‘Arrow’ 6×01 Review: ‘Fallout’

There’s nothing better than a clean slate. A new season. A fresh start. Where a 3-13 season isn’t necessarily forgotten but pushed aside as optimism for redemption clings to you like a leech. The past is never forgotten, not really. But every season provides a new chance to find success where you didn’t necessarily find it in the season before.

No team is perfect. There are some seasons worth remembering for life, and others that you want to bleach clean from your memory. But the great thing about a new start is that you never know quite what to expect. Even though you might be likely to cling to the previous season’s woes, the truth is that sometimes people can surprise you.

That’s exactly the feeling I got with Arrow’s season 6 premiere, which felt in a lot of ways, as it was supposed to, like a fresh start and a new chapter in this series. Arrow’s fifth season is one I’d like to bleach from my memory. While it had its moments, it never really managed to grasp onto something worth remembering, other than Josh Segarra’s memorable run as Adrian Chase. It was inconsistent and frustrating as it left some loyal viewers, who have grown to know, love, analyze, and truly understand this series and its characters (like myself), irate after feeling betrayed by inconsistent and out-of-character storytelling.

The good thing is that Arrow really redeemed itself in the final episodes of season 5. And much like a hot streak at the end of a football season can send you into the offseason feeling hopeful for the future, I left season 5 with the same feeling with Arrow.




One of the things I really enjoyed about Arrow’s season premiere was how the flashbacks served a significant purpose. They’ve always been one of the weaker links of the series, and since the “island” flashbacks have officially come to an end, we don’t have to be subjected to forced and sometimes baffling explanations as to how those flashbacks somehow connect to the present day story.

But the flashbacks in this premiere were some of the best they’ve been. Because they worked as puzzle pieces to answer the many questions and mysteries that centered on the fallout of the season finale.

Regarding the season finale fallout, some questions were answered pretty quickly, like the fates of Diggle and Felicity (who obviously were never and will never be killed on this show). Some questions were answered a little later on, including Thea’s questionable fate and the mystery surrounding Quentin shooting Black Siren and leaving her for dead on Lian Yu.

“Fallout,” as its name indicated, focused on how everyone’s lives have been affected since the explosive events on Lian Yu. And while it still feels like there’s too many characters and not nearly enough time to appropriately give them all a focus, there were some really interesting new and old dynamics that this hour introduced.

It’s refreshing to start a new season feeling hopeful about what this season can be. I feel like a big part of that for me is the focus on family dynamics, including the future of Olicity, Oliver and William, Quentin and Black Siren, Rene and his daughter, and other relationships that really hit that heart element that have long defined Arrow as a success.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not the action sequences that bring us closer to the show. It’s the characters. It’s the moments that make this world feel so palpable. It’s the emotions that define us in life and we imitate in art.

I have to admit, I was impressed with Arrow’s season premiere. With that monster cliffhanger as Oliver’s vigilante lifestyle was exposed, it really feels like Arrow is making a promise to really go after it this season. They’re going for the deep ball on this one. Let’s just hope the quarterback and receiver are on the same page.

Let’s break this down for the first time this season!

Oliver Tackles Fatherhood

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Well, there’s no secret that I wasn’t really a fan of this whole Oliver and William storyline last season. Perhaps it was how most of season 5 lacked any sense. But this episode might’ve tipped the scales a little for me in terms of bringing William onto the show.

The thing that’s immediately clear in Oliver’s new role as father is that there’s a tension there between the two, stemming from William’s behalf. Oliver checks in on him, tries to talk to him, but he gets shot down with things like, “Goodnight Oliver.” Ouch. That one hurt.

Throughout the entire episode, we find Oliver struggling with what to do with William. And surely this has been going on for the past five months, which has got to be incredibly frustrating for all parties. Eventually, Oliver learns that William believes that Oliver is the “Bad Man,” the man responsible for his mother’s death. Yeah, Samantha is dead. No surprise there.

So how can Oliver be the father his son needs him to be?

