Arrow 6×10 brought back the intense solo action sequences of earlier seasons and advanced Cayden James’ plans (sort of)
The midseason premiere of The CW‘s Arrow picked up about five weeks after the events of the midseason finale. With Team Arrow partially disbanded and reduced to just the original team of Oliver (Stephen Amell), Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), resources for gathering intelligence on Cayden James (Michael Emerson) were stretched to the limit. After weeks of not having any luck tracking Cayden down, the team discovered that the Bunker had been bugged by Black Siren (Katie Cassidy). This led to Felicity pinpointing Cayden’s location and Oliver finding himself surrounded by supervillains and their goons. Cayden allowed Oliver to escape alive, much to the ire of the rest of his allies.
Meanwhile, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), Curtis (Echo Kellum), and Rene (Rick Gonzalez) ran into their own obstacles even if they were less violent ones. The three of them were still unable to come to terms with Oliver and the rest of the team spying on them. So they decided to form their own vigilante team to operate without Oliver’s oversight while still sharing intelligence between teams.
After splitting up the team during the midseason finale, “Divided” continued that storyline without resetting things to the status quo. Due to the episode’s commitment to seeing that storyline through, a good portion of it felt a lot more like a mid-to-late season one episode. Oliver was forced to once again become a one-man army only assisted by Diggle and Felicity. Cayden’s plans, while still shrouded in mystery, apparently require complete control of the Star City docks. What is he planning to use them for? We have no idea but it probably doesn’t involve transporting puppies and kittens (unless they’re evil puppies and kittens). It’s unlikely the show will continue with the team changes in place forever but it does give the show an early years kind of vibe and it mixes up the dynamics.
With Cayden James, Black Siren, and the rest of the evil posse all back in the picture and being incredibly ruthless, it was quite easy to find enough to talk about this week. So let’s dive in and discuss “Divided” with this week’s roundtable guests!
Dani (@ENSM31) – Accountant, Brazilian, crazy about Arrow, not into comics though.
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.
Natalie (@amellxwood) – Film student. Zealous Arrow fan. Olicity are the ones who light my way.
Brittany (@snarky_bee) – Photographer/video producer. Forever affected by “he took the wrong woman.”
Emily (@dianasfelicity) – College student, enthusiastic TV show watcher, and huge Arrow/Olicity fan.
1. Cayden James has put together a relatively formidable team. Even if James himself is defeated, the rest of the team would still potentially pose a really serious threat. How do you think that group will ultimately be defeated? Brute force? A clever plan?
Dani (@ENSM31): A little bit of both? Cayden’s uses both, brain and muscle, and Team Arrow will only be able to defeat them acting the same way. But without a doubt, Felicity will be fundamental to defeat Cayden.
Raj (@ClearHeatVision): Divide and conquer will be the way to beat them. There is already evidence of dissension between Black Siren, Cayden, and Vigilante. Everyone disagreed with Cayden about his decision to let Oliver live.
Penny (@SAEBRfan): I think it’s going to take both — a clever plan and physical force. I’m not sure whether that means OTA will try picking them off one by one, or all together, but ultimately I believe it’s going to mean all of Team Arrow has to get back together (after NTA has realized they made a mistake and apologized).
Natalie (@amellxwood): It seems like Cayden being defeated could cause a fracture within their team making it easier to defeat them. This is Arrow so I’m sure brute force will be involved but Team Arrow is very smart so I’m sure there will also be a clever plan.
Brittany (@snarky_bee): There are some formidable players on that team; I wish the show would showcase them more. It seems Vigilante and Black Siren get a large chunk of screen time and yet they are the most underwhelming villains to me. It feels unbelievable that they keep escaping or getting the drop on Oliver. I want to see more of Cayden, Dragon and Anatoly. As for their downfall, I could see it all coming down to teamwork with the direction the story is currently going. Team vs Team. With each member contributing to the defeat of their personal villain.
Emily (@dianasfelicity): It’s Arrow so brute force and clever plans are likely to be involved either way! I’m not entirely sure how they will be defeated, but I think (and hope) it will involve some team-ups and epic fight scenes. I would love to see Felicity vs. Cayden, Dinah vs. Vincent, Digg vs. Dragon, and Oliver vs. Anatoly. It would make for some really awesome scenes!
