A larger threat emerges from the shadows after Cayden James’ plans fall apart in Arrow 6×13
In last week’s episode of Arrow, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) swore that she would kill Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) after she killed Vincent. “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” continued on from where last week’s episode left off. As Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) set a deadline for the destruction of Star City with his bomb, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Alena (Kacey Rohl) uncovered how the footage of Cayden’s son’s death was faked. With time running out, Oliver (Stephen Amell) reached out to Cayden to prove that he didn’t kill his son. Cayden agreed to see the evidence but he wouldn’t remove the threat of the bomb until both Anatoly (David Nykl) and Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) were back with him. Both teams raced against time to capture both Anatoly and Diaz.
Eventually, Oliver and Cayden met face to face, and the latter watched the original, untampered with video. He was arrested and returned the money he had stolen from Star City. Unfortunately for him, Diaz, who has major authorities in Star City working for him, got to Cayden and killed him, revealing that he was the one manipulating Team Arrow and Cayden.
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“The Devil’s Greatest Trick” also featured flashbacks of Cayden’s life leading up to his son’s death when he was part of Helix. He met Alena during those flashbacks and was taken into A.R.G.U.S. custody. William (Jack Moore) also ended up in the middle of the action this week when he followed Oliver and the teams during their meet-up with Cayden. Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) also capture Black Siren after Dinah shot her, and he was more convinced than ever that a part of his daughter is in her.
With both teams racing against the clock to save Star City, the real villain behind everything finally revealed, and more, “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” gave us plenty to discuss. So let’s meet this week’s roundtable guests!
Emily (@dianasfelicity) – College student, enthusiastic TV show watcher, and huge Arrow/Olicity fan.
Jon (@jonjoebailey) – I like Batman, I love Jesus. Amateur artist.
Raj (@ClearHeatVision) – Biomedical Engineer with a knack for fanboyism, especially comic books.
Penny (@SAEBRfan) – Self-employed, proud Mama Bear, avid reader, TV junkie and Arrow fan.
Brittany (@snarky_bee) – Photographer/video producer. Forever affected by “he took the wrong woman.”
1. We were given a little more of Cayden James’ backstory in this episode. Did you find his flashbacks effective?
Emily (@dianasfelicity): I enjoyed these flashbacks! It was sad to see Cayden struggle to be a good father and try to keep Owen safe by not exposing him to his work with Helix. It nicely mirrored Oliver and William’s relationship. The flashbacks helped me understand Cayden better and I truly felt for him. So I would definitely call them effective.
Jon (@jonjoebailey): Yes I did. It showed he used to be a decent man and showed the connection he had with his son.
Raj (@ClearHeatVision): I did feel a little more for Cayden with his backstory. There were good hints of marital issues and Cayden struggled in his relationship with his son, though the reason why he was working hard was very unclear to me. So that seemed like the poor parenting was all his fault. In light of the end of the episode, it did serve as a good backstory to his close arc and also help empathize with his situation of ultimately being manipulated.
Penny (@SAEBRfan): Yes I did. I enjoyed seeing the details leading up to his incarceration with ARGUS, and the circumstances surrounding his son’s death, including their relationship. Michael Emerson was fantastic this episode.
Brittany (@snarky_bee): Yes. My biggest complaint is that they came too little, too late. I’ve been waiting all season for his backstory and more insight into his motives. It felt like such a waste to give us this coveted storyline information and much-need investment in his character just to kill him off. However, I did like that the flashbacks involved Alena. I still don’t completely trust her and if she is going to be a villain this season, I appreciate that they’re developing her character and backstory now.
2. William decided to sneak out of the Bunker and go along with Oliver and the two teams to Cayden’s location. Did you find his actions in this episode to be believable?
Emily: I don’t get the logic here. William being so scared he decides to leave the safety of the Bunker to find his dad, who he knew was in dangerous company, makes no sense. I get that William wanted the comfort of Oliver’s presence, but he could have died! He’s only a kid so I certainly can’t expect him to make the most logical choice, but I think they need another family meeting to discuss why him being there did more harm than good.
Jon: That could’ve ended badly! I can’t believe they weren’t watching him in the bunker! It just shows how much he could be like his father when he grows up.
Raj: This was such a stupid plot point. It was completely unnecessary and didn’t add anything useful towards character growth. It seemed like filler material and eye-roll worthy.
Penny: With everything that’s happened to him over the past couple of years, I can understand his issues but I thought he acted rashly. I also thought he acted bravely with the Cayden situation once he was there. It seems he does take after his father after all.
Brittany: Not really. How did he even get there? Did he walk? Call an Uber? Hop on the subway? Why didn’t we get Thea and Felicity’s reaction to William showing up at Cayden’s location? I get why they wanted him to be a part of that scene, but Arrow could definitely do a better job at filling in those kinds of plot holes. I do, however, appreciate the much-needed character moments that Oliver and William’s scenes provided in this episode.
