Welcome back to Bleeding Cool's continuing look at the seventh season of the CW's Arrow. After taking a back seat to the ladies last week, Oliver and company are back in the forefront this episode, particularly Oliver and Diggle. It's a nice return to the earlier seasons, before Oliver put together a JV squad to come off the bench and help out from time to time.
It also gives us a chance to flip the script and let Diggle deal with his daddy issues for the first time on the series…
Arrow s07e19 "Spartan": ERNIE HUDSON ("GHOSTBUSTERS") GUEST STARS — After the Ninth Circle delivers a major setback for Team Arrow, Diggle (David Ramsey) reluctantly reaches out to a Four-Star General of the Defense Intelligence Agency (guest star Ernie Hudson) for help, despite unresolved tension from their past. Meanwhile, Oliver (Stephen Amell) discovers a piece of information that he believes will turn Emiko (Sea Shimooka) against the Ninth Circle. Alena (guest star Kacey Rohl) returns with an interesting proposal for Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Avi Youabian directed the episode written by Benjamin Raab & Deric A. Hughes.
When the 9th Circle steals 1) an ARGUS database, 2) the Archer program, and 3) a bio-weapon, Diggle turns to a contact in intelligence to help Team Arrow figure out what the 9th Circle is up to and find them before the terror organization can destroy the city. The contact is General Stewart, who I'm sure is in no way related to Green Lantern John Stewart – but he is related to Diggle. In fact, he's Diggle's step-father.
Stewart raised Diggle to believe that his father died a hero. That was a lie. Diggle's father was negligent, killing himself and a number of his squad members. The only reason anyone got out of the situation alive is because of Stewart, who was promoted for his actions. When Stewart married Diggle's mother, he made Diggle and Andy perform spartan military survival exercises to toughen them up.
Stewart lied and let Diggle hate him so that the boy could have a hero to admire and whose footsteps he could follow.
Wow. That's messed up.
Explains why Diggle's family connections are messed up, now and in the future… but more on that in a moment.
The relationship between Diggle and Stewart felt authentic, given the stories we've been told in this episode. Ernie Hudson is always reliable as an actor. The scene where Stewart gives up the codes to the bio-weapon so that Dante will stop torturing Diggle felt like it came a little too quickly/easily, but whatever. It was worth it to see Stewart cut through a zip tie with a shoelace.
Oh, and his words to Diggle as he struggled against the restraints?
"You're not going to will those into breaking."?
Sure that was totally not a Green Lantern allusion…
Just when Alena has news of a buyer for the Archer program, Virgil and the 9th Circle come along and steal it. Felicity has a crisis of conscience about the tool she built to save the world being used to potentially destroy it. Has no one ever told Felicity about a hammer. It's a tool. It can be used to build or to tear down. Archer is no different. When she can't get control of the program back from the 9th Circle, Felicity sets the program to destroy itself.
Alena to the rescue! She has a drive with Archer's root programming! They can rebuild it – but Felicity refuses: her legacy is going to be a tool that can only be used for good and never as a weapon (apparently she still hasn't learned that a tool is a tool and how it is used is based on the intentions of the person using said tool).
We know that Galaxy One is using a version of the Archer program in the future. Based on the look Alena gave the drive with the root program, I'm guessing she ends up selling it to the highest bidder anyhow.
I never have trusted Alena.
Have I mentioned that?
Oliver's big plan to tell Emiko that Dante had her mother killed didn't go as he had expected. Oliver spilled the beans to Emiko – but instead of sobbing and running into Oliver's arms in a "thank you for showing me the way, male hero who fixes everything," she left the fight with Dante. Sure she killed him later, but it wasn't the break from the 9th Circle Oliver was hoping for.
In the future, Felicity needs a new power source so she can investigate the helmet they took from the Galaxy One soldier. Mia knows where to start looking for one, and Conner rides shotgun – lucky for her that he did. The power source they need is with the Deathstroke gang… and Conner just happens to have a cool Deathstroke tattoo that only shows up under black light.
I want one of those.
The leader of the Deathstroke gang is JJ… as in, John Diggle Jr., Conner's adopted brother and best friend. JJ joined up with the gang just to get under his parents' skin at first, but then it sorta stuck. Conner is the constant reminder of the person Diggle and Lyla wanted both their sons to become. The whole family drama with Diggle and Lyla adopting Conner – who is Bronze Tiger's son on the show – and with JJ becoming the new Deathstroke just gets curiouser and curiouser.
What did you think of this week's Arrow?
Glad to see the OG Team Arrow of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity back in the spotlight together?
Are you okay with how the present and future timelines don't seem to be converging or coming to a joint resolution with only a handful of new episodes left this season, or is it time to start pulling those together?
Have you figured out the 9th Circle's season ending plan beyond just "terrorize the city"?
Is there a plan beyond that?
Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below!
Arrow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT on the CW – and next week, a modern-day Roy Harper returns. Maybe we'll learn why he ended up on Lian Yu in the future timeline during this season's premiere…
Arrow s07e20 "Confessions": ARSENAL RETURNS TO HELP THE TEAM — When they learn of an upcoming attack on the city, Team Arrow calls Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) to help them stop the Ninth Circle. However, things go awry and there is massive collateral damage. As Captain of the SCPD, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) investigates what happened in an episode that takes on a true crime narrative and tone. Tara Miele directed the episode written by Onalee Hunter Hughes & Emilio Ortega Aldrich.
CW's Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific, Katie Cassidy as Laurel/Black Siren, Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, and Kirk Acevedo as Ricardo Diaz. Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Beth Schwartz, and Sarah Schechter serve as executive producers.