Arrow 6×09 Midseason Finale Roundtable

Arrow’s mid-season finale, titled “Irreconcilable Differences,” saw Team Arrow split into two factions: OTA (aka Original Team Arrow aka Oliver, Felicity and Diggle) and the newbies (aka Curtis, Rene and Dinah). It also saw the rise of Cayden James’ posse of villains, who seem to be watching our favorite heroes’ every move.

Since the episode seems to have been met with mixed reactions across the fandom, two of us here at Talk Nerdy With Us, myself and Shadia Omer, wanted to discuss (and vent about) all the key moments from 6×09. Keep reading to see what we thought.

Coming off the high that was the DCTV crossover and how it ended so well for everyone’s favorite couple Olicity, what were your thoughts about the wedding reception? Was it too much or not enough?

Bryna: I have to be transparent. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Olicity wedding at the end of the crossover. First of all, I hate when major moments for characters happen on other shows. So for both Olicity AND WestAllen’s sake, I hated that the wedding took place on Legends of Tomorrow. Second, I kind of hated that they had to share that moment with another couple, let alone stole that spotlight from the other couple in the first place.

THAT BEING SAID, I love Olicity, think they absolutely should have gotten married and deserve to be happy. I’m glad that the Arrow writers took time to show us their wedding reception because, for me, it was actually their moment. Every single part of it, from the bride’s entrance to cutting of the cake to the tossing of the bouquet to the first dance, showed them being happy and in love. I loved every moment of it.

Shadia: For a show like Arrow, watching that wedding reception felt so new to me and so un-Arrow like. Not in a bad way, but just like we never really get these types of scenes. But when Oliver sees Felicity come in with her parents, that slow motion stare was cute but it also felt a bit awkward to watch. Felt like I was watching a rom-com or something for a second. I gonna admit, my stance on Olicity has been on and off and I don’t know how to explain it. Basically, I’m conflicted with them. Sometimes I love them together and sometimes I’m just like ehhh (don’t come at me, y’all) But they are married now, so we’ll see how this thing goes. They both looked stunning, and I think everyone else did as well. Oh, and out of all of the songs in the world they danced to “At Last”? Maybe it’s to symbolize “at last, they are finally married”?

Thoughts on the Oliver + Quinten moment at the reception?

Bryna: This was probably my favorite moment of the entire episode. Seeing Quinten give Oliver the watch his father gave him actually brought tears to my eyes. This surrogate father-son relationship is one of the most rewarding relationships on the entire show because the writers have actually put in the time to develop it over the past six seasons. It feels right that the two of them would be in such a good place at this moment in time.

Shadia: That moment was a long time coming. I’m so glad to see that they’re in such a better place now than they were from the start of the show. He’s basically like a father figure to him, and that’s sweet.

The conflict comes when Oliver learns that someone from the team is willing to testify that he is the Green Arrow. Turns out: it’s Rene! Did you see that twist coming?

Bryna: I didn’t see it coming. While it seemed too obvious that it was going to be Dinah, I didn’t see it being Rene. At all. I have been a big Rene fan since he was introduced, and if I’m being honest, this seemed a little OOC for Rene. Yes, he’s reckless. Yes, he acts before he thinks. I mean, his code name is “Wild Dog” for a reason. We saw this yet again in this episode when Rene betrayed Oliver in the field. But I also have a really hard time believing that Rene would sell Oliver out so easily. He cares about the people he loves, which includes all of the members of Team Arrow. I don’t believe that he would give up this second family he’s gained so easily. But what is done is done and I understand exactly why Rene did it. He did it for his daughter and so he could be with her. As a parent, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to protect your child.

I also think this whole betrayal storyline is a little hard to swallow seeing as we never saw a single moment of the action leading up to it on-screen, one of the downsides to the big crossover. How did the FBI reach out to Rene? What kind of evidence exactly do they have of him being Wild Dog? Therefore, this kind of comes off as unnecessary drama rather than important steps in character development and relationship growth.

Shadia: I did not. And to tell you the truth, I was pretty damn bummed they had to do that.

What were your thoughts on how Oliver handled the whole situation regarding Rene’s betrayal? Do you agree with his choices?

Bryna: I thought Oliver handled the whole thing poorly. First of all, the dynamic of Team Arrow has totally changed since the last time he was in charge. Therefore, he can’t just waltz back in, acting all high and mighty, and think that everything would be the same as when he stepped down. Secondly, Oliver admitted that he once did the exact same things that Rene is doing now. So why the hell is he punishing Rene so harshly for putting his family first?

Shadia: Honestly, that whole plot felt so out of character to me. Like it was a complete shift, but Oliver knows that Rene didn’t WANT to do that, and Oliver even stated that he would have done the same for William and if he was in that position. But like, it just felt really cold. I felt bad for Rene, I was starting to like him and I know most fans of the show don’t really like him. But I don’t know how this will lead to be.

