This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Check out our previous review here.
We’ve all spent so much time focusing on the thermobaric bomb that Cayden James planned to detonate that none of us took a moment to think about what narrative twists the writers would have in store for Arrow’s current arc. To be fair, the show hasn’t really given us a reason to think any sort of narrative twists were in its future because, well, it hasn’t always been the best. It’s like Arrow saved up five years of predictability to drop this one plot twist.
The basic formula for the episodes lately has been Cayden has a bomb, Cayden is threatening to detonate said bomb, Oliver and the teams placate him for one more day, rinse, lather, and repeat. When “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” started off there was no reason to believe that its story would be any different. But by the end the entire landscape of season six was altered.
Once Felicity and Alena break down the layers of the altered video to prove that Oliver didn’t kill Cayden’s son, the super genius changes his course and decides he wants all of his former cohorts rounded up so he can get to the bottom of the murder. Team Arrow and company manage to wrangle Diaz, Anatoli and Laurel with little difficulty, but they have a strong motivator since Cayden’s still threatening to blow up the city. The only trouble they have is coming from inside the house, unfortunately. Dinah is still hellbent on seeing Laurel die, whether it’s her or James doing the killing.
Once the Canary fight is broken up, Cayden gets down to business with his previous partners. There’s just one small interruption: William. Listen, I know I just got done singing this kid's praises both as a character and a plot device, and he was pretty stupid tonight, but there was at least solid justification behind his actions. Kid just lost his mom to a big ass bomb, it’s reasonable for him to be a little worried about his dad hopping into the same situation. And, as luck would have it, he’s the reason Star City isn’t a crater right now.
Things inevitably escalate with all of the heroes and villains in the same room (with a giant bomb). Laurel decides to push Cayden’s buttons by claiming that she killed his son, but he knows immediately that she’s lying. This instills more hope in Lance that his daughter is still somewhere in there, so get ready for that pointlessly exhausting story arc later on in the season, but for now there’s the issue of Cayden’s detonator shorting out the dampener around her neck that silences her cry. Siren gets free and levels the place, William tries to get the detonator, and things kind of go downhill from there. Things look pretty bleak, but right as Cayden’s about to blow everything to hell Oliver chooses to sooth William rather than trying to fight it. After seeing the moment of hesitation, Oliver’s able to get the detonator and take Cayden into custody.
“The Devil’s Greatest Trick” has a weird beat after Cayden gives himself up, but it manages to work with the narrative the writers are going with. None of Team Arrow (or the B Team) feel like they won after stopping the bomb. Dinah’s still out for blood and hearing no one’s logic, and whoever set everything in motion is still at large. Team Arrow will remain in the dark about who’s holding all of the cards, but Cayden finds out right before his inevitable death.
Diaz pays a visit to the SCPD after Cayden turns over all of the money and tells Oliver where he thinks the rest of his team ran off to. Diaz, the guy who has maybe had ten minutes of screen time this season? Yeah. He’s the one pulling all of the strings, and he doesn’t want destruction. He wants real estate. Why blow up a perfectly good city when you could seize it? And Diaz has had plenty of time to lay roots. Oliver’s still under indictment, the team’s in shambles, and Diaz has the chief of police and several higher ups from the city in his pocket.
With Team Arrow in pieces, Diaz isn’t going to have to try very hard to take over the city, but you’ve got about a month before that happens! Arrow’s on a mini hiatus for the rest of the month, but you know what to do if you had thoughts on the episode in the meantime.