This week we not only got the next chapter in the ongoing Andy Diggle; but also got exciting new revelations and face offs as Damien Darhk and Oliver Queen came face to face. Pair this all with some of the greatest actions sequences ever filmed on the show and you have the recipe for quite possibly the best episode this season.
So let’s take a Closer Look at this week’s episode of Arrow titled “Brotherhood” and see what’s in store for the rest of this season as well as the “Heroes Join Forces” crossover event for Arrow and The Flash.
Taking Action To A New Level – The Directorial Debut Of James Bamford:
First off, let’s take a minute to acknowledge that this episode was the Directorial Debut of James Bamford, who is usually Arrow’s genius Stunt Coordinator. Why is this important to point out? Because eve if you didn’t know this episode was Directed by their Stunt Coordinator, it makes perfect sense!
Arrow has always had some great fight scenes and action sequences; but “Brotherhood” took it to an entirely new level. This episode seemed to have more action sequences than non action sequences. From multiple raids on HIVE to massive battles with various different fighting styles, Bamford definitely made this an episode where stunts truly shined. Though the highlight of this episode probably had to be the prolonged fight between Thea and Andy.
I honestly haven’t seen a fight this intense since Daredevil’s famous “Hallway Fight”. Even more impressive was how this fight spilled out from one hallway into a moving elevator and back into another hallway. The choreography, stunts and overall shooting of these extensive fight scenes were truly taken to a new level this episode and we have to give credit where credit is due.
“Brotherhood” – The True Meanings Of Family:
This week’s episode of Arrow focused on the bonds of family – specifically “brotherhood – and as the dust settled Diggle had truly reclaimed his brother; but we’re not talking about Andy. Diggle had long since given up on saving his brother in that he can’t understand why he’d abandon his family. Oliver on the other hand feels he should be given the benefit of the doubt. This whole set up actually mirrors multiple previous story lines.
The most recent of these is the parallel between Diggle and Laurel which was set up in “The Candidate” and then expanded upon again in “Haunted” . Laurel would have done anything for her sister and she did. So when it comes to having a sibling come back from the dead and disovering they were part of an organization of killers, Laurel knows her stuff. Additionally, the Diggle scenario here also mirrors his refusal to accept Oliver’s apology after the events of last season’s finale.
The difference in these situations is of course Diggle’s brother. Unlike Oliver, Andy seems completely unrepentant and its unclear whether he’s still under control or if he’s just that far gone. This additionally explains why Diggle refuses to give his brother another chance. After learning about everything that happened, Diggle feels like the man he would have done anything for – even sacrifice his own life – was a complete stranger to him.
Upon watching the episode under a different lense though, we find out that Diggle does indeed get his brother back: Oliver. Oliver talks about how you should do anything for family; and Oliver has risked everything to help Diggle. Whether Andy’s story is over or not remains to be seen; but as far as this episode goes, we see that “brotherhoods” born from friendship can sometimes be even more powerful than those limited to blood.
Darhk(er) Discoveries – New Threats, Plans & Unforeseen Abilities?:
With Darhk now suspect of Quentin and Oliver challenging him in broad daylight, Darhk is going to become increasingly dangerous over the next few episodes. The midseason finale might have to do with him escalating plans to Phase 2; but despite all the bad did we learn anything good. Well it seems as though Darhk’s powers do not work on Thea. It’s unknown why this is; but I’m willing to bet that Darhk’s touch power drains life-force and with Thea being filled with the bloodlust of the Lazarus Pit, that’s all he was able to absorb.
Though despite these revelations, Darhk is still an unknown. What does he consider more motivating to Lance than threatening to kill his daughter? What does he have planned for the Bay – and does it’s central location hint at what he’s planning? What fraction of his powers have we seen thus far? With this man being able to bend people to his will and make them shells of their former selves; perhaps calling his soldiers “Ghosts” was a little too ‘on the head’.
Panda Theory – What Is G6:5
So this was one of the more subtle and yet purposeful hints in this episode. What were in the military crates marked G6:5. Considering how its annotated, I figured it could be a bible reference to Genesis Chapter 6: Verse 5, which reads: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
On one hand, this episode did introduce us to the mind control pills and that hardly seems like a one-time passing reference. So could Arrow take another page form the Nolan Batman years and have Darhk trying to infect the whole city’s water supply with the drug? Considering an upcoming episode is titled “Dark Waters”, it could be the case.
Although if the Genesis verse does pan out; then it’s important to note that this verse is from the story of Noah. Could those military crates actually be something to induce a flood. Is this why he’s interested in leaving the bay as it is right now? Please let me know what you think of these ideas in the comments below.
Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:
- It’s not an Arrow-verse episode without some reference to the New 52 – the creative team’s favorite comic series and something they’ve drawn inspiration from multiple times. Well this episode had two: Starling Dock Slip 52 and 52 News to whom Oliver gave his final campaign address to.
- While we’re on the subject, “50 or so Ghosts” I’m going to take a wild stab Feliicty and say there’s 52 of them.
- The flashback’s purpose this week also dealt with brotherhood not only Vlad being the brother of the woman Oliver saved; but also how the man who was actually dedicated to Reiter got punished.
- When Diggle says there’s “nothing to compare this too… at least not this week” we get another awesome meta-reference to the fact that the show airs weekly. These meta-references are usually more common on The Flash.
- When Darhk and Thea bumped into each other and he referred to her with “It’s Merida” he was making a reference to the archery heroine from the Disney film Brave.
- Ray Palmer’s final words about not doing the same ineffective things not only hinted at his future role in Legends of Tomorrow; but also at how Oliver is truly sticking to this new Green Arrow/Mayor plan and not just going to go dark again to take down Darhk.
- The Muller Psychiatric Center could be a reference to Otto Muller, from the comics who not only had ties to HIVE but also had a machine that would extract memories from people, leaving them with amnesia.
- Favorite Quotes – Winner: Felicity (Again)
- “I’ve herd of having money to burn, but stealing money to burn… that’s new” – Felicity
- “Well this has to be a better way than how you usually spend your evenings: dressing in leather and tying people up…” – Felicity causes a lady to give Oliver a dirty look
- “Leaving to fight Ras on a mountain top, going undercover with the League Of Assassins, dating the huntress… I’m just listing all the terrible ideas you’ve had over the past 3 years” – Felicity
- “I got that thing… in the whatever… with the what’s it” – Felicity
- “Speedy, Speedy uh… Thea… sorry, it’s a nickname” – Oliver
- “Is everything always this big!” – Ray (Phrasing)
Arrow will be off next week for the Thanksgiving Holiday; but will return December 2nd with Part 2 of this year’s Arrow/The Flash Crossover. After that, it seems as though we’ll be hit with the Midseason. Whatever’s coming up next for the series on its own, we know it’s going to be bad. With Team Arrow having demolished a lot of the Ghosts and Oliver directly calling Darhk out, retaliation will come soon and swift.