Despite an episode where everything should be all sunshine and roses, there is a lot of tension brewing, especially between OTA and the Newbies. Was OTA in the right or the wrong when they chose to spy on each one of the newbies?

Bryna: As much as I love them, OTA was totally in the wrong. Why wouldn’t they confront the newbies first before going to such lengths to spy on them? Ever since Rene, Curtis and Dinah each joined the team, they’ve sacrificed a lot, both personally and for the team. During Oliver’s absence, especially, we’ve seen Curtis, Rene, and Dinah step up in new ways, and that has resulted in them feeling more ownership over Team Arrow. If I was in the newbies’ place, especially now, I would have a hard time trusting OTA after they spied on me.

Shadia: Again, I felt like that whole thing was just out of character for OTA. But spying on them like that so quick felt wrong to me. I wish they had approached them in the right way.

The episode ends with things clearly being split between the originals and the newbies. Thoughts on the split? Does this split help or hurt Team Arrow in the long run?

Bryna: This break up hurts a whole hell of a lot and just really makes me depressed. Yes, OTA is a fan-favorite. But the new team also has grown to hold a special place in my heart. I think, in the long run, it will help Team Arrow because, when they inevitably come back together, they will trust each other with all of their hearts and souls. In the mean time, though, this separation is going to be hard on both factions, especially OTA considering Diggle is still “injured” and Oliver is still under investigation by the FBI in addition to lying to William.

Shadia: I love OTA, I really do. Because you know, it all started with them. But the newbies did also sacrifice a lot for the team and did what they could do to be apart of the team. I think Oliver should have had a little more faith in them, they’ve done alot of favors for him and they could have settled it all with a complete conversation. I just hate that it had to come to this, having Rene be the one to rat the team out when he could have confronted him in the beginning. It could have been avoided. Plus, like Bryna said, where the heck did this “solid case” come from? We didn’t see any on screen proof. I hate when all this huge stuff happens off screen. Like we wanna see it, too!

I think now there is a huge raft between OTA and the newbies. I was kind of disappointed in Diggle for looking the other way on Dinah, when she kept his secret about his trimmers. I don’t think the newbies will be back now. But now with Rene testifying, who knows how this will end up. Orrr, maybe he won’t?

What did you think about Black Siren’s “redemption”?

Bryna: I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this whole storyline. On the one hand, I kind of love seeing this weird connection and dynamic between Black Siren/Evil Laurel and Quinten. Prior to this, there hadn’t really been any indication that Evil Laurel gave a damn about him before. But it became clear, as Quinten begin to break down her walls, that she actually cared a lot. On the other hand, will Black Siren really reach redemption? And if she does, what does the aftermath of that look like? Will she just naturally become a part of the team? Will she become even closer to Quinten, and, dare I say it, even start to see him as a father figure?

Shadia: I thought it was heartfelt. There was definitely a bond between Lance and Black Siren. Then her letting Lance escape pretty much proved that she has a soft spot for him now. I would like to see Black Siren redeemed. That would be nice to see.

Turns out Cayden James has a team of his own. Were you surprised by his evil posse? 

Bryna: I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the fact that Cayden James has his own evil posse. But I was surprised by two things: one, that he had Black Siren place cameras in the bunker and two, who was in his evil posse. When it was revealed that James knew the nano-aluminum amplifier had been tampered with, I had no idea how he had figured it out. When I saw that, in addition to Black Siren, James’ posse includes Anatoly, Vince and Ricardo Diaz, I was shook. This evil posse has the potential to become a really strong storyline and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

Shadia: Mmm, not really. I think he’s up to something wild and he wanted more people on his team with different types of abilities that can help him move his grand plan forward. I was disappointed by the vigilante reveal and it didn’t make sense to me in being someone we did not know of. But I guess now it makes sense that his plot on the show wasn’t just for the sake of having another bad guy.

Thoughts on what is to come in Season 6B?

Bryna: The point of midseason finales is to setup what’s going to happen in the second half of the season. It’s clear that Cayden James’ evil posse is going to help him destroy Star City. It’s clear that James’ intentions is to turn Team Arrow against each other rather than him and his posse. It also seems like the only way to be successful against James in the end is going to be for the Team Arrow to fully reunite. I’m curious to see how this all plays out along the way. Regardless of it’s predictability, it should be an interesting second half of season six.

Shadia: Honesty, I feel like it’s going to be a mixture of things. With the newbies gone and OTA left to being on their own again, I wonder how long it’ll take for them to combat this problem they have with Cayden James. I wonder how things will be now with Oliver and Felicity being married, maybe it won’t be that much of a change, but I’m always curious. I feel like we will learn more of what Cayden has planned, he seems to perfectly have it planned for now but it’s not just him as well.

Arrow returns on Thursday, January 18th at 9pm.

Photo Credit: The CW

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