3. Both teams have been working with Alena a lot in recent episodes. Their interests currently appear to align. Do you think they’re making a mistake trusting her?
Emily: I hope not! I really like Alena and enjoy her scenes with Felicity. Not every character in Arrow has to have a hidden agenda. Besides, Felicity deserves to have a genuine female friend!
Jon: I actually think she’s the mole. She’s the only one with the ability to fake the footage.
Raj: This is a good question. In light of how Diaz supposedly is the mastermind with the manipulation, I did find myself highly skeptical that he was that computer savvy. What if Alena is the actual ultimate villain, and ends up being associated with Prometheus or something, such as a sibling. It is a stretch, but now I have to keep my eye on her more…
Penny: At this point, yes I do. Especially after seeing Cayden’s flashbacks with her. She was in a position to set up Cayden to ARGUS and I think it takes her level of skill to create that video that incriminated Oliver. I like her but I’m suspicious.
Brittany: I honestly HOPE they’re making a mistake in trusting her. I really enjoy Alena’s character and her friendship with Felicity…which is exactly why she’d finally be a villain reveal that wasn’t underwhelming. The shock! The betrayal! The believability! The “big bad” is supposedly quite skilled with tech and they haven’t given us any reason to believe that Dragon could’ve pulled this off alone. It makes sense that someone else is involved. I also thought Cayden would be Felicity’s villain and he ended up being Oliver’s; Alena could actually be Felicity’s villain and I’m so intrigued by that!
4. Cayden James was killed by Ricardo Diaz in this episode. Did you find that surprising? Were you expecting someone else from Cayden’s organization to be the one that turned against him?
Emily: It was both shocking and anticlimactic. I was surprised because Diaz never came across as a serious threat nor did he seem very important to this season. Honestly, I always found him to be quite dull and disposable. So my initial reaction was shock due to the impracticality of it, not so much the plot twist itself.
Jon: That surprised me a little bit because he’s such an unknown character. I wonder what his play is at this. I think he’s working with Alena.
Raj: I totally thought it would be Anatoly again, but I guess the writers have beaten his story to death. It couldn’t have been Laurel because that would have been boring. I thought Diaz was unlikely just because he can’t be that smart. So I think he is yet another pawn in this Inception layered season of Arrow.
Penny: Honestly, out of the 3 remaining known villains, I figured it had to be him. He’s the only one that we didn’t really know. I knew it wasn’t Black Siren or Anatoly. The writers are really going to have to work hard to convince me that he’s the big bad of this season.
Brittany: I thought Diaz was fairly predictable as the betrayer. Maybe I’m too sentimental, but I still have hope for Anatoly and Black Siren just doesn’t have the clout. The betrayal resulting in Cayden’s death should have been more of a surprise, but when you follow the same “flashbacks equal death” formula two weeks in a row it loses some of its shock value.
5. Quentin kidnapped Laurel-2 after Dinah shot her. Despite Laurel-2 directly telling him that she enjoys who she is, he’s still convinced that there’s some of his own daughter in her. Where do you see that subplot going? Will Laurel-2 end up killing Quentin? Or will he end up killing her? Or do you see something else happening?
Emily: All I know is this subplot needs to end. I understand they want to keep Laurel in the show, but this is just getting old. It’s so repetitive and falls flat every time it plays out. At this point I don’t care if Lance dies or Laurel-2 dies or they both die. I just want to see something different than this tired subplot.
Jon: Well, ya can’t have two Black Canaries. Dinah may leave. Dinah may kill Laurel-2. Laurel-2 may kill Dinah. I think everybody hopes she sees the light and comes to terms with Quentin.
Raj: Please stop already, Quentin! There was a line by Quentin where he said, “I’m not stupid.” I laughed out loud so hard. YES YOU ARE, Quentin! Give up on Laurel, my goodness. I honestly don’t know why the writers have kept around Katie Cassidy this long. It is not an affront to her or anything. It just seems like the writers really regret killing Laurel Lance off prematurely.
Penny: Quentin has lost his marbles and I really hate how they’ve made me roll my eyes at his storyline this season. It’s so frustrating! I don’t see him killing her. Personally, I hope they keep Black Siren a villain because I feel like Katie Cassidy plays a better villain. Unfortunately, it feels like Quentin may be the real loser in this scenario.
Brittany: Quentin really needs to stop referring to Black Siren as his daughter. To quote Dinah, “That is not your daughter. That is a monster.” It truly feels as though he’s losing it. When Diaz told Cayden that his grief was making him crazy, I needed Quentin to hear the truth in those words. I hope his continued refusal to see Black Siren for who she truly is won’t cost him his life. He deserves better. I don’t buy redemption for her, but I’ll gladly suspend my disbelief if it frees Quentin from this storyline and she goes home to Earth-2.
