Arrow 6×09 offered a wedding reception, plenty of action, and a return to the original team
After last week’s epic crossover event with its sister shows, the bar was likely set unreasonably high for the midseason finale of Arrow. “Irreconcilable Differences” started not long after the events of last week with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) wedding reception. The on-the-spot wedding alongside Barry and Iris didn’t give their family and friends an opportunity to attend. The reception changed that. It also offered an uplifting calm before the storm as Cayden James (Michael Emerson) and Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) soon began their attacks against Team Arrow.
RELATED | Crisis On Earth-X Roundtable: Part 4
The main focus of the episode was a member of Team Arrow agreeing to testify as a witness against Oliver. Oliver followed Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), who he saw meet up with Vincent (Johann Urb). Felicity digitally spied on Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Rene (Rick Gonzalez). Once gathering what Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle (David Ramsey) believed was conclusive evidence, Oliver confronted Dinah about keeping a secret about Vincent. At that point, Rene revealed that he was actually the one that had agreed to testify to protect his daughter. This led to Oliver giving the team one last chance by going after Cayden James and rescuing Quentin (Paul Blackthorne), who had been taken captive. Rene and Curtis turned their comms off during the mission. This caused Oliver to kick Rene off the team. Dinah and Curtis soon followed him by choosing to leave on their own. That left only Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle on the team.
It’s difficult to believe that we’re already up to the winter hiatus for Arrow. It may not have done as much as some of its sister shows, but it still gave us plenty to discuss and look forward to. Let’s see what our roundtable guests had to say about the midseason finale!
Brittany (@snarky_bee) – Photographer/video producer. Forever affected by “he took the wrong woman.”
Jon (@jonjoebailey) – Amateur painter, musician and magician
Natalie (@amellxwood) – Film student. Zealous Arrow fan. Olicity are the ones who light my way.
Adri (@lust_muffin) – Avid TV series watcher, Arrow fan from the beginning
Penny (@SAEBRfan) – Proud Mama Bear and wife, avid reader and TV addict. Huge Arrow fan.
Emily (@dianasfelicity) – College student, enthusiastic TV show watcher, and huge Arrow/Olicity fan
1. Rene betrayed the team to testify against Oliver. Did you find this particular twist to be believable or did it come out of nowhere?
Brittany (@snarky_bee): I did find it to be believable but, unfortunately, I also found it to be a bit predictable. The show teased a member of Team Arrow as Oliver’s betrayer and if you looked at the possible suspects… Dinah was too hot (the obvious choice), Curtis was too cold (highly unlikely), but Rene was just right. Not to mention, Arrow loves its themes and there seems to be a big, neon “FATHERHOOD” sign hanging in the window of season six. If I had any doubts, his wedding speech would have tipped me off; it was clearly meant to make his eventual betrayal all the more poignant.
Jon (@jonjoebailey): I figured it was believable. That agent is very crafty and wants to nab Oliver so bad that she’ll do anything.
Natalie (@amellxwood): I mean yeah, I guess it came out of nowhere but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. It’s 100% believable that a father would do anything for his child. Rene betraying the team again after Oliver gave him a second chance is a little bit unbelievable but we wouldn’t have a plot if some things weren’t driven without reason.
Adri (@lust_muffin): It was previously said that the FBI had compelling evidence against Oliver. It makes sense someone would be feeding them intel and in terms of story Rene makes the most sense. He has more to lose than Dinah or Curtis. Felicity and Diggle would never sell Oliver out, no matter what, so they were never part of this equation. But Rene has Zoe and just like Oliver, he would do anything to be able to keep his kid. I’m glad they’ve shown us both sides of it, with Oliver and Rene understanding why the other did what they did.
Penny (@SAEBRfan): Even though I knew it was coming, it still felt out of left field. I felt that Rene wouldn’t buckle under pressure from the FBI and betray Oliver. I mean Oliver helped Rene get a new hearing for his daughter and I felt that Rene would’ve told Oliver. It felt wrong.
