REVIEW: Arrow, S6 Ep07 – Thanksgiving

While the majority of The CW’s DC series have been delivering consistently decent Fall seasons, Arrow has fallen way behind in quality. “Thanksgiving” unfortunately continues the trend, providing a very redundant story that ultimately leads to nothing, except for maybe the return of a certain character. Taking place during the Thanksgiving holiday, this week’s episode sees Oliver once again fall under the FBI’s radar, this time going as far as being arrested and processed by the SCPD. Meanwhile, this season’s big bad, Caydan James (Michael Emerson), has some sinister plans of his own and Diggle, a.k.a. the new Green Arrow, is not firing on all cylinders.

Mayor Queen running a Thanksgiving food drive

I’d rather not go much into Cayden James’ plans in this episode, as the result of them only led to him having an intentional face-to-face with Oliver. The main story involving Cayden James was so uninspired and felt so routine. It can basically be summed up as: the villains had to steal something and Team Arrow had to stop them. There was a fake bomb and fake cops involved, but still, the plan really led to nothing except for Oliver and Cayden’s first face-to-face. Nothing more. As of right now I have no reason to fear Cayden James much. He doesn’t seem any more threatening than villains we’ve seen in the past, even with Black Siren on his side.

While Cayden James continues to be a very uninspired and poorly developed villain, the episode did provide some neat character moments that spawned out of their adventure. Diggle has withdrawal from quitting his steroid use, which is only worsened by Curtis’ new prototype tech injected to help Diggle’s condition. This leads to him officially hanging up the hood, at least briefly, resulting in Oliver donning the hood once again to take down Cayden James’ minions. I particularly enjoyed the heated exchange between Oliver and Diggle after Oliver found out about Diggle’s nerve damage. The altercation served as a pivotal point for both Oliver and Diggle, as Oliver ended up coming back to Diggle and thanking him for becoming the Green Arrow in his absence. Then Diggle opened up about his selfish intentions in wanting to be the Green Arrow for himself.

Another altercation occurred in “Thanksgiving,” but this time between Felicity and Curtis in regards to their new startup. If I were Curtis, I would be having a lot of second thoughts regarding going into business with Felicity. Apparently she picked the name Helix without his consent and has taken on the bulk of the work without his input. By the end of the episode they do resolve things, but Felicity still used a lot of their startup money on bailing Oliver out of jail following his arrest. This fact is just brushed off as a gag nearing the episode’s conclusion, but if I were Curtis I’d still be pretty upset, even more so than I was before. Hopefully, this is addressed later in the season.

Black Canary and Wild Dog

Other than those two moments I just mentioned, “Thanksgiving” really didn’t have much going for it. Cayden James is a weak villain, I don’t care for Oliver’s relationship with his son, and the action wasn’t all that exciting. Arrow‘s fight scenes and action set pieces have been feeling very samey lately. There have been several times where we are shown a somewhat long shakey-cam tracking shot that bounces from character to character as they fight their way through a slew of bad guys. Sometimes this has worked this season, like in the episode “Deathstroke Returns,” but other times it comes off as messy and boring. “Thanksgiving” was one of those cases where it came off as messy and boring. If you’re going to give me a subpar story at least deliver on the action.

It’s a shame how bad this show has gotten this season. I had thought season five would have been Arrow‘s low point, but season six seems to be trying its best to be just as mediocre. I really hope this show improves and delivers some worthwhile stories with actual compelling villains, because it has served as the foundation of the The CW’s DC TV universe and deserves to be up there with its peers. Also, I still really like the majority of the characters, including newer faces like Dinah Drake.

I take comfort in knowing that we’ll be taking a break from Arrow‘s mediocre main story next week as the show will crossover with The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow in the four-episode event “Crisis on Earth-X.” Hopefully, the event is as good as it appears to be and Thea Queen is maybe forced back into action as Speedy. Although it may be too soon after awakening from her coma to get back into some super heroics.

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