It’s a year of transition. That’s how one should see Season 6 of Arrow, the long-running DC superhero series on The CW. It’s been a year since the all-important Season 5, in which former playboy billionaire turned Star City mayor Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was confronted with demons left festering since he first became a bow-wielding vigilante.
Now in Season 6, Oliver and company are experiencing the fallout of all those exorcisms, as leftover plot threads from last year have exploded into something bigger than just an afterthought.
Now that Arrow has begun its winter hiatus, here’s a look back at all the most WTF-worthy moments from the season season. Between the return of old faces like Anatoly and Slade Wilson, to the most casual confirmation that Batman exists, here are all the big things to remember from this season of Arrow as the new year approaches.
8. The Return of Anatoli
Right from the first episode of the season, Arrow saw the return of Oliver’s old Russian mob buddy Anatoli, who is still ways away from becoming the super-villain KGBeast. Season 5 went deep into Oliver’s history with the Bratva, which seemed, without killing him off completely, finished off Anatoli for good. But as soon as Season 6 began, Anatoli came right back, and in the mid-season finale it seems he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
7. That Batman Reference
Justice League was right around the corner when Arrow returned, so the specter of the DC Universe loomed even bigger over the Arrowverse than ever. So it was pure lightning when Oliver Queen made the most clear reference to Batman in the show’s history, mentioning “Bruce Wayne” by name during an emergency press conference. It was all Stephen Amell’s idea, too.
6. Billy Joel
Totally inconsequential to the actual plot, Billy Joel’s “cameo” in Arrow was quite bizarre, but also fun. Though the Bronx crooner didn’t actually make a guest appearance, stock footage from one of his live concerts were inserted, purely because they had the rights to use Billy Joel at all.
5. The Return of Olicity
Season 6 has been packed with returns, but the most divisive “return” is easily Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. Sure, it’s what fans wanted to see in early Arrow, but by Season 4 when it was a thing, few could tolerate the two being together. Their emotional distance in Season 5 was a palette cleanser from what seemed like a horrible mistake, but now Season 6 looks like a committed do-over. Maybe I’m just exhausted of the pairing, but this is truly one of the most baffling aspects of the season.
4. The Reveal of Vigilante
Perhaps the folks behind Arrow didn’t think this one through. Or they did, and the execution just wasn’t there. Either way, the reveal of Vigilante being Dinah’s ex felt was a vastly underwhelming beat that didn’t live up. to something a whole year in the making. Thankfully, there’s some gas in that tank, as Dinah’s secret fueled her exit from the team with Curtis and Rene.
3. Slade Wilson and Oliver’s “Friendship”
For two episodes this season, Oliver helped Slade Wilson rescue his son (who turned out to be an even bigger jerk than his father).
Here’s the thing: Does Oliver not remember Slade Wilson killed his mother and left his family in ruins? Like, Deathstroke was his biggest enemy. Why all of a sudden are they acting like old war buddies? Oliver’s reasoning to Felicity barely made sense too. We all love Deathstroke and we all love Manu Bennett, but this buried hatchet made no sense.
2. Overgirl and Dark Arrow
How about that crossover? As awesome as “Crisis on Earth-X” was, the marriage between “Nazi Supergirl” Overgirl (Melissa Benoist) and “Dark Arrow” shocked and grossed out Twitter. Somehow, a kiss between two insanely attractive TV actors has never been more gross. Is it because Kara and Oliver are such a wrong fit? Is it because they’re Nazis? I say: why not both?
1. The End of the Team?
It might only be temporary, but the mid-season finale left the integrity of “Team” Arrow in doubt. There’s hardly a team anymore. Rene, Curtis, and Dinah have all left, and in the teaser for the return episde, they’re forming their own squad. Between Team Arrow and Team Canary/Dog/Terrific, Arrow is pretty much doing the premise of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Hopefully, unlike South Park, Arrow won’t finish this storyline with a gigantic fart.
Arrow will return January 18 on The CW.