‘Arrow’ Recap: “Tribute” – Honorable Men

     October 19, 2017

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Passing the superhero mantle on to someone else is a mainstay of comic book canon. We’ve seen it done on Arrow before, though never in any permanent way. Diggle or the Human Target have suited up as Green Arrow to throw the authorities off of Oliver’s trail. However, when Oliver asks Diggle to permanently take up the mantle of the Green Arrow on a permanent basis, that is something new for this show — and something new for superhero TV. I just wish I thought Arrow was actually going to carry through with it.

The Green Arrow has always been more than just Oliver Queen. From the beginning, it was Yao Fei and Shado and Slade Wilson and Robert Queen. They were the ones who inspired Oliver to take on the worst elements of Starling City. Shortly after Oliver became the Hood, Diggle was there, too. He is as much of the Green Arrow as Oliver Queen, and the message him becoming the Green Arrow would send — both thematically, for the show, and for the wider world of superhero narratives (superheroes are hardly ever individuals in real life, but rather communities) — would be pretty badass.

However, this seems unlikely to happen, given Diggle’s secret nerve damage that keeps him from being able to shoot a gun and I guess an arrow? Oliver’s request explains why Arrow decided to give Diggle this injury storyline: it keeps him from being able to take Oliver up on his request, if not in the short-term, then definitely in the long term.

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Image via The CW

In the short-term, it seems Diggle will continue to lie about his nerve damage, which is disappointingly out-of-character. This is the man who has made Oliver face the reality of his situation since Day One. Sure, he’s gone off the deep end a bit since he killed his brother (also, out of character), but he has never been the type to value his pride over the safety of his friends. It took Rene getting seriously injured and Dinah almost getting strangled to death just for Diggle to admit he had a problem, but, even then, he swore Dinah to secrecy. I’m hoping Diggle tells Oliver the truth, despite Oliver’s plan to give the Green Arrow alter ego to him. Otherwise, this is not the John Diggle I know.

Let’s talk about Oliver’s decision. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Oliver/William stuff in the first episode, but William livens up a bit in this episode and I find that I like the dynamic much more. It helps that William is a smart kid and he calls Oliver on his bullshit. When Oliver keeps ditching William in the middle of conversations that are literally about how Oliver will never leave William, the kid points it out. Has Oliver finally found someone who can properly hold him accountable for his actions — especially the actions of the emotional variety? I hope so.

As I mentioned before, I would be 100 percent on board with Oliver passing on the Green Arrow persona to Diggle. However, I would have liked to see Oliver go in a different direction in order to solve the problem of never leaving William alone. Sure, Oliver may have given up the Green Arrow gig (for now), but trouble sticks to that guy like white on rice.

Besides, no one can live forever. Rather than try to ensure that he never die, perhaps Oliver should work on creating a larger family around his son. (I think the season may be going there?) Even if Oliver doesn’t die anytime soon, that doesn’t mean William doesn’t need a community.

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Image via The CW

And I can already tell Oliver is relying on Raisa too much. Doesn’t that woman have a family of her own? Or is she some sort of bot that has been gathering dust in some Queen family storage locker since the pilot, only to be pulled out and booted up again for the Season 6 premiere.

Elsewhere in Green Arrow land, Felicity is surprised that Curtis has a freelance job. And I am surprised that, after a full two seasons when no one really had a job, this show is finally addressing how any of these people afford so much Big Belly Takeout. Does Team Arrow pay? Because that seemed to be the implication when Felicity was worrying that she might have to get a job if the gang gets shut down because of Oliver’s unmasking.

In the end, Felicity and Curtis decide to go into business together. To be honest, I always kind of assumed they were making apps together for money on the side. Apparently, it was just Curtis who was doing that.

The other plot point that will no doubt shape a big part of the season moving forward is the introduction of Agent Samantha Watson (Sydelle Noel, in a recurring role), another character who sees through Oliver Queen’s lies. Channel 52 may have believed the evidence that the photo of Oliver was doctored, but Agent Watson doesn’t. Speaking of which, who did send the photo in? I hope it was William, but that may be expecting to much from a traumatized kid who spends most of his time playing video games and glaring at Oliver.

It wasn’t Anatoly, who was back in this week’s episode to try to get $20 million from Star City. Like Diggle, Anatoly’s character has suffered from some major contrivances over the last few seasons. The result: A man who will hold up the city his “friend” is a mayor of when there are perfectly good cities elsewhere to steal money from. And most of them much closer to home, as Oliver points out.

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Image via The CW

Oliver chooses to let Anatoly go, though it was touch-and-go for a minute there. Anatoly insists he is still a good man. He didn’t blow up William, did he? Perhaps this will give Oliver insight into his own sense of morality, which we have seen improve over the last few years. Goodness is relative and, now, Oliver has someone who is learning the definition directly from him. The emotional stakes have never been higher.

Rating: ★★★★ Very good

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