It’s no secret that I despise New Team Arrow, or New Team Assholes as I affectionately refer to them as. But mostly it’s just Rene and Curtis that seem to be annoying even when they’re not prominently featured in an episode. Dinah, on the other hand, I love. In fact, I feel bad that someone like Dinah has to be associated with these morons. I want more Dinah. Just without the idiots.
Arrow’s latest hour, “All For Nothing,” was a Dinah-centric episode that showed what happens when bad things happen to those that we love. It’s not a new theme in the world of Arrow. We’ve seen it with Felicity, when Oliver “died” in season 3. We’ve seen it with Laurel, after Sara was murdered in season 3. We’ve seen it with Oliver, after Felicity was attacked by Damien Darhk in season 4. We’ve seen it with Diggle, after his brother betrayed him, in season 5.
The simple fact of the matter is that we’d do anything to protect the ones we love. And when bad things happen to the ones we love, we can become unhinged. It’s not something that you can blame the person for. It’s an almost natural response; to want to hurt the person that hurt your loved one.
Love is the most powerful emotion, as Arrow has told us and showed us on numerous occasions. It’s because love can take you to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And when you love someone, all bets are off.
Let’s break down “All For Nothing,” which includes a cruel version of history repeating itself for Dinah, the lengths that we’d go to protect our family, and whether Earth-2 Laurel is capable of redemption.
History Repeats Itself
When we first met Dinah Drake, she was angry; she was grieving; she was lost; she was begging to be found. Oliver and Team Arrow took Dinah in and gave her a purpose. They helped her find her way home again. That dark path that she’d been traveling down, she turned away from. She embraced hope and left the darkness and the fear behind her.
What’s that saying? If we don’t learn from history we’re doomed to repeat it.
That couldn’t ring more true for Dinah in this episode, which centered on Dinah and her relationship with Vince. We got flashbacks of their first meeting five years prior and the mission where it all went wrong. It came full circle. And that’s not always necessarily a good thing.
It’s been a rough go of it for Dinah. Since she appeared on Arrow, she’s had to find a strength within herself, with some help from her new friends, to embrace hope when she’d found the vengeance so satisfying. It wasn’t an easy journey, but Dinah put her faith in the mission and in her team, her family, and was able to become the hero that she had wanted to be.
Just when Dinah seemed to have it all together, Vince came back into her life and with him a flood of emotions ranging from shock, relief, anger, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Dinah put her trust in Vince. Then he betrayed it. Then he showed her that she could trust him; that he was worthy of that trust. And he was. It’s easy to forget, because we haven’t seen a lot of Vince, that he’s not a villain. He was a detective, like Dinah, that fell down a dark path, like Dinah, but, unlike Dinah, didn’t have the right people around him to set him down the right path.
Vince used to be a good guy, a good cop. But he lost his way. Just like Dinah. But Dinah found her way again thanks to Oliver and Team Arrow. Now, Dinah is paying it forward and helping Vince find his way back. Like Oliver, I was cautious to believe that Vince had suddenly turned good. Hell, he tried to kill everyone on Team Arrow. Why should we trust him?
But it’s when you look at Vince and why he’s doing this — Dinah — it’s easy to see that this isn’t a game. That’s what Arrow does best. And Vince proved himself. He proved it last week when he saved Rene (eye roll.) He proved it this week, when he put himself on the line to steal information from Cayden James. Alongside the well-placed flashbacks, it was easy to see the real Vince. A man with honor; a man with courage; a man that loved Dinah. But Vince’s bravery and honor ended up costing him his life. With no fault on anyone. He knew what he was getting himself into. He knew the possible outcomes.
The cruelest part of this entire thing wasn’t that Dinah had to watch the man she loved die. It was that she had to watch him die for a second time. And knowing that, this time, it was permanent.
The first time that Dinah watched Vince die, she turned down a dark path of vengeance that Oliver barely saved her from. This time, Dinah turned to vengeance and vowed to kill every single person that was involved in Vince’s death. Starting with Laurel.
Like I said, if you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.
For the Love of Family
When it comes to the ones we love, all bets are off. It doesn’t matter who you, what you’ve done, or where you’re headed. When you love someone, that emotion affects you. Love is so powerful and dangerous because you can’t always control the emotions that come with it. Sure, the highs are pretty great. But what about the lows? What happens when a loved one is endangered? What happens when a loved one is taken from you?
Love has the power to bring out your best self and also transform you into the worst version of yourself.