2. Rene and Curtis have a plan to get Rene out of having to testify against Oliver. Do you think that executing that plan will backfire and cause more trouble for the two of them or will it be successful?
Dani: Probably, yes. I don’t think that Curtis is that good as a hacker. Eventually, they will find out who deleted the recording file. Plus, they have hard copies of everything. It wouldn’t help Oliver in his case.
Raj: I think it will take place after the team resolves the Cayden James problem. I think the FBI agent will end up focusing her agenda on Cayden, leaving Rene to be freed.
Penny: I hope it works for Rene and Oliver’s sake, but Curtis is no Felicity. I think that if it was possible without getting caught, she would’ve already done it. It’s a mistake in the making.
Natalie: I mean, I hope it works. It’s obvious Rene is going to be back on the team down the line. Regardless of his daughter or not, if he testified and got Oliver locked away, there’s no way he’d be on the team moving forward.
Brittany: When Curtis and Rene aren’t acting like petulant children, they can be really fun to watch. But this episode was disappointing when it came to the new members of the team. They were annoying, immature, rash, shortsighted, egotistical… I could go on and on. Based on the way they’re currently acting, I would say their plan is doomed to fail. However, unless this season is headed towards a Green Arrow reveal, I could see this plan ultimately succeeding. Although, it would greatly behoove them to get Felicity’s help.
Emily: It’s obvious Rene doesn’t actually want to testify against Oliver. I don’t understand why he didn’t bring his dilemma to Oliver or the team. Rene and Curtis formulating a plan is something that could have happened before he agreed to testify. With that said, I’m sure it won’t be so easy and I fully expect things to backfire on them.
3. A large portion of “Divided” focused on Cayden James wanting to completely control the Star City docks. It seems reasonable that he wants to transport something into the city and continue doing so over a longer period of time. What do you think he wants to bring into the city?
Dani: I have no idea. For real. Cayden’s plan still is very obscure to me.
Raj: I imagine it is some sort of biological weapon similar to the microwave emitter combined with a drug a la Batman Begins. It would be interesting if Flash or any of the Legends were needed to disrupt this…
Penny: I think he wants to take over the city before he destroys it. It has to be some kind of bomb or something since he wants to see the city burn. (Is it May?)
Natalie: He probably is going to bring in some sort of tech-related weapon(s). We don’t really know much about him or his ultimate plan other than him having a son. I’m hoping for a big reveal revolving around his son and maybe we’ll see more into Cayden’s motives and his endgame for Star City and Team Arrow.
Brittany: That’s a good question. I have no idea. Since Anatoly and Ricardo Diaz have both dealt in drugs in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a part of their operation. But Cayden told Oliver he wanted revenge and the city to burn… so, maybe it’s weapons. The villain team has also been stealing valuable tech. So, it could be something totally different! I would honestly love some more information on the villains and their motives so I could feel more invested in their storyline. What endgame would inspire these very different players to work together? Money? Power? Revenge?
Emily: Whatever it is, I want it to be shocking and unpredictable. I hope we don’t get the typical transportation of guns or drugs. Cayden doesn’t seem like the type to really focus on those things anyway, but you never know. As of right now I’m assuming it will be some form of technology or device, but that’s the only thing I can think of and I’m not convinced.
4. It had been a while since the original team had to operate on their own. Do you think Oliver fighting alone is more effective for action scenes or would you rather see larger fights like we’ve seen more of in recent seasons? Why do you find your preferred approach to action more effective?
Dani: I am a fan of Oliver fighting solo. Season 1 has some of my favorite fight scenes. It’s easy to keep track. Plus, It’s kind of hot.
Raj: It will definitely be more efficient than the bigger team. Oliver, Digg, and Felicity have an unbreakable bond of trust with all they’ve been through. Lots of this season and last had to do with managing the team rather than everyone knowing their roles. With the Arrow trinity restored, they can act with a lot more autonomy and efficiency. This is amplified if Thea or Roy return.
Penny: I love seeing Oliver fight alone or with just Diggle. I think the scenes are more enjoyable, awe-inspiring, and show Oliver as the kick-ass hero that he is. That said, I do appreciate a group fight scene every now and then when it focuses on them using their skills, working together and showing why each team member is needed.