After some conversations with fellow fathers, Quentin and Slade Wilson, Oliver learned that the best thing for him to do was to just be a father to his son. What does that mean exactly? That means he has to just be there for him. Let him know that he’ll always be there for him. Even if he doesn’t like him. That won’t change anything. He’s not going anywhere.

Which brings us to Oiver’s speech to William, which brought on all of the emotions:

“I know the last few months have been difficult and I know you blame me for part of that. I used to blame my dad for things and he wasn’t perfect, but he loved me. Your mom loved you, and the last thing she asked of me was to take care of you. I’m going to be there for you whether you want me to be or not. I am never, ever walking away from you.”

While I wasn’t a fan of this storyline, I’m looking at what this can do for Oliver as a person as a way to embrace it. It’s funny to look back on Oliver Queen when he was a billionaire playboy with no responsibilities. Now he’s a father and a superhero. So much responsibility, and it’s made him a better man.

So if there’s something to come out of this focus on family this season, in Oliver’s case, it’s that being a father and everything that comes with that will make him a better man. And his family should feel a little more whole once Felicity joins it.

Olicity’s Future

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Oh, how I’ve missed my sweet babies. And, oh, how I will never cease to be surprised by just how much chemistry Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards have. Seriously, every moment is a moment. No matter how small. I love that so much. Damn, it’s good to have Olicity back.

In the season premiere, we learned that (of course) Felicity didn’t die on Lian Yu. But we also learned that after sharing a kiss on Lian Yu, Oliver and Felicity hadn’t jumped right back into a relationship. And actually, I liked that. Because then we wouldn’t have gotten to see the development that happened off screen.

I feel like we’re finally getting what we were robbed of between seasons 2 and 3, which is to really explore their relationship as they’re getting started. Or, in this case, started again.

Little things like Oliver inviting Felicity to dinner, Oliver and Felicity talking to each other, like Oliver opening up to Felicity about his parenting struggles and other struggles. That’s the kind of stuff that, as a fan, I want to see rather than hear about. It’ll make their inevitable reunion (wink) more satisfying because it’ll feel earned.

While Oliver and Felicity aren’t technically a “couple” right now, that’s because they both understand the importance of William’s introduction into Oliver’s life. It just seemed too soon to thrust that relationship onto William’s plate, given his mother’s death. But it was as clear as day that the love and respect and admiration for one another continues to thrive in all of its glory.

I feel like a big part of that was the rocky relationship between Oliver and William. How could Oliver, when he doesn’t feel he’s doing right by his son, introduce Felicity into his life? And the wonderful thing is that both Oliver and Felicity understand that. Which means that they had a discussion about it, which is what they didn’t do the last time this William thing reared its head. They both promised to work on communication and clearly that’s something that, while offscreen, has certainly developed once again.

We’re getting the cute flirty moments, we’re getting team members leaving the room to give Oliver and Felicity “a moment.” Everyone knows it’s just a matter of time. And, in the meantime, we’re just going to enjoy all of the amazing chemistry, flirting, and defining moments that have made Olicity what it is today. And what it will continue to be in the future.

What Happened to Diggle?

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It took all of 30 seconds into Arrow’s season 6 premiere for the show to let us know that John Diggle was alive and well. Well, alive at least. The well part is not so much true.

We’ve been told that the explosion on Lian Yu has and will affect everyone in a unique way. I wasn’t really sure what Diggle’s struggle was until Team Arrow took on Black Siren and her mercenaries. He aimed a gun at the enemy, but he couldn’t fire it. Was there something wrong with the gun? Or was there something wrong with John? It nearly cost Rene his life in the process, something that clearly was running through Diggle’s head. Because later on, he opted to remain behind in the bunker while Felicity went in the field to help work her technological magic.

At first, I thought something was going to happen to Diggle because he remained behind. But it was the something that had already happened that forced him to remain behind. When Black Siren and her mercenaries attacked the bunker, Diggle didn’t fire a single bullet. Instead, he used an explosive arrowhead to buy himself some time before the team returned to help.

