Arrow season 6, episode 11 recap: Reign of terror

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

The latest episode of Arrow saw Cayden James step up his war against Oliver. And Curtis, Dinah, and Rene completed their first mission as a team.

A solid entry into Arrow’s sixth season, “We Fall” introduced several intriguing twists to the Cayden James arc. It delved into James’ (Michael Emerson) motives, put Team Arrow 2 to the test and made Oliver (Stephen Amell) face his shortcomings as a parent. It also added a new dimension to Vigilante’s (Johann Urb) story. It’s only real negative was that it lacked urgency, devoting most of its runtime to table setting. But if the ideas in this episode are executed properly, they could lead to some of Arrow’s most compelling storytelling to date.

The episode opened with Cayden orchestrating a series of small-scale terror attacks across Star City. He used his hacking skills to murder several people remotely, one every 18 minutes. Understanding the seriousness of the threat, Oliver had Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) loop in Curtis (Echo Callum), Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) and Rene (Rick Gonzalez). Curtis tracked down a lead on James and was approached by Vigilante, who claimed to be a double agent. James approached Oliver at City Hall and demanded $10 million a day on an ongoing basis. He also accused Oliver of accidentally killing his son last year.

I was really disappointed to find out Cayden James had such personal motivations for going after Oliver. Since revenge was Prometheus’ whole thing, I was looking forward to a season with a villain who had purely avaricious motives. By making James just another vengeance-hungry lunatic, his character seems much flatter now. Still, I find Michael Emerson’s performance to be compelling. And I like that James promised that he’d break Oliver by the end of the day and actually did. If nothing else, Cayden is definitely one of the Arrowverse’s most effective baddies.

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Dean Buscher Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Dean Buscher Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

“You think this ‘T’ on my face stands for gullible?”

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Felicity learned that a hack she had previously committed was allowing James to wreak havoc. Oliver discovered that his son William (Jack Moore) was the target of an upcoming attack. Using Vigilante’s intel, Curtis and company stopped a train collision. William heroically led his fellow students to safety, but ended up trapped in a fiery school bus. In the process of saving William, Oliver revealed that he had retaken the Green Arrow identity. Curtis revealed where he got his intel and the team split on whether they should trust Vigilante. Oliver publicly rejected James’ demands and established a series of tech-free safe zones around the city.

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While I’m not 100% sold on the idea of two hero teams, I did enjoy seeing how the new trio functioned as a group. Despite all their high-minded ideals regarding transparency and unity, they immediately ran into the same trust issues that led them to split from Oliver. Having now learned that quickly resolving a crisis sometimes involves withholding information, Curtis has put himself in Oliver’s position. Hopefully, that will to a greater understanding that will ultimately lead to the reunion.

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

“He just learned that his father has been lying to him for two months.”

Vigilante told Dinah’s team the site of the next attack and they agreed as a group to intercept it. Felicity told Oliver to fix things with William. Team Arrow, Team Not Arrow, and Vigilante were able to stop James’ henchmen from slaughtering civilians. Felicity gave William a speech about accepting that his father is a flawed but ultimately good man. Dinah tentatively renewed her relationship with Vigilante. William told Oliver he supported his decision to resume his secret identity. After learning that James had disrupted electronic communications citywide, Oliver made his first ransom payment.

Although this week’s Oliver/William storyline was wrapped up neatly, I can see it causing problems down the line. Oliver basically taught his son that it’s okay to lie/break the law when you feel you’re right. I can imagine a scenario where William takes that lesson to heart tries to follow in his father’s footsteps. And given his age and lack of training, that story only can end badly.

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Also, I didn’t buy Oliver’s story that he only took up the hood to deal with James. As we saw this week, the chip healed Dig’s injury. And though they aren’t on the best terms, Rene’s group is out there saving lives. Moreover, James is in going after Team Arrow, he’s targeting the city itself. As such, Oliver first priority should be responding to the situation as mayor. I think he’s using the current crisis as an excuse to indulge in his love of vigilantism. And to escape the pressures of being a father. If that’s the case, he’s sure to be in for a painful reckoning before the season is up.  A reckoning that might lead to Oliver laying down his bow and quiver for good.

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