TV Recap: Arrow: “Brotherhood”

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After spending the last 8 years thinking his brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) was dead, Diggle (David Ramsey) is shocked to discover that he’s alive and working for Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). While he believes Andy is beyond redemption, Oliver is determined to prove otherwise. Elsewhere, Thea’s (Willa Holland) bloodlust returns and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) enlists Ray’s (Brandon Routh) help in finding out more about H.I.V.E.’s ghosts.

I usually leave Arrow Death Watch to the end of the recaps, but “Brotherhood” really shook up the rankings in my mind. So, we’re going to dig (no pun intended) right in.

Felicity Smoak: 0%

That percentage may not seem significant cause for concern, but eagle-eyed readers will notice that it’s higher than last week’s -10%. While I still think it’s still more likely that I’m in the grave in the flashforward than Felicity, this week’s episode gave me pause. Up to this point, I’ve maintained that the show was trying so hard to convince the audience it was her that it could only be a red herring. However, historically, the writers have a somewhat unfortunate habit of telegraphing major plot points long before they come to fruition and the amount of evidence supporting her eventual death is becoming hard to ignore. At this point, it would seem like a waste of set up and an opportunity for good character work if the show didn’t go in that direction.

Last week, Ray put Felicity in Damien Darhk’s crosshairs by revealing she works with Team Arrow. This week, Oliver’s refusal to work with the magical head of H.I.V.E. put her even more in danger. That guy wouldn’t hesitate to teach Oliver a lesson by killing her. Oliver has talked a lot about not wanting to live in the darkness this season and losing the major reason for that sunnier outlook would do irreparable damage. However, there’s one other character whose death would be even more effective….

Thea Queen: 50%

Her whole arc this season has been about controlling the darkness (aka bloodlust) caused by her Lazarus Pit revival. That piggish guy who propositioned her at the bar deserved the beating he got, but the fact that her bloodlust will always come back unless she kills seems like too repetitive of a storyline for the show to maintain long term. The show loves shaking things up too much. Until now, the only possible relief for Thea seemed to be sacrificing herself to end Sara’s (Caity Lotz) own post-Lazarus Pit bloodlust, a tidy way to set up the latter for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow while also creating emotional fallout on Arrow. But this episode derailed that thinking.

Thea’s number seemed up when Darhk tried to use his magic on her, but the fact that it backfired and somehow both hurt him and removed her bloodlust finally gives Team Arrow its first possible way of defeating him. How they translate this newly-discovered weakness into a victory is hard to say now, but Malcolm (John Barrowman) is sure to stop at nothing to help his daughter. That said, I’m keeping the probability on her death relatively high because the demise of Oliver’s only remaining family member is–in terms of storytelling–a smart move. However, this episode also implied that Oliver’s definition of “family” is broader than most.

John Diggle: 50%

Diggle was my original guess after the premiere and this episode brought his probability back up after a steady decline by explicitly stating that his relationship with Oliver is closer to brotherhood than friendship. Oliver has had the avoiding darkness talk with both Felicity and Thea, but he’s had it with Diggle the most and their conversation in this episode was probably the most complex yet. For Oliver, saving Andy was just as much about reassuring himself that both he and Thea are redeemable as helping his friend. The mere fact that that storyline wasn’t wrapped up by episode’s end doesn’t bode well. I suppose there’s a small chance this whole storyline will be the thing that reminds Oliver redemption is possible after whatever death eventually happens, but the show doesn’t trend hopeful.

While Andy’s return reinforced that this show is just as much about resurrection as it is about darkness, the writers have insisted that whoever’s in the grave in the flashforward will stay dead. Whoever dies, we’ve already seen that it returns the optimistic, even-keeled Oliver we have now to the tortured guy he was in the pilot. The prospect of watching that almost makes me wish Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) would die, but I’m going to need his possible romance with Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross) to get through whatever’s coming.

By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.