With the fallout of Season 5 finally in the rearview mirror, Arrow has returned to The CW for its sixth season. And the best thing about it is that we're only two episodes in, and it's already proving to be one hell of a season.
With Black Siren back, Oliver's identity temporarily exposed and Diggle suffering from the effects of the Lian Yu explosion, it's clear that Team Arrow has a lot to deal with this year. And all of that was apparent in the season's second episode, "Tribute."
Note: Spoilers for Arrow Season 6 will follow.
But the most shocking moment came when the Green Arrow himself, Mayor Oliver Queen, reached out to his teammate (and longtime friend) John Diggle/Spartan, and asked him to replace him as the iconic vigilante. It was an unexpected twist that we certainly didn't see coming, especially as the season has only begun. And if it's executed properly, it will undoubtedly provide us with plenty of juicy conflict going forward.
However, while the moment caught us off-guard during the episode, the idea of Oliver Queen surrendering the Green Arrow mantle isn't exactly anything new. So, with that in mind, let's take a look at if the events of "Tribute" were actually a wise creative choice or if the familiarity of this shock resulted in it falling flat.
Have We Seen It All Before?
Arrow has been on the air for over five years now — and in those five years, it has had its fair share of ups and downs. While there have thankfully been more hits than misses, it's no surprise that in all that time, the show would retread familiar territory — after all, we do that in real life all the time. But we can't help but wonder if revisiting this particular dilemma is a wise move for the series?
During his tenure as a vigilante, Oliver has underwent a significant amount of character development — and that has often resulted in him taking a few steps backwards. While offering Diggle the mantle of the Green Arrow seemed like the perfect creative choice to create conflict between the two characters and drive the story forward, its familiarity risks hurting the show.
Back in Season 3, Oliver gave up his first mantle, as Starling City's dark avenger The Hood/The Arrow, when he joined the League of Assassins to become the next Ra's Al Ghul. While that turned out to be a ploy, we weren't sure of this at the time. And then, when he defeated Ra's in battle, he drove off into the sunset with Felicity Smoak — leaving the dark mantle in the past for good. This ultimately led to the show's colorful downfall in the reviled Season 4.
But after becoming the heroic Green Arrow and saving the newly-named Star City from Damien Darhk, Oliver found himself up against the terrifying Prometheus. Upon finding out that his dark avenging ways in Season 1 were what led to the creation of Prometheus, Oliver gave up the Green Arrow mantle — convinced that he did more harm than good. And this time, his ignorance of his heroic ways really dragged. In fact, it took him until the Season 5 finale until he finally wore the outfit again.
Thus, when you think about it, we only had the Green Arrow back for three episodes before we lost him again. Isn't that a little too soon?
Why This Time Could Be Different
On the other hand, the moment itself was an exciting twist that has great potential for storylines. While Oliver was the only one emotionally affected by the previous times he relinquished the hood, that isn't the case this time. Almost having his secret identity discovered was another familiar situation for the Mayor of Star City. However this time, it prompted him to focus on how that revelation could impact the people in his life — most notably his son, William.
Thus, he took it upon himself to leave the Green Arrow behind. While it wasn't a decision that he took lightly, he relinquished the heroic mantle with the utmost positivity, excited to finally have the chance to be a father to his son. And that positivity sets this apart from the previous time he gave up the hood.
While this season will undoubtedly be filled with heart-warming moments between Oliver and William, his decision to leave the hood behind will also make for some great conflict. And the reason for this is down to John Diggle.
Oliver's offer was definitely the greatest tribute that his bodyguard and friend could have received, but it couldn't have come at a worse time for Spartan. After becoming a liability in the field, Diggle revealed to Dinah that he had suffered nerve damage during the explosion on Lian Yu. And while he initially denied it, being unable to help her during battle was the last straw. With that, he intended on telling Oliver about his injuries. But before he could, he was offered the position as leader of the show's #superheroes.
While Diggle has masqueraded as the Arrow/Green Arrow in the past, the biggest concern here will be whether or not he can do battle — or lead the team — with his injuries. Furthermore, it's pretty clear that Oliver won't be too happy when he finds out. The only question is: Will he find out before it's too late?
The ending of "Tribute" undoubtedly took us all by surprise, but it's not the first time we have seen Oliver give up vigilante life as the Green Arrow. In fact, it isn't even the second time, or the third. While it's hardly anything new, the hopeful tone in his voice really suggests that this time will be different — and that he really is doing it for the right reasons. It highlights a significant amount of growth for Oliver (in the right direction this time) and could make for some really lovely moments between him and his son.
Arrow has shown us in the past how well conflict can work on #TV, and that's exactly what this storyline is going to highlight. Diggle's internal conflicts will undoubtedly manifest as he takes to the streets in the iconic green hood. And I don't think we really have to wonder what Dinah will think about his failure to tell Oliver about his injury.
While we have seen this storyline so many times before, there is enough fresh storytelling involved here to help this time stand out among the rest. But after his last surrendering lasted quite some time, we have to wonder: How long will it be before the original Green Arrow is back in action?
Did you enjoy the shocking twist at the ending of Arrow Season 6, Episode 2? Let us know in the comments below!