This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out the previous review here.
This bunker has gone zero days since a team splitting incident. Reset the counter, everyone! Oliver Queen has grown a lot in the past two seasons. He’s learned to listen to other people when they speak, he’s started trusting more, he’s become a great father, and has somehow managed not to blow up Star City. But growing as a person doesn’t mean that old habits are completely out the window, and being more trusting than you were before doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t go off the deep end from time to time.
At Oliver and Felicity’s wedding reception, Quentin breaks the news that someone on the team will be a key witness for the FBI in their case against Oliver. For those keeping score, if Oliver’s convicted he faces life in prison, which is basically the worst honeymoon destination ever. All of this kicks his paranoia into high gear, and unfortunately it ends up being justified. It also ends up breaking the team. Frankly? That might not be the worst thing, despite the fact that it’s not going to stick.
After Original Team Arrow tracks the rest of the team, Oliver kicks things off by going after Dinah for meeting with Vigilante. Now, Vigilante did try to kill him last year, and has murdered a lot of folk, but Oliver quickly forgets who he’s talking to. Dinah Laurel Lance is the first real Black Canary we’ve seen on Arrow, and she doesn’t stand for that kind of dressing down when it’s not deserved. She stands up for herself, but Rene ends up stepping in after he’s had enough. Dinah’s not the traitor, he is.
When this was announced, there was a strange feeling of loss on my part. This is odd coming from the person who spent half of their reviews last year talking about how utterly awful Wild Dog was, but he’s become a sort of endearing presence through his time on the show. The FBI approaches him and tells him that they have proof he’s Wild Dog, and if he doesn’t testify against Oliver they will ensure that he never sees Zoey again. It was reasonable for him to cooperate for Zoey, but less so for him to not tell the team about the situation he’s in. Bonus? We get to see quiet mad Oliver again. Quiet mad Oliver is the best mad Oliver.
Rene’s off the team for a millisecond, but they have to go save Quentin from Cayden James. Because no one trusts anyone anymore, Rene and Curtis break off to go find Lance on their own. It ended up being the right call when things went sideways, but it was still against orders. Orders that Oliver’s cool with him breaking when he trusts him, but that’s no longer the case. Rene’s second chance is over, and so is his time with Team Arrow. The same goes for Dinah, and eventually Curtis, but the two leave of their own volition. That whole trust being a two way street thing is a big pain in the ass for Oliver sometimes.
By and large, “Irreconcilable Differences” is a middling mid-season finale with a few exceptional character moments that help make up for the weak plot (and one that we’ve already experienced, to boot). Felicity gets to spend her honeymoon in a trashcan (which we can all choose to believe is payment for her ruining Barry and Iris’ wedding), Rene gives a heartfelt speech during the wedding reception, and Quentin Lance breaks our hearts, twice. Oliver Queen and Quentin Lance have been down a weird road. They’ve been bitter enemies at least three separate times, and both of the Lance girls have died at least once by being in Oliver’s proximity. Still, Lance now views Oliver as a son, and if that damn watch didn’t choke you up a little you’ve clearly lost your soul after chilling out in the Lazarus Pit one too many times.
Then there was Lance’s scene with Black Siren. Earth One Laurel started off as an exceptional character and then spent several seasons being one of the most unfortunate parts of the show. Fact of the matter is, Katie Cassidy plays a baddie infinitely better than she plays someone sincere, but sometimes she gets to do a little of both. Before Earth Two Laurel was the Black Siren, she was a thirteen-year-old who lost her dad. With Quentin having lost both of his girls at least once (and one permanently), he knows a little bit about all that, and the two share a moment before Cayden’s return. That moment ultimately results in Black Siren letting Lance go. Both of Lance’s great moments this episode lean heavily on the idea that they’re going to be killing him off later this season, so let’s all just hope together that that isn’t what goes down.
“Irreconcilable Differences” closes with the acknowledgment that Cayden James has been watching Team Arrow the whole time. Hopefully Oliver and Felicity haven’t been using the bunker for sex again because that would be awkward. The episode also reveals that Cayden is working with Vigilante (sorry Dinah, can’t catch a break), and confirms his partnership with Anatoli. This weird little band of villains is each formidable on their own, so Team Arrow is definitely going to have its hands full in the latter half of the season.
That’s it for 2017! Thanks for sticking with us through the good episodes and the bad. Hopefully your holidays are just as fun but less eventful than our heroes’, and we look forward to seeing you back in the new year. Arrow’s back mid-January. As always, if you had thoughts on the episode you know what to do!