu … or all of those things. Let’s get into the episode and find out.
On-the-Mark Recap: An armored car is under attack from Ghosts, but a Canary Cry puts a halt to that. The rest of Team Arrow is on the scene too, and Speedy even manages not to kill the guy she’s fighting. Alas, it was a bit of a distraction, as the Ghosts blow up the money in the truck.
Why? Back at Arrow Lair 3.0, the theory is that maybe HIVE just wants to keep killing the city so it can use its husk as a base of operations. As Felicity Smoak goes to find Ray Palmer for some assistance, John gives Oliver his brother’s file. Despite how bad it makes Andy look, Oliver says Diggle’s brother deserves the benefit of the doubt for now.
Felicity really wants Ray to declare himself back alive and reclaim his company, but she’ll settle for his scientific expertise looking at the tooth they got off a Ghost a few episodes ago. Ray says a lot of stuff I don’t understand, but the upshot is that someone used a synthetic compound on the Ghosts to intentionally scramble their DNA. And only one company has a patent for said compound …
At Queen campaign headquarters, Alex Davis talks strategy for an upcoming police black tie affair. Thea ignores a call from her dad, but Oliver accepts one from his significant other. After Alex briefly worries that Ollie knows about him and Thea, the candidate returns and tells his sister they need to leave because of the “tooth thing.”
That’s code, of course, for Team Arrow doing some corporate espionage (it’s okay, because Damien Darhk is involved). Green Arrow and Speedy intercept four Ghosts, and while Black Canary gets the compound, she’s quickly attacked. Diggle has her back, and he tries to unmask the Ghost after he takes him down: only to discover that it’s his supposedly dead brother, Andy, who shoves the startled John aside and takes off.
No one stays dead around here! Someone mentions that the Ghost who got the drop on Diggle a while back but didn’t shoot him could have been Andy. Makes sense, but John refuses to acknowledge that his brother is alive.
Captain Lance has been summoned for another meeting with Darhk, who mentions that his security detail thinks their last meeting was simply a ruse to have Damien followed (hint: he’s right). He warns Lance to tread carefully, because he can use something worse than killing his daughter to keep Quentin in line. Before Lance leaves, he sees a note about the docks, slip 52.
Thea is having an unplanned meeting of her own, because her dad has dropped by. Merlyn says he knows the bloodlust is returning, and that she can’t control it. Malcolm offers her the chance to kill a pedophile who lives nearby; needless to say, she declines.
At the police gala, it’s speech time for Oliver, and he does a nice job saluting the police crazy/lucky enough to still be on the job. My words, not his. John gets a sympathetic ear from Laurel Lance, who knows a bit about resurrected siblings. Oliver gets a private word with Darhk, who offers his support but warns him to drop his plan to revitalize Starling Bay. He’s not asking either.
You know who’s not crazy about Oliver working with Darhk? Felicity, that’s who. Oliver explains that he’d only be using Darhk, mostly because Lance has lost his trust. That’s still not okay with Felicity, who reminds Ollie that he wanted to run for mayor not just to take down Darhk but to give the city hope and inspiration. Don’t forget that.
Thea gets her time out with Alex, but when he leaves their table to take a call, some old creeper moves in and aggressively hits on Thea. That earns him a ferocious beating, one that only ends when Alex returns and sees what she’s doing. Fun date!
John has a talk with his wife about the current messed up state of things. Oliver drops by, and the two men decide to follow Lance’s lead about the docks and see if Andy is there.
What Green Arrow and Diggle find is a HIVE recruiting drive of sorts. Darhk has some kind of pills that make the Ghosts more obedient, but our heroes don’t have time to learn more before they are spotted. The fight is on against a whole bunch of Ghosts, and after a grenade almost kills Green Arrow, John barely manages to save his behind.
