TELEVISION EPISODE REVIEW: Arrow S6 Ep22 ‘The Ties That Bind’

With Oliver escaping a lifetime sentence, what does Diaz have in store as his Plan ‘B’? It’s all-out war in the penultimate episode for Season 6!

Arrow – “The Ties That Bind”, Season 6, Episode 22
Airdate: May 10th, 2018
Director: Tara Miele
Writer: Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Based on the DC Comics Created by: Mort Weisinger & George Papp

What You Should Know:

Thanks to the intervention of Christopher Chance, aka The Human Target, last week, Oliver has been cleared of all charges and released. Diaz, however, is not one for letting a grudge go, as was evidenced by lighting his childhood bully on fire a few episodes back, so a major backlash should be expected in response to his plan failing last week.

What You’ll Find Out:

Diaz launches an all-out strike on Team Arrow, catching most of them off-guard and marking their family members and loved ones as clear targets as well. The team responds by retreating to The Outsiders bunker, where they watch as the Arrow bunker is raided and destroyed by Diaz’s men. Only Nick, Curtis’ new beau was injured in the initial raid by Diaz, and as an unintended consequence of striking at everybody at once, Team Arrow sets aside their differences for the time being for an immediate strike back, aided by information passed from Anatoly to Oliver.

family dinner

One thing we begin to see in this episode is Diaz’s grip on his people slowly deteriorating. Anatoly outright defies him and goads him into changing locations, enabling Oliver and company to strike at him in transit. We also see the tension between Diaz and the Quadrant, as Cassamento levies veiled threats about Diaz’s replaceability, which will eventually get her killed by Diaz. Once Diaz is drawn out into the open, Curtis pursues him to get vengeance for Nick and, although Curtis gets a few shots in, Diaz quickly turns the tables and beats Curtis savagely. In the midst of the beating, a necklace containing a flash-drive is torn from Diaz’s neck, and rather than finish the job on Mr. Terrific, Diaz recovers the drive and flees as Cassemento arrives with SCPD backup, keying the team off to the importance of said drive.

curtis at diaz mercy

The team devises a plan to clone the data from the drive involving Lyla taking point inside the police station and Felicity running the hacking operation from onsite, a plan doomed from the start. As everything begins to go sideways, Felicity enters the station, putting her in hot water with Oliver, and the team fights their way out, managing luckily to recover the encrypted data. Unfortunately, during the process of decrypting the data, Diaz brings the fight to the bunker, entering it with an army and gas, forcing the team to flee and blow up the bunker before the data, which they believe to be Diaz’s payroll, is available, losing it and their last remaining home base. Despite managing to blow the bunker with Diaz inside, he still manages to escape to terrorize them another day.

In one of the closing scenes, Diaz kills one of the two remaining members of the Quadrant, further solidifying his empire. And in the final scene, Oliver appeals to the FBI agent who pursued him earlier this season, exchanging his identity as Green Arrow (and one more thing, as yet unrevealed) for assistance with Diaz.

What Just Happened?

With the season finale next week, we now see the team with both bunkers destroyed, wounded, and no closer to rooting out Diaz’s corrupted city officials. There were some semi-interesting parallels between the Oliver-Felicity and Diggle-Lyla relationships in regards to how each responds to their loved ones in the field, but what I’d really like to spend a little time on here is the elephant in the room. Or rather, the Dragon in the room.

diaz

Diaz is absurdly overpowered. Speaking about this week’s episode with fellow writer and the head of the Comic Watch Media Team, Andrea Wulf, and she referred to an “illogical impenetrable magic shielding” the writers have placed around Diaz, and I thought it was a beautiful description of what we have been repeatedly subjected to in the latter half of this season. Diaz is untouchable for no better reason than the fact that he has to be in order for this story to work. By all rights, he should have been as easy to take down as any of the first season criminals who had “failed this city”. If we look to the comics, we see that Diaz is a blend of Richard Dragon and his father (in “New 52” Green Arrow continuity). Ricardo Diaz Sr. was a drug kingpin killed by Diggle, prompting Jr, going by the name Richard Dragon, to train with the League of Assassins and then return to attempt to destroy Green Arrow. The comics arc lasted six issues, and in the end, the battle was difficult, but Diggle and Oliver were able to take Dragon down.

As we switch the Arrowverse version of Diaz, we see a man of little training capable of destroying any costumed hero placed in his path. I recently complained of his defeat of Oliver in solo combat, but in this episode, the beating of Curtis was even more egregious. Curtis landed several blows to Diaz’s head while pinning him to the ground and made nary a mark. Then, with roughly the same number of blows, Diaz was poised to kill Curtis, beating him bloody. At this point in the season, Diaz’s feats of strength and cunning, from making Black Siren kowtow despite her abilities to walking out of a blown-up building, have almost reached a comical level (no pun intended). And therein lies the greatest downfall of this season—with no real direction other than an endpoint, the writing has failed to create any sense of believability for an audience ready and willing to suspend disbelief.

Rating: 7/10
Final Thought:
After a season full of turmoil and, I’m sorry to say, poor writing overall, I expected that we would be limping towards the finale, but with back-to-back good showings, it looks more like a brisk walk to the finale. Perhaps a light jog.

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