Arrow season 6, episode 12 recap: A hero falls

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Bettina Strauss Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Bettina Strauss Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

A compelling new episode of Arrow saw the team suffer a fatality in their war against Cayden James.

More from CW

After playing with Team Arrow for 11 episodes, Cayden James (Michael Emerson) finally drew blood. The villain actually managed to kill a member of the group, who are still no closer to stopping him. Honestly, I’m divided about this particular development. It was smart of the show to give James more bite and deepen the divide between Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) group and the newbies. But at the same time, the big death felt like it came out of nowhere. I think the producers were aware of the issue because the dreaded flashbacks made a return. Still, I’m curious to see where Arrow takes things now the stakes have been raised.

The episode opened with Oliver and several SCPD officers meeting with a unit of ARGUS soldiers who came into the city via the ocean. Unfortunately, Cayden James anticipated this strategy and slaughtered the soldiers before they got to the shore. Oliver later told Thea (Willa Holland) that paying James’ had nearly bankrupted the city and federal aid was not incoming. At an Injustice League meeting, Cayden told his crew that he sensed the presence of a traitor.

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Bettina Strauss Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

Oliver ambushed Vigilante (Johann Urb) and nearly killed him before being interrupted by Curtis (Echo Callum) and company. The two Team Arrows concocted a plan to infiltrate James’ servers, but it involved Vigilante potentially exposing his cover. Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) told Thea that Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) had been secretly following him. While performing the hack, Vigilante was discovered. However, due to some quick thinking from Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), he was able to talk his way out of danger and complete the transfer. Sadly, James captured Vigilante before you could escape. Meanwhile, a series of flashbacks were shown detailing how Vigilante and Dinah first met.

“He knew what he signed up for.”

James ordered Anatoli (David Nykl) to torture Vigilante for information. Quentin showed Black Siren footage of Laurel Lance to try and turn her but the effort failed. Felicity discovered the location of the James’ doomsday bomb and where Vigilante was being tortured. The two Teams Arrows split on which objective to pursue first. Oliver’s team was unable to secure the bomb because they didn’t have enough ground support. Dinah’s (Juliana Harkavy) team got to Vigilante but discovered they had been led into a trap.

Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Bettina Strauss Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Arrow/The CW, Bettina Strauss Image Acquired from CWTVPR /

James then had Black Siren murder Vigilante right in front of an incapacitated Dinah. Oliver learned that the same person who fabricated evidence that he killed Cayden’s son also leaked the fake photo of him in Green Arrow garb. Quentin was devastated to learn of Black Siren’s actions. Oliver tried to console Dinah but she was too consumed with sorrow and rage to hear him. Instead, she vowed to kill James’ entire crew, starting with Black Siren.

The main reason I think Vigilante definitely came out of nowhere was that he was so underdeveloped as a character. Until being unmasked last season, he was just an anonymous psychopath with a cool costume. The reveal that he was Dinah’s partner/lover added some depth, but not enough to make him feel multidimensional. And then after being depicted as an irredeemable monster, meeting up with Dinah suddenly turned him into an undercover superhero. That’s just too many convolutions for a character that thin. Even with this week’s flashbacks, Vincent the Vigilante never really came into focus. Had he been given more texture in the past, his death would’ve had a lot more impact.

“If it was Felicity or Lyla this wouldn’t be up for debate.”

Although Arrow stumbled with tonight’s big death, “We Fall” handled pretty much everything else right.  In keeping with his characterization as a genius, Cayden both discovered Vigilante’s treachery and killed him for it without hesitation. Ever the pragmatist, Oliver was right to argue for cosigning Vincent to his death if it meant saving the city. And Dinah was right to call him out on his hypocrisy. Oliver absolutely would’ve let Star City burn if it meant saving Felicity. The show isn’t always this consistent with its characterization, but it’s really satisfying when it is.

I also enjoyed how this episode finally gave the two teams a real reason to be at odds. The whole invasion of privacy thing always felt a bit flimsy, especially when everybody kept working together. Number two groups have truly diverging goals. Oliver’s team wants to save Star City. Dinah’s team, at least at this moment, seems dedicated to taking out James. At some point, those two missions are to come into conflict and the results will likely be horrifying.

Next: Arrow season 6, episode 11 recap: Reign of terror

Lastly, I really hope this marks the end of Quentin’s desire to redeem Black Siren. That woman is not his daughter and never will be. While his feelings are totally understandable, his inability to compartmentalize now has a body count. If he had told Oliver about his situation, he might’ve been able to get a lead on James. Now, that opportunity is gone and the team has lost a valuable asset. Hopefully, Vigilante’s death will push Quentin to set aside his feelings and do the right thing.

Next week, Black Canary versus Black Siren. Arrow airs on The CW Thursdays at 9 pm.