After a terrific Deathstroke two-parter, Arrow is diving back fully into Star City for the holiday themed, and appropriately titled, episode “Thanksgiving.” Sadly, “Thanksgiving” doesn’t feature Slade Wilson cutting up the turkey, just like he sliced into Moira Queen. The episode does, however, follow the Arrow tradition of holidays being the worst times in Oliver’s life. Quickly into the day’s festivities, Oliver is finally arrested by FBI Agent Samanda Watson and from there things just get messier (and more fascinating). 

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Green Arrow(s) Down

While Oliver’s arrest is a dramatic way to open the episode, particularly because it happens in public and in front of William, it’s little more than a background noise for the episode. It’s certainly effective as Syndelle Noel continues capitalize on every inch of Agent Samanda’s no-nonsense attitude. It’s honestly so refreshing to see a law enforcement officer on Arrow be so good and uncompromising about their job because (except for Dinah) they’ve all been entirely incompetent. Still, Oliver is quickly released on bail, although his trial awaits, and the FBI promises to have undeniable proof of him being the Green Arrow. 

Punting the FBI investigation story frees Arrow to focus on the main plot of the episode which is the return of Cayden James and Black Siren. With Team Arrow distracted with Oliver’s legal situation, James and Laurel manage to be even more effective than usual and end up stealing components for a bomb. Things get even worse though when in the middle of the mission Diggle is wracked with intense pain. 

It is revealed that Diggle’s nerve damage is not over. In fact, it’s gotten even more serious. Diggle is rushed the hospital and his prognosis is delivered. Due to the steroids he was taking and the demand he was forcing on his body, if Diggle goes out in the field any more he could be completely paralyzed. 

The Green Arrow Schism?

Diggle being hospitalized allows Arrow to finally have a discussion that should’ve happened episodes ago. Oliver confronts Diggle about hiding his condition and jumping at the chance to become the Green Arrow. Diggle, meanwhile, shoots back about how he’s always put his life on hold for Oliver. It’s brutal scene that’s all the more palpable because it stretches back for the character’s entire history. It also sets up this interesting between Oliver and John. Sadly … it’s very short lived. In a couple scenes time, Oliver and Dig just go back to being old friends. 

After Oliver and Diggle snipe at each other. Oliver later goes back to apologize, and Diggle confesses that he really took the Green Arrow position because he wanted to take it. It wasn’t selfish of Oliver to ask, it was selfish of Diggle to accept. It’s a nice moment and it’s certainly more pleasing to see John and Oliver getting along, rather than at each other throats. It just feels a very underwhelming and anticlimactic for the episode. 

On a similar front, Felicity and Curtis are fighting over their new business venture because Felicity is doing what she always does, overseeing and controlling everything. Much like the Diggle and Oliver conflict, Arrow bends over backwards to smooth out the two’s problems by the end of the episode. Also like John and Oliver, it’s something that could (and should) come back to play later in season. 

Family Revenge and Reunions 

Yet while there are fractures being to grow on Team Arrow, Cayden James and Black Siren are still out there. Oliver subs in to be Green Arrow, while Dig is still recovering, to finish the job. As refreshing and interesting Dig has been in the role, Oliver in the hood just feels much right. With Oliver back as leader,  the Team has deciphered that James plans to attack a Billy Joel concert (who actually appears in the episode) with his bomb. 

Yet this all turns out to be a ruse. There’s no bomb, James just wanted Oliver to think there was one to get his attention. Cayden confronts Ollie in the basement of Star City Stadium and tells Oliver the reason he’s hunting him. It’s the oldest Arrow villain trick in the book too. Evidently Oliver “took” Cayden’s son away with him. As far villain motivations go it’s rather uninspired but now the door is open to explore how it happened, why it happened and who Cayden James; son even is (or was) to Oliver. 

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Of course, now that he’s filling in the role of Green Arrow Oliver’s relationship with his own son is a little difficult. Before she leaves town, Samanda Watson confronts Oliver once more about lying to his son about being the Green Arrow. She even hints that she’s not necessarily opposed to the Green Arrow, she just doesn’t like him hiding his face to public without culpability. In a move of superb unsubtly, Oliver goes right from this conversation with Samanda to lying to William about suiting up as the Green Arrow again.

Yet there’s not much time to focus on this revelation, and Oliver brushes it away saying it’s only a temporary situation, because bigger and more optimistic things are happening. Thea is finally wakes up from her coma! 

While Felicity mumbles some nonsense that explains why this isn’t miraculous and merely scientific it doesn’t matter. Arrow season 6 has sorely missed the sarcastic stylings of Thea Queen. It’s just a relief to have Willa Holland back, even as “Thanksgiving” sets up a potentially very dark future for Arrow.

But what did you think of the holiday themed episode? Are you excited that Thea is back? Is the show setting up some kind of rift between Team Arrow in the near future? Did the show brush over Oliver and Dig’s fight too quickly? 

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.