Emily (@dianasfelicity): I definitely felt surprised by it. I never expected one of the team members to testify against Oliver. I understand Rene’s motives for doing it though. He wants to protect his daughter, and I’m sure Oliver would have done the same if it was William on the line. I do think they would have been able to come up with a plan though, so I’m a little disappointed that Rene didn’t go to Oliver about this first. With that said, it came to a point where Rene had to choose between the team and his family, and his choice was neither surprising nor wrong.
2. Black Siren started to get a bit more development in this episode. She even let Quentin go. Do you think she legitimately feels something when it comes to Quentin or was that simply part of the larger plan to hurt the team?
Brittany: Questionable loyalties are one of the narrative benefits of having members of Team Cayden James personally connected to members of Team Arrow. I’m wondering if Vincent meant it when he said “I miss you, D… I care about you. I always have and always will.” Or if Anatoly would really betray his brother, Oliver. These relationships/stories are intriguing to me. When it comes to Quentin, I’m more interested in the father-like dynamics he had with Oliver and Thea in this episode. He seems to see Black Siren for who and what she really is, so I hope she stays evil.
Jon: This one stumped me. At first it seemed like maybe she felt for him, but at the end, after seeing Vince there too, I feel like she’s using him as part of the plan.
Natalie: I think they will try to get us to believe that she is actually being redeemed and then pull the carpet out from under the audience. This show needs to let their villains stay villains. They already redeemed Slade. They should just let Black Siren be the villain that she is. She is much more interesting that way.
Adri: Yeah, no way I’m believing she suddenly has developed a conscience and she would just let Lance go without any reason. She hasn’t shown any remorse whatsoever for the things she has done so far and the last time we’ve seen her, she was complaining about how she couldn’t kill anyone because Cayden got her inside the place so easily. I don’t buy this act at all.
Penny: Manipulation. Plain and simple. If the writers want me to feel that she has feelings for Quentin, then they’re going to have to try harder. I don’t like her or trust her. If you were hoping for a redemption arc though, you might be waiting a while. I’m tired for Quentin honestly and I’ll say it AGAIN ‒ Give him a break!
Emily: I think Black Siren let Quentin go so that he softens towards her and perhaps trusts her more. As soon as she told him to run, he looked at her like she was Earth-1 Laurel. I can’t blame him for that, but I do wish he had more common sense. Considering she is still a part of Cayden’s team, I can only see her actions as purely manipulative.
3. Oliver kicked Rene off the team. That led to Dinah and Curtis deciding to leave as well. Did Oliver make the right call? Did Dinah and Curtis?
Brittany: I was really proud of Oliver for seeing things from Rene’s perspective and giving him a second chance. It showed a lot of character growth for him and also gave us that wonderful Oliver and Thea moment. The mission to save Quentin was Rene’s opportunity to prove that his “betrayal” was a desperate decision he made as a father, but he was still a reliable team member. He failed to do so and I think Oliver made the right call. As for Dinah and Curtis, the whole “you spied on me so I can’t trust you anymore” angle felt a little juvenile in the face of what Oliver is currently dealing with.
Jon: Oliver definitely made the right call, although he’ll regret it. In the end, he needs the expertise, and the extra sets of eyes. Personally, Dinah did not make the right call, I think Oliver should have made it for her. She blatantly held information detrimental to the team. (What’s up with this group keeping secrets?) I think Curtis is just overreacting.
Natalie: As sad as it makes me, I think Oliver did make the right call. Oliver gave Rene a second chance because he 100% knew where he was coming from as a father and Rene broke the trust again. I’m sad to see Dinah and Rene off the team for a bit. Not sad about Curtis though. Curtis can stay away forever and I will be 100% okay with that. This obviously isn’t permanent but I really think a shake-up within the team was needed.
Adri: I understand Oliver. He gave Rene another chance and Rene screwed it up because he has always been a bit of a loose cannon. If Oliver thinks he can’t trust him even in the field, then it’s problematic to have him on the team. And Oliver doesn’t trust easily. He trusts Felicity and John implicitly, but they’ve been doing this together for 6 years. I don’t think it’s fair of Dinah, Curtis and Rene to expect the same kind of trust he has in the two people that have been there since the beginning. Trust is a fragile thing. You have to earn it.
