Though the Lian Yu explosion fallout didn’t impact Oliver much (other than killing his baby mama and putting his sister in a coma) Arrow‘s season 6 premiere did have a big surprise for Ollie. Oliver’s identity as the Green Arrow was unmasked … again. While that twist would normally be the cause for an entire episode or season, this is Arrow season 6. Everything has changed after season 5. While the unmasking is sure to be ongoing storyline, Arrow jumps right to another story instead. Anatoly, Oliver’s “favorite Russian,” returns and delivers on his ominous promise from season 5: to completely cut ties with his former brother-in-arms.

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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Russian Scorned

Oliver does tackle the unmasking right away with the media, claiming that the picture was doctored and name-dropping Bruce (freaking!) Wayne in the process. While an FBI agent, Samanda Watson, (played by the awesome Syndelle Noel from Netflix’s GLOW) shows up to investigate that claim, Oliver proceeds to blow her off again and again. Oliver’s denial skills are still top-notch.

Oliver does have good reason for ignoring the FBI, however, as there is plenty of mayoral business to be done. Oliver has to oversee a deal with some Markovian businessmen.The meeting’s interrupted by the invasion of Anatoly and a bunch of Russian gunman. Anatoly takes the head of the Markovian business hostage and demands 20 million dollars in ransom. This is the exact same amount of money that the city received to repair the damage Black Siren did to the police department in “Fallout.” 

Oliver and crew figure that Anatoly must’ve been the one to leak the unmasking photo to the news. Since it requires Oliver to have his hands tied as both the mayor and Green Arrow. Anatoly must also know something about Black Siren. Yet when Anatoly is finally tracked down, the mobster reveals he had nothing to do with any of it. Anatoly just wants his money and his reputation back with the Bratva. Anatoly explains that he is a man of honor, he won’t go after Oliver personally or after William. Anatoly and Oliver are just officially on opposite sides of the law now, but, he warns, other criminals won’t be so lenient or kind. 

Anatoly has always been one of Arrow‘s best supporting characters. David Nykl has brought an extra level of charisma and charm to the role. It was worrying me when Anatoly declared Oliver as his enemy. I was afraid thsat this charming element of the character would be lost but Anatoly seems to be the same guy in season 6. He just won’t be an ally anymore and that change in status quo is something to be excited about moving forward. Even though Anatoly claims no connection to the unmasking leak or Black Siren’s bombing, him being completely unconnected seems less convincing than Oliver’s flashback wig. 

Green Arrow Rebirth 

Anatoly’s comments about other villains being less kind to Oliver’s family is more than an idle threat. It truly impacts Oliver. William has a hard time adjusting to the picture of Oliver getting out there in the news. William begins to fret that Oliver will eventually be killed just like his mother was and he will be orphaned. While this whining kid act has the potential to be exhausting, Arrow pulls it off surprisingly well. Stephen Amell and Jack Moore continue to play off each other in a really heartwarming way. Oliver-as-dad was perhaps the show’s riskiest storyline yet, but it’s working. So much so that Oliver’s (monumental stupid) decision at the end of the episode is actually more heartwarming than aggravating. 

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Worried that William is right and he’s putting his life in danger too much, Oliver decides to abdicate the Green Arrow throne. Oliver asks Diggle to take over the role, which Dig accepts. There’s just one problem with this and it’s not that Dig has a son of his own (because no one ever talks about that kid). 

Diggle’s Dilemma

Dinah finally gets to the bottom of Dig’s frequent freezing while on missions. It turns out that Dig caught a piece of shrapnel in the explosion and now has degenerative nerve damage. This is causing tremors, nervous ticks and all manner of terrible things for a vigilante. Diggle hasn’t told anyone about this though, so that’s why he accepts Oliver’s offer to become the Green Arrow. 

It’s an venture that is, quite plainly, doomed. Diggle becoming the Green Arrow won’t last and not just because it’s Oliver’s show. However the upcoming disaster should be fascinating to watch. The characters are acting like proud idiots but Oliver and Dig are proud idiots. Diggle’s new job will bring him back to the forefront of the series too, which is something that has been sadly lacking since all the new recruits were brought on board. Dinah will certainly have a lot to say and do as well since she’s the only one who knows the depth of Diggle’s Lian Yu trauma. More Diggle and Dinah, no matter what, is always a good thing. Dig as Green Arrow is temporary but it’s a ride worth taking even for a little bit. 

Do you agree? Are you excited for Diggle taking the lead spot? How long will the new Green Arrow last? How long should he last? Are you liking the more villainous Anatoly? Do you think he is unconnected with Black Siren and her mysterious group? 

Arrow season 6 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Arrow Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.