After four weeks of fighting random pockets of criminals, Arrow has finally introduced the big bad villain of the season. Two of them, in fact: Cayden James, an aging hacker formerly aligned with Helix, and Black Siren, our beloved Black Canary in a better role suited to Katie Cassidy’s naturally antagonistic screen presence.
Ditching the elaborate costumes of Deathstroke, the powers of Damien Darhk, and even the pathos of Prometheus, Cayden and Canary’s threat levels come off as several notches below from villains of previous seasons, especially given how late they’ve arrived. But it’s easy to forget this when you consider A) How much time it took to explain the Season 5 finale, and B) how much Arrow Season 6 is trying to shake up its status quo. The biggest shake-up, of course, has been Oliver (Stephen Amell) ditching superhero life altogether, relying on John Diggle to take up the heat as the Green Arrow.
True to the episode’s name, “Reversal” goes all-in on the new status quo. While Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), and Black Canary 3.0 (Juliana Harkavy) pretty much keep to their roles, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) inexplicably winds up on the field due to her reunion with Alena, a Helix hacktivist introduced last season. So it’s none other than Oliver who sits in the chair of Overwatch, even insisting on the nickname to keep with communication security. If you ever wondered how Oliver Queen would do behind a computer, then “Reversal” is quite the treat.
Since Season 3, Arrow has more or less become the Arrowverse’s Detective Comics, the Batman series that emphasizes team dynamics over the single-player campaign of one vigilante. When Arrow introduced a new crew last season, its fate was sealed, and now Season 6 is looking to upend what Arrow fans have been accustomed to. It won’t last, since Diggle’s still relying on drugs to keep a steady hand and that never ends well for anyone, even non-superheroes. But for now, consider Arrow Season 6 a turning point for this staple CW franchise.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.