This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out the previous review here.
Like most comic book villains, Cayden James enjoys toying with those who mean to stop him, but if “We Fall” is any indication, he’s done playing with his food. For those who may have forgotten, this week’s episode goes out of its way to remind us many times over what’s motivating Cayden. He believes that Oliver is responsible for the death of his son via an arrow that missed its course. There’s just one little hole in this notion – Oliver wasn’t in Star City at the time of the murder. He was off recruiting Dinah to become the new Black Canary. Strangely, super villains don’t much care about reason. Even the smart ones.
Arrow has historically followed a trend where an ominous title means a devastating episode, but it turns out the “fall” here means something a little different. As a matter of fact, “We Fall” manages to be the best episode this season while still keeping up with all of the fractures happening within Team Arrow.
We’ll start with Vigilante, because for the longest time he was the enigma of the show. If you’re a villain who turns out to be a good guy who then turns out to be a bad guy but is actually just playing the other team to get intel for the heroes, does that make you a triple agent? Quadruple agent? Even after Vince gives the B Team (they’re calling themselves New Team Arrow, but we all know what this is) information on the train crash, Dinah isn’t ready to trust him again. The girl’s trusted him too many times, and she’s not about to be played twice. All of this is a reasonable response to the man you love becoming a potential super villain, but she gets a pass not because of that, but because she stopped a train with her goddamn Canary Cry. Black Canary has been given very little opportunity to show off what a badass she is, so it’s nice to see this split is leading to them playing with both teams.
Whose side is Vince really on? Despite the fact that he saves Rene’s life later in the episode, I’m still not sold on him playing it straight, but we’ll see.
Felicity Smoak has spent the better part of the last three years of Arrow crying. This has caused a lot of annoyance among her critics, but that annoyance doesn’t hold a candle to the frustration of her fans. Felicity Smoak is the smartest person in any room at any time. Yes, that’s including Cayden James, you just give it some time. She’s a qualified badass who has been reduced to a weeping mess for far too long and it is so, so nice to see the show going back to what makes her great. Star City’s babbling, brilliant, Bitch with Wifi is dealing with a new task in “We Fall”, though. She has to learn how to be a mom.
William Curtis has had a hell of a time, and no one was more critical of his introduction than me. Introducing children of any age so often throws off the dynamics of any given show. Add that to the fact that when William was first introduced his sole purpose was as a tool for drama and you’ve got a lot of resistance to the character coming into the show full time. But, let it never be said that I am not capable of eating crow. Introducing a son into Oliver Queen’s life is one of the best things Arrow has done, and “We Fall” really took the time to delve into the character. They seem to have bypassed any “you’re not my mom” drama and moved right into William and Felicity trying to figure out their relationship.
More importantly, they’re taking time to figure out where the kid fits in this world. William made his dad promise that he wouldn’t be the Green Arrow. It’s both a reasonable and selfish ask, but the thing about kids is that they’re allowed to be selfish. It’s complete absurdity to think that Oliver Queen would ever stop defending his city for an extended period of time, but the kid just lost his mother and was terrified of becoming an orphan. Oliver’s been surprisingly good at this whole dad thing thus far, but sometimes you just need a mother’s perspective. Even if that perspective is coming from someone with absolutely no idea how to be what either her husband or new son needs.
While Oliver, Dig, and the B-Team are in the field ensuring the civilians Mayor Queen stupidly wrangled into one place are all safe, Felicity lets William in on a few tips on how to live this life. She explains that the fear he feels over losing his dad is never going to go away, and that she’s terrified for Oliver every time he goes out on a mission. But that fear doesn’t make the bad guys go away, and their team has work to do.
After seeing his dad in action, and, more importantly, having a heart-to-heart with both of his parents, William comes around to the idea of Oliver being the Green Arrow again. There might be some teenage boy tantrums in our future, but so long as they remain at least somewhat justifiable William can stick around. You know who else can stick around? The B-Team. They’re a little whiny still, but their off-kilter dynamic is working for the time being. It’s by no means a long term deal, but at least it’s new and interesting while it’s going down.
In the end, Oliver wires Cayden ten million dollars as demanded. Star City’s had a lot of attacks over the last six years, so it won’t be able to just hand over money like that too many nights in a row. The good news is that the city won’t be around much longer if Cayden James has anything to say about it. Next week that nifty little bomb he’s been sitting on comes into play, and OTA has to find a way to stop it.
If you had thoughts on the episode, you know what to do!