Penny: Yes he did. After being given a second chance, Rene still messed up. Oliver feels that he can only trust Felicity and Diggle, which is understandable. I can also understand hurt feelings by Dinah and Curtis. Trust is very important in what they do and secrets will cause problems every time.
Emily: Oliver kicking Rene off the team seems like a good call for now. Trust goes both ways, and it felt that Oliver couldn’t trust Rene and vice versa. While I personally don’t blame Rene, I do think that right now the best thing for all of them is to just regroup and think everything through. The same goes for Dinah and Curtis. Working with the same people every single day can be tough even for non-superheroes, so I hope they take this time apart to learn whatever lessons they need to in order to come back together as a united team.
4. Team Arrow is down to the original team for the immediate future. Do you think that’s a good direction for the show to head in for a while? Will the full team ever get back together?
Brittany: It’s always hard to see the team break up, but ultimately those divisions tend to act as fire used to forge a stronger team. So, I think this “civil war” among Team Arrow will be better for them in the long run. Believing that, I can’t help but be excited (you could even say giddy) for a storyline that returns the lair to its OTA glory days, even if it’s just for a little while! I watch this show for Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. Now that the new characters have been introduced and integrated, I think a return to the core team is right on time. I’ve missed them.
Jon: I think so. I was watching season 1 recently and it is SO MUCH better of a show when he was alone. He was able to do so many things by himself. I think he can handle it alone. The team will most likely get back together though.
Natalie: I am very excited to have OTA back at the roots. It’s been so long since it’s just been the three of them and they deserve some time to shine as a trio again. Team Arrow started with the three of them and I think it’s going to be super nostalgic getting back to that for a bit. They are the core of the team so I think going back to focus on that so far into the show is an important reminder and reflection of the characters.
Adri: It might take some time, but they’ll be back at some point. Although I can’t, for the life of me, see Curtis’ purpose on the team when Felicity did everything by herself for years before they met him and everyone has more fighting skills than he does. Rene and Dinah are useful in the field. Curtis is just there. I have nothing against Rene or Dinah, they’ve been steadily growing on me, but I’m gonna enjoy every moment we get of Original Team Arrow. They’re the core of the show and the last few seasons were lacking on OTA. I’m ready to get back to our roots for a while.
Penny: I love OTA and I think they should be fine for awhile. At least all the secrets are out (I hope). I feel that having the full team together is better for everyone, so I do hope they get back together. That breakup hurt! Especially since Cayden James has a team.
Emily: I’ve always loved Original Team Arrow. Their dynamic and chemistry is unparalleled. I was hesitant when the new members came onto the team, and I definitely like some more than others, but I do believe they will get back to the full team eventually. For now, I’ll just enjoy seeing Diggle, Felicity, and Oliver working together like in the good ole days!
5. This episode had a lot going on and connected several subplots from earlier in the season. What was your favorite scene/moment?
Brittany: I think Oliver and Felicity’s wedding reception was easily the strongest part of the midseason finale. As Stephen said, it was “a nice moment of reflection for Oliver and Felicity’s relationship… now marriage, which is exciting.” I think this was an earned moment after six years and I’m thankful that Arrow chose to honor their love story in this way after having the double wedding on another show. I also loved how many other character moments were so seamlessly woven into the fabric of this scene; it further reiterated to me how Oliver and Felicity are unequivocally the heartbeat, the unifying force, of the show.
Jon: I think it was eerie that they brought Evelyn up. She just disappeared.
Natalie: My favorite scene was definitely the wedding. Oliver and Felicity have had quite the journey. There’s been so many ups and downs. Getting to see them finally celebrate their love in the official capacity just reminds us that Oliver and Felicity’s relationship is of epic proportions. There’s been so much pain and angst with them. They deserved to have their happy moment to reflect as well as the audience. As Rene said, “These are two of the most genuine people in the world and they deserve all the happiness.”