Dinah, being the perceptive person that she is, noticed that not a single shot had been fired from Diggle’s gun. And that’s because, as we saw, as Diggle was fleeing the island as it was exploding, he seemed to get hit in his right shoulder area with a piece of shrapnel. Though we didn’t actually see it fully happen, but that’s what it looked life both times.

So it seems as if Diggle is physically impaired by the injury, and perhaps a little mentally scarred, as well. Diggle refuses to acknowledge that there’s a problem, no surprise. But it’s only a matter of time before his secret gets out, or worse, his arm gets worse and it puts someone in danger again.

Quentin & Black Siren

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I have to admit, one of my favorite things about Arrow’s season 6 premiere was the dynamic between Quentin and Dinah, but more specifically Quentin and Black Siren, which really shone a spotlight on the theme of “family” for this season.

The first moment we find Black Siren, she’s blowing up the Star City Police Department. Obviously the connection there is Quentin. But also Dinah. And while it’d be easy to assume that Black Siren was doing it because she’s merely a villain doing villainy things, the meaning runs much deeper than that.

We spent most of the hour wondering, as Quentin and Dinah exchanged guilty looks and spoke of Black Siren, what the hell happened between them and Black Siren back on Lian Yu. The flashbacks eventually unveiled that mystery as we saw Black Siren about to slit Dinah’s throat, and Quentin, without a thought, shot Black Siren and left her for dead.

But she’s not Laurel, you say. Yes, that’s true. But it’s also not that easy. This is someone that looks like, sounds like, but doesn’t particularly act like Quentin’s Laurel. And given the shock of Black Siren’s existence now on Earth-1, it’s an overwhelming emotional thing for anyone to face. Especially Quentin Lance, who has dealt with heartbreak almost as much as Oliver Queen on this show.

So why is Black Siren in Star City? While the background information tells us it’s to exact revenge on Quentin, once again you can’t overlook a villain’s motive. Remember, the villain is the hero of their own story. So Black Siren might be having a little fun playing with Quentin’s emotions, but there’s definitely something else afoot.

Anytime Paul Blackthorne and Katie Cassidy are on screen together, it’s magic. They have an amazing rapport that has always been some of their best scenes on this series. You can feel the raw emotion. They play so well off of each other. It’s really going to make this storyline an intriguing one to watch.

Here, you have Quentin guilting himself into pain for shooting someone that was threatening to kill his friend. But Quentin can’t help the guilt over shooting Laurel and leaving her for dead. Perhaps he can’t separate the fact that Black Siren isn’t Laurel. Maybe that doesn’t matter to him. Regardless, this is definitely something that’s not going to be easy for him to overcome.

While many people were expecting Black Siren’s storyline to center around the redemption of the Earth-2 doppleganger, Arrow delivered an even better surprise as it introduced what’s sure to be an intriguing dynamic between Black Siren and Quentin Lance throughout the season. And, hey, maybe it will turn out to be a redemption arc. Or maybe it won’t. But the possibility of both are intriguing enough to invest in.

Quentin & Dinah

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Speaking of father-daughter dynamics, another surprising yet satisfying relationship that we see has come as a result of the “Fallout” has been Quentin and Dinah’s friendship. We saw a wonderful moment between the two in the finale, where Quentin saved her life and also gave her the mantle of “Black Siren.” It was small, but it was something.

We saw in the season premiere that their interaction has now grown into friendship. While it’s friendship, you can’t also help but feel there’s a father-daughter undertone to it, as well. And considering the theme of this season is family — both conventional and nonconventional — that’s no surprise.

Dinah has really been a source of strength for Quentin over these past five months. They shared an experience together in Lian Yu, a mystery regarding Black Siren that went unknown for most of the hour, and that bonded them together. We saw Quentin reach out to Dinah when he felt like hitting the bottle. We saw him open up to her about Laurel. We saw in the flashbacks how he once again saved Dinah’s life — even though he had to shoot Black Siren to save her.