Felicity leaves John and Oliver alone for yet another talk. Diggle is angry, saying that even though Andy is his brother, there’s no excuse for Andy letting his family continue to believe he’s dead. Oliver passionately replies that he needs to believe in Andy, because he needs to believe that people can come back from any amount of darkness. The convo/argument pivots to Oliver’s plan to go along with Darhk, a move that John does not endorse. Pressed for an answer, Diggle says he thinks they should “take this son of a bitch down in the light of day.”
Felicity finds Ray still working on the tooth and wondering if his second chance at life will mean anything. He says it’s not self-pity but self-reflection. He does have a possible base of operations for the Ghosts, though, and it’s an abandoned mental hospital.
Team Arrow wants to raid it to rescue Andy despite Oliver’s concerns that they don’t have enough manpower. Diggle still isn’t game, but the rest of the group is going to do it without him.
And the assault is on. Curtis Holt has whipped up infrared cameras for the heroes that will allow them to see through the Ghosts’ masks. Man, Holt is terrific. Sorry. Speedy and Black Canary are spotted, and we’re in for one hell of a fight scene. It’s Speedy who finds Andy first, and their battle is an awesome tumble through an elevator and across multiple floors. She emerges triumphant, hitting him with a tranq arrow.
Out in the courtyard, the Atom arrives to help turn the tide. Speedy has another problem, as she runs into Darhk. He tries using his life-draining power on her and is surprised when it backfires. Green Arrow is busy taking out one Ghost after another when Diggle saves him from one too many, saying he had to come because his brother needed him: the green one, that is.
John thanks Ray for his help, and the Atom says that while he’s going to take some time to figure out what he should do, he can still include the occasional super hero helping hand in his schedule. Oliver promises John he’ll take his advice and fight Darhk in the light of day. How? You’ll see.
A hesitant Merlyn is surprised to get an invite from his daughter. Thea tells him about her encounter with Darhk and how his backfiring powers made her bloodlust go away. Now she wants her dad to figure out how to make that effect permanent.
The confrontation you knew was coming as an angry John asks Andy if the things in his file are true. They are. All of them …
Before Oliver takes the podium in front of the press, Thea asks Alex to be a little patient with her. He seems to at least consider the request. Ollie’s speech is a defiant one obviously aimed at Darhk, who is in the audience. The Starling Bay project is going forward, and the battle for Star City will be fought out in the open. Game on, one assumes.
Meanwhile, (Back) on the Island: Conklin gives Oliver crap about killing the worker, revealing that he was the brother of the woman hidden away in the cave.
Later, Oliver and Conklin argue in front of Reiter, who claims to have some kind of divining rod that can tell who’s lying. It ferrets out Conklin, who lies about putting the man Ollie killed up to attacking him. Oliver takes something off a table as Reiter has Conklin led away.
Reiter obviously wants to make an example of Conklin, giving Oliver a lash and the chance to punish him. With workers and guards alike watching, Ollie lays into the lashes. Ouch.
Oliver goes to the cave and starts the painful process of telling the woman about her brother’s death. She tells a sad story about how they were forced into working there in the first place. She also wants revenge on Conklin, but Oliver says it’s more important to stop Reiter from getting whatever he seeks. Turns out what he took was a map of Lian Yu, but to make sense of it, they will need a more detailed survey map of the island.
He’s got an idea for how to get one, but it’s a longshot, and he’ll need the woman’s help.
- See, didn’t we tell you that “Brotherhood” might have to do with Oliver and John?
- Has Lyla done anything this season but give her husband sage advice?
- Is there any way you’d go back out with Thea after seeing her almost beat that dude to death?
- Does Merlyn actually have a plan to help Thea acquire the power of Darhk and put it to better use?
Final Thought: The producers promised a memorable fight in this episode, and they weren’t wrong. The only problem is that the Ghosts have gone from a serious threat at the beginning of the season to guys Team Arrow routinely beat up — except when the script requires otherwise. Hopefully Darhk will call in more help soon. We’ll worry about that later, though, because the crossover with The Flash is up next (in two weeks), and it should be amazing.