Natalie: I’ve missed just seeing Oliver kick ass on his own. We are way past him operating in the field by himself though. Now that Diggle is fully functional again, I can’t wait to see the two of them in the field together with Felicity in their ears like the good ole days. Original Team Arrow are the heartbeat of this show and I’m really looking forward to seeing them operate alone again.
Brittany: I love seeing Oliver fighting on his own! When the show properly showcases his incredible skills in the field it really is a thing of beauty. Those action sequences are much more engaging to me than the large group ones. But I’m even more excited to see him fighting side by side with Diggle again. The ending scene of this week’s episode was the best part of 6×10 for me. I cheered! Seeing Original Team Arrow back to fighting form and ready for action has awakened a new level of enthusiasm in me for the second half of season six!
Emily: I do really love solo fight scenes, especially with Oliver. He defeated the League of Assassins and spent a lot of time in the Bratva, so my favorite scenes are when he is unmatched in a fight but still manages to tear through them all. I just love seeing his strength compared to others. It makes for some really cool scenes. With that said, I also do enjoy large fights, but I tend to find them more underwhelming because it’s a lot to watch all at once.
5. James apparently has an appropriate time in mind to kill Oliver. When do you think that is? Will it lead to Cayden’s downfall?
Dani: The end of the season? They still have 13 episodes to work with this plot. They have time. Usually, bad guys have a plan bigger than they can handle. Eventually, they make a mistake. Our team usually pay attention to those mistakes.
Raj: Yes, he won’t succeed, but I worry about the side consequences of this plan. It would be tragic if Diggle was killed accidentally (or intentionally) Cayden. It won’t be the reason for his downfall only because I think that will be from insurrection.
Penny: I think he needs Oliver to see whatever plan he has come to fruition and be there to witness it, then he’ll kill him. Ultimately, it will be his downfall.
Natalie: I mean, I think this leads to every villain’s downfall. Slade waited and it was his downfall. Damien Darhk waited and it was his downfall. Etc. But I’m sure Cayden is waiting to reveal something to Oliver before doing so.
Brittany: If Cayden’s real goal is revenge and for Oliver to watch his city burn, then he won’t kill him prematurely. Villains focused on revenge often let their emotions get the better of their intelligence and it can ultimately lead to their downfall. I would personally love to circle back to Cayden’s connection with Felicity. I hope we’ll get more interaction between those two characters in the second half of the season. Cayden’s my favorite villain this season, so I would love to see more of him in general.
Emily: Let me be honest here…Cayden James is just a so-so villain to me. I’m not invested in him or his team yet, so I really can’t say for sure what his plans are. All I know is Oliver is definitely not dying, so there’s that at least.
6. It looks like Thea waking up will be a good thing for Quentin. She offered to help him get through to Earth-2 Laurel. Do you think the two of them together will be successful at reaching her or is that just wishful thinking?
Dani: Wishful thinking. That Laurel isn’t Lance’s Laurel. She doesn’t want to be redeeming. She seeks for blood. Too far gone.
Raj: Wishful thinking for sure. Fake Laurel is a lost cause though I think the way Quentin gets over her is by ending her character arc…permanently.
Penny: I love seeing Thea support Lance but it’s totally wishful thinking. She’s repeatedly kidnapped and hurt them how many times now? She wants Oliver dead. Somebody close has to be killed before they believe she is not redeemable? The only time Malcolm was truly good was when he gave his life (allegedly) for Thea. Honestly, I’m tired of this repetitive drama with Lance. He deserves better.
Natalie: Uhhhh. Wishful thinking. Thea is such a great character and I feel like they are wasting her to prop Quentin and a storyline that is far past its expiration date. I feel for Quentin, I really do. But he is a grown man, and it’s unfair Thea is always used to prop the male characters and never given a storyline of her own.
Brittany: I loved the scenes with Thea and Quentin and I would be very interested in seeing that father/daughter type relationship develop this season. However, the whole “finding Laurel in Black Siren” aspect put a huge damper on my emotions and excitement. That is already a tired storyline. How many times do they have to prove she’s a villain to her core? Hopefully, the result of their mission will be Lance realizing he’s wasting time looking for his “daughter” in Black Siren when he could be focusing on his relationships with the people he still has in his life. Thea, Rene, Sara and Oliver all need Quentin.