Adri: The whole wedding reception was my favorite thing that has ever happened. Everything about it was precious, from the look on their faces when they saw each other, to Felicity feeding him cake and their first dance as husband and wife. It’s so good to see Oliver and Felicity so happy after everything they’ve been through and I’m glad the writers took the time to give them (and us) a party, with their families and friends celebrating their love for each other. I’m gonna replay that whole first act for all of the 42 days of hiatus (or the rest of my life). Bonus scene: Felicity slapping Curtis.
Penny: Besides the reception, the scene with Oliver and Thea was probably my favorite. I’ve truly missed the Queen siblings interacting. I also thought the scene with Oliver, Diggle and Dinah in the bunker was great. It really packed a punch. (Ouch!)
Emily: The wedding reception, obviously! It was emotional and perfect. The relationship between Oliver and Felicity was hard-earned and I think this was a beautiful moment for them and their loved ones to celebrate their journey. Whether you consider yourself a shipper or not, anyone can see that Felicity and Oliver make each other better, and in turn their relationship makes the show better. So excited to see how they handle obstacles as a married couple!
6. It was revealed that Cayden James is not only working with Black Siren but also with Anatoly, Vincent, and Ricardo Diaz. What do you think of that development? Do you think he was telling the truth when he said he wanted vengeance against Oliver or was that simply part of a plan to throw the team off from the real objective?
Brittany: It seems Cayden James has intentionally hand-selected this team of villains for their personal connections to the members of Team Arrow and those connections seem more valuable to him than their skill sets. I can’t imagine he’d continue to put up with Black Siren’s insubordination, ungratefulness and incompetency otherwise. Hopefully our team of heroes won’t get so caught up in fighting their individual villains that they don’t realize what’s really going on. As for Cayden and his supposed drive for vengeance, I honestly don’t know, but I like that his story is connected to both Oliver AND Felicity. I’m really excited to see how their being married could potentially have an impact on these storylines.
Jon: I am thrown for such a loop. I think they all have something personal versus Oliver. I think that they want to also throw the team off of something bigger, hence why he broke them up.
Natalie: Cayden is a smart man. I think he realizes while he is a match for Felicity, he is no match for the physical strength of Team Arrow which is why he brought in people like Anatoly, Vincent and Diaz. It seems like its shaping up that every villain on Cayden’s team is meant to be a match for each respective member of Team Arrow. Cayden for Felicity. Anatoly for Oliver. Diaz for Diggle. Vincent for Dinah. etc.
Adri: I still think the “I want revenge, you’ve cost me my son” explanation he gave Oliver last time is not the real reason why he’s doing it. What does the Green Arrow have to do with that? And like I said in the 607 roundtable, it’s too early in the season for the main villain to be giving away his reasons. About Cayden working with all of the other minor villains… I’ve suspected that would be the case. You need to have a way to tie all of the storylines together and there’s no way to do that with multiple villains having their own agendas.
Penny: It wasn’t really surprising to me. I’ve been saying that all along this season. Oh, I think he wants vengeance but there’s a bigger overall plan to achieve that and something more – but what is the end game? (Is it May?)
Emily: I’m not surprised by it. Evil villains tend to stick together! I was maybe a little surprised by Vincent being on the team, because it shocks me that he wants to hurt Dinah after he supposedly loved her. I’m not quite sure yet what Cayden is up to, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is manipulating his villainous team into doing what he wants for his own personal gain, whatever that may be.
7. We’re now approximately halfway through the season. How do you feel about the season so far? How does it hold up against previous seasons? Is there anything you’d change if you could?
Brittany: I am loving this season so far. I honestly believe 6×04 is one of the strongest episodes the show has ever done. The role reversal between Oliver and Felicity was beautifully and brilliantly done. There has been a lot of character development this season and the show really seems to be building on and honoring the journey these characters have been on the last five years. The one thing I currently feel is lacking is an investment in the action. I need more buy in into what the driving force behind the villains’ actions are. However, there was great set up in this episode for what’s to come!
