After last week’s excellent episode, Arrow Season 6 continued to improve with an episode focussed on the villain. We review ‘The Dragon’.
It seems like Arrow has finally started to kick into gear. Season 6 has so far been a bit of a mixed bag, featuring a repetitive storyline involving Oliver’s identity and a split in Team Arrow. Thankfully, the last three episodes have really hit the mark and ‘The Dragon’ was no different. The episode offered something unique by switching focus away from Oliver Queen and on to Ricardo Diaz.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t totally sold on Diaz in the earlier part of the season. It seemed to me that he was one of the more throwaway members of Cayden James’ crew. But, once Diaz removed James from the picture, he became a lot more interesting.
‘The Dragon’ offered us a glimpse into the brain of the villain, showing us just how he operates and revealing a bit more of his plans. Diaz is a lot different to previous big-bads on Arrow. Rather than destroy Star City, he seeks to rule over a criminal empire.
Along the way, we actually get to see the lengths he’ll go to reach his goals. From his lecture to Laurel about patience (yes, it did sound awfully familiar), to his preparation for being betrayed, it was clear that Diaz had been planning this for quite some time.
We also learn how Diaz became the man he is today. As a child, he was tormented by a bully in the orphanage he grew up in and this has affected him throughout his life. ‘The Dragon’ succeeds in humanising Diaz by demonstrating how he still bears the scars of his past.
Where was Oliver Queen in ‘The Dragon’?
One of the unusual things about this particular episode was the fact that it featured very little Oliver Queen. The only breaks from the Diaz/Laurel storyline were scenes featuring Felicity and Curtis awkwardly trying to work together again.
After the split of Team Arrow, we hadn’t seen the two cracking on with their work at Helix Dynamics, so it made sense to explore the relationship. It certainly wasn’t the most amicable of break-ups, so it was nice that we got to see the two trying to work together.
Oliver himself only appeared very briefly right at the end of the episode. Felicity is watching a news report stating that the Green Arrow was missing and immediately begins to worry about her husband. But, Oliver casually walks in and tells her that he’s very experienced at this and she doesn’t need to worry.
It was actually quite refreshing to see so little of Oliver. ‘Fundamentals’ was an exploration of Oliver’s psyche and, as a result, featured him in almost every scene. Yes, I know he’s the star of the show, but it was nice to have the focus elsewhere for a change.
How does this set up the rest of the season?
By the end of the episode, we discover that Diaz is able to reach his goal. He’s no longer just a small-time mob boss, he’s now a legitimate crime lord and a member of the Quadrant.
The Quadrant is a coalition of mafia families who run organised crime in America, so getting a seat at their table is by no means easy. But, thanks to Diaz’s careful planning, he manages to get where he wants to be. Presumably, this gives him access to even more resources in his efforts to take over Star City.
Hopefully, we’ll learn a little more about The Quadrant before the end of the season. After spending this episode establishing who they are, it’d be a shame for them to never be mentioned again.
While ‘The Dragon’ didn’t quite hit the heights of last week, it was certainly unique. We’ve never really had an episode solely focussed on the villain before and it offered some much-needed development to Diaz’s character. It seems like Season 6 is finally kicking into gear.
Read our review of the previous episode ‘Fundamentals’ here.