There’s just a natural rapport between Blackthorne and Juliana Harkavy, which really made for some great scenes. There’s definitely a bond there that’ll be fun to explore this season, especially as it parallels Quentin’s relationship with Black Siren. How weird, Quentin’s relationship with his doppleganger daughter is uncertain and his relationship with her successor, Black Canary, seems to be encouraging. This whole Quentin-Dinah-Black Siren dynamic will be incredibly fun to watch this season.

What’s Thea Ultimate Fate?

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It was a nice try, Arrow. You almost had us fooled into believing that you would kill Thea Queen. That shot of Oliver leaning over her motionless form on Lian Yu post-explosion was the thing that stopped me dead in my tracks. That was the closest I came to believing that you actually did it. Good on you that you didn’t do it, though.

While it’s no secret that Willa Holland’s stance on the show has gone from series regular to recurring and her storyline not really being done justice, you have to wonder if Thea is nearing her end on Arrow.

Now, end doesn’t necessarily mean death. It just means an exit. Could we be getting something similar to Roy’s exit? Where, while forced, he willingly left to live his life away from Star City? Will Thea just continue to live in a coma until the series finale, when they finally bring her back? Will Thea, who deserves one more than anyone, finally get a happy ending?

With Colton Haynes teasing a return to Arrow, might we see Roy Harper return and kiss his love awake? Might we get the two former vigilantes riding off into the sunset to live a happy, and safe, life away from the bustle of Star City? Like my friend Lizzie said, that would be a fitting exit for Thea.

Thea has experienced enough heartbreak and drama and death that she deserves an out. She deserves a chance to be happy. They all do. But if Arrow doesn’t plan on using Thea as a character, what are they waiting for? Give her a noble and fitting exit. Preferably with Roy Harper.

Oliver Outed as the Green Arrow?

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I miss the moments where Arrow made me audibly gasp in surprise. Where it truly caught me off guard, in the best possible way, with a cliffhanger with substantial influence. When Felicity called Oliver at the end of the hour, I was expecting another beautiful, tender Olicity moment. But it was something else entirely.

Someone had snapped a photo of Oliver, in the Green Arrow suit, as clear as day. And it was all over the news. So, I know Oliver has managed to squeeze his way out of some pretty insane stuff, but how the hell is he supposed to manage this?

Surely, Oliver is going to try to deny that he’s the Green Arrow. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again. Because he doesn’t want to put those he loves in danger, especially now that William is living with him and he has to care for him. So how could Oliver possibly shoot this down? Extremely good photoshop? Halloween come early? A little experimentation?

Well, it seems like we’ve found our central storyline for at least the first half of season 6. And you know what, color me impressed. The producers are really going for it here. Let’s just hope they can deliver. Because my hopes are officially existent.

6 Things About “Fallout”

  1. Did Arrow really have to go that far trying to make us “believe” that Diggle and Felicity were dead? Come on, like Diggle’s fate was known within the first 30 seconds. And Felicity’s not long after.
  2. Seriously, can we please get a bunker where the villains can’t easily find it or break in? For crying out loud, everyone knows where to find the Green Arrow. Kids, you know where to go for trick or treating!
  3. Finally Curtis isn’t as annoying as last season. I feel like they tried to do too much too quick with Curtis. Now, he’s out in the field using tech, which makes more sense than him fighting. Also, his hair even looks better. Guess we have a new and improved Curtis!
  4. God, I’ve missed my babies! Every moment between Oliver and Felicity is a moment. I don’t care what the hell they’re talking about. I’m just mesmerized by them.
  5. What the hell does Arrow intend to do with Thea? Because if Willa Holland is gone, please let her ride off into the sunset with Roy.
  6. Well, Arrow certainly didn’t waste any time dropping its first big cliffhanger of the season as Oliver appears to be outed as the Green Arrow. Even I wasn’t expecting that. I audibly screamed.

Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.



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