6. With Cayden James out of the way, Ricardo Diaz is going to be able to move into the city. Rather than destroy it, his goal is to take it over. While that’s a believable goal for a criminal, do you think there’s anything else motivating him to take over Star City beyond wanting power and money?
Emily: I hope there’s another reason otherwise this storyline will be fairly boring. I’m sure he killed Cayden’s son and set his whole plan into motion for a better reason than just wanting to take over Star City. Whatever it is, I hope we get to see him face off with Diggle some more!
Jon: Maybe he has a secret connection to Oliver Queen. Or to the city. I feel like he shouldn’t be that hard to take down, but I’ve been wrong before.
Raj: I think in the next episode, the end teaser will be that Diaz reports to someone. He can’t be this good. I refuse to believe that.
Penny: Hard to say at this point because we really don’t know his character that well. I’m hoping it’s more than that, or he’s working for/with someone else. If that’s all it is, he just seems like another thug, and not really significant. I hope that changes.
Brittany: Diaz seems like a fairly straight-forward villain and I appreciate that about him. He doesn’t need a convoluted reason to take over the city. He can just be a good, old-fashioned crime lord and drug kingpin who craves power and money. With corrupt cops on his payroll, blood on his hands and the Star City docks under his control, he has all the makings of a textbook villain. I want him to stay that way. I want there to be someone else who’s going to shock and surprise and enlighten us when they and their motive are revealed!
7. Out of all the developments in this episode, what did you find to be the most shocking and/or interesting? With Cayden dead and Diaz revealing his intentions, where do you think the rest of the season is headed?
Emily: When it comes down to it, I didn’t find anything to be particularly shocking. It was interesting to see Alena and Felicity work in tandem, and I did like the heartfelt moments between William and Oliver. I also loved seeing more Thea in this episode! I’m not sure where this season is headed, but I hope they execute it right. So far they seem to be repeating storylines and making their “plot twists” unrealistic. With that said, I think this season has the potential to end on a high note so I look forward to seeing where it goes!
Jon: I think the most shocking was Cayden getting killed. I loved him being on the show, Emerson was one of my favorites since Lost and Person of interest. Maybe his death was faked. (I hope so.) I like the direction they’re headed. Both teams working separate. They will collide sooner or later.
Raj: I found Quentin being that defensive of fake-Laurel a little crazy and shocking. Especially after all of her betrayal, and almost attempted murder of him. Everything else in this episode was mostly meh. The fact that Diaz was the one that manipulated Cayden was crazy, but it was too crazy to believe. I would have rather had some other character we know from Arrow appear and that would been a classic OMG moment of Arrow.
Penny: I thought it was interesting how Team Arrow ended up working with Cayden James and he sort of redeemed himself. I’m hoping either Ricardo Diaz proves to be just as bad as Prometheus last season, or there’s another big bad we haven’t met yet.
Brittany: I honestly didn’t find this episode all that interesting. However, there is still a lot of season left and I am hopeful for any shocking twists or surprise guests that might be in store for us. Along with that, I’m ready to get back to some storylines that seem to have disappeared in recent episodes. I’d love to see more of Felicity working on her start-up company and find out what’s happening with Oliver’s indictment.
Final Verdict: “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” recycled the same tired Black Siren story beats once again but was redeemed with strong character work, action, and some interesting plot developments
This week’s episode of Arrow had a lot of moving pieces. Dinah wanting vengeance for the death of Vincent. There were flashbacks showing Cayden’s life before the death of his son. Cayden and the two teams worked together to find the person that faked the video. Quentin confronted Laurel-2 once again. William put himself in harm’s way. There was a lot going on. Most of that material worked quite well.
As usual, Michael Emerson did an amazing job bringing his character to life. Even though both teams are still technically separate teams, most of the drama that resulted from that split was kept to a minimum as they both put their differences aside to try to stop Cayden from detonating his bomb and destroying Star City. The reveal of the true villain behind everything, while not incredibly surprising, helped set the stage for the rest of the season. Cayden being killed so soon was somewhat unexpected too.
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Unfortunately, the material with Black Siren and Quentin once again didn’t work in this episode. Like with previous subplots dealing with the two of them, events played out exactly the same way. Quentin was desperate to see his daughter in Laurel-2 and she lashed out at him saying that she isn’t his daughter.
Despite all of that happening yet again, Quentin was unmoved and even tried to stop Dinah from killing Laurel-2. This material, while well-acted, simply doesn’t work. Hopefully, this particular subplot will be finished (one way or the other) in the near future. William’s motivations for following his father into a dangerous situation were a bit baffling as well. He wanted to feel safe but followed his father directly into danger.
“The Devil’s Greatest Trick” had a lot going on and not all of it may have worked as well as we would have liked. But the advancement of the main plot and the reveal of Ricardo Diaz as the actual villain this season were both greatly appreciated developments. It’ll be interesting to see what Diaz’s true plans are moving forward and if he’s also working for someone else.