Emily: I think this storyline needs to end. It’s tiring to see this being repeated throughout seasons. Lance has become an incredibly boring character to me because of this, and I’m disappointed they are bringing in Thea. It feels like they have run out of side story options for their characters and so they are resorting to this. Laurel is dead, Black Siren has not one redeeming bone in her body, and they will be unsuccessful in their quest to reach her. Can we move on now?! I’m tired!
7. Dinah, Rene, and Curtis formed their own team in this episode. Do you think that will be a long-term change to the show or will the two teams eventually become one team again?
Dani: Eventually they will become a team again, but not through most part of this season. Which is a good a thing. They need to learn some very important things about what being in a team means. Right now they are acting like teenagers who need a good shake from life to understand that.
Raj: They will find that Oliver’s role as a leader is critical. Their first solo mission will endanger someone and I bet that Rene will be the one to make amends.
Penny: I don’t see it as long term. Let’s face it, I don’t think the newbies have what it takes, right now, to make a successful team on their own. They are wrong and they need guidance. Also, the show is about Green Arrow and his team, so I don’t think having two teams is feasible, and I personally don’t want to see two teams.
Natalie: I think it will last for a little bit but from what we saw last night I think they are hinting that OTA will need more manpower to defeat Cayden and Co. I get they are implying that it’s just because the amount of people they need to fight but Original Team Arrow has taken down people like Slade Wilson and Damien Darhk and all of their goons that followed them. I just wish we could see the teams come back together naturally and not making it about how they are incapable of defeating the enemy without one another.
Brittany: I think this is all leading back to the team becoming one unit again. The goal is probably for them to come out the other side of this stronger than ever. However, I’m personally glad this arc looks like it’s going to last for a while because I am loving this return to OTA. Like Oliver said, “This started with you, with me, and with Felicity. Whatever comes our way, we can handle it. I believe that.” I love that song. In the meantime, I hope they are able to make us want the new team members back, because after this episode I’m all too happy to show them the door.
Emily: Definitely not long-term. I hope them going out on their own will teach them some hard lessons. I think they will find it to be harder than they thought without the guidance of Oliver as a leader. They will definitely come to their senses and eventually rejoin Team Arrow, but I’m just not sure when.
Final Verdict: Despite the extremely tired, predictable, and questionable usage of Black Siren, “Divided” was a suspenseful and exciting return to Arrow‘s roots
At the heart of “Divided” was the show’s return to the original Team Arrow. Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity were back together without backup from a larger team. While Dinah, Curtis, and Rene were still very much a part of the episode, most of the action centered on Oliver being out in the field on his own. The action sequences were all a throwback earlier seasons where he was the only muscle in the field. That shift worked surprisingly well after years of the show featuring an increasingly larger team. The action was frantic, chaotic, suspenseful, and refreshingly straightforward.
Cayden James’ plan was left without much in the way of new information. However, we now know that whatever he’s planning involves his full control of the docks. Part of that plan is to kill Oliver at the time of his choosing. That reveal wasn’t particularly surprising or shocking since that’s often the plan most supervillains use. Still, it was nice to have some sort of advancement on that front. The inclusion of several different villains as part of James’ team was also quite effective. That brings us leather-clad siren in the room.
Black Siren. It has become tiresome to list the ways that this character has been overused and played out. She is predictable, lacking in depth, and the majority of her action scenes play out the same way. She drops a one-liner, Team Arrow doesn’t move, Black Siren uses her sonic scream, and escapes. To be clear, none of this is the fault of Katie Cassidy, who continues to do her best with very limited and tired material. What makes all of this worse is that Black Siren is not only directly impacting Quentin’s (Paul Blackthorne) story arc but she’s now impacting Thea’s (Willa Holland). How many times do we need to see characters think Laurel-2 is good only to be double-crossed by her yet again? It’s exhausting. Thea and Quentin deserve better. So does Katie Cassidy.
The midseason premiere of Arrow wasn’t without its flaws. But they didn’t bring it crashing down. Even with the flaws, “Divided” felt more confident and more in line with earlier seasons of the show. With all that being said, having original Team Arrow back in action (even if for a limited time) has helped reinvigorate the show’s action and stakes for the main three characters.