REVIEW: Arrow, S6 Ep09 – Irreconcilable Differences

Following the events of “Crisis on Earth-X,” “Irreconcilable Differences” picks up with Oliver and Felicity celebrating their recent marriage with friends and family. All seems well during these festivities until some shocking news is dropped by Quentin Lance. It turns out someone on Team Arrow has vowed to testify against Oliver. This latest betrayal coupled with the continued presence of Cayden James and his sinister plans doesn’t make for an easy week in the life of Star City’s hooded hero.

Felicity’s parents drop by

“Irreconcilable Differences” starts off pretty strong, showing us the lighter side of Team Arrow’s life as they celebrate the love of Oliver and Felicity. The reception is filled with some humorous moments, as well as some slightly heartbreaking ones manifested through Curtis, as he reminisces about his ex-husband. The momentum built by the episode’s opening is quickly shot down as the story comes into play. Oliver doesn’t take any chances with his team, immediately spying on them, after discovering that one of them plans on testifying against him.

This latest story of betrayal could have been so much more compelling than what we got, but seeing Oliver yet again becoming mistrustful of his peers seems a little redundant. The reveal that Rene is the one that is set to testify is definitely surprising. However, it would have been surprising if any one of the members of Team Arrow decided to do what Rene is doing. Rene does have a good reason to do what he’s doing, involving the custody of his daughter. Despite feeling initially betrayed, even Oliver understands where Rene is coming from and allows him back on the team to finish off their current mission involving Cayden James.

Once again Cayden James proves to be a pretty bland villain, forcing Team Arrow to steal some MacGuffin from A.R.G.U.S. in order for him to blow up Star City… or something. While Michael Emerson does a decent job portraying James as sinister and calculated, James still doesn’t come across as compelling as other villains from Green Arrow’s past. He’s just another bad guy doing bad things, with seemingly no real motivation.

Following the mission, which failed due to James’ knowing Team Arrow’s plan from a hidden camera left in the Arrow Cave, Rene is officially kicked off the team for going against Oliver’s orders in an attempt to save Lance from Black Siren. This event results in the further dismissal of other Team Members as both Dinah and Curtis quit for being spied on. These events definitely put the team in some new territory. Splitting them up will most likely make them weaker when faced with James’ newly formed Legion of Doom consisting of himself, Black Siren, Vigilante, Anatoli, and Richard Dragon. That being said, it feels like we can definitely predict where the series will go when it returns in January. Team Arrow will be broken for a few episodes, but will ultimately get back together to defeat this new threat.

While “Irreconcilable Differences” was another dud of an episode, there were few deep and interesting moments between certain characters. Curtis feeling remorseful over his time with Team Arrow and the loss of his husband, shows us that while things may seem well on the surface, these characters are still heavily affected by moments from their past.

Oliver is betrayed

This is also evident in Black Siren, surprisingly, as she forms a bond with Quentin Lance and ultimately sets him free. This could be due to the Quentin Lance of her Earth dying when she was very young. She now has a chance to help the father she never could help before. Black Siren seems to be lightening up a bit, which will certainly throw some kind of wrench in Cayden James’ plans in the future.

Also, while she didn’t add much to the episode, it’s still really nice to have Thea back on the show. Hopefully, she fully recovers soon and decides to don the old red hood at least one more time.

Overall, “Irreconcilable Differences” was pretty boring for the most part and even its action scenes couldn’t save it from being just a dull mid-season finale. Arrow really needs to step its game up if it wants to contend with the quality of its sister series like The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. The characters are still the best part of the series itself, but this season’s story just feels generic, as does this season’s big bad.

 

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