Dinah found herself the subject of both spectrums of that love. Reuniting with Vince was able to light up her world. But when she lost him, the darkness was suffocating.
Dinah isn’t alone. She’s certainly not the first person to go to extremes for the person she loves; for her family. Oliver has done it for Felicity (and would do it again); Felicity has done it for Oliver (and would do it again); Diggle has done it for Lyla (and would do it again); Oliver has done it for Thea (and would do it again).
No one is immune to love and its effects. That’s what makes it such a powerful and dangerous emotion.
When something happens to someone you love, you lose yourself. You can become so consumed by anger and vengeance that you forget the person you are; the person your loved one loved in the first place.
It’s expected and okay to have that initial reaction. To want to burn the world down. But how you choose to honor that person is what matters in the end. And for Dinah, she’s going to have to figure out how she wants to honor Vince. By being the killer she once was, or by being the hero he was proud of.
Dinah going back for Vince. Just like Oliver would and has done for Felicity; how Felicity has done the same. How Diggle would and has done for Lyla; and how she’s done the same. Family is family.
Faith in the Uncertain
There are no words to describe the agony that comes with losing someone you love. It’s something that feels like a knife in your heart; like a piece of your soul is missing. The grief that follows
If there’s one person, other than Oliver Queen, that has lost so much, it’s Quentin Lance. He lost Sara, the first time. He lost his wife, via divorce. He lost Sara, the second time. He’s lost countless men on the force. He lost Laurel. And then he had to deal with a villain that was identical to her. No wonder the guy has heart problems.
When you lose someone, you’d like to imagine that you’d see them again. So what it must be like for Quentin to see someone that resembles Laurel, in physical traits, I can only imagine. There used to be this acceptance that this Laurel wasn’t and would never be his Laurel.
But then, Quentin saw hope in a momentary pause on Earth-2 Laurel’s part. And suddenly, Quentin saw an opening for redemption.
More than anything, this is Quentin believing that he can save his daughter; save his Laurel. It certainly doesn’t help that she looks like Laurel and sounds like Laurel, but given how he’s lost Sara and gotten her back, the poor guy can’t help but jump to extremes in this kind of world.
While I continue to question why this show has Quentin convinced that Laurel can be saved, that is the question it continues to raise. Can Laurel be redeemed? It’s a recurring theme this season. It’s not the first time we’ve asked the question, and it probably won’t be the last.
Quentin is so convinced that his Laurel is somewhere inside this Earth-2 Laurel, who has lived a different life with different experiences and different emotions. But what if she’s not? What if Earth-2 Laurel is just destined to be evil? What if she’s destined to be the killer that she’s proven to be?
This show has teased on several occasions that a redemption arc is on the horizon for Laurel. The question is: How do we get there? It just doesn’t make sense when this show has shown us at nearly every turn that Laurel is a killer.
But the thing is: Why does Quentin place blind faith in a person that’s proven again and again that they’re a killer? Why? Because she looks like her? Felicity knew the difference between her Oliver and Nazi Oliver in an instant. It didn’t matter that they looked the same. Yet Quentin can’t do the same?
10 Things About “All For Nothing”
- Petition to rescue Dinah from Team New Assholes. Girl shouldn’t have to breathe the same air as those idiots.
- How painful was that to watch Dinah, again, helpless to save Vince as he was murdered right in front of her. My God.
- Dinah’s going dark. No surprise here. Nice touch with history repeating itself like the first time.
- Felicity comforting Oliver and being intimate and him smiling reminded me of why I love Olicity so much. Felicity always manages to make Oliver smile during times when it doesn’t seem possible. She can always make him forget. God, he’s smitten. God, she’s smitten. God, I’m smitten.
- Oliver and Felicity are going to Aruba for their honeymoon (eventually)! That small moment made me smile.
- How is it that Curtis can be annoying just by standing there with his arms crossed? Can he drop with the holier than thou attitude?
- Thea taking care of business in the mayor’s office. Slay, queen!
- Quentin, don’t do this to yourself again. Your daughter is gone. Don’t try to force this other Laurel to be your Laurel when she’s a different Laurel with different experiences.
- Why can’t Arrow do something useful with Anatoly and make him Oliver’s villain. While you’re at it, make Cayden Felicity’s villain and Richard Dragon Diggle’s villain. Now that I would lose it for.
- So the person that released a photo of Oliver as the Green Arrow is the same person trying to frame Oliver for killing Cayden’s son. So who the hell is this person? And please don’t let it be obvious.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.