Jon: This season is one of the better as far as fight scenes go. I still think the best season was season 1. The best (and worst) midseason finale ever was when Ra’s al Ghul stabbed Oliver and kicked him off the mountain. I just wish this season had less of the drama and more action. I wanted more Oliver as Green Arrow. I can’t do the whole Diggle thing.
Natalie: I’m loving this season so far. I really have no complaints this season whereas last season, I had no shortage of complaints. I really think the writers have come to a place where they’ve worked out all of the kinks in the storyline and characters and really know how to navigate the waters to pull off their intended plans. The abolishment of flashbacks has greatly improved the structure of the show and better allowed them to tell the story without the restraints of flashbacks.
Adri: Look, I don’t have a favorite season, because every season has its ups and downs so I don’t like to compare one to another. I have favorite episodes in every season. That being said, we’re up to 9 episodes and I’ve enjoyed most of them, so I’ll say season 6 is a pretty solid season so far in my opinion. Of course there are things I would change *cough* Black Siren is still unnecessary *cough* but as a whole, I’m pretty happy with season 6.
Penny: It’s been good so far. I do have issues, such as Thea being in a coma for so long. Also, what happened to Nyssa, Evelyn and Talia? Hope to eventually have that answered. Is the FBI lady for real or is she a distraction also? Looking forward to the second half of the season.
Emily: I’m really loving this season! The episodes have a great balance between interpersonal relationships and cool action scenes. It’s definitely a huge improvement from season 5 which I felt was like watching a completely different show (in a bad way)! I will say that the big bad(s) this season don’t give me the same thrill as Prometheus from last season, but I’ll have to keep watching to see. All and all I am pleasantly surprised by season 6 and I can’t wait for more!
Final Verdict: Not everything worked, but the midseason finale of Arrow had enough action and plot developments to keep our attention
“Irreconcilable Differences” offered a lot of action and raised the personal stakes for all of the characters. Starting the episode with a reception for Oliver and Felicity’s rushed wedding in “Crisis On Earth-X, Part 4” should have made Olicity fans quite happy and gave viewers something hopeful before everything started falling apart for the team in the rest of the team. Oliver and Felicity’s families were fully present for the reception even if not everyone had a large role. Seeing Thea (Willa Holland) and William (Jack Moore) interact some during the reception was a nice touch. Having Thea back in her usual role as Oliver’s closest confidante made us realize just how much she had been missed during her long absence. Arrow is a good show without Willa Holland as we’ve seen in recent seasons due to her reduced role. But it’s a much better show when she’s around.
All of the team’s (current) secrets coming out in the open, despite the consequences, should give the writers a clean slate of sorts for the back half of the season. Nothing good ever comes from the team keeping secrets from one another, and hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson. The renewed focus on the original Team Arrow, even if it’s temporary, should make fans of the early seasons happy as well.
The continued use of Black Siren both annoyed and baffled our roundtable guests once again. Katie Cassidy herself has continued to do well with the role she’s been given, but that role has still proven to be very one-note and lacking in depth. There was a small attempt to humanize her character in this episode by telling Quentin a story about how she lost her father. She then let him live after she was told to kill him. It seems unlikely that Black Siren is getting a redemption arc this season and that the attempts to develop her were a red herring. This was reinforced by her standing alongside Cayden James with the rest of his team at the end of the episode.
The supervillain team-up consisting of Cayden James, Vincent, Anatoly (David Nykl), Black Siren, and Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) was certainly an interesting development but not exactly unexpected or surprising. It’s difficult to say at this point where Cayden’s plans will be leading Team Arrow. At the moment, it isn’t particularly engaging. Hopefully, the Cayden James subplot will pick up speed in the second half of the season.
Arrow‘s midseason finale executed its action with the usual competence and adrenaline we’ve come to expect from the show. However, the plot twists felt a bit lacking in some cases and rather forced in others. Despite that, “Irreconcilable Differences” still adequately set the stage for what we hope will be an action-packed second half of the season.