Oliver Queen isn’t the Green Arrow and it looks like that’s going to be true for awhile. Arrow dives headfirst into their latest twist in “Next of Kin.” Oliver follows through on his promise to step away from the Green Arrow mantle and Diggle takes over. “Next of Kin” might not be the best Arrow episode but the sheer novelty of seeing Diggle in the hood for the entire episode (and what it represents) elevates it. Dig as Green Arrow is obviously temporary but Arrow is, thankfully, using the twist to its full potential right from the start.

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First Mission Jitters

For Diggle’s first solo mission, Arrow really doesn’t pull out all the stops when it comes to the villain department. It’s another random terrorist with vague but clearly nefarious motives. Onyx Adams is a former military officer who is now leading a group of her former soldiers in a series of terrorist attacks, centered around nerve gas. It’s really not the worst case Team Arrow has come up against (or even really that interesting) but that’s also the point. 

Diggle is completely out of his depth from the start and not just because he doesn’t know how to use a bow like Oliver. It gets so bad that on their first encounter with Onyx, Diggle completely freezes, unable to make a decision. Everyone notices but no one more than Dinah who is (still) the only one aware of the deeper issues going on with Dig like his tremor. The accelerated nature of Dinah and Diggle’s friendship is a little odd, they barely interacted in season 5, but it feels so nice to have someone on the team that is willing to call Diggle out on his issues like Dinah. Black Canary should be the moral backbone of the team and Dinah is filling that role.

Of course, Diggle needs more than a lecture, even if Dinah can nag with the best of them. When Rene tells Oliver of Diggle’s problems in the field, Oliver pops up in the bunker to give his best friend a pep talk. It’s a fantastic scene as Oliver shows a whole new level of maturity (again). It’s weirdly comforting to see Diggle on the other end of the brooding scales too. Oliver tells Dig that he can do this because he is the whole reason the Green Arrow became hero in the first place. If moments like these are what Arrow has in store for season 6, the new twist will be more than worth it.

The talk with Oliver does the trick. The next time Team Arrow faces off against Onyx is the final time as Diggle is able to lead the troops in battle effectively. Everything comes together and it looks like this new era of Arrow will work out. Diggle even gets a crossbow that fires like a gun, fixing the problem of The Green Arrow not using arrows and there’s no sign of his tremors. The only problem is that Diggle is fixing that medical issue by using some secretive drugs that will almost certainly have disastrous results in the future. So close and yet so far, but that’s Arrow

The Math of Olicity 

Oliver doesn’t just appear to give Diggle a pep talk. Arrow (the show) is being very bold with this new direction but not bold enough to pretend their main character isn’t their main character. Instead of dealing with any Green Arrow issues, Oliver focuses on his life as a father and a mayor. It doesn’t sound exciting but Arrow manages to make it work, especially the William stuff. 

William is struggling with a math test. Oliver, unsurprisingly, is totally ill-equipped to deal with that problem so he turns to Felicity. Felicity ends up tutoring William and does an excellent job of it. It’s all very cute and it brings Oliver and Felicity even closer together romantically. Oliver decides it’s time to make their relationship knowledge to William. 

Arrow has had a very rocky history in how to deal with Oliver and Felicity romance but “Next of Kin” is a great reminder that when the show wants the relationship can be a source of joy that strengths both characters. Olicity doesn’t need to make everyone miserable, including the audience.

Mayor Queen Protects His Own

As much as Oliver succeeds in his personal life, the mayoral duties get a little bit more complicated. He is still under investigation from Samanda Watson, who is refusing to back down (and it’s awesome). The main issue Oliver is facing  however is that the city is trying to pass new legislation that will cause the police force to actively hunt all vigilantes. 

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Oliver, obviously, is against that plan so he throws a Hail Mary. Oliver doesn’t veto the law, but he forces it to become something that people of Star City have to vote on to approve. This just further interests Samanda Watson, who it’s revealed is way more onto Oliver’s game than he might realize. Samanda’s investigation board (that all TV detectives have) is revealed and on it she has every member of Team Arrow listed as a “known associate” of Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow. 

Of any of season 6’s plots, the FBI’s investigation of The Green Arrow is easily the biggest question mark. While this could easily have huge and lasting consequences, it could just as easily fizzle out into nothing. Yet, given how much Arrow seems devoted to the Diggle twist, it’s worth giving the show the benefit of the doubt. 

How did you feel about the first Oliver Queen-less Green Arrow outing? How long do you hope Diggle’s tenure will last? Where do you think the FBI storyline is going? Are you happy that Oliver and Felicity are officially back together? 

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.