So far in Arrow’s fourth season, two people thought to be dead have been brought back to life. Of course, I’m referring to Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) in “Restoration”, and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) in “Lost Souls”. This week, the trend continues as we discover that John Diggle’s (David Ramsey) brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd), is actually alive after being led to believe he’s been dead since the show started years ago.
In “Brotherhood”, we not only find out that Andy’s alive, but that he’s also been a pretty bad guy. The file Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) gave Diggle last episode outed him as a criminal; now we come to learn he’s working for Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and H.I.V.E.
The episode starts off with Team Arrow still working to analyze the tooth taken from a Ghost solider a few weeks back. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) asks for help from Ray Palmer, who seems to be in a bit of a funk after last week’s rescue from Darhk. Palmer needs a particular compound to find out more about the tooth’s DNA, so Team Arrow infiltrates Wolfman Industries to find it. But the mission turns out more difficult than originally thought when they end up tangling with some Ghosts. One Ghost in particular is knocked unconscious, and Diggle unmasks him only to find out that it’s Andy. In that single moment, Diggle finds out that his brother’s alive and working for the enemy.
Later, we discover that Captain Lance slowly is falling out of Darhk’s good graces. Darhk is onto how Lance has been working with Green Arrow. But before Captain Lance leaves Darhk’s lair, he notices an address at the Star City dock. Lance passes this information on to Oliver, who in turn tells Diggle. Diggle and Oliver decide to check it out in hopes of finding Andy, but they agree to do it alone rather than with Thea (Willa Holland) or Laurel (Katie Cassidy).
At the dock, they find a disturbing scene: Darhk apparently feeds a new batch of Ghost recruits a yellow pill that seems to put their minds under his control. It doesn’t take long before Diggle and Oliver are discovered and a battle ensues. The Ghosts really take the fight to Green Arrow and metal-helmet Diggle, but eventually the two escape back to the Arrow cave.
A short time later, Ray uses the compound Team Arrow swiped from Wolfman Industries earlier in the episode to find residue from a closed psychiatric hospital on the tooth. Team Arrow all tell Diggle they have his back and set out for the hospital. When there, they tangle with more Ghosts. The scene offers some pretty fantastic fight sequences, during which Team Arrow, including a surprise appearance by Ray in his A.T.O.M. exosuit, take down the Ghosts and capture Andy.
One of the most engaging scenes in “Brotherhood” is when Diggle finally confronts Andy, who’s locked up in the Arrow cave. With tears in his eyes, Diggle asks Andy if what is in the file Captain Lance gave him is true. Andy admits it is with a completely emotionless delivery, which leaves Diggle in a state of sadness and confusion.
Oliver’s mayoral run story arc for this season is becoming more and more compelling every week. This episode finds Oliver face-to-face with Darhk, who offers to endorse him if he backs off his plans to repair the Star City docks. Oliver doesn’t back down, and Darhk offers a veiled threat. There’s true chemistry between the all-powerful Darhk, and Oliver at his most vulnerable.
The flashbacks this season are slow burning, but a little goes a long way. Oliver is accused of killing a worker but is exonerated when his group’s leader uses magic to find out another solider ordered the attack. While this is used as a distraction, Oliver steals a map of the island. Later, he tells the woman in hiding, the one who he was supposed to kill early on, that her brother, the man who attacked Oliver, is dead. But Oliver shares the map with her, and tells her it will likely take them to whatever the soldiers are looking for. This season’s flashbacks are much more focused than before, in addition to rarely being more than a minute long.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Thea’s story is becoming a bit convoluted. Not only is she secretly dating Oliver’s political advisor, but her bloodlust returns in this episode. During a peculiar moment, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) shows up out of nowhere and gives Thea the name and information of a pedophile living in Star City, claiming that Thea’s bloodlust will return if she doesn’t kill again. (Doesn’t seem like Merlyn will win father of the year anytime soon.) Anyway, Thea ends up going crazy during a date with the political advisor and nearly kills an older gentlemen hitting on her. Yet she’s shown a couple of times in this episode holding back from killing someone in the heat of battle, making it hard to believe she’d be less inclined to kill when she’s actually fighting for her life. However, there was an interesting moment in this episode when Darhk is temporarily stunned by simply touching Thea. More of that, please.
NUGGETS AND TIDBITS
Loved it when Laurel is trying to talk to Diggle at the Patrolman’s Benefit Association event, and she tells him that she knows a little bit about siblings that have come back from the dead. That was like three weeks ago, and now she’s apparently an expert in the field.
The last few episodes have seen less and less Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), and that’s a shame.
With Captain Lance now expelled from Darhk’s circle of trust, his days may be numbered.
Overall, “Brotherhood” is probably the most complete episode of season four so far. While it lacked the charm of Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) appearance, it was action-packed and captivating from start to finish.